Professors Zorn and Fermanich among ‘soothsayers’ working on predicting dead zones on the bay

“They are diverse group — a geoscientist, limnologist and natural resources educator. Also on the team is a water chemist, biologist, civil engineer and watershed scientist. As collaborators on a Sea Grant-funded effort to envision conditions in Green Bay, you could also say they are soothsayers.” 

This story by Moira Harrington of Sea Grant describes the important work of UW-Green Bay faculty members, Associate Dean Michael Zorn (Chemistry) and Professor Kevin Fermanich (NAS, co-lead investigator).

Writes Harrington, “It’s a project called ‘Transitioning Science to Management: Developing Models and Tools to Restore the Health of the Green Bay Ecosystem,’ which is seeking to understand and evaluate alternative approaches to meet water quality goals for the Green Bay watershed under current and projected climate. It builds on prior work that assembled a comprehensive set of linked models of watershed loading, biogeochemical cycling and hydrodynamics.”

“For me as a chemist, I like to see how all those things — different inputs — interact. How the prediction looks,” said  Zorn. “It really helps to visualize it through models.”

If Zorn and his six co-researchers are, in fact, termed soothsayers then they want to expand their ranks of seers. Their work will enable others to visualize watershed conditions as well

Writes Harrington, “Beyond the already extensive list of stakeholders who could directly use the models, it’s almost certain this work will resonate with average folks touched by projects such as the $7 million Bay Beach restoration in the city of Green Bay. There are plans for a new nearly 3-mile beach, beach house and boardwalk. A fishing pier will stretch into the water by 450 feet, bringing anglers that much closer to prized yellow perch and other desirable catches.

Water-quality issues have plagued this area since the 1940s and despite recent improvements, there is little to no public access to the bay. Thanks to modeling, ongoing restoration can be informed by different scenarios and projections.

You don’t have to be soothsayer to foresee this could lead to many happy people.”

Read the full story.




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