Snapshots: Coastal class a breath of fresh air
Out-of-classroom learning opportunities are well-known features of a UW-Green Bay educational experience and a requirement in Prof. Bill Niedzwiedz’s (Public and Environmental Affairs) Coastal Management class.
In fall, his class took two trips across the state — to Vilas County to study “lakescaping” for wildlife and water quality and to Grand Marais, Michigan, to study erosion of dune systems.
At Lower Lake Buckatabon in Vilas County, students were charged with developing restoration plans for the lakefront properties. The teams of students in boats assessed each lakefront property for modifications of the littoral zone (near-shore waters), shoreline, and near-shore landscape (particularly the-35-foot area parallel to the shoreline protected by state legislation).
Each team developed maps, captured digital photos of property conditions, and logged field notes for each property detailing the current status of the property. Using detailed field documentation, students will develop a restoration plan for each lakefront property and submit the results to the local lake association for consideration. Restoration plans will emphasize the creation of habitat and shoreline stabilization, and incorporate base maps, plant lists, and maintenance of views to the water.
In late October, the class spent three days in Grand Marais, Mich., studying the erosion rate of two dune systems, as well as the lack of protective land use controls, the loss of shoreland property in a small subdivision, the loss of buildings to the forces of erosion, and the impacts of erosion/deposition on Grand Marais’ harbor. Pictured:
— The stairs descent overlooking Sable Falls on their way to the beach and base of the dune. This section is a part of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (America’s first National Lakeshore, Oct.15, 1966. http://www.nps.gov/piro/planyourvisit/scenicsites.htm)
— Student Matt Bergeon starts a grueling ascent up a portion of the Grand Sable Dunes. The panoramic image was taken at the Log Slide overlook (a dune which rises 300 feet above Lake Superior and was used hundreds of years ago to slide logs to the waterway for shipping.
— Students retrace the three-mile trek (one-way) once used by Light Station keepers to pick up supplies.
— The top of a vegetated dune system near Grand Marais. This dune system is at risk to powerful waves generated by storms. The active erosion and exposed root systems are testament to property losses.