Rainbow Trout in Mahon Creek

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juvenile rainbow trout

Graduate student Mia McReynolds and a crew of students had a significant discovery while doing research at Mahon Creek, on the Green Bay campus this week — a juvenile rainbow trout! McReynolds is researching fish communities in small streams. “This is an unusual species to see in a small creek that gets so warm during the summer,” she said. “Usually I’d expect to find these trout in colder streams further north, towards Door & Marinette Counties. This fish is also interesting because it was likely not stocked by the Wisconsin DNR, but came from natural reproduction. The adipose fin, which is on the fish’s back just above the tail, was present on this fish, while it is removed from fish that are stocked. I would guess that this trout moved into the stream recently, though it is not impossible that it hatched in Mahon. It is definitely a surprise and a new record of trout in the arboretum!”

DNR spring hearings taking place at UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus on Monday, April 8

The annual spring hearings will be taking place on Monday, April 8, 2019 at 7 p.m. at the UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus in the auditorium. The hearing will start with the election of two seats on the county Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC) delegation. Then the public will be able to weigh in on statewide fish and wildlife rule proposals. Read more.

Rusty patched bumble bees a matter of concern to scientists

The rusty patched bumble bee population has declined dramatically over the years, but there’s an effort to turn the numbers around. Keith White Prairie is a place on UW-Green Bay campus, where bumble bees swarm flowers known as bee balm. There are around 20 bee species that are native to the state of Wisconsin, but the decline of the rusty-patched is a concern to scientists.

“I think all bee ecologists are worried about the rusty patched. Again, this was a species that was once very common,” UW-Green Bay Biology Chair Amy Wolf explains to Fox 11. Experts say the causes of decline in population are extreme weather, loss of habitat and pesticides. Alumnus and DNR Conservation Biologist Jay Watson ’09 believes a disease is to blame for the crash. “It’s pretty alarming because the rusty patched bumble bee, I don’t think it’s alone. It’s not an isolated incident,” said alumna and U.S Fish & Wildlife Service Biologist Reena Bowman ’17. 

Freshwater mussels are dying off, scientists intend to find out the cause

At least 51 freshwater mussel species are known to exist in rivers, lakes and streams around Wisconsin. However pollutants such as phosphorous and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, have added to the decimation of freshwater mussel populations in areas like the Bay of Green Bay and the Lower Fox River. A roundtable including attendees from the DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, UW-Green Bay, The Nature Conservancy and the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, among others, hope that research can help. WPR had the story.

Faculty note: Luczaj, Houghton and Shea receive grant for bedrock mapping

Professor John Luczaj (Geoscience), research scientist Chris Houghton, and graduate student Abby Shea will be working on constructing a depth to bedrock map for the county, along with an analysis of the groundwater chemistry in a deeper sandstone aquifer accessible in the northwestern portion of the county. The researchers received a grant for $34,580 from the Wisconsin DNR for the project entitled A Depth-to-Bedrock Map and Deep Aquifer Characterization for Kewaunee County, WI.

Jordan Olson and Tim Lautenslager

UW-Green Bay student angling for a big turnout for fishing fundraiser

UW-Green Bay/Bellin College of Nursing student Tim Lautenslager is calling on avid fishermen to get out on the Bay next weekend, for the first-ever Jordan Olson Musky Derby. Lautenslager and Olson are lifelong friends with years of memories made on the water.

Tim Lautenslager Nursing student
Tim Lautenslager
Nursing student
Jordan Olson Muskee Derby beneficiary
Jordan Olson
Musky Derby beneficiary

With Olson in a fight against skin cancer, Lautenslager and others felt it appropriate to combine their favorite pastime with a fundraiser to help Olson with his medical bills. The catch and release Derby will be held from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14 with launch at Green Bay Metro boat launch and awards at Smokey’s on the Bay at 3 p.m. The entry for the two-man teams is $200, with fisherman catching fish and taking photos of them with winners totaling up the inches to determine placement. About 60 percent of the registration fee will go to Olson with the rest a payout to winners.

“Me and Jordan grew up together went to school together and would hunt and fish with one each other whenever we could,” Lautenslager explains. “We are great friends and talk almost every day. We are doing this because Jordan is the nicest person you will ever meet. He is a kind and caring individual.”

The tournament will also support musky research. After fishermen reel in their catch during the derby, teams from UW-Stevens Point will implant a tracking device in the musky.

“Not only will they be able to see where they’re going, but to figure out why they’re going to different spots on Green Bay or the Fox River and different tributary streams, and if there’s actually some natural reproduction. That would just be phenomenal knowledge to know,” said Wisconsin DNR Conservation Warden Darren Kuhn in an interview with NBC 26.

There will be food, raffles and entertainment. They have a goal of raising $15,000 on the day. For more information contact Tim Lautenslager at lautt18@uwgb.edu or 920-321-6060.

UW-Green Bay plays a big role in survival of the little (and endangered) Piping Plover

The tiny bird with a large “footprint” is in the news again, thanks to the work of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay faculty, staff and former students, along with the Department of Natural Resources and the United States Fish & Wildlife Service.

Four pairs of the endangered Great Lakes piping plovers nested in Lower Green Bay this year and six fledgling chicks were identified just a year after a pair nested at the site for the first time in more than 75 years.

The lead biologist from the US Fish & Wildlife Service is UW-Green Bay graduate student Reena Bowman (Environmental Policy and Planning, Environmental Science), and head DNR biologist is Josh Martinez ’09 and ’12 (Biology and Environmental Science & Policy). UW-Green Bay alumni, Tom Prestby ’16 (Environmental Science & Policy) and Joel Trick ’78 and ’82 (Population Dynamics, Environmental Arts and Sciences), also have a hand in the project. UW-Green Bay Biology professors Bob Howe and Amy Wolf ’89 and ’93 (Biology and Environmental Science and Policy), along with UW-Green Bay Cofrin Center for Biodiversity’s senior research specialist Erin Giese ’12 served as lead monitors for the team.

Local biologists who monitor the site were surprised at the increase in nesting, according to a press release by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Plover activity at the site this year exceeded our expectations,” said Bowman. “With at least a dozen adult plovers spotted at Cat Islands, this has clearly become an important area for the recovery of the Great Lakes piping plover.”

The plovers are successful thanks to the ongoing partnership among the Service, Wisconsin DNR, Brown County Port, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and others, to create and manage habitat within the Cat Island Chain, once ravaged by high water and erosion. See the previously published story about the graduate work of Prestby and Tim Flood on the Cat Island Chain. Reconstruction of the 272-acre chain in Lower Green Bay in 2012 and will continue over the next two to three decades with clean dredge material from the maintenance of the Green Bay Harbor. Two other UW-Green Bay luminaries, Professor Emeritus Bud Harris and UW Sea Grant Biologist Vicky Harris ’98 (Environmental Science and Policy) were instrumental in planning and development of the Cat Island restoration project.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife press release, Green Bay has regularly been an important migratory stopover site for the endangered piping plover, and with the ongoing reconstruction of the Cat Island Chain, the area is now able to support nesting piping plovers. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is currently the only other regular nesting location in Wisconsin for the small shorebird.

Since being listed as endangered, conservationists have worked tirelessly to save this rare bird from extinction by preserving and restoring habitat, protecting nesting areas and monitoring the birds’ migrations.

In late June, the Cat Island chicks were banded with leg bands in specific color combinations that help identify and track the birds. Current UW-Green Bay students Vanessa Brotske, Maria Otto, Colton Tanner and Emily Weber, along with Cofrin Center for Biodiversity Ecologist Bobbie Webster and DNR wildlife technician Roberta Reif ’16 (Environmental Sciences), participated in the banding effort. The adults migrated in late July, and juveniles departed in early August. Many Great Lakes piping plovers have already been spotted on their wintering grounds in Florida, Georgia and other Gulf and Atlantic Coast states, joining plover populations from the Atlantic Coast and Great Plains.

Click to advance slideshow or view the album on Flickr.

June 2017 - Piping Plover Banding at Cat Island

– Photos submitted by Prof. Amy Wolf

The Cat Island Chain is currently closed to the public. Limiting disturbance at the site is also critical for the success of both piping plover and other breeding migratory birds.

Anyone who spots a piping plover in Wisconsin can contact Reena Bowman at the Green Bay Field Office by e-mail at reena_bowman@fws.gov or the University of Minnesota Research Team at plover@umn.edu. For more information on piping plovers and how to help them, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s website at http://midwest.fws.gov/endangered/pipingplover.

UW-Green Bay to host DNR/public hearing on agriculture rule revisions

The Department of Natural Resources is holding a public hearing Sept.15 regarding state rule changes governing the spreading of manure on soils in certain sensitive areas of the state. The changes, under Ch. NR 151, Wis. Adm. Code, relate to shallow soils over “karst topography,” which are areas where the bedrock may be fractured. Some of the proposed changes to NR 151 may be based on recommendations in the Groundwater Collaboration Workgroup final report, issued in June 2016. An informational meeting and Q&A will start at noon and the public hearing will start at 1 p.m. The hearing will be held Sept. 15 at the Phoenix Room, University Union, UW-Green Bay. The hearing will also be broadcast at the same time in Madison at the Wisconsin Natural Resource Building, Room G09, 101 S. Webster St., Madison.

Waterfront Design: Urban and Regional Studies students asked to polish a diamond in the rough

Past the Zippin Pippin and the Sea Dragon, beyond the Ferris wheel and the bumper cars, away
from the crowds and squeals of delight at Bay Beach, UW-Green Bay’s Urban and Regional Studies students envisioned a waterfront diamond-in-the-rough that could become one of the city’s crown jewels.

Study Area
Study Area

The students were part of Associate Professor Marcelo Cruz’s Waterfront Design and Visioning Project, a studio design course based in the Department of Public and Environmental Affairs. Working with the City of Green Bay and a group of waterfront stakeholders, they prepared a plan that would connect the Green Bay community to the waterfront area adjacent to Bay Beach.

“The waterfront district is an area of keen interest to us,” said Wendy Townsend, Green Bay’s programs and projects manager. “It’s not unusual for port cities like ours to have a strong industrial presence on their waterfronts. That’s the primary role they filled as these cities developed. Over time, the waterfront’s historical commercial/industrial role has changed. Port cities are now looking at ways to bring people back to these predominantly industrial corridors.

Project Visualization
Project Visualization

“In our case,” she continued, “we have a world-class sport fishery right here, with limited access to it and no on-site infrastructure to support it. We also have waterfront property we can use much more productively. The community and economic benefit of repurposing this property is great. In many ways, water is the new gold.”

The value of the waterfront was echoed by Chip McDonald, co-owner of South Bay Marina and a community representative on the project team.

“We are very committed to helping our community access the great amenity of Green Bay,” said McDonald. “It is a true blessing we need to respect and care for. All of us who work and live in this part of the city greatly appreciate the work of everyone involved, especially the efforts of the instructors and students, and the support of the city, county and NEW Water.”

Renard Island detail
Renard Island concept detail

“There are already projects underway in and around Bay Beach,” said Cruz. “After talking with Wendy, it was decided that we would assist them to develop ideas for 377 acres of waterfront connecting Bay Beach, Renard Island and South Bay Marina.”

“This project fit well with the University’s desire to be part of the community and gives students the opportunity for hands-on learning,” he continued. “Students learned urban design principles and environmental design concepts as they developed the plan for the city. The project involved students from pubic administration, history, environmental science, environmental planning and design, political science and urban and regional planning.”

South Bay Maritime Museum concept
South Bay Maritime Museum concept

The project vision involved many industries and commercial storage sites in the area. Specifically excluded were Bay Beach Amusement Park and NEW Water’s treatment plant.

The students were completely engaged in the process.

“It is satisfying to know that I have real-life experience in the planning world,” said Breanne Rasmussen, a senior studying Environmental Policy and Planning. That’s a sentiment echoed by other students in the class. “It’s exciting to know that what I’ve done in this class can potentially be implemented in the future. I’ve come to appreciate how important planning tools are and how they help people perceive their environment.” Making that connection is central to the project, according to Cruz.

Community Exploration Center concept drawing
Community Exploration Center concept drawing

“Our urban design focus was on place-making and connectivity within the project area,” said Cruz. “We worked with property owners in the area to envision what was possible. Chip McDonald led us on a three-hour tour of the entire project area. Our eyes were really opened!

“We worked with Mr. McDonald and the other stakeholders from Bay Beach, NEW Water, the Port of Green Bay, Wisconsin DNR and the City of Green Bay to gather their ideas and visions for the space, we synthesized those into what we called the Phase One visualization, which we presented to the stakeholders in early March for feedback. With that feedback we created the Phase Two visualization and prepared our final presentation to stakeholders.”

housing drawing
Housing concept drawing

“They made our (development) job a lot harder and more fun at the same time,” Townsend said. She pointed to the students’ innovative ways to reconnect elements of land already there and recommendations for elements that are relevant to the space and meaningful to the public. Among these are three residential areas, ideas for bringing in new business opportunities, including a hotel and dedicated retail space; creating a bike trail, a boardwalk and water-specific educational features; establishing public access to waters that can’t be used now. It also included carving out family-friendly areas on Renard Island, with picnic tables, disc golf, an observation tower and an amphitheater; and creating a more welcoming “front door” where I-43 exits onto Webster Avenue.

“Conceptually,” said Cruz, “we want to create a space that has specific places for the public to live, work and play, transforms the uses of the area, enhances public accessibility and is sustainable and innovative.”

In short, a waterfront gem that truly sparkles.

Cruz and class instrumental in reshaping Northeast Wisconsin communities

“I feel we, as a public university, have an obligation to improve the quality of life in the communities around us.” ~ Dr. Marcelo Cruz

At UW-Green Bay, Associate Prof. Marcelo Cruz has invested in this philosophy — from The Broadway District in Green Bay to the streets of Tena, Ecuador. As a college student in England in the unsettled decade of the 70s, he came to believe that a university should be more than a place to educate professionals for their careers. He felt it should play an important role in the communities around it.

He carried that philosophy into teaching at the University of California Los Angeles and, 22 years ago, to UW-Green Bay. This deep sense of obligation to the community has brought benefits to everyone involved, and to many Northeast Wisconsin communities.

“The community gets the benefit of some great, creative minds and the students get the benefit of hands-on education,” said Cruz, who earned a doctoral degree in urban planning at UCLA’s Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning. “We’ve even taken this internationally, when we developed a comprehensive plan for Tena in the Amazon. It was a marvelous experience to see our Wisconsin students interact with students from Denmark and Spain. We all grew from that experience, just as we grow from every engagement like that.”

Here’s a partial list of the projects and communities in which Cruz and his students have been involved:

  • Students contributed to the streetscape design for On Broadway, where Cruz has served as a member of the design committee for On Broadway, Inc. since its founding in 1995.
  • Students worked with the ARTgarage on Olde Main Street, due in part to Cruz’s role as a founding member of Latinos Unidos in 1996.
  • UW-Green Bay students developed the first neighborhood master plan for Wisconsin’s Main Street Program and were later presented a Wisconsin Main Street Program award in Madison.
  • Cruz himself served as a member of the Transportation Commission for the City of Green Bay from 2004 to 2008.
  • Students updated the City of Algoma’s Neighborhood Transportation and Connectivity Plan in 2014.
  • Cruz and students contributed to the 2015 Community Profile document for Town of Stockbridge, which is used in the Town’s economic development initiatives and helped leaders to revise vision statement.
  • Students helped to develop elements the comprehensive plan of Tena, Ecuador (2011 to 2014), thanks to an international internship there developed by Cruz. Those students worked with students from Ecuador, Spain, Denmark, and from UW Milwaukee and Central Michigan University
  • Students gave strong support to Cruz, who, as a member of Green Bay’s Transportation Commission, worked to bring the universal bus pass to UW-Green Bay.

– Story by freelance writer Jim Streed ’05. Renderings by Mary Long, maps by Wade Connett and interior drawings by Marla Cherney.

Click to advance slideshow or view the album on Flickr.

Urban and Regional Studies Bay Beach Design Project

– Photos by Dan Moore, Marketing and University Communication

UW-Green Bay’s Prof. John Stoll a leader in new fisheries study

UW-Green Bay Prof. John Stoll (Public and Environmental Affairs) will be one of the lead researchers on a new study designed to calculate the social, recreational and economic impact of the region’s fishery. Given the area’s world-class walleye fishing, Great Lakes spotted musky population, whitefish, bass, yellow perch, trout and salmon opportunities, the impact is significant. Green Bay represents a key destination for the 178,000 in-state and out-of-state anglers who participate in Wisconsin’s Great Lakes sportfishing each year. The Wisconsin DNR released the story, yesterday.