Great Lakes water levels informational meeting, Jan. 15

Great Lakes water levels have been at or near record highs in recent months, prompting concern among many Wisconsin residents. Those interested in learning what is in store for Great Lakes water levels for the rest of this winter and into spring 2020 are invited to an informational meeting featuring an expert panel on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Brown County STEM Innovation Center in the Flex Space Room on UW-Green Bay’s Green Bay Campus.

No RSVP required; seating is first-come, first-served. This event has been planned by Wisconsin Sea Grant, the City of Green Bay, the National Weather Service, Green Bay Office, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Find more information here or at https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/experts-host-panel-in-green-bay-about-projected-great-lakes-water-levels-and-their-impact/. See below for the poster with more information.

Information on meeting

Cofrin Center for Biodiversity shares in $10 million Great Lakes grant

Biologist Bob Howe, professor of Natural and Applied Sciences and director of the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity, and Erin Giese, the Center’s data manager, are UW-Green Bay’s participants in a newly announced, multi-state, multi-university grant of $10 million to monitor coastal wetlands around the Great Lakes Basin over the next five years. This project expands an existing grant that has involved Howe, Giese and more than 20 UW-Green Bay undergraduate and graduate students since 2010. Coordinated by researchers at Central Michigan University, the project allocates $222,000 to support field activities and data analysis by UW-Green Bay staff and students. The basin-wide coastal wetland monitoring program evaluates ongoing and future wetland restoration efforts, as well as fish, invertebrates, birds, amphibians, plant communities, and chemical and physical variables at the majority of coastal wetland areas throughout the Great Lakes basin. Results will be used to prevent further wetland degradation and to set priorities for future wetland protection. Along with Central Michigan and UW-Green Bay, the initiative includes collaborators from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, UW-River Falls, Lake Superior State University, University of Notre Dame, Grand Valley State University, University of Windsor, State University of New York at Brockport, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, U.S. Geological Survey, Environment Canada, and Bird Studies Canada.

Ribble pushes federal legislation to target ‘dead zones’

U.S. Representative Reid Ribble is a sponsor of H.R. 3120, the Great Lakes Assurance Program Verification Act of 2015, a bill he says would help equip farmers to reduce excess nutrient loading that has seen water bodies including the Bay of Green Bay suffer seasonal “dead zones.” H.R. 3120 would create an initiative for states in the Great Lakes Basin to establish “innovative, proactive programs that help farms of all sizes and all commodities to prevent or minimize agricultural pollution risks.” Ribble has hosted a series of listening sessions and stakeholder meetings prompted in part by highly publicized research – some of it involving UW-Green Bay faculty, students and alumni – showing phosphorous-laden runoff is causing algae blooms and oxygen problems in the bay. If you’re interested in the topic, the Wisconsin State Farmer news site had an ag-centric view of Ribble’s project posted online. The piece quotes experts including local dairyman Gordon Spiers and UWGB watershed specialist Prof. Kevin Fermanich of Natural and Applied Sciences.