Grad students lead Sea Grant discussion ‘Green Bay: A Saga of Life, Destruction and Restoration’ Oct. 22

In this installment of Wisconsin Sea Grant’s “Lake Talks” series, speakers Cadie Olson and Brandon Falish will cover the history of contamination and pollution of the Fox River and Green Bay, summarize ongoing remedial objectives and projects, and then discuss their own research. Olson and Falish are graduate students at UW-Green Bay. This is a free, informal science talk open to all. No special knowledge of the topic is needed or assumed! Time for audience questions will be included.

More about the speakers:

Cadie Olson researches the benthic macroinvertebrate communities of lower Green Bay and the Lower Fox River. She is a 2018 graduate of UW-Stevens Point with a degree in fisheries (and minors in biology and water resources, plus a GIS certificate). She has previously worked as an aquatic invertebrate biologist in northern Minnesota.

Brandon Falish is pursuing a master’s in environmental policy and planning. His thesis work looks at the carbon and nitrogen stable isotope signatures in the lower Green Bay to evaluate the health of the food web. He previously worked as a fish biologist for both the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey.

This free and public event is on Oct. 22, 2020, 7:00-8:00 p.m, via this link.

UW-Green Bay professor leads study of bay’s bottom dwellers | Green Bay Press-Gazette Online

UW-Green Bay Assistant Scientist Christoper Houghton and various graduate and undergraduate students are currently working on a Sea Grant-funded project on the benthos of lower Green Bay. Photos of their hard word can be found via UWGB professor leads study of bay’s bottom dwellers | Green Bay Press-Gazette Online.

UW-Green Bay scientist and students work on Sea Grant-funded project on the benthos of lower Green Bay

Thomas Devine using PONAR grab sampler
UWGB research technician Thomas Devine using a PONAR grab sampler.

UW-Green Bay Assistant Scientist Christoper Houghton and various graduate and undergraduate students are currently working on a Sea Grant-funded project on the benthos of lower Green Bay. This work updates historical studies beginning in the 1930s, but had dropped off in the 1990s. This new work will shed important light on the food web in lower Green Bay and carry implications for “area of concern” listing in the area. The photo above features UW-Green Bay graduate student Cadie Olson, Assistant Scientist Christopher Houghton, and UW-Green Bay graduate student Brandon Falish.

Photos provided by Cadie Olson.


UW-Green Bay graduate student featured in story about Sea Grant work

UW-Green Bay master’s degree student Megan Hoff, who is studying Environmental Science and Policy, was hired as the first-ever graduate assistant in one of Wisconsin Sea Grant’s field offices last fall. Hoff is working with the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity at UW-Green Bay to involve university students and staff, state and federal agencies, citizen scientists, foundations, land trusts, several local governments and private landowners in creation of the watershed plan with hopes to improve habitat and water quality. Read more.

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.




Wisconsin Sea Grant Announces $2.8 Million to Fund Great Lakes Research, including projects at UW-Green Bay

The University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute announced a $2.8 million 2018-20 omnibus grant to fund Great Lakes research, including three projects involving the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

“The world’s largest freshwater system surrounds Wisconsin to the north and east. The lakes fuel our economy and enhance our quality of life,” said Jennifer Hauxwell, Sea Grant’s director of research. “We are fortunate that some of the best freshwater researchers are located in Green Bay. Throughout the yearlong process that brought us to the point of kicking off this research, we drew on the expertise of scientific leaders from around the globe and nation who reviewed the proposals to ensure the projects were of a high caliber. We also relied on a council of external advisors from numerous Wisconsin sectors to ensure the inquiries would be relevant to our state’s needs.”

Project details are:

  • Walleyes, lake whitefish and yellow perch are prized game fish and all can be found in Green Bay. What is the interaction of these species, though, as they search for food and act as predator and prey in the bay? Patrick Forsythe, a UW-Green Bay professor of natural and applies sciences, is part of a large research team that will look into these poorly understood and overlapping behaviors to better inform how the fishery is managed.
  • UW-Green Bay Scientist Christopher Houghton and Forsythe, once again, along with two additional scientists from other institutions, will examine what sort of macro-invertebrates—such as larval insects, worms and a species called diporeia—live in the deepest parts of Green Bay. This will provide a better understanding of the bay and how it can best be managed.
  • UW-Green Bay researchers Kevin Fermanich, Paul Baumgart and Michael Zorn will join forces with researchers from two other institutions to refine a set of bay management tools, as well as engage all regional groups involved in land and water use. The underlying goal is to address the hypereutrophic conditions that are a persistent problem for Green Bay.

The entire two-year grant will support a total of 19 projects that explore the freshwater seas. In addition to the UW-Green Bay-based work, scientists on the Madison, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Stevens Point, Superior and Whitewater campuses of the University of Wisconsin System, as well as at Northland College, will be funded.

In projects other than those at UW-Green Bay, researchers will look at methods to prevent Great Lakes beach contamination, causes and possible ways to lessen the destruction of dangerous waves and high water levels, and more.

Nearly 100 researchers, staff and students will be engaged in this work, Hauxwell said.

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Conceived in 1966, Sea Grant is a national network of 33 university-based programs of research, outreach, and education for enhancing the practical use and conservation of coastal, ocean and Great Lakes resources to create a sustainable economy and environment. The National Sea Grant Network is a partnership of participating coastal states, private industry, and the National Sea Grant College Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.


To take ‘pulse’ of bay’s nutrient loading, Zorn wins $222K Sea Grant award

Prof. Michael Zorn of UW-Green Bay’s Natural and Applied Sciences program is the recipient of a two-year, $221,961 grant from the Wisconsin Sea Grant program. His project is titled “Extreme Events, Watershed Loadings and Climate Change: Implications for the Management and Long Term Health of the Green Bay, Lake Michigan, Ecosystem.” With co-investigators Kevin Fermanich of UW-Green Bay and J. Val Klump of UW-Milwaukee, Zorn’s team will seek to understand the dynamics of the pulse delivery of nutrients (particularly phosphorus) to Green Bay. The researchers will deploy sensors at strategic locations in Lake Winnebago, the Lower Fox River and Green Bay to more precisely measure dissolved nutrients and monitor algae growth, particularly harmful algae, in light of climate models that indicate more frequent and more severe rainfall events. Zorn’s project seeks data to better inform land management within the watershed by documenting the severity and frequency of major runoff “pulses” and their impact on algae populations, and perhaps suggest paths to attenuate those impacts.

Forsythe lands $235,000 for fisheries studies

Wisconsin Sea Grant on Thursday announced a $2 million omnibus grant to fund Great Lakes research, education and outreach, including a project at UW-Green Bay. Assistant Prof. Patrick Forsythe of Natural and Applied Sciences received a $235,000 share to contribute to a larger study of the role wetlands play as refuge for fish including prized sport and table species such as perch and walleyes. Forsyth’s research will involve “Quantifying Coastal Wetland – Nearshore Linkages in Lake Michigan for Sustaining Sport Fishes,” and put him in company with senior Great Lakes researchers at the University of Notre Dame, Loyola of Chicago and Central Michigan. The scientists will look at the impact of wetland degradation and wetland remediation on local fisheries. Other Wisconsin institutions receiving grants from Sea Grant for various Great Lakes projects are the UW System campuses in Madison, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Stevens Point and Superior as well as at St. Norbert College, Northland College and Marquette University.

Fisheries project will bring a post-doc to campus

The $235,000 Sea Grant award to fisheries biologist Patrick Forsythe will result in something that hasn’t happened in recent memory (or longer): the hiring of a post-doc researcher. The advantage for the institution and its students is the grant will bring to campus an additional individual holding a doctoral degree and significant skills and experience in high-level research. That person will benefit from working alongside UW-Green Bay faculty members, while at the same time serving as a resource for colleagues and undergraduate and graduate students.

UW-Green Bay well represented as Harrises offer final ‘State of the Bay’

Several researchers with significant UW-Green Bay histories were featured in a front-page story in Friday’s (Feb. 21) Green Bay Press-Gazette, and in other news media, discussing their take on the condition of the Bay of Green Bay. Prof. Emeritus Bud Harris of NAS and former UW Sea Grant researcher Vicky Harris released what’s been described as their career capstone report, “State of the Bay: The Condition of the Bay of Green Bay/Lake Michigan 2013.”

Bud Harris told attendees at a Thursday news conference that he assigns a grade of C-minus for the area’s overall performance on water quality issues in the past two decades. “I suppose it would be worse,” he said, “but it certainly could be better.” Vicky Harris also spoke during the event, held at NEW Water’s Jack Day Environmental Education Center, named for the UW-Green Bay environmental pioneer who also was in attendance Thursday and spoke to media. UW-Green Bay faculty members assisted in preparing the State of the Bay report, as did officials from the Wisconsin DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

A sampling of news coverage is as follows:
Green Bay Press-Gazette
Fox 11 News

Bud and Vicky Harris to speak Thursday on ‘State of the Bay’

Two veteran researchers, UW-Green Bay Emeritus Prof. Bud Harris of NAS and former Sea Grant researcher Vicky Harris, are preparing to release what is described as their career capstone, “State of the Bay: The Condition of the Bay of Green Bay/Lake Michigan 2013.” A news conference is planned for 10 a.m. Thursday (Feb. 20) at the Jack Day Environmental Education Center of NEW Water, located near the mouth of the Fox River. The report promises “new data on water quality, fish and wildlife populations, aquatic invasive species, beach conditions and the status of contaminants in Green Bay.” A copy of the report will be posted to the Sea Grant site after. It is the first comprehensive report on the ecological health of the area in 20 years.