Professor John Luczaj Receives Three-Year NSF Grant to Study Dolomite in China

UW-Green Bay Professor John Luczaj (Water Science) and colleague Dan Lehrman (Trinity University) received parallel three-year grants from the National Science Foundation to study the carbonate rocks of southern China. The NSF Grants will involve taking students to China for one month each year, followed by laboratory work at UW-Green Bay. The UW-Green Bay portion part of the award is $163,905.

The study aims to investigate the origin of dolomite, an enigmatic, but very common mineral that is found replacing many limestones worldwide. About half of the worlds carbonate rocks are limestone, and the other half are dolomite, but scientists’ understanding of precisely how these rocks are chemically changed remains a geochemical mystery because they are not common in modern limestone environments.

Dolomite is important because it not only hosts economically important base metal and petroleum deposits, but it also hosts important aquifers, such as those in parts of Wisconsin. For example, northeastern Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula is made entirely of dolomite and does not actually contain any limestone – those rocks were replaced long ago by a new magnesium-rich mineral known as dolomite.

The rocks in south China are particularly special because they preserve an uplifted profile of a partially dolomitized carbonate platform, known as the Great Bank of Guizhou, that will help researchers better understand the process by which groundwater makes this important mineral. Undergraduate students will work with Professor Luczaj each year, including international travel.

While it’s unfortunate that Covid-19 restrictions prevented travel to China this summer, the researchers anticipate being able to travel each summer beginning in 2022. This year, Neda Mobasher, a Geoscience/Environmental Science double major, will conduct independent research on samples that have been collected during the previous decade in an attempt to understand the temperature, salinity, and chemistry of the fluids responsible for forming dolomite in the Great Bank of Guizhou.

Efforts underway to designate Bay of Green Bay a national research reserve | WBAY

“There’s been really tremendous work on restoration, on clean-up of the Fox River, the Cat Island Chains, so we really see this as an opportunity to celebrate all that’s happened and think about what the future of our area will look like around water,” says Emily Tyner, UW-Green Bay Director of Freshwater Strategy.

Source: Efforts underway to designate Bay of Green Bay a national research reserve | WBAY

WBAY highlights NERR tonight (March 29) at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Announced last week and led by UW-Green Bay and local partners, Green Bay is seeking designation of a  National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) on the bay of Green Bay. the NERR system is a national network of 29 sites across the coastal U.S., including the Great Lakes, designed to protect and study estuaries and their coastal wetlands. The mission of the NERR System is, “to practice and promote stewardship of coasts and estuaries through innovative research, education, and training using a place-based system of protected areas.”

UW-Green Bay’s Director of Freshwater Strategy Emily Tyner and Erin Houghton from NEW Water talked with WBAY’s Jeff Alexander about what this national recognition could mean for the region and the state.

A virtual kick-off event hosted by UW-Green Bay will be held Monday, April 12, 2021 from 4 to 5 p.m. and will be repeated on Thursday, April 15, from 7 to 8 p.m. The kickoff will provide an overview of the reserve system and the benefits to the region. There will be live captioning at both events.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required for the virtual link at the UW-Green Bay NERR website.

See the news release.

UW-Green Bay Leading Regional Efforts to Locate National Estuarine Research Reserve on Green Bay

Public kick-off event is April 12 (and again April 15)

Green Bay, Wis.—The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, in partnership with local and national agencies, is leading efforts to recognize local waters as a national reserve—an important next step in the region’s 30-plus-year effort to protect one of the largest surface freshwater systems on earth.

Upon site selection within the Green Bay estuary, the NERR designation (National Estuarine Research Reserve) will use locally relevant and nationally significant research to address local coastal management issues and help protect the world’s largest freshwater estuary.

The University, along with local officials and representatives of NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), invite interested organizations and members of the public, to join with them to learn more about the NERR designation and what it will mean to the region. A virtual event will be held April 12, 2021 at 4 p.m. and it will be repeated April 15 at 7 p.m. U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Congressman Mike Gallagher will take part in the event. There will be a live question and answer opportunity at each event. Each event will have live captioning.

Registration for the event and more information is available at this website or

The importance of Great Lakes estuaries cannot be overstated. These are semi-enclosed areas where the Great Lakes waters mix with waters from rivers, streams and bays. Estuaries are distinctly responsible for filtering sediments and pollutants from rivers and streams, providing cleaner water for humans and wildlife. Estuaries have tremendous economic and cultural impact on a region; providing transportation, recreation, commerce and food. The water issues surrounding Northeast Wisconsin in recent years make a project like the NERR even more significant for area waterways.

“Ducks Unlimited (DU) is excited to be part of the partnership to bring a NERR to Green Bay and even more excited to add the resources associated with the Reserve to an already very effective conservation community,” says Brian Glenzinski, regional biologist for Ducks Unlimited. “Green Bay is an incredibly important area for migratory birds and a priority for DU and we have, therefore, established a conservation delivery program with partners in the area. One of the most useful partnerships is with UW-Green Bay, in which we can immediately study and evaluate the conservation practices installed to gain a better understanding of restoration efforts in the Bay and apply findings to future projects. The GB-NERR has great potential to elevate and expand this cycle for benefit of Green Bay, the Great Lakes and beyond.”

The NERR designation will help UW-Green Bay and its partners bring in funding—more than $1 million per year—for water-focused scientific research, education, stewardship and training, and will include a visitor center for hands-on and place-based education, lab space, conference area, and a boat launch.

The goal of the Green Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is to be the most technologically-advanced NERR in a network of 29 reserves covering more than 1.3 million acres throughout the U.S. The reserve would be non-regulatory, state-owned and managed entity, with program guidance and technical assistance from NOAA.

“In June of 1971, Newsweek was the first national publication to coin UW-Green Bay as Ecology U. For decades, this University has been committed to its ‘Eco U’ roots—studying, preserving and protecting this region that includes the largest freshwater estuary in the world,” said Chancellor Michael Alexander. “The opportunity to bring this type of national attention and support to the region and help solve some of the challenges facing our great waterways is an effort we are proud to lead.”

See more at the UW-Green Bay NERR website. Media calls should be directed to Sue Bodilly,

Requests for more information about the NERR or the event should be directed to Emily Tyner at

About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
Established in 1965, UW-Green Bay is a public institution serving 8,970 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students and 79,604 continuing education enrollees each year across all campus locations. We educate students from pre-college through retirement and offer 200+ degrees, programs and certificates. UW-Green Bay graduates are resilient, inclusive, sustaining and engaged members of their communities, ready to rise to fearlessly face challenges, solve problems and embrace diverse ideas and people. With four campus locations, the University welcomes students from every corner of the world. In 2020, UW-Green Bay was the fastest growing UW school in Wisconsin. For more information, visit


Water Contamination in Northeast Wisconsin panel is Thursday, March 4, 7:30 p.m.

Due to the geography of Northeast Wisconsin, groundwater contamination is very common in Green Bay. These contaminants could range anywhere from macronutrients like nitrates to contaminants like arsenic and PFAS. These contaminants jeopardize hundreds of families’ well water and food sources. Virtually join Casey Hicks from the Wisconsin Conservation Voters about the different contaminates in our area and Andi Rich, an environmental activist based in Marinette Wisconsin who will be telling her story of PFAS contamination in her area. This event is on Thursday, March, 4 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. via Zoom.



Door County Mayor Sets 2021 Priorities – Door County Pulse

Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward doesn’t vote unless a tie-breaker is needed, so he conceded during the Sturgeon Bay Common Council’s second meeting of the year that he needs to convince the rest of the council members that the things he wants to commit to in 2021 are worthy of priority attention. That was his preamble to listing the top-five things he told the council he’d like them to focus on:

  1. Reopen and recover from the pandemic. Ward said a lot of local businesses have made it through so far, and there’s another round of federal Payroll Protection Plan money now being distributed. At the city level, he said they did what they could to help businesses, and they should make it a priority to do that again this year.
  2. Create more housing. “We continue to hear from employers that the number one barrier to employment is housing,” Ward said, “that their workers can’t find housing.”
  3. Build and fund sidewalks. Ward said he wants to not only create more sidewalks, but also find the money to build them. “Assessments are not popular,” he said.
  4. Build the commercial tax base. He said that will help to alleviate the tax burden on residential properties.
  5. Engage in water research. UW-Green Bay will be selecting one or more locations to conduct estuary research. “I think Sturgeon Bay is an ideal place for a water-research facility,” Ward said. Green Bay is one of the largest fresh-water estuaries in the world, and Sturgeon Bay would be competing with places such as Marinette and Green Bay. But Ward has put together a small group that will start building relationships and looking at what it would take to compete.

“This is a way to draw university interest not only from the Wisconsin system but a variety [of organizations] that are interested in water research,” he said. “In order to play the game, you have to drive a stake in the ground and say, ‘This is what we want to do.’ So this is what I want to do this year.”

Source: Mayor Sets 2021 Priorities – Door County Pulse

Photo of Water Science students wearing waders and standing in the marsh area in the Bay of Green Bay as they study Water Science at UW-Green Bay.

Video: UW-Green Bay Water Studies students have miles of laboratory at four coastal campuses

Who will step up to solve critical water resource issues? Maybe YOU. Study Water Science at UW-Green Bay with miles of coastal laboratory and hands-on research. Get those waders ready!

See more at the Water Science website.

Video Transcript Water Science Program: Water is one of the greatest resource challenges of the 21st century. And there’s nowhere like UW-Green Bay to study Water Science. With miles of laboratory at four coastal campuses, you can pursue your passion and help secure clean water for future generations. Learn water systems above and below the surface. Experience hands-on research in water quality and water quantity issues critical to our region, state and world.

Rise to the challenge at UW-Green Bay.


Story describes UW-Green Bay involvement in Door County invasive species fight

These innovative efforts would not have been possible without the Door County community, DCIST partners and amazing seasonal staff members. These include Sam Hoffman and Tina Lee of the Door County Soil and Water Conservation Department; Andrew Bowker, Jacob Smither and Britney Hirsch of UW-Green Bay; and Ben Epley of The Ridges Sanctuary.

Source: Field Season Wrap-up from DC Invasive Species Team, Door County Pulse.

Assistant Professor Michael Holly funded to help predict groundwater contamination

UW-Green Bay Assistant Professor Michael Holly
Assistant Professor Michael Holly

The Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin (FWC) awarded $122,000 to Assistant Professor Michael Holly (Environmental Science, Water Science) to lead a working group to investigate the environmental transport of PFAS. Research completed by the Sustainable Use of Biosolids (SUBS) working group (including PIs at UW-Platteville, Madison, and Stevens Point) will provide training and laboratory experience for undergraduate students at each campus. Completed work will help predict future PFAS groundwater contamination from soils receiving biosolids, facilitate generation of future land application guidelines to protect groundwater wells from PFAS, identify Wisconsin groundwater sources at risk, and evaluate a low-cost treatment to further minimize PFAS leaching.