Freshwater Collaborative Funded Projects August 2022

In August 2022, the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin awarded $544,541 in funding for eight projects that will increase research and student training collaborations among the UW System universities.

Climate and Water: Innovative Weather for Future Professionals
Institution(s): UW-Milwaukee
Grant Description:
The Atmospheric Science program at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee has provided a weather decision support experiential learning program called Innovative Weather to UW-Milwaukee students since 2007. This program serves the weather risk mitigation needs of community partners while serving the professional training goals of students. The Freshwater Collaborative support, recognizing the close connection between weather and freshwater, will extend this program’s reach across the state by providing this expertise to interested UW System researchers.

Cross-Campus and Partner Expansion of the Red Cedar Basin Monitoring Project
Institution(s): UW-Eau Claire, UW Oshkosh, UW-River Falls, UW-Stout
Grant Description: The Red Cedar Watershed experiences frequent blue-green algae blooms due to phosphorus pollution. Numerous projects have been implemented to reduce runoff and restore stream channels and buffer areas. This project continues a pilot project to examine the effectiveness of those projects while expanding research efforts to determine the root causes of the toxic algal blooms regularly seen in lakes in the region. Students from UW-Stout, UW-River Falls, UW-Eau Claire and UW Oshkosh will work during the summer to survey streams and collect water samples to guide management decisions regarding the Red Cedar Watershed to serve as a model for other similarly impacted watersheds throughout the region.

Economic Impacts of Wisconsin Fishing Supported by The Freshwater Resources of Lake Michigan and Bay of Green Bay
Institution(s): UW-Green Bay, UW-Whitewater
Grant Description: Student and faculty researchers seek to quantify the total economic value of the freshwater fishery resources of Lake Michigan and Bay of Green Bay to the state of Wisconsin. In addition, they will analyze how different fishery management strategies and climate change scenarios may impact the quality, and therefore economic value, of these resources. Changes in quality and economic value in turn affect the health of regional economies and welfare of residents and visitors. Ultimately, this information helps inform resource managers about the most efficient and effective strategies available to maximize the value of this resource now and in the future.

Evaluation of Downstream Juvenile Lake Sturgeon Passage Through Two Dams on the Menominee River
Institution(s): UW-Green Bay
Grant Description: Lake Sturgeon passage has been embraced as a restoration prescription in the Great Lakes. Adaptive management strategies dictate that quantitative assessment of passage benefits be provided to managers. This project will evaluate the effectiveness of downstream juvenile passage on the Menominee River and through the Park Mill and Menominee Dams. Faculty and student researchers will evaluate the movement of tagged age-0 lake sturgeon to better understand habitat-use, downstream passage, and survival. Our data will influence future fish passage operation at the Menominee facility and others around the Great Lakes and build justification for restoring spawning habitats in upstream areas where passage is discussed.

Freshwater Science Across the Curriculum: Linked Outreach and Advanced Educational Activities
Institution(s): UW-Eau Claire, UW Oshkosh, UW-River Falls, UW-Stout
Grant Description: The project continues to develop the Freshwater Science Field Experience (FSFE) in Western Wisconsin, an outreach and recruitment program targeting junior and senior high school students. It is a field-intensive, hands-on learning experience that introduces participants to a wide range of freshwater science topics with specialists from UW-Eau Claire, UW-Stout and UW-River Falls. The course will be offered for two University of Wisconsin credits. The second objective of this project further develops an immersive eight-day Western Wisconsin Advanced Freshwater Field Course for undergraduates with hands-on experiences designed to increase the employability of UW System students across the state. This course is a collaboration between UW-Eau Claire, UW-Stout, UW-River Falls and UW-Oshkosh.

From Field to Laboratory; Hands-on Techniques for Students in Water Sciences
Institution(s): UW-Madison, UW-River Falls
Grant Description: Laboratory and field training are essential in water-related fields of study; thus, by a collaboration between UW-River Falls and UW-Madison campuses, faculty on this project will develop a two-credit transformative course that focuses on laboratory and field techniques for freshwater-related work. The objective is to increase students’ field and laboratory skills to support professional development and cultivate interest in freshwater sciences. Faculty will focus on practical knowledge of field measurements related to water quality and nutrient analysis and good laboratory practices pre-and post-sampling. They aim to reach out to an array of students from diverse backgrounds across Wisconsin.

Leveraging the strength of the Wisconsin Agriculture-Water Nexus Network (WAW2N) for transformative student experiences
UW-Green Bay, UW-Madison, UW-Platteville, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Stout
Grant Description: The cross-campus Wisconsin Agriculture-Water Nexus Network will create transformational education experiences that provide students with a greater understanding of the connection between agriculture and water and the need for multi-disciplinary solutions that support both food production and maintaining high-quality freshwater resources across Wisconsin. The project will also support the online delivery of a newly designed cross-campus course at the nexus of agriculture and water, which will highlight learnings at the ag-water nexus attained under previous Freshwater Collaborative–funded projects. A multiday field trip course built around variations in southwest Wisconsin agriculture will complement the online course. Bringing together experienced and new faculty/staff as well as community and academic partners to co-develop transformative student experiences will also strengthen the Freshwater Collaborative’s goals. This project grows the number of involved UW institutions from three to six.

Summer Research Experience in Freshwater Ecology for Undergraduates
Institution(s): UW-Stevens Point 
Grant Description:
This project supports the participation of five students in a Research Experience for Undergraduates experience coordinated by the U.S. Geological Survey’s Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit (WICFRU), which is part of the College of Natural Resources at UW-Stevens Point. The WICFRU provides unique hands-on opportunities for undergraduates to work on applied freshwater research and collaborate with federal scientists, university faculty, graduate students, and researchers and agency personnel from the Wisconsin and Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and various tribal organizations from the Midwest.