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Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

July 2013 Activity Highlights
Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
La Crosse, Wisconsin

Topics covered in the July activity report.

Aquatic Ecosystem Health

Aquaculture Drug Workshop Presentations

Aquatic Invasive Species

Biopesticide Control of Zebra Mussels attached to Native Mussels

USGS, New York State Museum, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and Marrone Bio Innovations assessed the efficacy of Zequanox to control zebra mussels adhering to native mussels in limited open water trials to be conducted in limited open water applications. Native mussels living in Lake Darling (near Alexandria, MN) were collected by snorkeling then exposed to different levels of Zequanox to determine whether zebra mussels adhering to native mussels can be safely and effectively removed. These trials represent the first attempt to use Zequanox to remove zebra mussels from native mussels and may help guide methods for reducing dreissenid mussel fouling of native mussels in natural beds and native mussels in propagation cages.

Asian Carp Water Gun Testing on Illinois River

Water gun, or hydrogun, testing was conducted at Morris, IL along the Illinois River July 22-25. The UMESC, in collaboration with IL WSC, CERC, GLSC, Southern Illinois University, Illinois Department of Natural Resources completed evaluation of the water gun at Hanson Material Services Center, Morris, IL. The trials were split into two series of tests. The first test involved the deployment of two water guns in a formation to create a barrier between the IL River and the Hanson Material Service backwater. The second trial to be conducted August 12-16 involves the deployment of an algal food attractant to draw Asian carp into the Hanson Material Service backwater in combination with a water gun barrier placed to hold the attracted Asian carp into the area; commercial fisherman will be allowed to remove Asian carp from the attraction/retention area.  A pre- and post-assessment will be conducted to examine integrated control effectiveness. These trials are the first to combine multiple technologies in an integrated pest management approach to control Asian carp.

Sea Lamprey Control

Terrance Hubert and the UMESC Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) Technical Assistance team hosted a visit from Dr. Christina Remucal and her staff (University of Wisconsin-Madison) on July 23.  This visit was an opportunity to introduce UWM staff to UMESC’s technical assistance program for the GLFC and the Center’s technical and research capabilities.  It was also an opportunity for UMESC’s staff to learn about Dr. Remucal’s research on the photodegradation of TFM and niclosamide, two lampricides used to control sea lamprey populations in the Great Lakes.

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

Great Lakes Rivermouths – Scientific Synthesis

James Larson (UMESC), Paul Seelbach (GLSC) and partners with the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative-funded Rivermouth Collaboratory have published the results of a scientific synthesis to determine the current knowledge and critical gaps about ecosystem structure and function in Great Lakes rivermouths based on studies in both Laurentian rivermouths, coastal wetlands, and marine estuarine systems.  The river-to-lake transition areas or rivermouths, are a focal point of human interaction, development, and impacts, yet as a class of aquatic ecosystem are poorly understood.  A conceptual model was developed as a framework for discussing rivermouth characteristics and then used to conceptually link ecosystem structure and function to ecological services provided by rivermouths. This synthesis provides a starting point for a shared understanding of rivermouths' ecological uniqueness in order to guide future understanding, research, and management actions.  
·        James H. Larson, Anett S. Trebitz, Alan D. Steinman, Michael J. Wiley, Martha Carlson Mazur, Victoria Pebbles, Heather A. Braun, Paul W. Seelbach, Great Lakes rivermouth ecosystems: Scientific synthesis and management implications, Journal of Great Lakes Research. Available online 10 July 2013, ISSN 0380-1330,
·        A complimentary publication, Great Lakes Rivermouths: A Primer for Managers, is a companion document that focuses more on issues related to management
of rivermouths that can be found online:

National Park Service

Mississippi National River and Recreation Area

Kevin Hop, Erin Hoy, Joe Jakusz, Andrew Strassman (UMESC) and Jim Drake (NatureServe) conducted ground vegetation reconnaissance in the Mississippi National River and Recreational Area (MNRRA) in Minnesota, for the MNRRA Vegetation Mapping Project July 28-August 3.  This field reconnaissance effort will provide the mapping team with the data necessary to map the entire park as part of the National Park Service Vegetation Inventory Program.

News Media and Outreach

Common Loon Research - Geolocator Tag Recovery

Kevin Kenow (UMESC) was interviewed on July 11 by Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio, about research using technology to record locations and feeding behavior to provide insights into migration and wintering patterns, and exposure to avian botulism while using the Great Lakes.  Kenow and crew are in the field for 3 weeks recapturing common loons marked in 2011 and 2012 with geolocator tags to download movement data.  Interview was released on July 15 at the following link:

Kevin Kenow was interviewed by Dennis Anderson, Minneapolis Star Tribune, on July 17 about common loon research focused on feeding behavior, migration, and exposure to avian botulism while using the Great Lakes.  Story was released on July 21 (

Upper Mississippi River

Maquoketa River/Green Island Floodplain Restoration

Ken Lubinski (UMESC) participated in a meeting with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the National Resources Conservation Service in Maquoketa, IA, July 18, to discuss Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) plans for native plant seeding at the Green Island floodplain restoration area along the lower Maquoketa River.  Lubinski interests in the meeting included; learning about research opportunities at the WRP site, the IA DNR’s desire to gage the River, and Iowa’s interest in floodplain inundation mapping (based on a similar project completed at a site on the Wabash River in Indiana).  A representative of the USGS Iowa Water Science Center was also attended.

National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration

Ken Lubinski (UMESC) gave the invited presentation, “Old and New Challenges to Restore the Upper Mississippi River System,” at the National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration (NCER) in Schaumburg, IL, July 30.  The NCER conference is held every other year, and functions as an opportunity for information sharing across the major ecosystem restoration programs in the country.  Most NCER participants are restoration practitioners, engineers, scientists, and policy makers.


CERC – Columbia Environmental Sciences Center
DNR – Department of Natural Resources
GLFC – Great Lakes Fishery Commission
GLRI – Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
GLSC – Great Lakes Science Center
IL WSC – Illinois Water Science Center
MNRRA – Mississippi National River and Recreation Area
MRC – Mississippi River Commission
NCER – National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration
NGO – Non-Government Organization
NPS – National Park Service
TFM – 3-trifluoromethyl-4-nitrophenol
UMESC – Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
USGS – U.S. Geological Survey
WRP – Wetland Reserve Program

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