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Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

December 2015 Activity Highlights
Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
La Crosse, Wisconsin

Topics covered in the December activity report.

Aquatic Invasive Species

Sea Lamprey Control Review

Terry Hubert and Mike Boogaard (UMESC) participated in the review of the manual for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Fisheries and Oceans Canada Sea Lamprey Control Standard Operating Procedures, December 7-11, 2015, in Escanaba MI. 

Asian Carp Barrier Response Work Group

Marybeth Brey (UMESC) participated in the second meeting of the Asian Carp Barrier Response Work Group, December 7, 2015, in Wilmington, IL. The group is made up of representatives from State and Federal agencies, and was established to develop an approach to assess barrier risk using a decision support tool for Asian Carp in the Illinois River.

Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study - Expert Panel Briefing

Marybeth Brey (UMESC) was invited to conduct a series of briefings on UMESC's work to test complex sound as a deterrent to Asian Carp upstream passage, for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The final briefing was held December 1, 2015, for the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS), Brandon Road Expert Elicitation group.

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI)

Cuyahoga River GLRI Area Of Concern Briefing

Chris and Tom Custer (UMESC) were invited to present a synopsis of their Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) work at the 7th Cleveland Metroparks Natural Resources Research Retreat, December 11, 2015.  The Custer's summarized six years of tree swallow data from 27 Areas of Concern (AOCs) with special emphasis on data from the lower Cuyahoga River AOC.


University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s GIS Poster Competition

Enrika Hlavacek, Stephanie Sattler, and Jayme Stone (UMESC) judged student projects in the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s annual Geographic Information System and Sciences (GIS) poster competition, December 11, 2015. The competition involves undergraduate students presenting GIS projects of various disciplines that they have been working on this fall semester. The UMESC has a cooperative agreement with the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, many undergraduate students from the geography department become GIS interns at the Center.


Freshwater Mussels and River Discharge

Patricia Ries, Teresa Newton, Steve Zigler (UMESC) and colleagues from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources published Ries’s thesis research on the recruitment dynamics of a mussel bed in the Upper Mississippi River.  The mussel bed was sampled for five years (2008-2012) and a trend analysis showed a significant decline in the percent of species with juvenile representatives.  Past recruitment in the bed was assessed by grouping species into life history strategies (equilibrium and periodic).  Residuals from catch-curve regressions quantified past year-class strength of both strategists and Amblema plicata over a 13-year period (1994-2006), and identified strong and weak year-classes.  Significant associations between recruitment and hydrologic parameters were present, however these associations varied by life history strategy. This study provides managers interested in designing effective management strategies for mussels with novel information on recruitment dynamics that could be used to improve management and enhance conservation of this imperiled fauna.  The publication is available online at

Modeling Population Vulnerability: Application to Wind Energy Development

Richard Erickson, Jessica Stanton, Wayne Thogmartin (UMESC), Eric A. Eager (University of Wisconsin-La Crosse), Julie Beston, and Jay Diffendorfer (GECSC) have developed a new model for assessing the impacts of wind turbines on small populations using branching processes models to account for demographic stochasticity.  The authors also describe how the branching process models may be generalized across a wider range of species for a larger assessment project, and how the methods could be applied to other stressors in addition to wind turbines.  The paper is available to download at,

Scientific Meetings, Conferences, and Workshops

Bring Your Own Data Workshop

The Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center held a “Bring Your Own Data” workshop for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) personnel in Region 3, December 1-4, 2015, at UMESC in La Crosse, WI.  The workshop covered the topics of data management, stewardship, and analysis, using the software programs Access, Excel, and R.  Richard Erickson, Jessica Stanton, Kevin Aagaard, and Wayne Thogmartin (UMESC) participated in the workshop as instructors, along with Greta Poser (Saint Mary's University) and Jennifer Zorn (USFWS).

Mudpuppy Project Team Meeting

Steve Redman (UMESC) gave a presentation on techniques used at UMESC for rearing and propagating Mudpuppies, at the Mudpuppy Project Team Meeting, December 3, 2015.  The meeting is multi-agency collaboration that included updates on population status, collection techniques, habitat restoration, and propagation.


AOC – Area of Concern
GECSC – Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center
GIS – Geographic Information System
GLMRIS – Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study
GLRI – Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
UMESC – Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
USFWS – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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