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Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

September 2016 Activity Highlights
Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
La Crosse, Wisconsin

Topics covered in the September activity report.

Aquatic Invasive Species

Determination of the Acute Toxicity of Supaverm® to Native and Nonnative Fish Species of Southwestern Watersheds in Static Exposures
Theresa Schreier, Terrance Hubert, Michael Boogaard, and Justin Smerud completed laboratory exposures and a study completion report for Supaverm®, a product believed to be selectively toxic to fish introduced into southwestern watersheds.  UMESC was asked to confirm the previously reported findings, to see if Supaverm® could be used to control nonnative fish species in the Gila River (Arizona).  UMESC’s findings showed Supaverm® was not selectively toxic, suggesting the use of this chemical mixture would not be effective (Theresa Schreier,, Ecosystems).

Collaborative Partner Activities

Remote Sensing Presentation: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/USGS Partnership Capabilities

Larry Robinson (UMESC) and Brian Lubinski (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service -USFWS) gave a webinar presentation on the remote sensing capabilities of the USFWS Region 3/USGS partnership, for the Missouri Department of Conservation office in Columbia, MO, September 19, 2016. The presentation/webinar demonstrated the imagery platforms used (visible and thermal infrared), described how the imagery is processed, and displayed examples of the imagery using a geographic information system.

Collection of High-Resolution Imagery within Three Illinois River Conservation Areas

Larry Robinson (UMESC) and Brian Lubinski (USFWS) collected 6-inch/pixel natural color aerial imagery of three conservation areas within the La Grange navigation pool of the Illinois River, for The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), September 18-19, 2016. The Emiquon and Spunky Bottoms Preserves were photographed to document TNC's ongoing restoration efforts which includes reestablishing wetlands and increasing open water habitat, and planting prairie and hardwood tree species.  The TNC works closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, USFWS, Illinois Natural History Survey, and University of Illinois, to restore and preserve wetlands along the Illinois River.  Additional imagery was also collected at Rice Lake, located adjacent to the Emiquon Preserve.  The USFWS wants to document the presence and extents of the threatened decurrent false aster (Boltonia decurrens), thought to grow within the shallow aquatic habitats of the Emiquon/Rice Lake complex.

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI)

Contaminants of Emerging Concern Meeting in Chicago, IL

Chris Custer (UMESC) participated in the Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CEC) meeting in Chicago, IL, September 7-8, 2016, providing information on UMESC’s 2016 research activities, and 2017 research plans.  The meeting’s participants are a multi-agency Federal partnership/collaboration studying new classes of chemical contaminants as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) program.  Federal partners include: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Great Lakes National Program Office, EPA Office of Research and Development, and USFWS (Chris Custer,, Environmental Health).


Researchers Interviewed Regarding Sea Lamprey eDNA

Nick Schloesser and Chris Merkes (UMESC) were interviewed by Morgan Linn of the Great Lakes Echo regarding Schloesser's ongoing thesis project, “Sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) density estimates using environmental DNA surveillance.”  This work is evaluating the utility of using environmental DNA (eDNA) to estimate the size of sea lamprey populations in Great Lakes tributaries.  Results from this study will be used to improve sea lamprey assessments by the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission to guide control the invasive sea lamprey populations more cost-effectively.  The article can be viewed at: (Nick Schloesser,, Ecosystems).

Partner Meetings

Natchez Trace Parkway Mapping Project Close-out Meeting
The Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center conducted a close-out meeting for the National Park Service (NPS) Natchez Trace Parkway (NATR) vegetation mapping project, September 14-15, 2016, at the Itawamba Community College (Belden Campus) near Tupelo, MS. The NATR vegetation mapping project is part of the NPS Vegetation Mapping Inventory (VMI) Program, which produces data sets of vegetation occurring within national park units. The meeting's agenda includes presentations on the NPS VMI Program (Karl Brown, NPS VMI Program), NATR project overview (Kevin Hop, UMESC), vegetation classification (Rickie White, NatureServe), vegetation mapping (Andrew Strassman, UMESC), accuracy assessment (Erin Hoy, UMESC), and final products (Kevin Hop, Rickie White, and Erin Hoy). A field tour showcased first hand some of the data products. Close-out meetings provided a venue of questions and answers to occur between the recipients and developers; this ultimately enhanced the understanding and use of products by the recipients (Kevin Hop,, Ecosystems).

Mississippi River Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Program Meeting

UMESC Scientists from the Long Term Resource Monitoring Branch participated in a USACE’ Upper Mississippi River Restoration (UMRR) Program, Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Program (HREP) meeting, September 27-29 in Davenport, IA.  This was an opportunity for enhancing coordination and communication among all those involved in the various aspects of developing habitat projects, including those improving our understanding of the river ecosystem.  Objectives for this workshop were to; build relationships and facilitate dialogue among UMRR’s restoration practitioners, planners, engineers, and scientists; discuss insights gained about project design, construction, monitoring, and Operation, Maintenance, Repair, Replacement, and Rehabilitation; and strengthen UMRR’s restoration efforts by learning from insights gained as discussed above (Jennifer Sauer,, Ecosystems).


Natchez Trace Parkway Vegetation Map, Report, and Associated Products
The Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center has completed final mapping and classification products, cooperatively with NatureServe, for the National Park Service (NPS) Natchez Trace Parkway (NATR). These products support the NPS Vegetation Mapping Inventory (VMI) Program, which produces data sets of vegetation occurring within national park units. This information fills and complements a wide variety of resource assessment, national park management, and conservation needs. Products include aerial imagery, vegetation classification and site data, and a geodatabase for use in GIS providing locations and information of vegetation communities, vegetation sites, aerial imagery, and project boundary. A NPS Natural Resource Report describes the project in detail. The series of products will soon be posted on the NPS Integrated Resource Management Applications (IRMA) portal (Kevin Hop,, Ecosystems).

Scientific Meetings, Conferences, and Workshops

Integrated Waterbird Management and Monitoring Program Presentations

Kevin Aagaard was invited to deliver two webinar presentations during the Annual Science Team meeting for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Integrated Waterbird Management and Monitoring (IWMM) Program, September 23, 2016. The projects related to on-going collaborative efforts between the USGS and USFWS to, (1) evaluate the pilot-phase data set of the IWMM as a diagnostic procedure to assess the efficacy and utility of the information collected during surveys, and (2) to develop a continental non-breeding period migration model for waterbirds (waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds).


CEC – Contaminants of Concern
CERC – Columbia Environmental Research Center
DNR – Department of Natural Resources
eDNA – environmental DNA
EPA – Environmental Protection Agency
ET&C – Environmental Toxicology and Contaminants
GIS – Geographic Information System
GLC – Great Lakes Commission
GLRI – Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
GLSC – Great Lakes Science Center
HREP – Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Program
IWMM – Integrated Waterbird Management and Monitoring
NATR – Natchez Trace Parkway
NPS – National Park Service
SETAC – Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
TNC – The Nature Conservancy
UMESC – Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
UMRR – Upper Mississippi River Restoration
USACE – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
USFWS – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
USGS – U.S. Geological Survey
VMI – Vegetation Mapping Inventory

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