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Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

May 2017 Activity Highlights
Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
La Crosse, Wisconsin

Topics covered in the May activity report.

Collaborative Science

Field Trial: Using Underwater Sounds to Control the Movements of Bigheaded Carps

During the first 10 days of May, 2017, Marybeth Brey, Jose Rivera (UMESC), and Elizabeth Murphy (IL WSC) participated in a joint USGS-U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project to test underwater sound as a deterrent for bigheaded carp at Brandon Road Lock near Joliet, IL. The purpose of this study was to test acoustic deterrent technology at a working lock and collect 7-days of data to populate an acoustic propagation model to be used when designing underwater acoustic deterrence systems for locks in navigation channels. Fish monitoring data was also collected with assistance from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to monitor fish behavior and habitat use in response to the underwater sound. The study will provide all parties with field experience in the deployment of acoustic deterrents and informs engineering considerations and impacts to navigation for future deployments (Marybeth Brey,, Ecosystems).

Accuracy Assessment Training: Great Smoky Mountains Mapping Project

Stephanie Sattler (UMESC), Eric Lund (MN-DNR), Troy Evans, Josh Albritton (NPS-GRSM), Rickie White, and Milo Pyne (NatureServe) held an Accuracy Assessment Training for the Great Smoky Mountains (GRSM) National Park Vegetation Mapping Project, at the Twin Creeks Science and Education Center in Gatlinburg, TN, May 31-June 2, 2017. The training covered proper data collection techniques the field crews will use while collecting vegetation data, and address any questions or issues that may arise before the field season begins.  UMESC is creating a series of geospatial datasets for the GRSM National Park, for the NPS Vegetation Mapping Inventory Program (Stephanie Sattler,, Ecosystems).

Publications and Tools

Comparing Snorkeling Techniques to Environmental DNA Sampling

Jon Amberg, Bridget Ladell, Craig Jackson (UMESC), Roy Ulibarri, Scott Bonar (Univ. of AZ), and Chris Rees (USFWS) compared using American Fisheries Society (AFS) standard snorkeling surveys to environmental DNA sampling, to detect the presence of rare fish species.  In streams where the target species were detected with eDNA sampling, snorkeling detected fish at 11-29 sites/stream, whereas eDNA detected fish at 3-12 sites/stream. To improve the eDNA procedures, the authors recommended increasing the amount of water collected and tested. Additionally, filtering water on-site may improve eDNA techniques for detecting fish. Future research should focus on standardization of eDNA sampling to provide a widely operational sampling tool. The paper is available online, at (Jon Amberg,, Ecosystems).

Ulibarri, R.M., Bonar, S.A., Rees, C., Amberg, J., Ladell, B., Jackson, C. 2017. Comparing Efficiency of American Fisheries Society Standard Snorkeling Techniques to Environmental DNA Sampling Techniques. North American Journal of Fisheries Management. Vol. 37(3):644-651. DOI: 10.1080/02755947.2017.1306005.

Scientific Meetings, Conferences, and Workshops

HTCondor Week 2017

Richard Erickson presented the invited talk, “Applications of HTCondor to the Environmental Sciences,” at HTCondor Week in Madison, WI, May 3-4, 2017.  HTCondor Week is the user meeting for the high-throughput computer program HTCondor and is comprised of user talks and tutorials. Other speakers included users from Google, Amazon, Femi National Laboratory, and the WI Water Sciences Center. Jon Knudson will also attend to look for technical pointers on how to administer and maintain HTCondor systems, and Larry Robinson will learning about using HTCondor in a Windows environment for distributed processing of GIS applications (Richard Erickson,, Ecosystems).

Community for Data Integration Workshop

Richard Erickson, John (JC) Nelson, and Enrika Hlavacek (UMESC) participated in the USGS Community for Data Integration (CDI) Workshop in Denver, CO, May 16-19, 2017.  Nelson led the session, “Roadmap discussions for Enabling Integrated Science,” and the group gave the following presentations (John C. Nelson,, Ecosystems).

Preparations for Sea Lamprey Control in the Bad River, Wisconsin

Terry Hubert participated in a meeting between the Bad River Tribe and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to discuss the stipulations to allow the Service to conduct a sea lamprey control treatment of the Bad River and its tributaries in 2017.  Hubert presented an historical perspective on suspected dioxins in TFM formulations, the risks associated with dioxins, and data on the results of analysis of TFM formulations for dioxins related to the TFM structure. The meeting was held at the Bad River Tribal Offices in Odanah, WI, May 17, 2017 (Terry Hubert,, Ecosystems).


AFS – American Fisheries Society
CDI – Community for Data Integration
DNR – Department of Natural Resources
eDNA – environmental DNA
GIS – Geographic Information System
GRSM – Great Smokey Mountains
NPS – National Park Service
TFM – 3-trifluoromethyl-4-nitrophenol UAS – Unmanned Aerial Systems
UMESC – Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
USFWS – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
USGS – U.S. Geological Survey
WSC – Water Science Center

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