Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Announcing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative – Wildlife Health Event Reporter (GLRI-WHER)!

Calling all beachcombers! Get involved in an effort to improve the health of the Great Lakes!



If you are a concerned citizen who spends time near-shore around the Great Lakes in the US and in Canada, or if you are a coordinator with an established volunteer network that can expand their observational power, please consider sharing your observations of injured/dead animals or algal blooms using the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative – Wildlife Health Event Reporter (GLRI- WHER;


In the interest of protecting waterfowl and other wildlife, scientists working in state, provincial, federal, academic and non-profit agencies are looking for your help to identify events that could be important in research on avian botulism and algal bloom outbreaks. Botulism has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of birds in the Great Lakes and events have been increasing in recent years. For a healthy Great Lakes ecosystem, do your part imageand share what you see!


GLRI-WHER was developed by the Wildlife Data Integration Network (WDIN), a program of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in partnership with the USGS National Wildlife Health Center. Project support was provided through a grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at the Environmental Protection Agency (


Geographically specific alerts and contacts for local agency reporting are provided with each report, when available. All reports from Canada are shared with our partners at the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre (, and from the US at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center (


Citizen scientists involved in existing reporting efforts should continue to follow their program's protocols - get in touch if you would like to find out how to get your program's data included in the GLRI-WHER.


Find out more about the GLRI-WHER application online at Email questions to

Photo Credit: USFWS

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Online survey looks at angler’s fish-eating habits

Healthy fish recipes being collected for online cookbook

MADISON -- Anglers' fish-eating habits -- and favorite recipes for their catch -- are the focus of new state efforts aimed at increasing awareness about the health benefits of eating fish while reducing exposure to environmental contaminants.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is seeking male anglers 50 years and older to complete an online survey about their fish consumption (exit DNR). Previous surveys have shown that some older men eat more fish than younger men or women. And while those most vulnerable to the effects of environmental contaminants are pregnant women, their developing fetuses and young children -- older adults also can be affected, according to Pamela Imm, with the DHS Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Health.

The online survey, found at (exit DNR), seeks information on where this group fishes, how much and what type of fish they eat, and where they get information about consumption advice.

At the same time, the Department of Natural Resources is seeking favorite recipes for fish caught from Wisconsin waters. A selection of recipes from entrants will be included in an online cookbook, Healthy Dishes With Wisconsin's Fishes.

The survey and outreach are funded by federal dollars targeted at improving fish advisory programs throughout the Great Lakes, says Candy Schrank, a DNR toxicologist who coordinates the fish consumption advisory DNR jointly issues every year with the state health services department.

"Wisconsin and other Great Lakes states want to know more about people who eat fish and how to get information to them on the health benefits and risks of eating fish," she says.

The data that DNR collected over the past 40 years on mercury and PCBs in fish show contaminant levels at some locations have dropped, supporting assertions that fish respond to sediment cleanup and mercury emission reductions. However, mercury levels are still high enough that most waters carry a statewide consumption advisory with about 149 having more stringent advice due to higher levels of mercury, PCBs or other chemicals.

More information about Wisconsin’s fish consumption advice and contaminant levels in state residents who frequently eat fish, can be found in "Give in to Fish Fervor" in the December 2011 issue of Natural Resources Magazine or on the Fish Consumption Advisories page of the DNR website.

Entries sought for Healthy Dishes with Wisconsin Fishes cookbook

DNR is seeking recipes for an online cookbook, “Healthy Dishes with Wisconsin Fishes.” "We hope to collect healthy recipes for a wide variety of Wisconsin species," says Sonya Rowe, a DNR communications specialist for the fish contaminant program. "We want to draw more attention to the health benefits of safely eating Wisconsin fish."

Recipes must be the entrant's own, feature Wisconsin fish species and be cooked (not smoked or pickled). The contest is limited to one entry per household, and people can submit their entry using the form found on the Healthy Dishes with Wisconsin Fishes contest web page. The deadline is April 1, 2012.

Recipes will be judged on originality and creativity, healthiness, ease of preparation, species of fish and added details on the recipe's origin and how or where it was caught, Rowe says.

Ice Fishing & Safety by Jerry Opicka - Dec. 12

Dec. 12 - Jerry Opicka, panfishing expert, past WFC president, “Ice Fishing & Safety.”  Learn ice fishing hot spots, equipment, baits that work, safety, techniques, how to read ice, 7 p.m.  FREE!  Big Dog Pub & Grill, formerly Yester Years Pub and Grill, 9427 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis, 414-476-9055. Contact: Cliff Schulz, President, (414) 453-9913,  Fishing reports, fishing equipment raffle, plus hot food is available.  New members are always welcome.

Have a great holiday fishing season,
Larry Van Veghel

WFC, Media Director & Secretary and
WCSFO, Media Director & Secretary