Thursday, January 29, 2015

Public hearing set for Lake Superior lake trout emergency rule

ASHLAND, Wis. -- A public hearing on an emergency rule designed to support recovery of lake trout populations in Lake Superior will be held by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on Feb. 16 from 5 to 9 p.m. at Ashland High School.

The public hearing will cover the 2014-15 emergency rule adopted by the Natural Resources Board at its December meeting. The emergency rule was designed to ensure the long-term sustainability of the lake trout fishery in the Apostle Islands area by reducing the daily bag limit from three lake trout to two lake trout of which only one can be 20 to 25 inches in length and the other must be longer than 35 inches. For waters west of Bark Point, regulations for lake trout remain unchanged; three lake trout with a 15 inch minimum length and only one lake trout longer than 25 inches.

Terry Margenau, DNR Lake Superior fisheries supervisor, said the emergency rule was necessary because population assessments over the last six to eight years have indicated that the decline in lake trout abundance is largely due to harvest. Lake trout are capable of living in excess of 40 years and do not reach sexual maturity until they are eight to 10 years of age. Thus, it's critically important that the stock be carefully managed, as the welfare of many stakeholders, including commercial fishers, sport anglers, and a host of associated businesses, depends on a strong lake trout fishery in the Wisconsin waters of Lake Superior.

"The upcoming public hearing provides citizens with the opportunity to offer feedback and continue the dialogue started at a meeting held in early December prior to the Natural Resources board action," Margenau said. The hearing will focus on the need to extend the emergency rule beyond 150 days through early June, to cover the entire lake trout season, which runs through Sept. 30, 2015.

The Feb. 16 public hearing will be held in the auditorium of Ashland High School, 1900 Beaser Ave. A short summary presentation will be followed by an opportunity for citizens to provide oral and written comments. In addition, written comments may be submitted until Feb. 16 to: Terry L. Margenau, Lake Superior fisheries supervisor, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, PO Box 589, 141 S. Third Street Bayfield, WI 54814; or emailing

For more information about the hearing, background on the December public meeting and management of the Lake Superior fishery, search the DNR website,, for "Lake Superior fisheries management."

Friday, January 23, 2015

Turning a Water Nuisance Into a Water Cleanser

Water Resources Institute Project Looks at Manganese in the Madison Water System

January 23, 2015

By Marie Zhuikov

If you’ve ever turned on the tap only to have rusty or gray water gush out, you can sympathize with what residents of Madison, Wis., experienced in 2005. Routine flushing of city water mains caused discolored water, which tasted strange and stained laundry in homes and businesses.

The culprits? Dissolved manganese and iron. In a quest to access the safer drinking water in deeper aquifers, the city drilled into water rich in these two elements. When the water mains were flushed during warm months to remove sediment and minerals in the pipes, the action also pushed through gray-black dissolved manganese and rusty-red iron.

Although these elements are more a nuisance than a health hazard, two University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers are concentrating on manganese because, ironically, it might be useful in cleaning water, including removing bisphenol A. With funding from the University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute, assistant professors Matthew Ginder-Vogel and Christina Remucal are looking at the source of manganese in the aquifer rocks and how the manganese that ends up dissolved in the water reacts with other compounds, especially pollutants.

“Madison has set up filters to remove manganese from the water,” said Ginder-Vogel. “This generates reactive solids that could be used in beneficial ways. Right now, the solids are sent through the sanitary sewer system or disposed of as solid waste. We had the idea of looking at whether the manganese collected on the filters can be beneficially reused down the line, perhaps for stormwater treatment.”

Madison does not get its drinking water from the iconic lakes Mendota or Monona, but from groundwater more than 320 feet down in the Mt. Simon Aquifer. This aquifer lies beneath many communities in Iowa, southeastern Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In the Madison area, the rocks that compose the aquifer contain manganese.                       

Manganese is natural and occurs in air, soil and water. Although it is an essential nutrient at low doses, long-term exposure to high doses can harm the nervous system of people and animals, potentially causing tremors, lethargy and mental disturbances.

After the discoloration episodes in 2005, four out of 24 wells in Madison were found to produce water that exceeded recommended levels of manganese. In response, the city installed filters and employed a different method of flushing problematic water mains, called “unidirectional flushing,” which minimizes the water discoloration reaching homes and business.

The researchers and their two graduate students are six months into their two-year project. They spent time at manganese-rich city well 29 in eastern Madison, collecting manganese solids from its filters. They also followed water utility workers around in a van full of five-gallon buckets and collected solids from their water main flushing activities, Ginder-Vogel said.

Remucal said results look promising. “We’ve found that the manganese solids are capable of degrading organic pollutants. We’ve been working on bisphenol A, a contaminant that’s found in plastic.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has “some concern” for bisphenol A’s effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and children at current exposure levels. Also of concern is the chemical’s ability to induce earlier puberty in children.

For Remucal and Ginder-Vogel, the project is one made in academic heaven. “Christina is a specialist in organic contaminant transformation and has done some minerals surface work. I’m a specialist in mineral surface chemistry. It just seemed like a great way to collaborate on an interesting and applicable problem,” Ginder-Vogel said.

The two hope their project will provide guidance to regulators and water quality managers on the sources and reactivity of manganese in the Madison water distribution system. It could also provide information for other water utilities that face elevated manganese. And it just may be a great way to turn a water nuisance into a water cleanser.

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Brenda Rosin Schaff called the meeting to order at approximately 6:15 PM


2/14/15 Ice Clinic Representatives Present:

DNR - Matt Coffaro, Tony Young

Hunger Task Force Fish Hatchery – Dave Mueller

Waukesha County Parks -

1.) Brown Deer Park/Okauchee Fishing Club - Jim

2.) Fox Brook Park/Wern Valley Sportsman's Club -

3.) Humboldt Park/Great Lakes Sport Fishermen - Rich Hehn, Ron & Dave Kwas

Humboldt Park/Milwaukee Casting Club – Ron Gray

4.) Menomonee Park/Badger Fisherman's League – Brenda Rosin-Schaff

5.) McCarty Park - Southside Sportsmen Club

6.) Scout Lake/Walleyes Unlimited -

7.) Wilson Park/Wisconsin Fishing Club -Cliff & Ray

4/11/15 Spring Clinic Representatives Present:


Hunger Task Force Fish Hatchery

Waukesha County Parks -

1.) Brown Deer Park/Okauchee Fishing Club -

2.) Fox Brook Park/Wern Valley Sportsman's Club -

3.) Greenfield Park/Great Lakes Sport Fishermen

Greenfield Park/Milwaukee Casting Club-

4.) Humboldt Park/Lunkers-

5.) Menomonee Park/WI House Outdoors -

6.) McCarty Park - Southside Sportsmen Club

McCarty Park - Sunnyside Rod & Gun Club

7.) McGovern Park - Badger Fisherman's League -

8.) Mitchell Park – Bayview Rod & Gun Club -

9.) Muskego Park – Women's Hunting & Sporting Association -

10.) Oak Creek Parkway – Friends of Oak Creek Mill Pond

11.) Quarry Lake Park – Salmon Unlimited

12.) Sandy Knoll Park – Trout Unlimited S.E. Chapter

Sandy Knoll Park – West Bend Kiwanis Early Risers -

13.) Scout Lake/Walleyes Unlimited -

14.) Sheridan Park – South Milwaukee 1400 Fishing & Hunting Club

15.) Washington Park – EB Garner's Fishing Club

16.) Wilson Park/Wisconsin Fishing Club -

DNR Updates:

If you need to use the DNR loaner jig rods for your ice clinic, please let Matt at know asap so he can bring them to the next meeting.

Matt expressed a need for a few volunteers for the Sport Show Casting Demonstration. Brenda & Ron have volunteered.

Mentor Background Form - Anyone that has not filled out the Mentor Background Check should complete Form 4100-217 Rev. 2 of 11

Tony Young, Warden in Ozaukee County has expressed interest in hosting another free fishing clinic in June. Last year's event was a success despite the lack of fish caught. Anyone interested in volunteering or for more information, contact him at 262-993-0078

Locavore Anglers Course – Please help promote this series sponsored by the DNR and the Urban Ecology Center. If you can volunteer, contact Theresa Stabo as soon as possible and if you any of any adult interested in learning how to fish, have them sign up on the Urban Ecology website.

Hatchery Updates: Still no well, but the good news it will be covered by insurance. Water Well Solutions will attempt to get the well that Lake Northwest originally installed, in the hope of having water possibly by February. Dave committed to providing demonstration fish even if he has to fish for them! Thanks for his dedication and service. If yo9ur club needs demonstration fish contact Dave Mueller on his cell at 414-315-2825

Park Updates:

Special thanks to the Wern Valley Sportsman's Club who has expressed interest in hosting an Ice Fishing Clinic at Fox Brook Park. They currently host the Spring Fishing Clinic at the same location and are familiar with the park & hosting a clinic. There was concern for whether or not they would have enough volunteers and if the park would be available. Ron will contact Holly at 262-364-8509 to confirm the park is available. If available, Matt will add them to the flyer.

Other Updates:

Okauchee Fishing Club has very kindly offered to fix all of the rods & reels that are part of the Rod Loaner Program. Contact Cliff if you can offer additional help if needed and for a date.

Brenda is attempting to get student chef volunteers from MATC's Culinary Program to help with the cleaning & cooking demonstrations.

Rubber Fish Prints - Linda Batzler from McGovern Park Senior Center was contacted regarding free t-shirts and the rubber fish prints used previously at the State Fair DNR area that have been discontinued. If anyone is interested in adding fish printing on T-Shirts or other items, the fish & paints may be loaned out through the Theresa Stabo & Brenda Rosin-Schaff.

Backyard Bass – If any clubs need to purchase additional plastic fish for their casting stations, they can be ordered through Ironwood Pacific Backyard Bass at 1-800-261-1330. The cost is $36/dozen for mixed colors & shapes.

Upcoming Meetings & Clinic dates:

Jan 29, 2015 – Meeting at McCarty 7:00 p.m. - Distribute Materials &Equipment

Feb 14, 2015 - Ice Clinics at Parks 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Participating Parks: Humboldt, McCarty, Brown Deer, South Lake, Wilson, Menomonee, Fox Brook

Feb 19, 2015 – Wrap up for Ice Clinic/Return Equipment and Preparation for Spring Clinic

Mar 26, 2015 - Meeting at McCarty 7:00 p.m. - Distribute Materials &Equipment

Apr 11, 2015 - Spring Clinics at Parks 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Participating Parks (to Be Confirmed)

Apr 16, 2015 – Wrap up for Spring Clinic/ Return Equipment 6:00 p.m. at Wildcat Creek Farm (Brenda's) 3825 S. 124th St., New Berlin, WI 53228. Please RSVP if you plan on attending and if you are bringing a guest or other member of your club.

Other Related Events:

Jan 28, 2015 - Locavore Anglers Course/Clinic 6-8p.m. Urban Ecology Center

Feb 7, 2015 - Locavore Anglers Course/Fishing Experience 1:30-5 p.m. Washington Park

Feb 11, 2015 - Locavore Anglers Course/Culinary Experience 6-8 p.m.

April 18, 215 - Locavore Anglers Course/ Fishing Experience & Shore Lunch w/Chef 9 am – 1:30 p.m. Location TBD

March 4-8, 2015 – Sport Show at State Fair Park

June 6, 2015 – Free Fishing Clinic at Puckets contact Tony Young at 262-993-0078

Aug 22, 2015 - Fishing Has No Bounds/Great Lakes Fish Chapter contact Dave Kwas at 262-853-0072

Ron Gray, Secretary

Mussel Bound: Researcher Studies Invasives' Role in Spreading Antibiotic-Resistant Genes in Lake Michigan

The millions of zebra and quagga mussels that have colonized the lake concentrate bacteria the same way discharge from wastewater treatment plants does--and provide an environment for ARGs.

January 14, 2015
By Aaron R. Conklin

By this point, we’re aware that the antibiotics and personal-care products we routinely consume to beat back our various and sundry colds and infections have filtered their way through our guts and into Wisconsin’s water supplies, where they’ve had the unintended effect of creating an increasing number of potentially dangerous strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

But what if all those pills and pink liquids aren’t the only factor contributing to the increase? What about the millions of quagga and zebra mussels that have colonized the nearshore waters of Lake Michigan?  

Supported by funding from Wisconsin Sea Grant, Dr. Krassimira Hristova, assistant professor of biology at Marquette University, is trying to sketch in another piece of the puzzle by determining how big an impact those mussels may play.

“Most studies on this topic are focusing on the clinical setting,” said Hristova. “There’s not much focus on the environment, on the freshwater ecosystem as part of the equation.”

In urban environments like Milwaukee, scientists have already identified E. coli strains resistant to as many as 11 different antibiotics. They’ve even mapped the mechanism: Heavy concentrations of bacteria contained in the lake sediment near wastewater treatment plants create a four-lane highway for a scientific phenomenon called horizontal gene transfer (HGT).  Instead of antibiotic-resistant genes (ARGs) being passed between bacterial cells vertically through the standard process of cell division, they’re being passed through the walls of unrelated bacteria by means of close proximity.

Hristova suspects that a similar phenomenon could be taking place in the guts of the filter-feeding invasive mussels, where bacteria in lakewater concentrates in much the same way it does in the microbiome of a human gut or in the effluent from a treatment plant.

“If we see pollution in the water, do we see the same signal in the mussel gut?” Hristova asked.

To find out, Hristova, Marquette professor of biology James Maki and a research team of students spent most of last summer taking mussel samples from different locations in Lake Michigan where bacterial concentration and mussel presence were likely to be high—places like the inner and outer portions of the Milwaukee Harbor and the headwaters of the Kinnickinnick River.  They’re also taking water samples from inland lakes to compare bacterial concentrations in environments that receive different inputs of antibiotics and personal care products.

Back In the lab, it’s easy to depurinate the mussels in a water tank, effectively cleaning their guts of bacteria and creating a blank slate for controlled experiments.  Then the team can expose the mussels to a mixture of bacteria including one of the antibiotic-resistant bacteria strains and observe the results.

“How long does the bacteria take to populate their gut?” Hristova asked. “Does the exchange happen in the mussel microbiome, as it does with humans and animals?”

The answers to those questions could go a long way toward determining the mussels’ role in increasing the levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the lake. And could potentially fuel stricter regulations on the types of antibiotic and personal-care products we use.

Hristova’s project has definitely engaged Marquette’s undergraduate students. While only two students helped her gather samples and collect data over the summer, there are now 19 students in the Experimental Microbiology lab class involved in isolating bacteria from mussels and lake sediment and creating assays to determine antibiotic-resistant profiles.  

One of those summer students was Kylli Paavola, a senior from Dousman, Wisconsin. 

“This was my first real chance to get in a lab and get my hands dirty, she said, “A lot of what we’re doing here is really innovative.”

Paavola had been considering a career in biochemistry, but her experience in Hristova’s lab convinced her to apply for the PhD program in microbiology at UW-Madison, where she’s more likely to be able to hone what she’s learned in the lab and apply it broadly.

“I can really see the applications of this work in the medical field,” she said. “I never really realized how much bacteria there is in the lake water and on the beaches. The abundance is really shocking. Now I think about it every time I visit the beach.”

Ultimately, Hristova would like more people—including scientists and policymakers--to think about it, too.

“It’s not a single part that’s responsible for the problem we’re seeing,” said Hristova. “Every part plays a role. The real question is, how are we changing the ecosystem and what are the consequences of those changes? We’re exposed to this in the environment constantly. We bathe in this water and our kids play in it on the beach all summer long. What are we exposing them to?” 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Use your passion for the outdoors to educate and inspire others by enrolling in the Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program

SHEBOYGAN, Wis.People who are fascinated with nature and eager to share their knowledge and skills with others can enroll in an upcoming course to be certified as a Wisconsin Master Naturalist volunteer. The UW Extension is a major partner in this program with the Department of Natural Resources. The program is a statewide effort to promote awareness, understanding and stewardship of the state’s natural resources.

“The Department of Natural Resources parks program has helped train master naturalist volunteers since September 2013, and DNR representatives have served on the program’s advisory committee since 2009,” said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. “The training helps staff our summer programs with naturalists. This is a partnership we’re happy to help promote.”

A volunteer training course will be held at the Sanderling Nature Center, Kohler-Andrae State Park, beginning Saturday, May 9, 2015, and ending Saturday, June 20, 2015. The course fee is $250 and involves 40 hours of training in natural history, interpretation and conservation stewardship. Upon completion of training, the naturalist provides volunteer service in one of three areas: education/interpretation, stewardship or citizen science. Classes will run approximately seven hours each Saturday on May 9, 16 and 30. June classes are scheduled each Saturday on June 6 and 13 and conclude with a five – hour class on June 20. Both indoor and outdoor instruction plus at least two field trips are included in the training.

Visit the Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program website and click on the link for “show all” upcoming events for course registration. For additional information, please contact the WIMN state office at Registration for the Sheboygan course closes Friday, April 17, 2015.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Only 1 of 500 Mississippi River samples test positive for invasive carp

Water samples from southeastern Minnesota pools of the Mississippi River that were collected in August and analyzed in December indicate only a small presence of bighead carp eDNA, according to the Department of Natural Resources.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in consultation with the DNR, conducted the environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling and analyzing for invasive carp.


A total of 500 samples were tested for both bighead and silver carp DNA in Pool 5a near Winona, Pool 6 in Winona and pools 8 and 9 near the Iowa border. One sample in Pool 8 tested positive for bighead carp, while none of the samples tested positive for silver carp. Results can be viewed on the USFWS Web page:


“The lone positive bighead result appears to support historical, physical catch evidence of low numbers of invasive carp in this stretch of the Mississippi River,” said Nick Frohnauer, DNR invasive fish coordinator. “Individual captures of adult bighead and silver carp have occurred since 2008 but none were captured in these pools in 2014.”


Environmental DNA is a surveillance tool used to monitor for the genetic presence of an aquatic species. The presence of eDNA does not provide physical proof of the presence of live or dead carp, but indicates the presence of genetic material in the water body. This genetic material may be the result of live carp, or transport of only the genetic material via boats or other means.


This is the first time samples were collected in the southeastern Minnesota pools.


Given the low population size at this time, the DNR and USFWS sampled these pools to help guide future traditional sampling efforts and establish a baseline to begin a time series that will help detect population changes. The plan is to collect samples at these and potentially other pools farther north each year.


“It’s important to remember that eDNA is still a new technology and cannot be used to estimate population size at this time,” Frohnauer said. “But the DNR hopes to use this technology to inform field monitoring efforts.”


The USFWS and the DNR will review eDNA results and advancements along with other 2014 monitoring results in planning 2015 sampling.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


The Milwaukee Casting Club will be hosting a Kids Ice Fishing Clinic in conjunction with the Waukesha Winter JanBoree days on January 18th, 2015 from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM at Minooka Park in Waukesha.

Click HERE for more information


54th Annual Waukesha County Conservation Alliance


Friday, January 2, 2015

24th Annual Kids Ice Fishing Clinics

Sponsored in cooperation with the Wisconsin Council of Sport Fishing Organizations, Hunger Task Force Fish Hatchery, Milwaukee and Waukesha County Parks, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.