Thursday, June 25, 2015

Volunteers Needed…

0 0 0 0 Brew-City-Logo-2015

We are looking for anyone that is interested in helping out the Hunger Task Force at McKinney  Marina 11:30 am until at the latest 5pm (or whenever they can stay until), for the Brew City Fish Tournament. They need a few people to filet fish and a few runners. Electric filet knives would be helpful if you have one.  Last year approximately 1200 - 1400 lbs. of fish were cleaned and given to Hunger Task Force recipients!

Click Here for more information

Thursday, June 18, 2015

New Great Lakes Climate Change Tool Sparks Conversation and Planning in Coastal Communities

June 17, 2015

By Marie Zhuikov

Sea Grant climate change educators in the Great Lakes states have taken a tool developed in Mississippi-Alabama and adapted it for communities along the shores of our freshwater seas to use in preparing for the impacts of weather disruption. The educators have worked with several community planners in Wisconsin and northern Minnesota to assess the communities’ abilities to adapt under a changing climate, and they presented their work last month at a national climate adaptation forum. They hope other communities will follow suit.

The tool has a long name: A Self-Assessment to Address Climate Adaptation Readiness in Your Community. It was originally developed by the NOAA Coastal Storms Program at Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant. Staff with Minnesota Sea Grant saw a use for it in the Great Lakes Region, but the tool needed some tweaking.

“The original tool was focused on hurricanes and flooding,” said Hilarie Sorensen, climate change extension educator with Minnesota Sea Grant. “We customized the checklist for the Great Lakes. It’s meant to be a conversation-starter with communities that haven’t started the adaptation process yet but are interested in it, or communities that have a planning process coming up where they’d like to integrate a climate change component into it.”

Sea Grant staff help the communities go through the checklist of nine categories and identify where they are vulnerable and what tasks they can start with to prepare for the worst that new climate conditions can dish out. These include infrastructure, maintenance, water resources, tourism and business plans.

So far, two communities in Wisconsin have done so: the city of Ashland and Oconto County. Oconto County has been the first to incorporate the tool into an official planning process. They did this thanks to work by Angela Pierce, natural resources planner with the Bay Lake Regional Planning Commission, Julia Noordyk with Wisconsin Sea Grant and Sorensen.

“Climate change can be controversial, but Oconto County was great to work with,” said Pierce. “We explained that we were here to address the fact that things are changing and we need to be prepared. Hazard mitigation planning has always been based on past trends and with changing conditions, we can’t count on those anymore.”

The trio went through the self-assessment process with the county and in the process learned that the checklist needed to address wildfire and pest concerns more thoroughly. Pierce and Noordyk were able to adapt it to meet the county’s concerns by using information from the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts – a collaborative effort between the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the University of Wisconsin-Madison to scientifically assess climate impacts and limit vulnerability in Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest.

Pierce credits Sea Grant for providing the assistance to make community-specific climate change planning possible. She had tried in the past to incorporate personalized climate change actions into hazard mitigation plans but didn’t have the funding or tools to make it happen.

“Julia and Hilarie put in a lot of their time to develop the natural hazards and climate change section in the Oconto County plan,” Pierce said. “It was customized for the community – not just some summarized information. It’s one thing to gather information and put it in your plan. It’s another to go through the process with Sea Grant and have really good discussions that we wouldn’t have had otherwise.”

Right now, the climate change section is a stand-alone chapter in the Oconto plan. Pierce hopes to incorporate climate change throughout the plan in future updates and to work with other communities as they update their hazard mitigation plans.

Noordyk notes that in the future, local governments may be required to consider the impacts of climate change in their hazard mitigations plans in order to be approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and eligible for post-disaster funding. President Obama and FEMA have already announced that states will need to do so.

“Using this tool is a first step in getting communities to start thinking about how to integrate future climate conditions into planning processes they are already required to go through,” Noordyk said.

David Hart, Wisconsin Sea Grant assistant director for extension, said Oconto’s efforts are unique. “There haven’t been many hazard mitigation plans in Wisconsin that have included a climate change element.” And he credits Pierce’s willingness to address the issue.

Noordyk and Sorensen presented their work with Oconto County at the National Adaptation Forum held in May in St. Louis Mo., to make other planners and educators aware of the tool’s availability and usefulness.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Communications Work Captures National Awards

Eat Wisconsin Fish Campaign and 2012-14 Biennial Report Effectively Speak to Mission, and Audiences, and Impress Judges

June 11, 2016

Two Wisconsin Sea Grant communications projects recently won national awards.

“I’m gratified our work on behalf of worthwhile Sea Grant activities, in support of our mission and tailored to our audiences, has received recognition by national peers in the field of communications,” said Moira Harrington, assistant director for communications.

The Eat Wisconsin Fish campaign won a Grand Award. The judges wrote: “Bright. Eye-catching. Crisp. Appealing. All adjectives apply to this well-thought-out campaign, which has the chief virtue of a very clear focus on a single, simple message, employing a wide range of print, electronic and social media to deliver said message. An impressive effort.”

The 2015 APEX award competition drew 1,900 entrants. APEX is run by Communications Concepts Inc., which advises publishing, PR and marketing professionals on best practices to improve their publications and communications programs.

The campaign was created by Graphic Designer Yael Gen, and on behalf of a team of outreach specialists—Jane Harrison, Kathy Kline and Titus Seilheimer. They are addressing the fact that more than 90 percent of the seafood eaten by Americans is imported from other countries. Through this Sea Grant marketing and public relations effort, the goal is to move consumers to choose healthy, local fish for their dinner tables.

The campaign has included a strong logo, print elements (posters, table tents, flyers, brochure and fish case signage), other collateral (aprons and magnets) a website, two chef cook-off/public tasting events and a flight of television ads in one of Wisconsin’s markets. 

All materials are the result of more than 200 consumer surveys conducted in grocery stores in Wisconsin’s two largest cities. Two focus groups in those cities were held and shaped material development. The campaign has been ongoing for roughly one year. Subsequent tracking is planned (based on sales figures) to see what progress has been made to move consumers’ preferences and affect buying habits.

The 2012-14 Sea Grant biennial report is the second award-winner. It took a bronze in the institutional relations/publications category of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education 2015 Circle of Excellence Awards that overall attracted more than 3,000 entrants.

There were seven winners in the category and Sea Grant was one of only two programs within larger academic institutions to excel. Other winning publications were done on behalf of entire universities, such as Boston University, the University of Kansas and the University of California-Irvine.  

The judges shared these impressions of the report: “From the cover photo to the artistic representations to the high-quality science-based information and actions of Sea Grant, this book captures the mission of the Institute. The judges liked the overall design and the use of color. The photography portraits are well done and support the stories in the text on an emotional level. With an overall budget on the low side, the final product is of excellent quality, demonstrating creative use of available resources.”

Yael Gen was also the graphic designer on this project, and others who worked on the report were Moira Harrington and Elizabeth White. Marie Zhuikov and John Karl contributed photos. Zhuikov wrote two poems, about lakes Michigan and Superior, for the publication whose theme was the connection between art and science, and how the Great Lakes can inspire expression of all types. In turn, this can lead to support from all quarters for their sustainable use.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Great Lakes Fish Will be in Spotlight at National “Fish Fry”

Wild-caught and aquaculture-raised fish on the menu
June 2, 2015
By Moira Harrington 

To highlight fish from the Great Lakes region, Wisconsin Sea Grant will serve smoked Lake Michigan whitefish from Susie Q Fish Co. in Two Rivers and farm-raised rainbow trout from Rushing Waters Fisheries in Palmyra at the 40th annual National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fish Fry on June 10 in Washington, D.C. It is believed to be the first time Great Lakes fish have ever made an appearance at the gathering that draws members of Congress, legislative staffers and other federal officials and staff members.

The event promotes public understanding of aquaculture and commercial fisheries. Each year, it attracts up to 1,100 people who pay for a ticket to enjoy seafood samples near the National Mall at the Department of Commerce building, which is home to NOAA.

This year, guest chefs and others such as Kathy Kline, education specialist with Sea Grant, will prepare and serve fish—cod, salmon, crab and more. In all, 17 organizations will be represented from places like Maine, Alaska, Delaware and Louisiana.

“I’m really honored to highlight our Great Lakes and Wisconsin farm-raised fish at this prestigious event,” said Kline. “More than 90 percent of the seafood consumed in the U.S. is imported from other countries, and events like the NOAA Fish Fry help spotlight the variety of delicious U.S. seafood available to consumers.”

Wisconsin Sea Grant has developed and is sharing an Eat Wisconsin Fish campaign to inform consumers, restaurateurs and retailers about the local, healthy and delicious fish that are harvested from the Great Lakes and the sustainable aquaculture operations across the state. The campaign provides information through a website,, and events and cooking demonstrations.

Wisconsin’s aquaculture industry is worth $21 million annually. According to 2012 numbers (the most recent available) from the Great Lakes Science Center of the U.S. Geological Survey, the Great Lakes commercial fishers catch was 18,725,000 pounds with a value of more than $23 million.

Invasive Species Video Contest Winners


Congratulations go out to David Blumer of Barron County for his winning video in the 2015 Invasive Species Awareness Month Video Contest. Check out his video “Oh no! It’s the AIS Monster and His Henchmen!” Congratulations also go to runner up Wes Ison from Oneida Co. for his video “Eurasian Water Milfoil

Don't forget to join us this week at Olbrich Gardens at 1 p.m. in Madison as we kick off Invasive Species Awareness month with the 11th annual Invader Crusader Award Ceremony, where we will honor Wisconsin citizens and organizations--both volunteer and professional--for their significant contributions to the prevention, management, education, or research of invasive species that harm Wisconsin's land and waters. The award recognizes efforts at all scales--from neighborhoods to statewide parks, lakes and forests. This year, a total of nine awards will be presented to individuals and groups from around the state.