UW Sea Grant Institute funds activities
of UWGB professors
By Sonja G. Ostrow
Green Bay News-Chronicle
Posted May 17, 2004
That word is in local headlines more than ever as the
community struggles with ways to obtain it and how to
Now, through several projects funded by the University
of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute, three UWGB professors
are attempting to improve our knowledge of local water
bodies and ecosystems.
Wisconsin Sea Grant, part of a nationwide network of
university-based programs, studies and shares research
on our Great Lakes systems.
This year, the program will receive $1.96 million in
federal funds and another $1.38 million in matching funds
from the state. That money will support research, outreach
and education during 2004-05 by faculty, staff and students
at UWGB and six other UW System campuses.
In total, 27 projects have been approved for funding
this year, most requiring sophisticated laboratory and
field research. Six of these will support Sea Grant specialists
whose goal is to provide the public with free assistance
and information regarding issues affecting the Great Lakes.
Among them is Victoria Harris, a professor at UWGB.
Harris, a water quality specialist, is primarily concerned
with water pollution caused by runoff. In addition to
raising awareness among community members, she works with
agencies like the DNR and the Fish and Wildlife Service
on projects to improve local water quality. Homeowners
can limit the amount of toxic runoff they contribute to
our local ecosystem with just a few simple steps, Harris
To cut down on runoff from rooftops, Harris suggests
redirecting pipes onto the lawn. She also advises residents
to use fewer chemicals on lawns and gardens, to avoid
washing cars in driveways or roads, and to pick up dog
droppings from the street instead of dumping them into
"The water running through storm sewers is not treated,"
Harris said, "so whatever you put in there goes into
the nearest stream."
She is also working to restore the Cat Island chain,
a sandy string of islands in lower Green Bay washed away
by a series of storms in the 1970s. Harris hopes the reconstructed
islands will serve as part of a natural habitat.
Another UWGB professor receiving funding through Sea
Grant, Tara Reed, is also involved in the Cat Island project.
Reed intends to collect current data on the area. This
pre-restoration data, when compared with data compiled
in the past, will allow future researchers to determine
if the island restoration has achieved its goals.
Additionally, in collaboration with Bart DeStasio of
Lawrence University, Reed will use Sea Grant funding to
continue her investigation of the effects of zebra mussels
on Green Bay.
Their project makes use of data gathered for earlier
studies, many sponsored by Sea Grant.
"The reason we know so much about Green Bay is because
Sea Grant has been so supportive of research in the past,"
Reed said. "Basically, Sea Grant is terrific, research
is terrific - the spread of invasive species is not."
Michael E. Zorn, also at UWGB, is working in collaboration
with researchers from other universities on a project
funded by Sea Grant to develop a reliable, inexpensive
method to measure water quality. Currently, such water-quality
assessments are extremely expensive and laborious.
Zorn, Reed and Harris don't have all the answers to questions
about the future of the bay. But with Sea Grant's support,
they are that much closer to understanding its present.
More information about Sea Grant and its programs can
be found at www.seagrant.wisc.edu