IISG wins two APEX awards

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant is proud to announce that the program has won two 2010 APEX Awards for Publication Excellence.

The Medicine Chest, a new curriculum collection addressing the problem of disposal of unwanted medicines, won in the category Green Materials. This award is shared by Robin Goettel, associate director for education, Terri Hallesy, education specialist, Susan White, graphic designer, and Tracy Colin, communication assistant. The Medicine Chest gives educators a tool to create service-learning experiences for their students, while tackling an important environmental and human health concern.

The second APEX award went to the display Get Rid of Stuff Sensibly in the category One-of-a-Kind Green Publications. Named in this award are White and Irene Miles, communication coordinator. This display informs audiences of all ages about how to recycle, reuse, or sensibly dispose of medicines, electronics, fish and aquatic plants and more. It includes a colorful marble game that provides a fun way to think through ‘getting rid of stuff.’ On display at the Illinois State Fair and other venues, Get Rid of Stuff Sensibly has thus far engaged 4,600 people on the issue of sensible disposal.

Summer aquaculture workshops offer on-farm training

Returning participants to Purdue University Extension’s advanced aquaculture workshops this summer will exchange pencils and paper for a pair of boots, as the workshops will now be primarily on-the-ground training.

Kwamena Quagrainie, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant aquaculture marketing specialist and organizer of the workshops, altered the structure in response to feedback from the previous year’s workshops, which were held in classrooms and led by university faculty and agency representatives.

This year, three of the four workshops will be instructed by aquaculture producers on their farms in Indiana. Each of the three on-farm workshops will be focused on an aquaculture production system: cage system (Peru, July 20), pond system (Floyds Knobs, August 21), and indoor systems (Ladoga, September 11).

“If you really want to get into fish production, you need this training,” Quagrainie said. “You get the opportunity to work with actual fish farmers and learn how they operate day-to-day.”

The one classroom workshop, held on September 30 in Frankfort, will feature public and private industry partners who will teach about vital financial tools and practices in aquaculture.

The cost is $50 and includes one of the three on-farm workshops and the classroom workshop. USDA Risk Management, Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA), and Purdue University Extension will host the workshops. Lunches are included.

Sign up at www.indianafishfarming.com or call the ISA at 1-800-735-0195 for an application.


Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant invites your comments

The Illinois Indiana Sea Grant College Program (IISG) will undergo a program site visit and review on July 28-29, 2010. If you would like to submit comments on any aspect of IISG's program or its work, please send your written comments by July 22, 2010 via email to oar.sg.feedback@noaa.gov or in paper copy to: Miguel A. Lugo, NSGO Program Officer National Sea Grant College Program NOAA R/SG, 1315 East-West Highway Silver Spring, MD 20910.

IISG is one of 32 programs of the National Sea Grant College Program created by Congress in 1966. Sea Grant is a partnership of universities, government, business and industry that addresses marine and Great Lakes needs to enhance sustainable coastal economic development. Funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Sea Grant, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Purdue University.

IISG combines research, education and outreach to empower southern Lake Michigan communities to secure a healthy environment and economy. With a focus on ecosystem health, sustainable cities, safe seafood, and climate change in the region, IISG brings science-based knowledge to the decision making process.


In the news: Carp creeps into Lake Calumet

From the Chicago Tribune:
A commercial fisherman patrolling the calm waters of Lake Calumet netted a 19-pound Asian carp Tuesday, the first physical discovery of the feared invasive species in the Chicago waterway system north of the electric barriers.

Within minutes of the official announcement on Wednesday, lawmakers from Michigan and environmental advocacy groups were once more chastising Illinois' response to the Asian carp crisis and threatening a new round of legal action aimed at permanently closing Chicago-area shipping locks. Read more.


In the news: Great Lakes states’ 500 square miles of parking lots threaten water quality, walkability

From the Great Lakes Echo:
The combined parking lots of four Great Lakes states take up nearly 500 square miles, according to recent estimates by Purdue University.

That’s enough pavement to cover 30 percent of Green Bay in Lake Michigan, 40 percent of Saginaw Bay in Lake Huron or twice the surface of Isle Royale in Lake Superior.

It also contributes to one of the biggest threats to Great Lakes water quality: Urban runoff. Read more.


In the news: Top 10 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant finalists account for 37 percent of funds

From the Great Lakes Echo:
Echo recently took a look at the finalists for $161 million worth of Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants, breaking them down by state and group type. Here we’ll check out two more metrics: Biggest winners and GLRI focus areas.

But first, remember that these numbers are still preliminary. Finalists have until the end of June to submit the last paperwork before they’re eligible for the awards.

Also, the totals don’t account for subcontracts within grants. For example, Michigan State University is in line for $3.3 million in grants that it won outright, but it could see more initiative funds from other grant winners who have partnered with the school. Read more.


In the news: Invasive species generate gloomy reports for Lake Michigan

From the Muskegon Chronicle:
A perfect storm of invasive species in Lake Michigan continues to clarify the water to historic levels and threaten the lake's forage base from bottom and top, according to new reports from the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

Analysis of current and historic data from Lake Michigan shows serious threats to sport fish brought on by quagga mussels, spiny water fleas and other invasive species that continue to thrive, although researchers remain uncertain how that will influence the lake's future. Read more.


In the news: Seaway tests ability to respond to hazardous spill

From the Watertown Daily Times:
As the Gulf region deals with the aftermath of the BP oil spill, officials here are working to ensure they are equipped to manage an oil or hazardous material spill on the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Out on the water on a tranquil, sunny afternoon, it’s easy to forget the St. Lawrence River serves as a major highway for shipping traffic passing between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes.

Passing ships from all over the world slip quietly by carrying a variety of cargo — from coal to grain to hazardous chemicals — and a large stock of fuel oil. Read more.


In the news: Army Corps rejects regular lock closures to foil Asian carp

From the Chicago Breaking News Center:
The Army Corps of Engineers has scrapped a proposal to close navigational shipping locks in the Chicago waterway system as many as four days a week to prevent migration of Asian carp into Lake Michigan.

The Corps, however, is recommending temporary lock closures at times when biologists use fish poisons or other methods to search for carp in the well-traveled shipping corridors.

These recommendations were released today as part of a three-year study into the state's and federal government's handling of the Asian carp crisis. The study looked at six scenarios for lock operation, including restricting boat and ship travel to three days a week or three weeks out of a month. In the end, Army Corps officials determined neither partial lock closure plan would prove much of a deterrent to Asian carp. Read more.


In the news: Obama, U.S. EPA push for cleaner Chicago River

From the Chicago Tribune:
Walled and fenced off from most of the city, the Chicago River for decades was widely seen as a putrid eyesore where fish and wildlife weren't welcome, let alone people.

But in a significant policy shift, the Obama administration is calling for a once-unfathomable idea: The Chicago River, an erstwhile prairie stream engineered into a sewage canal that flows backward from Lake Michigan, should be safe enough for swimming. Read more.