Asian carp summit leads to new business plans

According to a recent article in the Southtown Star, IISG's Asian Carp Marketing Summit in September 2010 has helped in the planning of a new business that will process these fish for market. By depleting the numbers of silver carp, the risk posed by this fish to local waterbodies, including the Great Lakes, is reduced.

The summit was convened to identify obstacles and opportunities associated with commercial marketing of Asian carp as a way to reduce their numbers in the Mississippi River Basin. This two-day event took place at the Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, Illinois. It was organized by IISG, with sponsorship from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center.


IISG is looking for a natural resource planning specialist

IISG has an opening for a natural resource planning extension specialist. This position will be located at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Here is the position description:

To develop and expand an extension and technology transfer program emphasizing problem-solving assistance and the delivery of research-based information to community decision-makers, policy makers, natural resource managers, extension educators and agency professionals. Programming should empower communities to make informed land use decisions that incorporate natural resource sustainability.

You can find the announcement on the Purdue Job Board. Look for position #1100149.


In the news: 10 Lake County communities can dip into Lake Michigan water

From the Chicago Tribune:
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has approved allowing 10 Lake County communities to tap into Lake Michigan, a move welcomed by village officials who fear their wells will run dry or start coughing up contaminates.

But first the communities must figure out how to pay for the $250 million project. Under one scenario, a newly formed agency would use an existing intake facility in Zion and build pipelines that would extend to each west suburb. Residents would pay about $40 more per month to cover the costs. Read more.


In the news: Raid triples sewer overflows reported at Michigan City plant

From the Post-Tribune:
The number of sewer overflows at the Michigan City Sanitary District appears to have tripled since a federal raid last summer.

According to reports filed after the raid, overflows may have contributed to high bacteria levels in Lake Michigan during last year's beach season. And several times, overflows flooded residents' basements even though it hadn't rained -- an indication of improper maintenance at the district. Read more.


In the news: Climate Models Are Becoming Increasingly Accurate

From the Environmental News Network:
Predicting future climates on planet Earth is an extremely hard task due to the myriad of factors involved. To make the necessary calculations requires computers with capacities far beyond the average home computer. However, climate models are become ever more reliable thanks not only to greater computing power, but also to more extensive observation efforts of the current climate, and an improved understanding of the climate system. Read more.


In the news: New doubts cast on safety of common driveway sealant

From the Chicago Tribune:
If a company dumped the black goop behind a factory, it would violate all sorts of environmental laws and face an expensive hazardous-waste cleanup.

But playgrounds, parking lots and driveways in many communities are coated every spring and summer with coal tar, a toxic byproduct of steelmaking that contains high levels of chemicals linked to cancer and other health problems.

Nearly two decades after industry pressured the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to exempt coal tar-based pavement sealants from anti-pollution laws, a growing number of government and academic studies are questioning the safety of the widely used products. Research shows that the tar steadily wears off and crumbles into contaminated dust that is tracked into houses and washed into lakes. Read more.


Catch the wave! Sign up for two Great Lakes teacher workshops at the Field Museum

As winter settles in, teachers in the Chicago area may be looking for inspiration for new education avenues. Here are two workshops that take place on the same day--February 4, 2011.

"Teaching with Great Lakes Data"

What: In this workshop you will learn about dead zones, climate & weather, storm surges, and fish habitat in the Great Lakes as well as how to use real-time and historical data to teach about these topics. Lessons are aligned with Illinois and Indiana Science Standards and National Science Education Standards.

Who: Teachers in grades 5-7 who are interested in using Great Lakes data in the classroom. Limited to the first 20 registrants, so register soon!

When: February 4th, 9:00 am until 1:00 pm

Where: The Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois

Stipends: Each participating teacher will receive a $200 stipend for participating in post-workshop evaluations.

“Reduce Aquatic Invasions through Student Stewardship”

What: In this workshop you will incorporate problem-based learning about invasive species; integrate content about aquatic invasive species in your science units through a creative website, Nab the Aquatic Invader! and involve your students in a community stewardship project.

Who: Teachers in grades 5-7 who are interested in enhancing existing curriculum, while involving students as agents for change to address this real-world issue. Limited to the first 20 registrants, so register soon!

When: February 4th, follows the “Teaching with Great Lakes Data” workshop, from 1:00-3:30 p.m.

Where: The Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois

Stipends: Each participating teacher has the option to receive an additional $200 stipend for creating an aquatic invasive species activity and facilitating a student stewardship project.

These workshops are funded by the National Science Foundation and NOAA-Sea Grant. Stipends are provided by COSEE Great Lakes. For more information or to register, contact Robin Goettel, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant associate director of education.


Still time to respond to new call for Lake Michigan research proposals

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute issue a joint call for proposals as these programs continue to address the most pressing data gaps for modeling the effect of aquatic invasive species (AIS) on Lake Michigan food webs. Important factors that drive Lake Michigan food webs include nutrient cycling, event responses, light gradient effects, temperature, circulation patterns, and more.

Collaborative proposals between Illinois, Indiana and/or Wisconsin-based researchers are preferred. Illinois and Indiana-based researchers should submit preproposals to Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant. Wisconsin-based partners should submit an identical preproposal to Wisconsin Sea Grant. Research is to be conducted in the 2012–2013 biennium. Up to $125,000 per year for two years will be available for funding the Illinois-Indiana portion of research projects. The funds requested by Illinois and Indiana researchers must be matched by at least one nonfederal dollar for every two federal dollars requested.

Preproposals are due January 24, 2011. For more information, see the RFP or contact Carolyn Foley, IISG assistant research coordinator.


In the news: NOAA: 2010 Tied For Warmest Year on Record

From the NOAA website:
According to NOAA scientists, 2010 tied with 2005 as the warmest year of the global surface temperature record, beginning in 1880. This was the 34th consecutive year with global temperatures above the 20th century average. For the contiguous United States alone, the 2010 average annual temperature was above normal, resulting in the 23rd warmest year on record. Read more.


New year brings rich fellowship opportunities

Graduate students in coastal and aquatic sciences that are looking for enriching experience that can open doors for the future may want to consider applying for one of five fellowship opportunities through Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant. But it's time to make your move because deadlines are just around the corner.

Here is a brief description of these fellowship opportunities. For more information, visit our Fellowship page or contact Angela Archer.

John A. Knauss Fellowship
The Knauss fellowship provides a unique educational experience to students who have an interest in ocean, costal and Great Lakes resources and in national policy decisions. The program matches highly qualified graduate students with "hosts" in the legislative and executive branches of government in the Washington, D.C. area for a one year paid fellowship.

Application deadline – February 18, 2011

National Marine Fisheries Service/Sea Grant Fellowship in Population Dynamics
Doctoral candidates interested in the population dynamics of living marine resources and the development and implementation of quantitative methods for assessing their status can receive up to three years of funding.

Application deadline – January 21, 2011

National Marine Fisheries Service/Sea Grant Fellowship in Marine Resource Economics
Doctoral students studying marine resource economics, concentrating on the conservation and management of living marine resources, can receive two years of funding.

Application deadline – January 21, 2011

Coastal Management Fellowship
This fellowship program matches postgraduate students with state coastal zone programs to work on projects proposed by the state and selected by the fellowship sponsor, the NOAA Coastal Services Center. This two-year opportunity offers a competitive salary, medical benefits, and travel and relocation expense reimbursement.

Application deadline – January 28, 2011

Great Lakes Commission/Sea Grant Fellowship
One fellow will work for one year with members of Great Lakes' science policy and information/education communities to advance the environmental quality and sustainable economic development goals of the Great Lakes states. The fellowship is located at the Great Lakes Commission office in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Application deadline – January 31, 2011


In the news: DNA water test for Asian carp endorsed

From the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel:
The cutting-edge "environmental" DNA sampling method that sparked a multistate lawsuit to force lock closures on the Chicago canal system has for the past year been dismissed by lock closure opponents as a junk tool. A big reason: The science behind it had never been peer-reviewed and published in a scientific journal.

That argument no longer holds water.

On Wednesday, the pioneers behind isolating DNA from water samples to confirm the presence of Asian carp in the Chicago canal system published their article in the peer-reviewed journal Conservation Letters. It asserts the survey tool is not only valid, but also that the risk of an Asian carp invasion of Lake Michigan is imminent. Read more.


IISG welcomes new pollution prevention specialist

IISG continues to expand its efforts to help prevent unwanted medicines from ending up in lakes, rivers and drinking water. To that end, Laura Kammin has joined IISG as a pollution prevention program specialist. Her work is focused on unwanted medicine disposal, reducing e-waste, and alternatives to burn barrels as well as other pollution prevention projects. Laura’s efforts will be directed at improving water and air quality, conserving natural resources, and protecting human health.

Before joining IISG, Laura worked for Prairie Rivers Network, a nonprofit that works to protect rivers and streams in Illinois. She has also held positions at the University of Illinois Office of Sustainability, University of Illinois Extension, and Illinois Natural History Survey. Laura received a B.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences and an M.S. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Illinois.

She is located in Urbana on the University of Illinois campus.