Thursday Concurrent Session 2
April 11, 2019 ~ 10:40 am-12:00 pm
Agenda subject to change.
*Two 40 minute presentations.
Water and Land Health: Thinking Like a Watershed 101
It’s often said that a waterbody’s health reflects the condition of its watershed. This session will cover the fundamental concepts underlying this important relationship between the land and the water. We’ll discuss the basics of what watersheds are, how we measure their condition, and how watershed activities influence the health of lakes and surrounding streams. You’ll learn why it is so important for lake advocates to take an interest in promoting healthy watersheds. We will also share some of the most prominent tools you can use to engage partners in your watershed to both protect and restore the landscapes that shape lakes and rivers.
Presenter: Rebecca Power, Director, North Central Regional Water Network
SEE THE VIDEO HERE (YouTube Link)
In-lake Ecology 101
Lake ecology is a fascinating discipline, with biology, chemistry and physics all playing a role in every lake. The plants in the shallow littoral zone are at the “root” of a healthy lake. Animals of all kinds, from fish to loons are favorite lake residents. Lake microorganisms perform all kinds of critical processes and are the invisible heroes of the lake. From AL (aluminum) to ZN (zinc), chemistry is elemental to a well-functioning lake. Lake physics, including fall and spring turnover and ice duration help define the annual rhythm of a lake. Altogether, lakes are dynamic ecosystems with many moving parts - all interacting to keep the lake humming. The more you know about your lake, the more you will appreciate it, so come and learn all about lake basics.
Presenter: Susan Knight, Interim Director, Trout Lake Station Center for Limnology
SEE THE VIDEO HERE (YouTube Link)
Membership capacity represents the fuel that feeds a lake organization. It is reflected in the number of members a group has, the funds and volunteer time it can attract for projects, and the general community awareness of lake issues. We’ll explore the different ways that lake groups can measure and grow membership capacity, including some ideas borrowed from other non-profits facing similar challenges. We will also brainstorm a new campaign that UW Extension Lakes and Wisconsin Lakes are planning to promote greater participation in lake association activities statewide.
Presenter: Eric Olson, Director, Extension Lakes
Finding the Stories in Nature
Stories are powerful tools for engagement, learning, and relating. But we don’t need to invent anything—nature has already done it for us. Scientists are busy translating. These stories can make natural phenomenon come alive for any audience!
During this session, Emily will share some of her favorite stories and photos, including readings from her Natural Connections books. Then, through a series of props, writing, and speaking exercises, participants will have a chance to practice finding and telling the stories in nature.
Presenter: Emily Stone, Naturalist/Education Director, Cable Natural History Museum
State Budget and Water Policy Update
With recent changes in the makeup of state government and new momentum to improve Wisconsin’s waters, this session will review the current state affairs of water policy in the legislature and Governor’s office. We’ll take a deep dive into the budget process, possibilities, and unique problems this year, as well as look at standalone legislation impacting Wisconsin’s waters. We’ll also discuss larger movements by the Wisconsin Legislature, Governor Evers, and how water and conservation groups are reacting to the many threats and opportunities presented in 2019.
Presenter: Mike Engleson, Director, Wisconsin Lakes
Biological and Social Responses to Walleye Recruitment Failure on Minocqua Chain, Wisconsin
The Minocqua Chain is a 5,800-acre lake chain in northern Wisconsin. Walleye historically exhibited above-average adult densities with excellent size structure, despite weak to moderate levels of recruitment. Natural recruitment of walleye declined dramatically after the early 2000s, and size- and age-structure became skewed towards larger, older individuals. A strong public push to rehabilitate the fishery brought together biologists, tribal interests, anglers, fishing clubs and local businesses. These groups brought diverse perceptions to the table. The public effort resulted in local acceptance of much stricter measures than agency biologists originally proposed, including five years of no tribal walleye harvest coupled with catch-and-release angling regulations. Stocking of extended-growth walleye and liberalized bass harvest regulations were also implemented. Initial responses of the fishery to these measures are positive, but significant natural reproduction has not yet returned.
Presenter: John Kubisiak, Fisheries Biologist and Team Supervisor, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Predation Cues Increase the Growth Rate of Yellow Perch
Predation has been shown to change the body conformation of prey fish but to our knowledge this is the first study to demonstrate that predators can increase the overall growth rate of an important aquaculture species. Water-soluble factors associated with walleye (Sander vitreus) predation on either yellow perch (Perca flavescens) or fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) significantly increased the mass and growth rates of P. flavescens. The findings suggest that P. flavescens possess an inducible growth-promoting mechanism regulated by water-born chemicals and could have important practical implications for the developing P. flavescens aquaculture industry, which is constrained by the relatively slow growth rate of this species in culture.
Presenter: Paul Hoppe, Ph.D. Student, UW-Madison
Effects of Whole-lake Bass and Sunfish Removal on Walleye in a North Temperate Lake
Walleye, a cool-adapted piscivorous species, have experienced abundance declines in northern Wisconsin over the past decade, but the cause is not understood. Multiple factors have been proposed as explanations for these declines, including rising lake temperatures, habitat degradation, harvest, and species interactions. Others have documented the rise of warm-adapted fish species, such as basses and sunfishes (i.e., centrarchids), indicating that competition and/or predation may be contributing to declines in cool-adapted species. To investigate these interspecies relationships, we are conducting a whole-lake manipulation to remove as many centrarchids as possible from an experimental lake in northern Wisconsin while measuring the response of walleye. A reference lake nearby is also being monitored. This project began with baseline monitoring of both lakes in 2017, fish removals in 2018, and will continue until 2021. This research will be used to establish an understanding of the conditions necessary to foster self-sustaining walleye populations.
Presenter: Holly Embke, Ph.D. Student, Center for Limnology, UW-Madison
*Two 40-minute presentations.
Wisconsin Bumble Bee Brigade: A New Statewide Monitoring Project
The Wisconsin Bumble Bee Brigade is the DNR’s newest citizen-based monitoring project. We’re partnering with the public to improve our understanding, management, and conservation of Wisconsin’s 20 native bumble bee species, many of which are in decline. Volunteers can participate by submitting incidental observations or conducting surveys. By working with volunteers throughout the state, we’ll be paying it forward to develop an accurate map of species distributions, identify species-habitat associations, monitor population trends over time, and more! In 2018, we piloted the program by training over 80 volunteers to identify, photograph, and report our native bumble bees. We’ll report the results of our first year and share how you can get involved when the project fully rolls out in 2019.
Presenter: Jay Watson, Terrestrial Invertebrate Ecologist & Pollinator Conservation Coordinator, Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Mussel Bioblitz: Let's See What's In Your Lake
Our native mussels are important to water quality and lake ecology. A “Mussel Blitz” was recently conducted in the Three Lakes/Eagle River Chain in Oneida and Vilas Counties by citizen volunteers and Department of Natural Resources mussel biologists in order to determine where our native mussel species occur. In 2014, a new Wisconsin mussel species was discovered in Medicine Lake, the Eastern Pondmussel. Volunteers waded and snorkeled in the shallow lake edges and helped confirm the Eastern Pondmussel, as well as 10 other species, in four new lakes. We encourage anyone living on lakes to look for Eastern Pondmussels, and other mussel species, and report them to the Mussel Monitoring Program.
Lisie Kitchel, Aquatic Ecologist, Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Jesse Weinzinger, Conservation Biologist, Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources