UW Sea Grant Institute encourages lake sustainability across Wisconsin

Sixteen new projects were funded by grants issued in early April

The University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute awarded its 2018-20 grants in early April with a goal to increase awareness of the importance of the Great Lakes to Wisconsin’s economy as well as the quality of life.

These projects vary from research regarding E. coli presence on beaches to encouraging aquaculture growth within the state. Research is being conducted on eight different UW campuses across the state, including UW.

The grants were awarded through a competition funded by the Sea Grant Institute. There were 16 new projects being funded as a result of this competition.

There are also three projects that are being continued, such as rsearch at UW involving green infrastructure effects on coastal catchments in urban areas. These projects are connected to the Sea Grant Institute by annual reports which are sent to the Institute, as well as interactions with the Sea Grant Institute’s communication department.

The new projects are more oriented to research regarding the Great Lakes region, as the Great Lakes play a key role in Wisconsin, Jen.

“The Great Lakes region [also] supports 1.5 million jobs,” Hauxwell said. “This is in the shipping, mining, manufacturing, fishing, tourism and agriculture sectors.”

While being focused on the Great Lakes region, many individuals in central Wisconsin will still see the benefits from this research, Hauxwell said.

Since the U.S. imports 90 percent of its seafood, Hauxwell said looking for ways to promote healthy, local seafood is one of the Sea Grant Institutes goals. This is something that can directly benefit central Wisconsin, as many of the aquaculture facilities are located inland, she added.

One of the funded studies at UW-Milwaukee is done in regards to E. coli presence on beaches, specifically the South Shore beach in Milwaukee.

This research is being headed by UW-Milwaukee professor Sandra McLellan. While this study is focusing on this Great Lake beach in particular, McLellan mentioned how the information learned can be extrapolated to other beaches around Wisconsin, and the South Shore beach can be used as an example.

With beach closures being an issue for tourism along the Great Lake region in Wisconsin, the research being done can help management think about their beaches and explore their options. With this in mind, South Shore beach can become a model beach for coastal beaches across the state, McLellan said.

The studies on the South Shore beach will be able to bring the consequences, whether positive or negative, of management decisions to light and allow people to make more informed decisions, McLellan said.

“Our goal is really to bridge science and policy,” McLellan said. “The more general citizens learn about the benefits of sustainability, beyond just the environment for the environment’s sake, I think they would be more willing to invest in or support those kinds of endeavors by the community.”


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