Variable fellowship brings learning and results for all involved

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In the roughly six months she has been the 2023 Water Science Policy Fellow, Sarah Gravlee’s throughline has been science, in many forms. It’s been her head-down task to complete a literature review of the hurdles facing public water systems. Gravlee’s been checking for lead water-service lines to a location where someone has applied for day care certification. She’s been fielding phone calls from people across Wisconsin with questions about contaminants in their private wells. There was also the meth house. [caption id="attachment_4057" align="alignleft" width="300"] Fellow Sarah Gravlee is connecting Wisconsin residents with information about water.[/caption] “I joined one of our toxicologists in the field a few months ago,” Gravlee said. “We went to a home where someone used to smoke meth. We tested it to ensure it was safe…
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Groundwater on the rocks: WRI-funded research will map naturally occurring contaminants in public wells across Wisconsin

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Pumped from the vast layers of bedrock beneath our feet, groundwater is the source of drinking water for two-thirds of people living in Wisconsin. According to geochemist Matt Ginder-Vogel, what’s in that water is largely influenced by what’s in the rock. [caption id="attachment_3949" align="alignright" width="175"] Matt Ginder-Vogel is researching geogenic contaminants in public wells across Wisconsin. Photo credit: UW–Madison Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering[/caption] “Groundwater is not a lake underneath the ground. It’s water that’s in tiny pore spaces in the rock,” said Ginder-Vogel, an associate professor in the UW–Madison Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “So, it really interacts with the rocks around it.” Under the right conditions, this interaction can cause naturally occurring or “geogenic” contaminants—like radium, arsenic, uranium and manganese—to leach from bedrock into groundwater. Just…
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“Skill, tenacity, humility and compassion”: Jim Hurley, director of the Aquatic Sciences Center, to retire

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After 11 years as the director of the University of Wisconsin–Madison Aquatic Sciences Center, Jim Hurley will retire on Oct. 13. [caption id="attachment_3855" align="alignright" width="332"] Jim Hurley, director of the Aquatic Sciences Center. Photo credit: Wisconsin Sea Grant[/caption] Hurley oversees both the Water Resources Institute and Wisconsin Sea Grant, two federal-state partnership programs that support research, education and outreach for the protection and sustainable use of Wisconsin’s water resources. Under his leadership, both programs have addressed some of Wisconsin’s most pressing water issues—PFAS in drinking water, rising levels of radium in groundwater, coastal erosion, flooding and so much more—and provided research opportunities for the next generation of water professionals. Jon Pennock, director of the National Sea Grant College Program, said Hurley’s leadership is one reason why Wisconsin Sea Grant is…
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Summer loving and the research is fine

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When summer stretches before many college undergraduates, they make plans: Spend time outdoors. Connect with friends. Catch up on screen time. For the 31 undergraduates participating in the 2023 Freshwater@UW Summer Research Scholars Program, those plans are the same, with slight alterations. The time outdoors is likely to be spent collecting field samples from a body of water. The friends are new ones—made from the pool of program participants who hail from California to Alabama from Virginia to Wisconsin, and points in between. The screen time isn’t about beating The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, but instead entering findings into a larger dataset to further aquatic science projects. “I looked at many summer REU (research experiences for undergraduates) opportunities,” Sofia Mota Chichy, chemistry major from the University of…
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Summer loving and the research is fine

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When summer stretches before many college undergraduates, they make plans: Spend time outdoors. Connect with friends. Catch up on screen time. For the 31 undergraduates participating in the 2023 Freshwater@UW Summer Research Scholars Program, those plans are the same, with slight alterations. The time outdoors is likely to be spent collecting field samples from a body of water. The friends are new ones—made from the pool of program participants who hail from California to Alabama from Virginia to Wisconsin, and points in between. The screen time isn’t about beating The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, but instead entering findings into a larger dataset to further aquatic science projects. “I looked at many summer REU (research experiences for undergraduates) opportunities,” Sofia Mota Chichy, chemistry major from the University of…
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Aquatic invasive species are short-circuiting benefits from mercury reduction in the Great Lakes

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Nov. 4, 2019 by Moira Harrington According to a new study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 40 years of reduced mercury use, emissions, and loading in the Great Lakes region have largely not produced equivalent declines in the amount of mercury accumulating in large game fish. Researchers, including those from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, say it’s this is due to aquatic invasive species in Lake Michigan — quagga and zebra mussels — that have upended the food web and forced fish to seek atypical food sources enriched in mercury. Mercury, or methylmercury as it exists in fish, is a neurotoxin that can cause damage to the nervous system if consumed by people or animals. The study has consequences for health officials and natural resource…
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New Podcast Series Highlights Wisconsin Water News

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By Marie Zhuikov Wisconsin is a state shaped by water. From its western border defined by the Mississippi River to two of the five lakes that make up the world’s largest freshwater system to its north and east, the state is awash in this valuable commodity. The interior is defined by more than 15,000 lakes scattered across counties both rural and urban, more than 5 million acres of wetlands, more than 84,000 miles rivers and streams and 1.2 quadrillion gallons of groundwater. Two Wisconsin programs provide a statewide and multidisciplinary approach to supporting livelihoods and enhancing lifestyles through the research of, education about and outreach focused on those waters. These programs are the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute (Sea Grant) and the University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute at…
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So You Want To Be a Fish Farmer

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This episode provides information and useful tips for anyone interested in getting into the promising field of freshwater aquaculture and aquaponics. Experienced experts share their insights on how to successfully launch an aquacultural venture of your own.
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