PROJ EC TS R E P O RT 2019 – 2022
FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR In Wisconsin, we benefit from an abundance of water that is central to the health of our planet and all beings on it. We at the Freshwater Collaborative are committed to ensuring that our state has talented professionals who are trained to understand and work with water and thereby can address the challenges facing water. As a researcher who was born and raised in Wisconsin — and has worked on water initiatives throughout the world — it has been a thrill to see what began as a bold idea become a robust statewide initiative that taps into the power of the University of Wisconsin System’s 13 universities to train our future workforce. Startup funding for the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin was provided in 2019 by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and UW System. The programming goals were to build awareness of the Freshwater Collaborative and provide initial support for research, student training and workforce development grants. Startup funds allowed the Freshwater Collaborative to fund 31 projects, hire an executive director and marketing manager, and develop a website to share information with stakeholders. In July 2021, the Wisconsin State Legislature and Gov. Tony Evers approved $5 million in the biennial budget (July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2023) to expand the Freshwater Collaborative’s ability to train water professionals and establish Wisconsin as a leader in water-related science and economic growth. The Joint Finance Committee unanimously approved the release of those funds on Feb. 9, 2022. The Freshwater Collaborative released two requests for proposals in 2022, which focused on four areas: curriculum development, student experiences, collaborative research and career development. The resulting proposals offered innovative ideas that would increase hands-on training for undergraduate students, address the 10 Grand Water Challenges and increase collaborations among UW students and faculty and external partners. Based on feedback from our grant review committee, we funded 49 projects that include new freshwater courses to fill gaps in curriculum, field experiences to help recruit high school students, the development of multiinstitution research programs and enhanced internship programs that will prepare students for the workplace. I would like to thank the governor and the state legislature, UW System, WEDC, and the faculty and staff at the 13 UW universities for investing in Wisconsin’s water future and entrusting us to build a collaborative network that will advance our state’s position as a leader in water education, research and workforce development. Best, Marissa Jablonski Executive Director 1
VISION The Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin applies the power of the 13 University of Wisconsin institutions and the Wisconsin Idea to lead the global community in addressing freshwater challenges. The mission of the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin is to: •
Create knowledge to solve freshwater challenges through collaborative research across academia in fields such as natural and applied sciences, engineering, economics, social sciences, arts, humanities and policy;
Recruit and develop talented professionals across all freshwater disciplines through intentional structuring of curriculum, training and workplace experiences; and
Improve the well-being of natural ecosystems and all people by applying research and training to engage and serve communities and solve freshwater challenges.
UW Collaborations Across the State The Freshwater Collaborative works with 13 universities across 26 campuses. This map shows which universities are working together on projects.
Key Universities Branch Campuses Partnership Projects UW-Stout UW-Eau Claire
UW-Stevens Point UW Oshkosh UW-La Crosse
UWMadison UW-Parkside UW-Whitewater
VISION AND FUNDING
FUNDING SUMMARY Since its inception, the Freshwater Collaborative has funded 80 proposals that include collaborations across academic disciplines and departments, campuses and institutions. Participating Institutions The chart below indicates the number of UW institutions involved in each project. In addition to collaborations among UW schools, many projects involve multiple departments within a campus and/or external partnerships with businesses, government agencies, nonprofits and communities.
Involves Five Institutions
Involve Three Institutions
Involve One Institution
Involve Four Institutions
Involve Two Institutions
Involves Six+ Institutions
Number of Projects Funded at Each University
UW-Eau Claire: 12
UW-Green Bay: 13
UW-La Crosse: 12
UW Oshkosh: 13
UW-River Falls: 15
UW-Stevens Point: 5
COLLABORATING INSTITUTIONS AND AGENCIES One of the goals of the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin is to promote and facilitate collaborations among UW System faculty, researchers and students and external industry partners, governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations and communities. Below is a list of organizations that are participating in or connected to the Freshwater Collaborative-funded projects. Please note, this may not be a comprehensive list as UW institutions continue to grow their partnerships on an ongoing basis. Aldo Leopold Community School
City of Oshkosh
Fence Lake Association
Alliance for the Great Lakes
City of Racine Health Department
Fifth Ward Brewing Company
Anvil Lake Association
Coastal Municipalities • Algoma • Green Bay • Kenosha • Kewaunee • Manitowoc • Milwaukee • Port Washington • Racine • Sheboygan • Two Rivers
Florence County Health Department
A.O. Smith Corporation Ashland County Health Department Atlas Science Center Baileys Harbor Wastewater Treatment Plant Baileys Harbor Ridges Sanctuary Lake Organizations Bayfield County Health Department
College of Menominee Nation
Fond du Lac County Health Department Food Safety Workshop Forest Lake Preservation District Forest to Brook Found Lake Property Owners Association Fox Wolf Watershed Alliance Great Northern Corporation
Big Arbor Vitae Lake Association
Country Water Works
Big Portage Lake Riparian Owners Association
Crossroads at Big Creek
Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District
Crystal Lake Association
Harbor District Inc.
Big Sand Lake Association Big St. Germain Area Lakes District
Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
Howard-Suamico Weyawega High School
Butternut-Franklin Lake Association
De Pere High School
Ice Age Trail Alliance
Buffalo County Health Department
Door County Health Department
Indigenous Peoples Task Force (Ikidowin)
C. Sweeting Plumbing
Dubuque River Museum & Aquarium
C.H. Koch Plumbing & Heating LLC
Eagle Lake Management District
Egg Harbor Marina
J. Rasmussen Plumbing
Chippewa Valley Bean
Effigy Mounds National Monument
Kentuck Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District
Kewaunee County Health Department
Cisco Chain Riparian Owners Association City of La Crosse
The Farmory Inc.
Iron County Health Department
COLL ABOR ATING INSTITUTIONS AND AGENCIES
Kinni Corridor Collaborative
MP Kelly Plumbing
St. Croix Watershed Stewards
Kinnickinnic River Land Trust
Kurt Zentner & Sons Inc.
Nelson Deer Farm/Rush Canyon Ranch
La Crosse Queen Cruises
Tomahawk Boy Scout Camp
Lafayette County Health Department
NOAA National Marine Sanctuary
Town of Boulder Junction
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Town of Gays Mills
Lake Lorraine, Wis., Community Members
Nohr Chapter of Trout Unlimited
Taylor County Health Department
Town of Plum Lake Trout Unlimited
Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve
NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School)
Lancaster Public Library Lincoln County Health Department
North & South Twin Lakes Protection & Rehabilitation District
Little Arbor Vitae Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District
Oneida County Health Department
Vernon County Health Department
Little St. Germain Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District
Parker Lake Association
Vilas County Health Department
Walter Plumbing LLC
Racine County Public Health Division
Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department
Lost Lake Protection & Rehabilitation District
Water Quality Investigations
Red Smith Middle School
Watertech of America
The Renaissance Academy
Maiden Voyage Tours
Riveredge Nature Center
Waupaca County Public Health Department
Manitowoc County Health Department
Rock River Partnership
Root River Environmental Education Community Center
White Sand Lake, Lac du Flambeau
Winnebago Mental Health Institute
Merten Plumbing and Heating Michigan Tech
Sawyer County Health & Human Services
Winnebago County Health Department
Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District
Smoky Lake Preservation Association
Milwaukee Public Museum
South Bay Marina
Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC)
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources • Drinking Water & Groundwater • Great Waters • Water Quality
Long Lake of Phelps Lake District
Mishicot High School Monroe County Health Department
Southeastern Wisconsin Watershed Trust
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers U.S. Geological Survey Urban Ecology Center Veolia
Wisconsin Historical Society Wisconsin Sea Grant Wood County Health Department 5
PROJECTS SUPPORTED THROUGH FUNDING FROM:
The UW System and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation The Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin began administering funds to foster collaborations in 2019, using seed funding from UW System for grants and from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation for administrative and marketing support. A total of 31 initial projects were funded to support collaborative research, course development and undergraduate training. A number of these projects were expanded with state legislative support in 2022.
A Community Science Analysis of River Mouths Along the Western Lake Michigan Shoreline Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institution: UW-Green Bay Principal Investigator(s): Erin Giese, Robert Howe, Keir Wefferling This project will leverage an existing collaboration between the Milwaukee Public Museum and the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity to engage community scientists in data collection. An undergraduate researcher will be paired with mentors who specialize in ornithology and ecology and will engage campus communities at UW-Green Bay and UW-Milwaukee in collecting rigorous scientific data that will be used to provide recommendations for best land management practices of coastal habitats, including Great Lakes beaches and river mouths.
A Freshwater Science Summer Field Experience in Western Wisconsin Funding Category: Course Development, Student Experience Institutions: UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls, UW-Stout, UW Oshkosh Principal Investigator(s): J. Brian Mahoney The weeklong Freshwater Science Field Experience is designed as a field intensive, hands-on learning opportunity that will utilize multidisciplinary research activities in western Wisconsin to introduce participants to a wide range of freshwater science topics. It will target junior and senior high school students from across Wisconsin, creating a gateway for recruiting prospective undergraduate students interested in freshwater science. The second objective is to develop a certificate in Freshwater Science, which will be a multi-institution, interdisciplinary educational initiative that will provide specialized training in freshwater science and complement a wide range of undergraduate degrees.
An Evaluation of Phosphorus Loading Through Lacustrine Groundwater Discharge in Lake Altoona, Eau Claire County, WI Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institutions: UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls Principal Investigator(s): Sarah Vitale Phosphorus loading in Wisconsin is responsible for significant lake eutrophication, causing a loss of recreational tourism, reducing commercial fisheries and decreasing biodiversity. Researchers will evaluate the role of nutrient loading through lacustrine groundwater discharge in Lake Altoona in Eau Claire County and identify probable sources of phosphorus to that hydrologic system. A UW-Eau Claire undergraduate student will participate in all phases of the project, including field data collection, laboratory analyses, data compilation and results dissemination. This project complements ongoing investigations at UW-Eau Claire in collaboration with UW-River Falls and the USGS Upper Midwest Water Science Center.
API: International Collaborative Communities Virtual Lab Funding Category: Student Experience Institution: UW-La Crosse Principal Investigator(s): Karolyn Bald UW-La Crosse and its education abroad provider, API, will offer a virtual local and global community engagement opportunity/training program that addresses the Grand Water Challenges. Students will work collaboratively with team members from different international and domestic backgrounds to explore the basics of making changes, to recognize areas of challenge in the community and globally, and to produce a feasible action plan based on those challenges. Each project will support a local area’s need/issue through an international lens based on one of the 10 Grant Water Challenges.
Comparative Wisconsin Freshwater Mussel Assessment: An Undergraduate Research Initiative Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institutions: UW-Madison, UW-Platteville Principal Investigator(s): Gretchen Gerrish, Rebecca Doyle-Morin Freshwater mussel research is a rapidly emerging field due to their importance to water quality, their role as ecosystem health indicators and their threatened status. This project will train two undergraduate students in freshwater mussel conservation work and provide hands-on research opportunities to two graduate students. Students will engage with state agencies and in outreach that will raise mussel and water quality awareness in Wisconsin and highlight important work being conducted by Wisconsin’s state universities and agencies. This research will also provide the foundation for an international research exchange program between UWPlatteville and Murdoch University in Australia.
Computational Modeling for the Response of Dry Bean Yield to Irrigation Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institution: UW-Stout Principal Investigator(s): Keith Wojciechowski, Tyler Skorczewski Funding will allow an undergraduate student to work with a small research team to calibrate a simulation model for managing agricultural water resources for growing dry beans in certain soil types. The desired outcome of this research is a data-driven mathematical model that will make up the code that will be translated into a mobile or online app for usage in the field or office. This app will help agronomists and their growers make smart decisions about when and how much to water their crops.
Creating an Institutional Infrastructure for a Communication Hub to Support a UW System-wide Water Policy Network Funding Category: Infrastructure Institutions: UW-Eau Claire, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Stout Principal Investigator(s): Laura Suppes, Melissa Scanlan, Zach Raff This project provides long-term, institutional infrastructure for a communication hub to create a Water Policy Network of faculty, researchers and students who connect and collaborate on water policy issues across the UW System. The Center for Water Policy will convene regular virtual meetings of the Water Policy Network. The communication hub will support relationship-building across UW System, collaboration on research proposals and the development of water policy curriculum. It will also serve as a one-stop shop for government agencies, the private sector, NGOs, media and other stakeholders who would like to identify water policy collaborators and experts.
Creating and Characterizing a Zebrafish Knockout Line for Studying Methylmercury Metabolism Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institutions: UW-Eau Claire, UW-Milwaukee Principal Investigator(s): Brad Carter, Michael Carvan This project will investigate the developmental effects of methylmercury, an environmental pollutant found in the freshwater resources of Wisconsin and the Great Lakes region. With faculty guidance, an undergraduate student will create and characterize a zebrafish knockout line for a gene associated with the biology of methylmercury. Understanding gene interactions will enable improved guidelines for food consumption related to methylmercury, particularly for children and pregnant women. Data may also inform future research into other contaminants associated with Wisconsin’s freshwater resources.
Developing an Introduction to Freshwater Undergraduate Course Funding Category: Course Development Institutions: UW-La Crosse, UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, UW Oshkosh, UW-Parkside Principal Investigator(s): Tracy Boyer Faculty from five UW System institutions will develop an Introduction to Freshwater course to be offered on their campuses. This course will be the foundational introductory science‐based course that will underpin the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin undergraduate curricula. It will be built around a series of carefully curated case studies that will span the breadth of freshwater science and its relevance to ecosystems and society. The course will ultimately be made available to students at all UW campuses.
Developing an Easy-to-Apply, Integrated Approach to Modeling Freshwater Contamination from Farm Runoff Using Only Commercial Drones, Cameras and Software Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institution: UW-Stout Principal Investigator(s): Abhimanyu Ghosh, Abhishek Verma This grant will provide additional funding to enhance student research experience, as part of a previously funded project that will use a commercial unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV/drone) and camera to collect flow data over large farm fields, and a commercial software to investigate flow patterns and predict contaminant spread. The goal is to develop an easy-to-apply process for users with minimal technical knowledge about drones or flow simulation. This study could help farm communities, industrial farms and state agencies dealing with Wisconsin’s natural resources make informed decisions toward protecting freshwater bodies.
Development of a Cross-Campus Certificate in Freshwater Studies Funding Category: Course Development Institutions: UW Oshkosh, UW-Stout Principal Investigator(s): Greg Kleinheinz, Keith Gilland, Amanda Little Faculty will develop a collaborative certificate in Surface Water Studies through UW‐Stout and UW Oshkosh with eventual course enrollment open to students at any participating UW campus. This three‐course, nine‐credit certificate will include an introductory online course in surface water resources and two summer field courses taught in surface water resources and environmental monitoring. This proposal builds on an existing course already approved at UW Oshkosh, while leveraging unique field study opportunities near each campus. This certificate will be open to all UW students to augment the majors on their home campuses.
Effects of a Mixture of Two Neonicotinoid Insecticides on Reproduction of Ceriodaphnia dubia Water Fleas and Growth of Gammarus pseudolimnaeus Amphipods Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institution: UW-Whitewater Principal Investigator(s): Elisabeth Harrahy Neonicotinoid insecticides are widely used in agriculture, and studies have shown that some aquatic invertebrates can be sensitive to them. In agricultural areas, mixtures of neonicotinoids are frequently detected in surface waters; however, very few studies have examined the effects of more than one neonicotinoid at a time. The project will provide for an undergraduate student who will work on toxicology tests to determine the effects of a mixture of two neonicotinoids on two aquatic organisms. Her data will be added to a larger collaborative project with UW-La Crosse and UW-Madison and summarized in a report to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
Effects of a Mixture of Two Neonicotinoid Insecticides on Survival and Growth of Gammarus pseudolimnaeus Amphipods Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institutions: UW-Whitewater Principal Investigator(s): Elisabeth Harrahy Neonicotinoid pesticides are often applied as a coating to crop seeds, but studies have shown that some aquatic invertebrates can be sensitive to neonicotinoids. This project will leverage collaborative research with faculty at UW-La Crosse into the effects of thiamethoxam and imidacloprid on aquatic invertebrates. The project will provide funding to hire an undergraduate student who will work on toxicology tests to determine the effects of imidacloprid on survival and growth of the G. pseudolimnaeus, which serves as food for fish and is an important organism in lakes and streams throughout Wisconsin.
Environmental and Health Effects of Water Pollution: A Transformative Experience for Undergraduates Funding Category: Course Development Institutions: UW-La Crosse, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Whitewater Principal Investigator(s): Tisha King-Heiden, Michael Carvan, Elisabeth Harrahy Faculty will develop a two-course series focused on water pollution and its effects on environmental and human health, including an online, two-credit, introductory-level course and a three-credit field and lab course. Students will learn about major contaminant classes and methods for testing contaminant toxicity with a focus on agricultural water management and wastewater treatment. They will also learn how environmental legislation relates to waterquality criteria, Superfund sites, and mitigation and restoration of contaminated sites. Any UW System student will have access to the online lecture course, and students in the lab course will be provided hands-on experiences and the opportunity to meet with people who work in government, consulting or at a state lab. 11
Establishing a Network for Cross-Campus Courses at the Nexus of Agriculture and Water Funding Category: Course Development, Student Experience Institutions: UW-Green Bay, UW-Madison, UW-Stevens Point Principal Investigator(s): Kevin Fermanich This initiative will build a cross-campus network of UW System faculty to develop online course modules and field experiences at the intersection of agriculture and water resources. The initiative will leverage the regional variations in Wisconsin agriculture and the specializations of faculty on different UW campuses. Activities will provide a solid basis for broader collaboration to develop expanded opportunities for undergraduates at the nexus of agriculture and water.
Establishing a Network for Cross-Campus Courses at the Nexus of Agriculture and Water Institution: UW-Platteville Funding Category: Student Experience Principal Investigator(s): Joseph Sanford This grant provides funding for UW-Platteville students to participate in the primary project, which is led by UW-Green Bay.
Evaluation of Filter Media for Phosphorus Removal in Agricultural Runoff Treatment Systems Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institutions: UW-Green Bay, UW-Madison Principal Investigator(s): Michael Holly Edge of field treatments are required within the Great Lakes watershed to treat agricultural runoff and improve water quality. Agricultural runoff treatment systems — including constructed wetlands and sedimentation basins — reduce suspended sediment; however, additional technologies are required to further remove phosphorus. Student and faculty researchers will evaluate natural and industrial byproducts for their ability to absorb phosphorus. Results will be used by communities and conservation groups to facilitate selection and design of low-cost systems for treatment of field runoff receiving manure.
Evaluation of Filter Media Sorption Kinetics and Flow Through Performance for Phosphorus Removal in Agricultural Runoff Treatment Systems Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institutions: UW-Green Bay, UW-Platteville Principal Investigator(s): Joseph Sanford Agricultural runoff often contains concentrations of phosphorus that can result in water quality issues, such as algal blooms. Sediment basins, constructed wetlands and buffer strips are often used to reduce phosphorus; however, more effective practices are needed to further reduce concentrations. This research will investigate sorption capacities of different media. Undergraduate researchers will assess modified manure solids and corn stover biochar as alternative media. Researchers will use results to obtain funding to develop field scale pilot systems that would provide UW campuses, communities and conservation groups with low-cost treatment systems for reducing phosphorus from agricultural runoff. 12
Examining the Neurobehavioral Toxicity of Mixtures of Two Neonicotinoid Pesticides in Fathead Minnow Larvae Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institutions: UW-La Crosse Principal Investigator(s): Tisha King-Heiden Neonicotinoid pesticides are an emerging contaminant of concern. Fish are not likely to show overt toxic responses following exposure to these pesticides; however, the researcher’s previous work has shown that acute exposure to thiamethoxam can stimulate embryonic motor activity in fish embryos and that in fathead minnow chronic exposure reduces survival and hatching success and delays the predatory escape response. This project supported an undergraduate student who helped to reestablish the university’s fish culture following COVID shutdown and evaluated the effects of acute exposure to thiamethoxam and imidacloprid. Students in the lab also had the opportunity to job shadow at Davy Laboratories.
Examining the Neurobehavioral Toxicity of the Emerging Contaminant Imidacloprid Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institutions: UW-La Crosse Principal Investigator(s): Tisha King-Heiden Neonicotinoid pesticides make up 90 percent of agricultural pesticide use nationally. A growing body of evidence suggests that exposure may adversely affect aquatic invertebrates and fish. This project will leverage collaborative work with faculty at UW-Whitewater into the toxicity of thiamethoxam and imidacloprid and will develop collaborative efforts with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientists. It will also provide funding for an undergraduate student who will receive research experience and develop workforce skills. Results may be useful in implementing use restrictions and developing surface water quality criteria to protect fish and aquatic life.
Future Water Leaders Fund Student Pilot Program Funding Category: Student Experience Institution: UW-Milwaukee Principal Investigator(s): Sandra McLellan UW-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences will partner with The Water Council to expand the Future Water Leaders Pilot Program. This program will enable students to add tactical, in-field experience to their academic pursuits and actualize ideas that can be built and demonstrated to positively impact the Grand Water Challenges in Wisconsin. The Water Council promotes innovation and discovery in Wisconsin’s water community, and this program gives students an opportunity for high visibility for their projects within the business and stakeholder community, helping to create a pipeline to jobs.
Groundwater-Forest Interactions as Guide for Artificial Groundwater Recharge Strategies to Support Agricultural and Ecosystems in the Central Sands Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institutions: UW-Madison, UW-Platteville Principal Investigator(s): Steven Loheide, Evan R. Larson, Chris Kucharik Food, forests and fisheries rely on groundwater in the Central Sands region. Extracting groundwater for irrigation has protected against drought and increased crop production, leading to a vibrant potato and vegetable industry. However, continued extraction has depleted groundwater reserves and threatens agriculture, forests, tourism and environmental systems. Research results will determine the extent to which groundwater depletion has reduced forest productivity in the region. Faculty and student researchers will evaluate the feasibility for managing the impacts of agricultural groundwater withdrawals using managed artificial aquifer recharge, which artificially recharges aquifers in a controlled condition to store water for later use.
How Does the Function of Lake Superior’s Littoral Zone Change in the Presence of Rock Snot, an Ecologically Disruptive Diatom? Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institution: UW Oshkosh Principal Investigator(s): Robert Pillsbury, Sabrina Mueller-Spitz Invasive species have plagued the Great Lakes since the European settlement, and blooms of rock snot (Didymosphenia geminata) are occurring more frequently along its pristine shores and tributaries. Researchers will quantify the changes in the bacterial community and begin to understand the extent and change of function. They will use samples appropriate to answer these questions that were collected and preserved from a previously funded grant (a collaborative effort between the Minnesota Science Museum and UW Oshkosh).
Land Application and the Occurrence, Fate and Mitigation of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances and Nitrate Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institutions: UW-Green Bay, UW-Madison, UW-Platteville, UW-Stevens Point Principal Investigator(s): Michael Holly In Wisconsin, land application is typically the most cost-effective and common practice for handling biosolids, the semi-solid residual of wastewater treatment. However, groundwater contamination is a potential risk. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a suspected hazardous chemical present in numerous household products and used in manufacturing, aren’t included in biosolids land application regulations. This research will help predict future PFAS groundwater contamination, generate future guidelines to protect groundwater wells from PFAS, identify Wisconsin groundwater sources at risk, and evaluate a low-cost treatment (biochar produced from agricultural waste) to minimize PFAS and nitrate leaching. Undergraduates will be trained in methods for measuring the fate and transport of contaminants that affect water quality.
Leachability and Plant-Availability of Phosphorus Sorbed to Agricultural Runoff Filter Media Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institutions: UW-Green Bay, UW-Milwaukee Principal Investigator(s): Michael Holly Agricultural runoff treatment systems, including sedimentation basins and filter media, are an edge-of-field practice that reduce nutrient inputs, such as phosphorus, to the surface waters of Wisconsin. Evaluation of filter media consisting of natural and engineered materials is ongoing, however, analysis is needed to determine sustainable end-of-life options that would keep phosphorus and other metals from leaching into the environment. Researchers will investigate the physio-chemical characteristics, desorption, plant availability, reusability and leaching potential of filter media to determine long-term treatment potential. Results will help communities and conservation groups select sustainable filter media for treatment of runoff from manured fields.
Micro- and Nanoplastics as Vectors for the Transport of Organic Contaminants in Freshwater Environments: Influence of Natural Organic Matter and Plastic Weathering Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institutions: UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee Principal Investigator(s): Joel Pedersen, Laodong Guo Microplastics have been widely documented in fish, air and natural waters, and have been found in drinking water, sewage, soil and sediment. Nanoplastics have been shown to be even more toxic to organisms and could serve as vectors for transporting emerging contaminants and other organic pollutants into freshwater ecosystems. Researchers examined the interactions between these toxic plastics and selected organic contaminants to determine how natural organic matter affects how they break down in freshwater environments. This project trained four undergraduate students, fostered collaborative freshwater research between UWMilwaukee and UW-Madison and produced baseline data that led to a grant from the National Science Foundation.
Microplastics – A Multidisciplinary Approach to Understanding Sources, Transport, Adsorption of POPs, and Fate in St. Louis River Estuary and Western Lake Superior Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institutions: UW-Eau Claire, UW-Madison, UW-Superior Principal Investigator(s): Nimish Pujara, Lorena Rios Mendoza, Todd Wellnitz, Dustin Haines Microplastic are an emerging aquatic pollutant. Faculty, five undergraduates and one graduate student will examine microplastics in the environment and in digestive tracks of aquatic organisms living in western Lake Superior and the St. Louis River Estuary to gain a clearer picture of the potential harm these particles can cause to the local water quality, food webs and human populations. Undergraduates from UW-Eau Claire will also collaborate with area high school teachers to develop a lesson plan about microplastics, and undergraduates from all three institutions will collaborate with staff from Duluth’s Great Lakes Aquarium to create an interactive exhibit to teach the public about microplastics in the St. Louis River Estuary and Lake Superior.
Microplastics in the Lake Winnebago and Upper Mississippi River Systems and the Implications for Food Webs and Water Treatment Infrastructure Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institutions: UW-La Crosse, UW Oshkosh Principal Investigator(s): Robert Stelzer, Eric Strauss, Greg Kleinheinz Microplastic contamination poses a water-quality safety issue and is an emerging contaminant of importance for many stakeholders in Wisconsin. Researchers will collaborate with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Upper Mississippi River Restoration Long Term Resource Monitoring Group to determine the quantity and types of microplastics in the Lake Winnebago System and the Upper Mississippi River. Results will inform advanced research that will help identify how environmentally realistic concentrations of microplastics impact freshwater food webs, human health and water treatment infrastructure. Several students will receive training in freshwater research and participate in team-building opportunities and cross-visits between universities that will prepare them for advanced degrees and jobs in the water sector.
Mitigating Eutrophication Events: Understanding Controls on Phosphorus Contamination in Surface Water and Groundwater in Western Wisconsin Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institutions: UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls Principal Investigator(s): Sarah Vitale, Brian Mahoney, Holly Dolliver Phosphorus loading in Wisconsin is responsible for significant lake eutrophication, causing a loss of recreational tourism, reducing commercial fisheries and decreasing biodiversity. UW faculty and five undergraduate students will collaborate with the USGS Upper Midwest Water Science Center to investigate phosphorus migration in the hydrologic system and the potential impact of nutrient-loading through groundwater discharge on lake eutrophication. Findings may better inform sustainable management of lakes. Interested stakeholders include regulatory agencies, scientific organizations, environmental groups, the agricultural and silica sand mining industries, and communities across the state of Wisconsin and the upper Midwest impacted by phosphorusdriven eutrophication.
Surface and Well Water Field Sampling and Lab Analysis Experience Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institution: UW Oshkosh Principal Investigator(s): Greg Kleinheinz The Environmental Research and Innovation Center (ERIC) is a certified water testing facility at UW Oshkosh that receives well and surface water samples from citizens, businesses and county agencies. This project provides funding for three students to take part in a specialized water lab analyses training program at the ERIC lab and a summer field experience at the Door County field site. They will learn the basics of many waterrelated laboratory methods and can work with field groups during the summer of 2021. Projects may include well water sampling throughout the community, beach monitoring and nutrient management studies.
Timing of Nutrient Release into Surface Water Systems Using Stable Isotopes as an Indicator of Flow Path in an Unconfined Karst Aquifer Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institution: UW-Green Bay Principal Investigator(s): Kelly Deuerling, Emily Tyner Chemicals applied at the surface can easily and quickly enter dolomite aquifer systems and contaminate the groundwater. This project will provide funding for an undergraduate student to work with UW-Green Bay faculty to identify and sample springs that drain from the unconfined dolomite aquifer in Door, Kewaunee and Brown counties and from precipitation. The student will learn to analyze water samples on state-of-the-art field and laboratory instrumentation and to use equilibrium modeling software that will aid him in future classwork at UW-Green Bay and later in the workforce.
PROJECTS SUPPORTED THROUGH FUNDING FROM:
Wisconsin State Legislature The Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin received its first round of biennial funding from the Wisconsin State Legislature in February 2022. A total of 49 projects were funded to support collaborative research, course development, student experience and career development.
A Freshwater Science Field Experience in Western Wisconsin: The First Step in Developing a Skilled Workforce Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institutions: UW-Eau Claire, UW Oshkosh, UW-River Falls, UW-Stout Principal Investigator(s): J. Brian Mahoney, Gregory Kleinheinz, Holly Dolliver, Nicole Hayes The Freshwater Science Field Experience (FSFE) targets junior and senior high school students across Wisconsin and creates a gateway for prospective undergraduate students interested in freshwater science. The FSFE will provide a weeklong immersion experience that will utilize multidisciplinary activities (e.g., hydrogeology, stream flow studies, wetland investigations) to introduce student participants to a wide range of freshwater science topics in western Wisconsin. The fundamental goal of this program is to leverage high school student participation in the FSFE to spark interest in an undergraduate degree and career in freshwater science.
Aquatic Biogeochemistry of Wisconsin Waters Funding Category: Course Development Institution: UW-Whitewater Principal Investigator(s): Stephen Levas Faculty will collaborate to develop an interdisciplinary course in aquatic biogeochemistry that will utilize UWWhitewater’s analytical instrumentation and equipment. This course will blend the expertise of current faculty (in limnology, wetlands, stream ecology, marine biology, aquatic toxicology and fluvial geomorphology) to offer hands-on training and immersion in aquatic biogeochemistry. This course will be part of a planned immersion semester in analytical chemistry and aquatic toxicology for Freshwater Collaborative students throughout the UW System.
Building Field and Laboratory Experiences for Freshwater Science Students Funding Category: Career Development, Course Development Institution(s): UW-Milwaukee, UW-River Falls Principal Investigator(s): Tracy Boyer, Kevin Thaisen In collaboration with UW Colleges, UW-Milwaukee faculty will expand “Exploration of Inland Seas” to include field and laboratory components; implement a capstone course during which students work directly with a natural resource agency or industry partner; and design a techniques-focused course that teaches students professional skills in the field and lab. UW-Milwaukee and UW-River Falls faculty will co-develop a hands-on course focused on the hydrology and biogeochemistry of Lake Michigan that incorporates field-based learning on real problems such as microplastic pollution impacts and mitigation policies.
Building a Toolbox to Evaluate the ROI on Redevelopment of Areas of Concern Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experiences Institutions: UW-Whitewater, UW-La Crosse Principal Investigator(s): Russell Kashian Faculty from the Institute for Water Business at UW-Whitewater will collaborate with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and UW-La Crosse to help students develop a uniform model that would value how Area of Concern (AOC) sediment cleanup and restoration projects affect a community’s economic vitality. This work will build upon an initial analysis of the economic impact of the Lower Menominee River AOC and will help provide quantitative information on the value of water improvements to state and local decision makers as these partners consider future projects in other AOCs.
Building Water Projects into an Environmental Math Course Funding Category: Course Development Institution: UW-Stout Principal Investigator(s): Tyler Skorczewski This project creates a new general education math course that shows students how to build and work with mathematical models that describe nature and how people interact with the environment. The course will highlight freshwater topics, such as storm runoff models and fish stocking, and will provide a solid foundation for students to study freshwater issues in more advanced courses and research projects.
Climate and Water: Innovative Weather for Future Professionals Funding Category: Career Development Institution: UW-Milwaukee Principal Investigator(s): Paul Roebber The Atmospheric Science program at UW-Milwaukee has provided a weather decision support experiential learning program called Innovative Weather to UW-Milwaukee students since 2007. This program serves the weather risk mitigation needs of community partners while serving the professional training goals of students. The Freshwater Collaborative support, recognizing the close connection between weather and freshwater, will extend this program’s reach across the state by providing this expertise to interested UW System researchers.
Collaborating to Protect and Monitor Streams in an Agricultural Landscape Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institution: UW-Platteville Principal Investigator(s): Kristopher Wright Achieving a better understanding of Wisconsin’s water resources is essential for their long-term sustainability. However, for an individual agency or entity, limited personnel and resources can compromise this understanding. The proposed student-focused, collaborative approach integrates various stakeholders to mitigate these challenges. This project is a cooperative effort among UW-Platteville faculty advisors, undergraduate students, the Harry and Laura Nohr Chapter of Trout Unlimited and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to monitor and assist management of stream communities and habitats in agriculture-based watersheds of southwest Wisconsin.
Collaborative Planning for Water Research at the Mann Valley Farm Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institution: UW-River Falls Principal Investigator(s): Jill Wasik Coleman The project will design an outdoor, multidisciplinary teaching and research space for studying agricultural water management issues in western Wisconsin. After investigating the available technologies through site visits and professional workshops, faculty will design research infrastructure for the UW-River Falls campus farm that is adaptable to changing needs and emerging issues. This living laboratory will offer students stateof-the-science training opportunities in agricultural water monitoring and management. It will also allow the university to host collaborative programming, research and outreach with other UW campuses, regional industries and local stakeholders.
Collaborative Undergraduate Course on Managing the Mississippi River Funding Category: Course Development Institution(s): UW-La Crosse, UW-Platteville Principal Investigator(s): Alysa Remsburg, Austin Polebitski This new cross-campus, cross-disciplinary course will connect students to their watersheds and foster an understanding of how changes in one part of a hydrologic system impact those upstream and downstream. Students will examine how land-use change and Mississippi River management have resulted in the infrastructure that we depend on and the environmental impacts that threaten natural waterways. This transformative course will bring students onto the Mississippi River, highlighting it as both a natural and managed system. It will present the benefits and challenges of river management for diverse stakeholders.
Creating Collaborative Educational Opportunities with the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin Funding Category: Course Development Institution: UW-Stevens Point Principal Investigator(s): Brian Sloss UW-Stevens Point will lead an online educational pathway to a Freshwater Science minor. This program will allow systemwide access to UW-Stevens Point’s water resources curriculum, including core required courses and a series of electives. Select offerings from other UW System schools will be incorporated to develop a collaborative UW System Freshwater Science credential. The classes will provide fundamental understanding of the physical, chemical and biological aspects of freshwater resources. The curriculum includes an immersive, hands-on experience modeled after the UW-Stevens Point College of Natural Resources Summer Field Experience. Future development by Freshwater Collaborative members will expand immersive opportunities.
Cross-Campus and Partner Expansion of the Red Cedar Basin Monitoring Project Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institutions: UW-Eau Claire, UW Oshkosh, UW-River Falls, UW-Stout Principal Investigator(s): Keith Gilland The Red Cedar Watershed experiences frequent blue-green algae blooms due to phosphorus pollution. Numerous projects have been implemented to reduce runoff and restore stream channels and buffer areas. This project continues a pilot project to examine the effectiveness of those projects while expanding research efforts to determine the root causes of the toxic algal blooms regularly seen in lakes in the region. Students will work during the summer to survey streams and collect water samples to guide management decisions regarding the Red Cedar Watershed to serve as a model for other similarly impacted watersheds throughout the region.
The Dam Analysis and Monitoring Crew Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institution: UW-River Falls Principal Investigator(s): Jill Wasik Coleman The Dam Analysis and Monitoring (DAM) Crew is a two-week, summer experience in which undergraduate students will learn about and contribute to a dam removal and river restoration project on the Kinnickinnic River in River Falls. The “Kinni” is a premier trout stream in western Wisconsin. Students will receive hands-on training from river restoration professionals in the region and then apply their technical skills to collect water quality and habitat data that is required in the official project monitoring plan. Two DAM Crew participants will continue the work through part-time, school-year internships to collect data, analyze samples and compile results.
Developing an Easy-to-Apply, Integrated Approach to Modeling Freshwater Contamination from Farm Runoff Using Only Commercial Drones, Cameras and Software Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institution: UW-Stout Principal Investigator(s): Abhimanyu Ghosh This project will study the flow of contaminants, such as pesticides, from farm fields to open water bodies. The project will use a commercial unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV/drone) and camera to collect flow data over large farm fields and commercial software to investigate flow patterns and predict contaminant spread. The goal is to develop an easy-to-apply process for users with minimal technical knowledge about drones or flow simulation. This study can help farm communities, industrial farms and state agencies dealing with Wisconsin’s natural resources make informed decisions toward protecting freshwater bodies.
Development of “People, Water and The Environment” Course Funding Category: Course Development Institution: UW-Stout Principal Investigator(s): Innisfree McKinnon This project creates a new introductory-level course for UW-Stout’s Bachelor of Environmental Science program that introduces students to the human dimensions of conservation with a focus on water quality issues. This course will prepare students for conservation careers that involve working with communities, landowners and other stakeholders by combining theoretical, disciplinary and practical approaches to human environment interactions with applied case studies on freshwater issues, local field trips and guest speakers.
Economic Impacts of Wisconsin Fishing Supported by the Freshwater Resources of Lake Michigan and Bay of Green Bay Funding Category: Career Development, Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institutions: UW-Green Bay, UW-Whitewater Principal Investigator(s): Matthew Winden Student and faculty researchers seek to quantify the total economic value of the freshwater fishery resources of Lake Michigan and Bay of Green Bay to the state of Wisconsin. They will also analyze how different fishery management strategies and climate change scenarios may affect the quality, and therefore economic value, of these resources. Changes in quality and economic value in turn affect the health of regional economies and welfare of residents and visitors. Ultimately, this information helps inform resource managers about the most efficient and effective strategies available to maximize the value of this resource now and in the future.
Educators and Students Rise to Freshwater Challenges Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institutions: UW-Green Bay Principal Investigator(s): Kevin Fermanich, Emily Tyner This project will enhance community-based experiential learning opportunities for pre-college students and teachers around the Green Bay and Lake Michigan watersheds. The effort will build a community of freshwaterfocused educators and middle and high school students, link to statewide water experts, and engage a diversity of urban to rural communities within the UW-Green Bay geography. Intended outcomes include promoting water career knowledge and aspirations among students, recruiting students to UW-Green Bay and UW System watercentric programs, building skills in students at all levels, and expanding equity, inclusion and diversity efforts.
Enhancing Water-focused Internships Funding Category: Course Development Institution: UW-Superior Principal Investigator(s): Daniel Rust UW-Superior has required TRSP-400 internships for all Transportation and Logistics Management majors since 1999. These internships have typically been with marine transportation companies, ports, planning agencies and departments of transportation. This project aims to broaden internships to include collaboration with marinas, recreational boatyards, tribal communities and non-governmental agencies engaged with recreational and transportation use in northern Wisconsin’s Lake Superior ports. The enhanced internships will provide students with in-depth, hands-on learning. The methodology can then be applied across the state by other UW System universities.
Establishment and Support of the Red Cedar Basin Monitoring Group Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institutions: UW-Stout Principal Investigator(s): Keith Gilland The Red Cedar Watershed experiences frequent blue-green algae blooms due to phosphorus pollution. Numerous projects have been implemented to reduce runoff and restore stream channels and buffer areas. This project looks at how effective those projects have been by using aerial imagery to identify streams in the watershed where work has been done and areas that might be contributing to water quality problems. Students will establish monitoring locations in streams that are impacted by nearby land use and conduct monitoring to identify successes and areas for improvement in habitat management for water quality.
Establishment of the Center for Rural Opportunities, Prosperity and Sustainability Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institution: UW-Stout Principal Investigator(s): Zach Raff This project supports the establishment of a center at UW-Stout that will help develop successful rural communities in the region through environmental and economic sustainability. The target audience of the center is UW-Stout faculty, students and the regional rural community of the Red Cedar Watershed. The goals of the center are to identify opportunities for research, service learning, outreach, community involvement and student experiences that will examine agricultural water management and the nonpoint source runoff of nutrients to address issues in environmental, social and economic sustainability.
The Freshwater Collaborative released two requests for proposals in 2022. The resulting proposals offered innovative ideas that featured opportunities to increase hands-on training for undergraduate students, address the 10 Grand Water Challenges and increase collaborations among UW students and faculty and external partners.
Evaluation of Downstream Juvenile Lake Sturgeon Passage Through Two Dams on the Menominee River Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institution: UW-Green Bay Principal Investigator(s): Patrick S. Forsythe Lake Sturgeon passage has been embraced as a restoration prescription in the Great Lakes. Adaptive management strategies dictate that quantitative assessment of passage benefits be provided to managers. This project will evaluate the effectiveness of downstream juvenile passage on the Menominee River and through the Park Mill and Menominee Dams. Faculty and student researchers will evaluate the movement of tagged age-0 lake sturgeon to better understand habitat use, downstream passage and survival. Our data will influence future fish passage operation at the Menominee facility and others around the Great Lakes and build justification for restoring spawning habitats in upstream areas where passage is discussed.
Expanding the LAKES REU to Wisconsin Students Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institutions: UW-Eau Claire, UW-Stout Principal Investigator(s): Tina Lee The Linking Applied Knowledge in Environmental Sustainability Research Experience for Undergraduates (LAKES REU) is a summer experience that brings students from across the country to UW-Stout to work on research related to phosphorus pollution and its mitigation in the Red Cedar Watershed. This project expands the learning, community engagement and career development opportunities currently provided by opening two spots for students in the UW-System who are enrolled in programs related to the Freshwater Collaborative.
Freshwater Camp: A Summer Field Experience for High School Juniors Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institutions: UW-Parkside, UW-Whitewater Principal Investigator(s): Jessica Orlofske, Elisabeth Harrahy Opportunities for careers in freshwater are not well-known in underserved communities throughout the ruralurban corridor of southeastern Wisconsin. UW-Parkside and UW-Whitewater will offer a water-focused high school recruitment program in the region. This program will highlight important freshwater habitats, build participants’ confidence and skills with hands-on field and laboratory activities, and present information on freshwater career and training opportunities to an initial cohort of 18 high school juniors from southeastern Wisconsin.
Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin Statewide Internship Program Funding Category: Career Development Institution(s): UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee Principal Investigator(s): James P. Hurley, Rebecca Klaper, Sandra McLellan Internships provide essential on-the-job training for students; however, there is currently no undergraduate internship program focused on career opportunities in water. UW-Milwaukee and UW-Madison will create a statewide program by expanding their relationships with current industry partners (DNR, USGS, SEWRPC) and engaging new ones through their connections with The Water Council. They will also establish an undergraduate-focused Industry and Agency Advisory Committee to strengthen and promote connections, to learn about undergraduate opportunities, and identify skills needed for internships and job placement. The goal is to develop a streamlined process for matching qualified UW students with water-related opportunities.
Freshwater Collaborative University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Student Internships Through Collaborative Partnerships Funding Category: Career Development Institution: UW-Green Bay Principal Investigator(s): John Arendt This project focuses on career development around water-centric internships in collaboration with community partners. This project will build linkages among Freshwater Collaborative programming and businesses, industries and agencies across a 16-county footprint focused on water-driven economies stretching from the UW-GB campus in Sheboygan to the shipyards near the UW-GB, Marinette Campus. Internships will prepare students to help partners solve water challenges. Initially focused on collaboration across the Green Bay campus communities, the program could become part of the statewide Freshwater Collaborative network, linking students to professional opportunities more widely.
Freshwater Science Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institutions: UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls, UW-Stout Principal Investigator(s): J. Brian Mahoney, Jill Coleman Wasik, Tina Lee The Freshwater Science Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (FSREU) is designed to develop a research program focusing on freshwater science and involving multiple departments and regional campuses. This multidisciplinary thematic focus on freshwater issues, including the 10 Grand Water Challenges, will attract students and faculty from numerous departments. The FSREU is a collaborative project with the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at UW-Eau Claire and will provide funding for up to 10 research projects in 2022. The program will highlight educational opportunities and potential career pathways in freshwater science to a wide variety of undergraduate students.
Freshwater Science Across the Curriculum: Linked Outreach and Advanced Educational Activities Funding Category: Student Experience Institution(s): UW-Eau Claire, UW Oshkosh, UW-River Falls, UW-Stout Principal Investigator(s): J. Brian Mahoney The project continues to develop the Freshwater Science Field Experience in western Wisconsin, an outreach and recruitment program targeting junior and senior high school students. It is a field-intensive, hands-on learning experience that introduces participants to a wide range of freshwater science topics with specialists from UWEau Claire, UW-Stout and UW-River Falls. The second objective of this project further develops an immersive eight-day Western Wisconsin Advanced Freshwater Field Course for undergraduates with hands-on experiences designed to increase the employability of UW System students across the state.
From Field to Laboratory: Hands-on Techniques for Students in Water Sciences Funding Category: Course Development Institution(s): UW-Madison, UW-River Falls Principal Investigator(s): Bahareh Hassanpour Laboratory and field training are essential in water-related fields of study. Faculty on this project will develop a two-credit transformative course that focuses on laboratory and field techniques for freshwater-related work. The objective is to increase students’ field and laboratory skills to support professional development and cultivate interest in freshwater sciences. Faculty will focus on practical knowledge of field measurements related to water quality and nutrient analysis and good laboratory practices pre-and post-sampling. They aim to reach out to an array of students from diverse backgrounds across Wisconsin.
How We See Water: A Transdisciplinary Course on Wisconsin Water Resources Funding Category: Course Development Institution: UW-River Falls Principal Investigator(s): Grace L. Coggio This course focuses on water-related issues impacting western Wisconsin and the needs of local businesses and organizations. It includes a substantial community-based learning experience that integrates multiple stakeholders, including cross-campus collaborations with other UW schools. Faculty from a variety of disciplines and students from different majors provide a team-based, transdisciplinary experience that expands how students understand and address water-based problems/opportunities in the region. The goal is to serve as a model for other campuses seeking to address water-related issues in a transdisciplinary manner and for the course to become part of the Freshwater Collaborative curriculum.
Human Interactions with Lake Michigan Coastal Ecosystems Funding Category: Course Development, Student Experience Institution(s): UW-Green Bay, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Parkside Principal Investigator(s): Chris Houghton, John Janssen, Julie Kinzelman Faculty and staff will create a nine-day summer survey/field study course along Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan coast, stopping at major harbors and sites of social/environmental interest. Course content will be informed by completed/ongoing harbor mapping and the NOAA National Marine Sanctuary. Students will become familiar with Great Lakes ecosystem complexity juxtaposing natural areas against heavily human-impacted harbors. The focus will be on diverse efforts to restore/create a coastline in which harbors interact with the open coast in a way that facilitates “ecosystem services” i.e., humans derive benefits from the natural environment. Faculty intend coordination/engagement with the Wisconsin DNR and local stakeholders.
The Impact of Agricultural Runoff on Navigation: A Literature Review Funding Category: Collaborative Research Institutions: UW-Superior Principal Investigator(s): Daniel Rust Recreational and commercial use of Wisconsin’s ports is a multibillion-dollar industry. Channels, slips and anchorages can become unusable when silt, mud and organic material reduce channel depths or block areas of use. Dredging is expensive and may have significant environmental impacts depending on the material being removed. In collaboration with various stakeholders of Wisconsin’s commercial and recreational ports on Lake Superior, a student researcher will help produce a literature review to identify gaps in research of the costs and environmental impacts of agricultural runoff on recreational and commercial navigation in northern Wisconsin.
Lead, Facilitate and Support Policy Research for the UW Water Policy Network Funding Category: Collaborative Research Institution: UW-Milwaukee Principal Investigator(s): Melissa Scanlan The Center for Water Policy leads, facilitates and supports the UW Water Policy Network, which serves as a hub for government agencies, private sector, NGOs, media and other stakeholders to identify water policy collaborators and experts. This project will foster collaboration on water policy research and curriculum across UW System by strengthening relationships among multidisciplinary faculty, researchers and students working on freshwater policy. The center convenes the UW Water Policy Network for presentations and discussions around key policy issues identified in the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin’s 10 Grand Water Challenges.
Leveraging the Strength of the Wisconsin Agriculture-Water Nexus Network (WAW2N) for Transformative Student Experiences Funding Category: Course Development, Student Experience Institution(s): UW-Green Bay, UW-Madison, UW-Platteville, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Stout Principal Investigator(s): Stephan Kpoti Gunn The cross-campus Wisconsin Agriculture-Water Nexus Network will create transformational education experiences that provide students with a greater understanding of the connection between agriculture and water and the need for multidisciplinary solutions that support both food production and maintaining high-quality freshwater resources across Wisconsin. The project will also support the online delivery of a newly designed cross-campus course at the nexus of agriculture and water, which will highlight learnings at the ag-water nexus attained under previous Freshwater Collaborative–funded projects. A multiday field trip course built around variations in southwest Wisconsin agriculture will complement the online course. Bringing together experienced and new faculty/staff as well as community and academic partners to co-develop transformative student experiences will also strengthen the Freshwater Collaborative’s goals. This project increases the number of involved UW institutions from three to six.
Limnology: Conservation of Aquatic Resources (Zoo 315) Funding Category: Course Development Institution: UW-Madison Principal Investigator(s): Jake Vander Zanden This project will begin to build the curricular foundation for core Freshwater Collaborative teaching activities at UW-Madison, including a hands-on summer limnology course open to UW System undergraduates and a freshwater-focused certificate program at UW-Madison. Faculty will employ a suite of strategies to recruit students from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented groups into the course and certificate program, with the aim of building the pipeline necessary for diversifying the field. Partnering with other programs will help recruit a diverse cohort of UW System students to gain enriching experiences at UW-Madison.
Microbial Ecology, BIOL 312 Funding Category: Course Development Institution: UW-River Falls Principal Investigator(s): Lathadevi Karuna Chintapenta The biology department will develop a microbial ecology course that will help students gain understanding of the biology of microorganisms and apply this knowledge to explore how microbes help in the functioning of natural ecosystems. This course will offer hands-on experience for students to enhance their understanding of microbial interactions with plants and the environment. This grant will provide additional research and field opportunities for UW-River Falls biology students to work in the community and become competitive in the careers they want to pursue in the future.
My River Adventures (MRA) Pre-College Camp Funding Category: Student Experience Institution: UW-La Crosse Principal Investigator(s): Monica Yang The UW-La Crosse MRA camp is a six-day residential camp for incoming 6-12 grade students. Students will use the UW-La Crosse campus as their homebase while they enjoy a week of instructional sessions and visits to rivers in the Driftless region for hands-on fieldwork and lab activities in collaboration with UW- La Crosse faculty, local educators and community members. This camp fosters recruitment, access and aspirations for a career in STEM, specifically water-related sectors. Students will create connections with community leaders and educators who can introduce them to career paths and increase their interest in STEM post-high school.
Predicting Crop per Drop in Sandy Soils Funding Category: Collaborative Research Institution: UW-Stout Principal Investigator(s): Keith Wojciechowski As the world population grows, the demand for water and land from industries and municipalities increases. Farmable land and available water are becoming scarcer. These circumstances pressure farmers to generate higher yields without the ability to increase resources. The goal of this project is for two undergraduate student researchers to learn how to use statistics, mathematics and computer science to help growers manage water resources for growing dry beans in sandy soil types, which are not typically used for growing crops. Students will use mathematics to help growers predict their crop per drop.
Principles of Freshwater Informatics Funding Category: Course Development Institution: UW-Parkside Principal Investigator(s): Jessica Orlofske Funds will support the development and delivery of a new course that will teach students the background and skills necessary to work with large and disorderly data related to freshwater disciplines. Topics will include sound data management, best practices, common pitfalls and creating useful datasets. Students will use open-source freshwater data and gain hands-on experience while they problem solve as a team. Learning will focus on realworld water-sector examples to help students understand the beyond-the-classroom significance of their studies.
The Root Magazine: WATER Funding Category: Student Experience Institution: UW-Parkside Principal Investigator(s): Lesley Heins Walker UW-Parkside will produce an edition of the Root Magazine devoted to water in southeast Wisconsin. This project involves separate departments — art and design, communication, and literatures and languages — and three classes, one from each department, during the academic year of 2022, to produce the content and design of the magazine. Stories and articles produced on local and statewide freshwater issues will be presented in both English and Spanish. This effort represents an amazing opportunity for the arts, humanities and sciences to collaborate.
Summer Research Experience Program for Undergraduates in the University of Wisconsin System Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institution: UW-Madison Principal Investigator(s): James P. Hurley In summer 2022, 10-12 undergraduate students will receive internships at UW-Madison to work on water research projects. Students will be paired with faculty affiliated with Water@UW-Madison and will work in laboratories and programs on campus. Students will meet regularly throughout the summer, be given opportunities for professional development and present their research at a reception in August. The internships are offered through the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin in conjunction with UW’s Sea Grant and Water Resources Institutes as part of a pilot program that will be expanded to UW campuses statewide in 2023.
Summer Research Experience in Freshwater Ecology for Undergraduates Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institution: UW-Stevens Point Principal Investigator(s): Daniel Isermann This project supports the participation of five students in a Research Experience for Undergraduates experience coordinated by the U.S. Geological Survey’s Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit (WICFRU), which is part of the College of Natural Resources at UW-Stevens Point. The WICFRU provides unique hands-on opportunities for undergraduates to work on applied freshwater research and collaborate with federal scientists, university faculty, graduate students and researchers, along with agency personnel from the Wisconsin and Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and various tribal organizations from the Midwest.
Undergraduate Student-Faculty Research Engagement on Developing Rapid, Easy-to-Use and Cost-Effective Test Kits for the Detection of E. coli/coliforms in Water Funding Category: Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institution: UW-Stout Principal Investigator(s): Taejo Kim The coliform group including Escherichia coli has been used extensively as an indicator that other illness-causing bacteria, parasites and viruses are present in water. While the current membrane filtration method for detecting coliforms and E. coli has adequate specificity and sensitivity, it is expensive and time-consuming. Faculty-student researchers will develop a test kit to detect a single cell in a maximum water portion that provides results within 24 hours at 37 C or 48 hours at room temperature and costs about $5 per kit.
Update to Healthy Recreational and Transportation-Focused Courses Funding Category: Course Development Institution: UW-Superior Principal Investigator(s): Daniel Rust UW-Superior has offered a course about marine transportation management and a course about port and terminal management for more than two decades. These are the only undergraduate courses in the state of Wisconsin addressing these critical subjects impacting freshwater quality. Collaborating with industry, tribal communities, government agencies and not-for-profits, this project will update these courses to include topics related to sustainability, gentrification, waterfront management, recreational maritime business and the impacts of climate change. Enhancements will help educate tomorrow’s leaders to operate maritime facilities on the state’s lakes and rivers in a more sustainable manner.
UW Oshkosh Comprehensive FCW Capacity Building and Implementation Program Funding Category: Career Development, Collaborative Research, Student Experience Institution: UW-Oshkosh Principal Investigator(s): Greg Kleinheinz UW Oshkosh will offer student training opportunities at the Environmental Research and Innovation Center (ERIC), a state-certified laboratory for many water testing parameters as well as a contract R&D laboratory for various community and industry projects. The partnership with the Freshwater Collaborative will allow students from any campus opportunities to work at ERIC field research sites (or take a field course) each summer, which embeds students in communities to study surface, well and groundwater. UW Oshkosh will also offer access to a research and teaching boat on the Lake Winnebago system at no charge to Freshwater Collaborative partners.
UWRF Ecological Restoration Institute Funding Category: Career Development Institution: UW-River Falls Principal Investigator(s): Holly Dolliver The Ecological Restoration Institute (ERI) at UW-River Falls provides student trainings/certifications, internships and career development opportunities. The ERI is engaged in a variety of restoration projects that serve as a living laboratory for demonstrating watershed and land management best practices. Trainings and internship experiences ensure graduates are highly skilled and can have an immediate impact in their careers. This project will expand programming to students across the UW System and diversify the ERI’s projects and activities to become a leader in supporting next-generation agricultural water management practices.
UW Youth Water Stewards Pilot Funding Category: Student Experience Institution: UW-River Falls Principal Investigator(s): Tovah Flygare The UW Youth Water Stewards Pilot introduces high school youth to water monitoring, data analysis and stewardship through guided hands-on fieldwork and learning opportunities on and near UW-River Falls. The project connects high school youth with university students and faculty and highlights water-related study and job opportunities. Students will also gain a stronger sense of community through collaborative service learning and through sharing results of their research with relevant government and community partners.
Western Wisconsin Advanced Freshwater Science Field Course Funding Category: Course Development, Student Experience Institutions: UW-Eau Claire, UW Oshkosh, UW-River Falls, UW-Stout Principal Investigator(s): Sarah Vitale, Gregory Kleinheinz, Jill Coleman-Wasik, Keith Gilland In this immersive course, undergraduate students enrolled in freshwater science-related majors will learn field and laboratory skills used to assess freshwater science investigations in geology, biology, geography and agriculture. Course content will include the study of watershed hydrogeology, lake and river biology management, water quality, nutrient and bacterial contamination, landscape restoration and community engagement with farmers. Participants will develop skills in field and laboratory data collection and analysis, map and imagery analysis, report writing and communication.
Wisconsin Water-based Sustainable Tourism Development Course Funding Category: Course Development Institutions: UW-La Crosse Principal Investigator(s): Dan Plunkett An existing UW-La Crosse hybrid course, “Sustainable Tourism Development,” will be adapted so the course content and culminating experience focus on Wisconsin water-based tourism. A fully online version of the course will be created to make the course accessible to students UW System-wide and to expand collaborative opportunities to other institutions and industry partners throughout Wisconsin. This course will build students’ awareness of water-based tourism career opportunities, incorporate a high-impact experience in which students collaborate with an organization engaging in water-based tourism activities, and provide an opportunity for students to build their networks and find a job or internship opportunity.
The Freshwater Collaborative has funded 80 projects, which included everything from new freshwater courses to fill gaps in curriculum, field experiences to help recruit high school students, multi-institution research programs and enhanced internship programs that prepare students for the workplace.
Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin 600 E. Greenfield Avenue Milwaukee, WI 53204 freshwater.wisconsin.edu