2004-05 Partnership Program Abstracts

$100,000 was made available to help support citizen-based monitoring initiatives in 2004. Successful proposals for the 2004-05 Partnership Program are listed below.
Southeast Fox River Partnership
The Southeast Fox River basin drains surface water from over a thousand square miles through a network of over 700 miles of perennial streams. The water quality in these streams directly affects of the water quality in the Fox River. Although the State of the Southeast Fox River Basin report completed in 2002 calls for baseline monitoring by the Department of Natural Resources on ten streams sites annually, little is known about water quality and aquatic species in hundreds of miles of unmonitored streams.

The purpose of this project is to provide citizen-based monitoring on a quarterly basis for many of the smaller streams and unnamed tributaries in the basin. Individuals and groups will be trained in the Water Action Volunteer standardized protocol approved by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The information from these monitors will be entered in county and state databases that are currently in place or will be established. This information will be used to identify a baseline water quality from many previously unmonitored streams, identify streams that may require more extensive analysis due to extremely high or low water quality, and monitor changes in water quality over time. As information from these monitors is presented to the public, there will develop a better understanding of how the water quality of these local streams contributes to the water quality in the Fox River. This understanding will lead to increased support for the rehabilitation and protection of these important streams and small tributaries.
Grantsburg High School
Following initial qualitative surveys of mussel communities at 122 sites in seven Wisconsin tributaries of the St. Croix River during the summers of 2003-04, students from Grantsburg High School and their instructor have entered into a partnership with Dr. Daniel Hornbach at Macalester College in Minneapolis, MN. The goal of this partnership is to develop an understanding of the impact dams may play in mussel recruitment (or lack there of) in the St. Croix River and its tributaries. Based on the results from these two summers of work, four mussel communities below dams on the Wood, Yellow, Clam and Trade Rivers and one below the St. Croix Falls dam have been selected for extensive quantitative mussel and substrate analysis. Mussels and substrate will be collected from one hundred randomly placed 0.25m2 quadrats at each location. Substrate will be separated into 5 classes and all mussels will be identified and measured. From these data, population density and community diversity will be calculated at each location and compared to undammed mussel communities. Ordination analysis will also be performed to determine which variables are the best predictors of observed communities. The results of this analysis will be used to determine how dam retention or removal might affect mussel communities in these tributaries.
Rock River Coalition
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UW-Green Bay
Numerous agencies and organizations use hired and volunteer bird surveyors to gather field data in Wisconsin every year. Verifying applicant’s bird identification skills is very important, but it is difficult and slow to test multiple applicants. Our goal is to assemble digital photographic and audio resources for eventual creation of a Wisconsin Bird Surveyor Training and Certification Program for use by volunteers, applicants, and project managers. The central component of the program will be an online, self-administered, bird identification test which can be modified for surveyor experience level, survey methods being used, and the taxonomic groups being emphasized. Eventually, a direct, field testing program for advanced observers and trainers may grow from this foundation. Certification will provide the cornerstone for sound data quality assurance and quality control programs which will benefit multiple resource organizations in Wisconsin.
Portage County Planning and Zoning Department
Portage County has a history of groundwater contamination problems, primarily from agricultural fertilizers and pesticides. Many low income residents live in inexpensive housing in rural areas of the County where drinking water is supplied from wells, often in close proximity to agricultural operations from which pesticides and fertilizers leach into the groundwater. Low income residents cannot afford to sample their drinking water to determine the health risks associated with consuming the contaminants along with the water.

Project funds will provide water sample bottles and analyses to rural low income residents described above. These citizens will be involved in sample collection. Samples will be analyzed at the Water and Environmental Analysis Lab at UW Stevens Point. In addition, educational materials, related to drinking water related health risks, will be provided to these people at informational sessions where the sample results will be explained.
Learning, Experiences, & Activities in Forestry (LEAF)
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This project will develop the infrastructure and provide training for 20 teachers to launch a garlic mustard monitoring program on Wisconsin’s school forests. The project will create a garlic mustard monitoring special project on the Wisconsin NatureMapping website and will train teachers on how to identify, collect data, and submit data on garlic mustard distribution to the NatureMapping website. This project will serve as a pilot to expand garlic mustard monitoring and create a school forest monitoring network.
Friends of the St. Croix Headwaters (FOTSCH)
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The Friends of the St. Croix Headwaters (FOTSCH) is a citizen-driven group that is interested in understanding and protecting the Upper St. Croix River ecosystem. In this reach, no water quality data are being collected and no data have been collected since 1997, and it is located above the National Scenic River segment; therefore FOTSCH would like to begin monitoring the water quality and understanding plant and animal communities in and along the river and its tributaries. This project will help the FOTSCH purchase the equipment that is needed for WAV monitoring, to get started with some advance water quality monitoring and to purchase and install staff gages at the monitoring sites. Volunteers will be trained in the use of equipment purchased with this project grant, including proper sample collection and preparation techniques and the calibration of instruments. Six to eight sampling sites will be selected by FOTSCH with assistance from John Haack and Kathy Bartilson (St. Croix River Basin Partnership Team Members) and Nancy Turyk (UWSP Center for Watershed Science and Education). Coordinates for these sampling sites will be georeferenced by GPS for use in GIS.
Friends of Wehr
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As a living laboratory for the people of Milwaukee County, Wehr and its outreach program, Nature in the Parks (Wehr/NIP) is responsible for providing opportunities for the public, teachers and youth to participate in research. Citizen monitoring programs exist but the addition of NatureMapping will make these programs accessible to more people, especially teachers and youth. It will also strengthen the data already being collected with set protocols and grid locations. Staff will work with current NatureMapping protocols to adapt them to our specific needs.

Wehr/NIP has a preliminary grid map of the nature center property that was created by UW Milwaukee. This map has the potential to greatly facilitate the NatureMapping process but the staff needs additional training. Training several staff members will provide the expertise to use a grid map with our other NatureMapping protocols. The staff will develop and implement training for adult volunteers, teachers and youth. The training will be conducted with current groups so that time does not have to be spent recruiting for our first set of training sessions. Our partnerships with schools, teacher education program and youth groups that attend programs provide excellent opportunities to expand our NatureMapping to teachers and youth.
Wisconsin Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers
The Wisconsin Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) seeks to develop a partnership between the FFF Adopt-A-Stream program (AAS) and the State of Wisconsin Water Action Volunteers program (WAV). The proposal funding would be used to purchase 10 sets of supplies needed to collect stream monitoring data using the WAV protocols. The data would be entered into the WAV database. Collection of the WAV data would satisfy the requirements of the FFF AAS program and make the participants eligible for $100 FFF matching funds to erect a AAS sign near fishing access to the selected stream sections. In addition, the FFF promotes the proper disposal of monofilament leader materials and these collection boxes could be added to the sign post.
Friends of Milwaukee’s Rivers
Friends of Milwaukee's Rivers proposes to conduct an assessment of current citizen water quality monitoring activities in the Milwaukee River Basin. This will be the first phase of our longer term goal of establishing a watershed-wide network of citizen volunteers who are trained to monitor area streams and rivers, and who collect the information in a consistent and useable format. We will work with the DNR, as well as active groups engaged in citizen water quality monitoring, to assess current activities and monitoring methods, and to determine recommended actions to bring these activities in line with DNR-approved protocols and methods. To the extent practical, we will also address gaps in monitoring, and make recommendations for additional citizen water quality monitoring activities where they are most needed. This will be summarized in a report. It is our plan that this will be the initial phase of a more extensive involvement in establishing a strong citizen water quality monitoring network for Wisconsin's most heavily populated watershed.
Wisconsin Weed Watchers and Wisconsin State Herbarium
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A statewide early detection project called the Invasive Plants of the Future (Officially the Invasive Plants Reporting and Prevention Project, or IPRPP) has been initiated by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Herbarium in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and many additional cooperators. This project identifies high priority non-native plant species known to be extremely invasive in ecologically similar regions of North America, but which are not yet present or widespread in Wisconsin. The goal of the project is to encourage citizens to report these plants when found and to initiate control efforts to prevent further spread. The basic work of identifying target species and developing educational materials is being funded by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. However, the existing grant does not provide sufficient funding to conduct training workshops for citizen cooperators around the state or to do ground-truthing and verification of newly reported occurrences.

This citizen-based monitoring project will provide staff to develop and conduct training workshops around the state for interested cooperators and groups. The workshops will train citizen volunteers identification and ecological characteristics of the target species, as well as specimen vouchering, photo-documentation, control methods and monitoring protocols. These workshops will allow us to determine if the data collection form and other training materials developed are appropriate for use with a network of volunteers. It will also allow the staff person to work with enough volunteers to ensure placement of skilled observers statewide. Trained citizen volunteers will be called upon where possible to assist with ground-truthing and vouchering newly reported occurrences of priority species, as well as conduct control efforts and long-term monitoring. However, because of the multi-year time frame, many of these longer-term efforts will take place outside of the scope of this funding program. It is critical to get citizen volunteers trained this spring in order to have a network of cooperators around the state capable of identifying, reporting, and verifying new infestations of target plants. Containment or eradication is needed before plants have the opportunity to expand beyond our ability to control them.
Grantsburg High School
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Since 1989, two new species of dragonfly unknown to science have been discovered on the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway - the Sioux Snaketail (Ophiogomphus smithi Tennessen and Vogt, 2004) and the St. Croix Snaketail (Ophiogomphus susbehcha Vogt and Smith, 1993). Little is known about the specific site habitat requirements of these species or their community associates. Also, although O. smithi has been found at many sites throughout the upper Midwest, O. susbehcha has only been found on the St. Croix and Chippewa Rivers of Northwestern Wisconsin. Because of its extreme rarity, developing an understanding of the natural history of O. susbehcha is important for its long term protection. With this goal in mind, students will gather dragonfly exuviae from at least 50 sites on the St. Croix and its tributaries. Exuviae will be collected in Mid-May, Early June and Late June to develop a cross section of species emergence numbers both in time and in space. This data will be used to develop a greater understanding of the river’s total dragonfly communities and their associated habitat and water quality variables. It will also be used to develop species range maps.
Beaver Creek Reserve
Six middle and high school teachers with experience conducting monitoring or field research activities with their students, will be recruited to attend a one day workshop to develop four activities and protocols for student/class related projects utilizing the NatureMapping website. The developed activities will address the Wisconsin Model Academic Standards and tie to school curriculums as much as possible.
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