A Closer Look
February Newsletter #93

LMC Events - Activities - Presentations - Publications - Contracts and Grants - AWRI Seminar Series - AWRI In The News

Congressman Pete Hoekstra (standing, right) and Dr. Alan Steinman (seated, left) during the public meeting held at the Lake Michigan Center to discuss Asian carp.

Asian carp mania has hit the Great Lakes region. In reality, some scientists have been warning about an Asian carp invasion for years, but because humans are a crisis-oriented species we rarely get engaged and mobilized until the crisis is at our doorstep, or in this case, at our connecting channels. Although there are 4 species of Asian carp, only 2 are of major ecological concern: the bighead carp, which can grow to 5 feet in length and over 100 pounds, and the silver carp, which is a bit smaller but has received notoriety for their impressive jumping ability. These fish have been working their way up the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers since 1993, after the Mississippi River flooded and established a hydrologic connection to carp-rich aquaculture ponds. These carp eat mostly phytoplankton, which are small photosynthetic organisms living in the water column that form the base of the food web. They have been doing very well to date because the nutrient and plankton-rich Mississippi and Illinois Rivers provide a virtual orgy of food for them.

It is unclear, however, how well they will do if and when they reach the Great Lakes. Already, environmental DNA, indicative of the presence of these carp, has been found upstream of the electric dispersal barriers that the government hoped would restrict carp access to the Great Lakes (and conversely, keep invasive species already in the Great Lakes out of the Mississippi basin). It is unlikely (but no one knows for certain) that the Asian carp could survive in the open waters of Lake Michigan, because plankton levels in the open water are too low to sustain the dietary needs of the carp. However, the Asian carp might do well in riverine systems, such as the St. Joseph and Grand Rivers, assuming they can survive swimming through the biological desert of Lake Michigan, as they work their way up the coastline from Chicagoland to these systems.

AWRI scientists have been involved in helping brief our elected officials, including congressional members, their staff, and the Michigan Attorney General, in their collective efforts to work on solutions to the Asian carp problem. This type of activity, helping inform our elected officials to make wise management decisions involving our natural resources, goes directly to the heart of the Institute’s mission: integrating research, education, and outreach to enhance and preserve freshwater resources.

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AWRI Events

February 8 – A public meeting on the Asian Carp Summit was held. The meeting was hosted by Congressman Pete Hoekstra.

February 11 – The Muskegon Sportsfishing Association held a meeting regarding Asian Carp. Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox attended this meeting.

February 11 – The Muskegon Lake Watershed Partnership held a meeting.

February 12 – AWRI Seminar Series: Dr. Greg Dick from the University of Michigan presented “New views into microbial communities: stewards of the Earth, past and present”.

February 15 – A GVSU Muskegon Group meeting was held.

February 22 – The Muskegon Rotary Club’s Community Fund Committee held a meeting.

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AWRI Activities

AWRI was represented at Varnum’s Annual Water Law Seminar held on February 23 in Grand Rapids. Janet Vail and Elaine Sterrett Isely were on the planning committee and Al Steinman and Rick Rediske both spoke at the event. AWRI was a co-sponsor for this event.

Bopi Biddanda assisted in interviewing incoming GVSU freshmen for Awards of Distinction Scholarships on February 6.

Deb Dila, graduate student working with Bopi Biddanda, received a Graduate Fellowship from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium in support of her master’s thesis project titled: Genomes to Biomes: Microbes and Carbon flux in a Great Lakes Watershed.

Jim McNair, Bopi Biddanda, and Rick Rediske met with representatives from Cascade Engineering on February 2 to discuss possible collaboration related to the quality of their water filtering system.

Carl Ruetz participated in a conference call as part of the executive committee of the Michigan Chapter of the American Fisheries Society on February 9.

Carl Ruetz attended a habitat committee meeting of the Muskegon Lake Watershed Partnership at the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission on February 19.

Al Steinman participated in a panel discussion on bottled water hosted by WMEAC at the Wealthy Theater on February 11.

Al Steinman attended a research ethics meeting on campus on February 22 to discuss how GVSU will implement ethics training to meet new federal guidelines.

Al Steinman attended an International Joint Commission’s Ecosystem Technical Work Group Workshop in Ann Arbor on February 24 and 25.

Hannah Tavalire, graduate student working with Ryan Thum, received a Michigan Space Grant Consortium Graduate Fellowship award in the amount of $5000.

Janet Vail represented AWRI with a display at the IMAX movie premier of Mysteries of the Great Lakes. This was a project of Groundswell (Kent County Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative). She attended a Groundswell Advisory Board meeting on January 28 and professional development planning meetings on February 11 and 17.

Janet Vail attended a Grants Leadership Advisory & Development (GLAD) Team meeting in Grand Rapids on February 12. There was an informative presentation on secure office procedures put on by the IT Department.

Janet Vail traveled to the Allendale campus to attend the Environmental Studies Minor Advisory Committee Meeting on February 16 and the Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education (CESME) Advisory Committee meeting on February 17.

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AWRI Presentations

Nichol De Mol presented summaries of her research on Fremont Lake to four Fremont area schools on February 5. She also presented this work to the City of Fremont board on February 15th.

Mark Luttenton gave a lecture on Western Hemisphere water issues at Muskegon Community College on February 9.

Rick Rediske presented “Emerging contaminants: More four-letter words” at Varnum’s Annual Water Law Seminar on February 23.

Carl Ruetz was a guest lecturer in NRM 150 Introduction to Natural Resources on February 11.

Carl Ruetz and Mark Luttenton attended the Annual Meeting of the Michigan Chapter of the American Fisheries Society in Grayling on February 24-25 in Grayling. Presentations given at the meeting were:

Allison, J., C.R. Ruetz III, and E. Rutherford. Assessment of walleye reproduction in the Muskegon River. (oral)

Altenritter, M.E., C.R. Ruetz III, and K.M. Smith. Reproductive status and juvenile ecology of Lake Sturgeon in the Muskegon River. (oral)

Bhagat, Y. and C.R. Ruetz III. Fish community composition and environmental influences over a 7-year time scale in Muskegon Lake. (oral)

Keiper, W.D. and C.R. Ruetz III. Stormwater runoff in an urban stream: impacts on central mudminnows. (oral)

LaRue, E.A., R.A. Thum, and C.R. Ruetz III. Population structure of the invasive round goby in Lake Michigan. (oral)

Prichard, C., C.R. Ruetz III, and J.N. McNair. A dynamic programming model of patch selection by stream invertebrates. (poster)

Wieten, A.C., M.J. Cooper, and D.G. Uzarski. Great Lakes coastal wetland habitat use by seven turtle species: influence of wetland type, vegetation, and abiotic conditions. (poster)

Al Steinman was an invited speaker on the topic of Asian Carp at a meeting held at the LMC by U. S. Congressman Pete Hoekstra on February 8.

Al Steinman was an invited speaker on the topic of Asian Carp at a meeting held at the LMC by Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox on February 11.

Al Steinman was an invited presenter at a town hall meeting on Asian Carp held at the Gerald R. Ford Museum, hosted by Congressman Vern Ehlers on February 22.

Al Steinman was a keynote speaker at the Varnum’s Annual Water Law Seminar on February 23. His presentation was titled “Current threats and challenges to the Great Lakes - and some solutions”.

Kurt Thompson and Nichol De Mol presented the Fremont Lake Project to Fremont Area Schools on Feb. 5th.

Kurt Thompson gave a presentation to the GEO 485 Geology Seminar class on February 8 on the Allendale campus.

Ryan Thum and Matt Zuellig, graduate student working with Ryan, attended the Midwest Aquatic Plant Management Society (MAPMS) Conference from February 28 – March 2 in Indianapolis, IN.

Thum, R. A. “Why understanding genetics might be important for aquatic plant management”

Matt Zuellig submitted an abstract titled Hybridization in the Eurasian Watermilfoil System: How Often? How Many?

Matt Zuellig gave a presentation as part of a small grant he was awarded by MAPMS.

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AWRI Publications

Nold, S. C., H. A. Zajack, and B. A. Biddanda. In press. Archael and Eukaryal diversity in a Submerged Sinkhole Ecosystem Influenced by Sulfur-rich, Hypoxic Groundwater. Journal of Great Lakes Research.

Jude, D. J., R. Rediske, J. O’Keefe, S. Hensler, and J. P. Giesy. In press. PCBs Concentrations in Walleyes and Their Prey from the Saginaw River, Lake Huron: A Comparison between 1990 and 2007. Journal of Great Lakes Research.

Steinman, A.D., M.E. Ogdahl, and C. R. Ruetz III. In Press. An environmental assessment of a small shallow lake threatened by urbanization. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment.

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AWRI Contracts and Grants

Janet Vail and Elena Lioubimtseva received a $10,000 planning grant for the Grand Rapids cluster of the Great Lakes Innovative Stewardship through Education Network (GLISTEN). The grant is through the Corporation for National and Community Service.

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AWRI Seminar Series

March 12, 2010
Dr. Dan O’Keefe
Michigan Sea Grant
Seminar Title: "Great Lakes Fisheries Management: Ecological, Institutional, and Economic Realities"

April 9, 2010
Dr. Meng Xia
School of Natural Resources and Environment
University of Michigan
Seminar title: “A Numerical study of wave-current interaction in Lake Michigan using Finite Volume Coastal Ocean Model"

April 30, 2010
Dr. Robert Michael McKay
Department of Biological Sciences
Bowling Green State University
Seminar title: “Some like it cold: Psychrophilic diatoms in Lake Erie”

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AWRI In The News

“Muskegon –prosperity index improves”
MI Biz, February 1, 2010
The prosperity index AWRI’s Information Services Center helped to prepare is highlighted.

“Experts: Preserve Great Lakes wetlands”
Traverse City Record-Eagle, February 1, 2010
Al Steinman is quoted regarding wetlands and water levels.

“Meeting to focus on keeping Asian Carp out of Great Lakes”
Muskegon Chronicle, February 3, 2010
Muskegon Chamber of Commerce is hosting an event at the Lake Michigan Center on 2/8/10.

“Hoekstra to speak on threats, solutions to Asian carp entering the Great Lakes”
Hoekstra.house.gov, February 4, 2010
A public meeting on Asian carp is being held at the Lake Michigan Center on 2/8/10.

“Hoekstra to speak Monday in Muskegon about threats, solutions to Asian Carp issue.”
Grand Haven Tribune, February 4, 2010
Muskegon Chamber of Commerce is hosting an event at the Lake Michigan Center on 2/8/10.

“Michigan gubernatorial candidates Hoekstra, Cox have different plans to stop Asian carp from taking over Great Lakes.”
The Grand Rapids Press, February 6, 2010
Al Steinman is quoted regarding research and federal spending.

“Concerned community members meet in Muskegon about Asian carp.”
WGVU, February 8, 2010
The article mentions that this meeting took place at the Lake Michigan Center, home of AWRI.

“U.S. Representative Peter Hoekstra seeking ideas for keeping Asian Carp at bay.”
Muskegon Chronicle, February 8, 2010
Al Steinman is quoted regarding Asian carp.

“Stormwater rushes contaminants into Great Lakes waters, threatening health and habitat.”
Great Lakes Echo, February 10, 2010
Al Steinman is interviewed regarding stormwater and Little Black Creek.

“Surf’s up all over the Great Lakes.”
The Mining Journal, February 11, 2010
The article discusses Great Lakes surfers and their concern for the water quality of the lakes. Matt Cooper, former AWRI staff member and Lake Michigan Surfrider, did some of this water quality testing as a grant from the Lake Michigan Surfriders.

“Better to be safe than sorry.”
White Lake Beacon, February 15, 2010
The article mentions that this meeting took place at the Lake Michigan Center, home of AWRI, on February 8.

“Too much pavement, too little oversight: EPA to tackle stormwater runoff.”
Environmental Health News, February 17, 2010

Al Steinman is quoted regarding AWRI’s research on Little Black Creek.
WZZM 13, Monday, February 23, 2010.
Al Steinman was interviewed about Asian Carp and the threat to the Great Lakes.

“EPA wants more wells to protect White Lake from effects of old chemical plant”
Muskegon Chronicle, February 27, 2010
Rick Rediske is quoted regarding contaminants from an old chemical plant near Whitehall/Montague area.

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Page last modified March 11, 2014