Hunter Survey Available for Green Bay and Lake Michigan

Open Water Zone, Wisconsin

Hosted by the U.S. Geological Survey, the questionnaire will collect public feedback about waterfowl harvest and regulations for the Wisconsin Open Water Zone that will be effective for the 2021 through 2025 waterfowl hunting seasons. Input from hunters will help natural resource managers develop regulations for the Open Water Zone. The new Open Water Zone …

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Low-flying Helicopter Will Survey Northeast Wisconsin for Geologic Study

Low-Flying Helicopter

Note to Editors: In the public interest and in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations, the USGS is announcing this low-level airborne project. Your assistance in informing the local communities is appreciated. Starting on or around January 4 and lasting two to three weeks, a helicopter towing a large hoop from a cable will begin …

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Human Bacteria, Viruses from Sewage Found in Some Milwaukee Streams

Sample Locations in Menomonee River watershed

(Credit: USGS. Public domain.) “Leaky infrastructure and overflows from sanitary sewers can contaminate urban waterways, and the detection of human-associated bacteria and viruses indicates the presence of sewage, a potential health hazard,” said Peter Lenaker, a USGS scientist and the lead author of the study. “Results from our study can help Milwaukee-area water managers develop …

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Understanding the Mineral Resources of the Midcontinent Rift

Image shows a screenshot of the Mid-Continent Rift Story Map

Meet the Midcontinent Rift, one of the most geologically fascinating regions in the United States and Canada.(Public domain.) Now, you too can learn some of that history and see a small part of the mineral potential of the United States without leaving your comfortable chair! The USGS has just released a new interactive Story Map …

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Groundwater Quality in the Midwest: The Cambrian-Ordovician Aquifer System

Constituent concentration pie chart for the Cambrian-Ordovician Aquifer System

The Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer system ranks ninth in the nation as a source of groundwater for public supply, providing 631 million gallons per day for this use. The aquifer underlies an area with a population of about 26 million people in parts of seven states and includes the metropolitan areas of Chicago, Illinois; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and …

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Scientists Home in on Causes of High Radium Levels in Key Midwestern Aquifer

Map showing where in the Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer groundwater was tested for radium and where levels were high

U.S. Geological Survey scientists have shed new light on processes that happen deep underground. These processes — which cause radium to leach from aquifer rocks into groundwater — are responsible for high concentrations of naturally occurring radium in groundwater from the Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer. This aquifer provides more than 630 million gallons of water a day …

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Emerging Disease Further Jeopardizes North American Frogs

Tadpole with organ failure

This tadpole shows signs of severe Perkinsea infection, which causes organ failure. ​​​​​​​(Credit: William Barichivich, USGS) Frogs and salamanders are currently among the most threatened groups of animals on the planet. The two most common frog diseases, chytridiomycosis and ranavirus infection, are linked to frog population declines worldwide. The new study suggests that that SPI is the third …

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USGS La Crosse Science Center Opens Doors for Interactive Experience

2017 USGS UMESC Open House

Attendees will have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center scientists and learn about research conducted at the La Crosse, Wisconsin, facility. Fish and wildlife-oriented activities will be available for children, and refreshments, including popcorn and lemonade, will be provided. The event is an opportunity to learn about science careers …

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Lake Michigan Could Best Support Lake Trout and Steelhead

Chinook Salmon

Managers have reduced Lake Michigan stocking levels of Chinook salmon at least three times over the past decades in response to declining prey fish and the natural reproduction of Chinook salmon.  (Credit: Michael Humling, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Public domain.) Reduced stocking of Chinook salmon, however, would still support a substantial population of this highly desirable …

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Deadly Fungus Affecting Hibernating Bats Could Spread During Summer

Little Brown Bat with white-nose syndrome

This hibernating little brown bat shows signs of white-nose syndrome. (Credit: Alan Hicks, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Public domain.) USGS scientists tested samples collected from bats, the environment and equipment at eight bat hibernation sites in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia. They found that bats occupying such sites in summer can …

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Alabama Survey Finds First Southeastern Bat with White-Nose Syndrome

Southeastern Bat with P. destructans Fungus

This southeastern bat from Alabama shows signs of infection from the Pseudogymnoascus destructans fungus that causes white-nose syndrome. The USGS National Wildlife Health Center later confirmed WNS in this animal. (Credit: Dottie Brown, Ecological Solutions, Inc.) The diseased bat was found in Shelby County, Alabama, at Lake Purdy Corkscrew Cave, by surveyors from the Alabama Department of …

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Asian Carp Would Have Adequate Food to Survive in Lake Michigan

Jumping Silver Carp

This information is critical in helping resource managers mitigate effects of an Asian carp invasion. Great Lakes fisheries generate economic activity of approximately $7 billion annually in the United States alone. Due to the introduction or invasion of many non-native species, Lake Michigan’s ecosystem has already undergone broad and rapid change in fish and other …

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Deadly Deer Disease Expected to Grow Rapidly and Spread in Wisconsin

Deer with Chronic Wasting Disease

This deer shows visible signs of chronic wasting disease. (Credit: Terry Kreeger, Wyoming Game and Fish and Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance.) Scientists with the USGS and partners developed a novel scientific model to forecast the growth and spread of chronic wasting disease, or CWD, in white-tailed deer in southwestern Wisconsin. The model showed that CWD prevalence …

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Wells Affect Water Flows in the Central Sands Region

Little Plover River Wells

Both irrigation wells and municipal wells affect water levels in the Little Plover River, Wisconsin. (Credit: Ken Bradbury, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey) The Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey and the U.S. Geological Survey have released the results of a three-year project to develop a groundwater flow model for an area around the Little …

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Human, Cattle Viruses Detected in Some Great Lakes Tributaries

Viruses Great Lakes Streams

Scientists with the USGS and U.S. Department of Agriculture tested 290 water samples from eight rivers in the Great Lakes Basin from February 2011 to June 2013. The two most frequently detected pathogens were human adenovirus C, D and F in nine percent of samples, which can cause minor respiratory illnesses in people, and bovine …

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Coal-Tar-Sealant a Major Source of PAH Contamination in Milwaukee Streams

Image: Residential Driveways With Coal-Tar-Based Sealcoat

Driveways in a residential subdivision are coated with black coal-tar-based sealcoat, contrasting with the white cement sidewalk. (Public domain) Runoff from pavement with coal-tar-based sealant is the primary source of toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, to streambed sediments in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, according to a U.S. Geological Survey and Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District study published today. …

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What’s Causing Seabird Die-Offs in Alaska?

Tufted Puffin, the species most affected by a recent seabird die-off in the Pribilof Islands, AK

A tufted puffin, the species most affected by a recent seabird die-off in the Pribilof Islands, Alaska. (Credit: Sarah Schoen, USGS) A beach littered with bird carcasses is a sobering sight. Since mid-October, hundreds of dead seabirds have washed ashore the north and east sides of St. Paul Island, Alaska, an otherwise serene volcanic island landscape in the …

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Removal of Fallen Leaves Can Improve Urban Water Quality

Autumn leaf cleanup

The timely removal of leaf litter can reduce harmful phosphorus concentrations in stormwater by over 80 percent in Madison, Wisconsin. (USGS) The timely removal of leaf litter can reduce harmful phosphorus concentrations in stormwater by over 80 percent in Madison, Wisconsin, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey study. Autumn leaf litter contributes a significant …

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Common Insecticide Identified in Midwestern Streams

Map of Bifenthrin Study Area

A common insecticide used in urban and agricultural areas, bifenthrin, is harmful to aquatic ecosystems at levels that were previously considered safe, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey. The insecticide was measured in several streams in the Midwest at levels that caused harm to artificial aquatic ecosystems. Bifenthrin is used to …

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Widespread Plastic Pollution Found in Great Lakes Tributaries

Microplastics in Jar

Tiny pieces of harmful plastic, called microplastics, are prevalent in many rivers that flow into the Great Lakes, according to a study published today in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. Results are also illustrated on a new USGS microplastics website. Microplastics fall off decomposing bottles and bags, wear off of synthetic clothing and are manufactured …

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High Rate of Tumors Found on white sucker in some Wisconsin Rivers

Lip tumor diagnosed as a papilloma on a white sucker fish

There is an elevated incidence of skin and liver tumors among White Suckers caught in certain Wisconsin rivers that flow into Lake Michigan according to a U.S. Geological Survey study recently published in the Journal of Fish Diseases. The three-year study looked at White Sucker tumor prevalence in the Sheboygan River and Milwaukee Estuary, which …

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Deadly Bat Fungus in Washington State Likely Originated in Eastern U.S.

Image: Bat with White-nose Syndrome

A hibernating little brown bat with a white muzzle typical of white-nose syndrome. (Greg Turner, Pennsylvania Game Commission, public domain) The bat-killing fungus recently detected for the first time in western North America is genetically similar to strains found in the eastern United States and did not likely originate in Eurasia, according to a study …

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Low Levels of Contaminants Found in Great Lakes Tree Swallow Eggs

Image: Household Products Could Harm Tree Swallows

While exposure was low at most sites, USGS scientists found high concentrations of dioxins and furans in tree swallow eggs from Midland, Michigan, and from the Saginaw River and Bay.​​​​​​​ (Thomas W. Custer, USGS) Birds at most study sites in the Great Lakes basin were minimally exposed to most environmental contaminants, with the exception of high …

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Moving Barges Have Potential to Transport Invasive Fish

Photo of USGS and FWS scientists studying the interaction of moving barges and small fish on the Illinois Waterway.

Results of the study indicate the potential for small fish to be transported through the electric dispersal barrier, which was built to keep invasive species such as Asian carp from passing between the Mississippi River and Great Lakes Basins. However, there is no evidence to date that Asian carp have crossed the Electric Dispersal Barrier …

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Rainfall Following Drought Linked to Historic Nitrate Levels in Some Midwest Streams in 2013

Photo showing a small stream flowing through corn fields in northern Indiana.

Drought periods followed by rainfall caused nitrate levels to increase to the highest ever measured in some Midwest streams during a 2013 study, according to a U.S. Geological Survey report published today in the Journal of Environmental Quality. Nitrate, a form of nitrogen, is a common pollutant in U.S. streams and groundwater. Excessive concentrations in …

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New Science Challenges Old Assumptions about Harmful Algal Blooms

Map of the 48 contiguous states showing cylindrospermopsin concentrations

The first-ever National Lakes Assessment of toxins from harmful algal blooms challenges several long-held assumptions, including the extent, distribution and make-up of toxins from harmful algal blooms. The assessment, conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, sampled 1161 inland lakes and reservoirs throughout the United States. Harmful algal blooms can be …

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Second Round of USGS Studies Begin to Define What Minerals Lie Beneath Portions of the Upper Midwest

U.S. Geological Survey scientists will conduct a high-resolution airborne survey to study the rock layers under a region of the south-central Upper Peninsula, Michigan, and parts of northeastern Wisconsin, starting in early April and lasting until as late as August. When the data analysis is complete, resulting geologic maps will help USGS researchers improve an …

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USGS Goes Airborne to Define What Minerals Lie Beneath the Upper Midwest

Map of upcoming USGS AEM study area in relation to state and county borders.

Beginning in early April and continuing for approximately two weeks, the U.S. Geological Survey will conduct an aerial survey designed to scan the upper part of the earth’s crust. As part of this survey, a helicopter will be flying low to the ground towing equipment shaped like a giant hula-hoop beneath it. The flight region …

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