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Sea Grant Staff (and Products) Trot Globe

Doug Jensen converses with Roland Schmitten (NOAA), Mamie Parker (USFWS), and Marshall Meyers (Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council)

Doug Jensen, middle, converses with Roland Schmitten (NOAA), Mamie Parker (USFWS), and Marshll Meyers (Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council) during the kick-off of the national Habitattitude campaign in Los Vegas.

Debbie Bowen, Minnesota Sea Grant's information specialist, knows that people from around the planet are hungry for our information. During the last year she reports that over 800 brochures, fact sheets, and CDs traveled to exotic destinations like Finland, Russia and Pakistan.

Our staff have also been spreading Sea Grant concepts and information abroad. Doug Jensen, Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Information Center coordinator, and Jesse Schomberg, coastal communities and land use planning extension educator, were invited to talk about AIS and land use overseas this fall.

Jensen journeyed to Ennis, Ireland, in September. There he delivered a plenary address at the 13th International AIS Conference. Ennis was the second leg of a speaking tour that started in Anchorage, AK, and touched down at the Super Zoo tradeshow in Las Vegas, NV. Whether consulting with the Western Regional Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species or hobnobbing in Vegas or on the "Emerald Isle," Jensen did it with Habitattitude™. The Habitattitude™ project aims at preventing the release of aquarium life into the U.S. environment by educating aquarists and water gardeners (see September 2004 Seiche). Jensen also spoke about preventing the spread of AIS by recreational boaters at the Ennis conference.

"Wherever I had the chance to explain what makes Habitattitude a model partnership and why we need public outreach to win AIS battles, the reaction was outstanding," said Jensen. "We are in the midst of rolling out our U.S. campaign and already Ireland, Canada, and England are interested in expanding its reach overseas."

Schomberg took off in the opposite direction, towards Japan this November. At the request of Ibaraki University College of Agriculture and the Town of Ami, Schomberg traveled to Ami with representatives from the City of Superior, WI, and the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Ami is a sister to the City of Superior and similarly abuts a lake, but Lake Kasumigaura is vastly different from Lake Superior.

"It's shallow, warm and polluted," said Schomberg of the water he never touched. "Oh, you don't want to do that," said their hosts when the U.S. contingent expressed interest in visiting Kasumigaura's shoreline.

Kasumigaura is sizable (219 km2) but has a maximum depth of only 7 meters and a residence time of only 200 days. Surrounded by intensive agriculture and dense development, it's plagued by sedimentation, nutrification, and huge stormwater problems. Schomberg traveled there to share information on land use and water quality connections.

The Ami International Exchange Association sponsored Schomberg's presentation at the Lake Environment and Civic Life in Harmony and Adjustment symposium in November. While on stage, he explained non-point sources of pollution and why it is essential for municipal officials to understand how to evade its negative consequences. Off stage, Schomberg was impressed by grassroots efforts to improve the lake.

"With the university facilitating, farmers were banding together to restore fields and housewives were exploring new ways to deal with organic waste," said Schomberg. He also ate seven kinds of raw fish, reporting that "it was mostly good."

By Sea Grant Staff
December 2004

Return to December 2004 Seiche

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