None available at this time.
OCLAWA RAFFLE RESULTS, SUMMER 2014
TO: OCLAWA Lake Association Members
FROM: Mike Winius, Pres.; OCLAWA
RE: Letters of support for grant application to sustain AIS Coordinator position and Program
Please start your preparation of ‘letters of support’ to sustain Amanda Strick’s position as AIS Coordinator & Program Director for Oconto County. A quick reference tool is provided at the end of this memo to assist composition of your letter. Send letters to Amanda and copy me. I then will write a consolidated letter from OCLAWA. Your association membership/property owner/tax paying unit numbers should be included in your letter. Copy your county and township representatives as well. The grant deadline is 12/10/2014. Amanda and Ken are already beginning preparation for grant submission and planning meetings with WI-DNR & OC Board and committees. Contact me if you have any questions or if I can assist in some manner.
How to Write a Letter of Support
Letters of support are an important aspect of applying for grants. The introduction of the letter of support should explain who the writer is and what they are writing about. The writer should detail their involvement or how the program has affected them/their organization along with any important background information. Important background information can include explanations about past projects that were collaborated upon, the history of the writer’s organization and how they have worked with the AIS Program, and any other details that would be important for the DNR to know.
Here are some phrases that could be used/altered for a support letter:
Intent: “I am writing to show my support for Oconto County’s Aquatic Invasive Species Grant application.”
“I believe the continuation of the AIS Program in Oconto County will greatly benefit my [community/lake organization/etc.] and am writing to express my full support.”
“I have worked closely with Amanda Strick for the past three years and feel confident expressing my full support for the continued funding for the coordinator position through the Oconto County Land Conservation Division.”
Background: “I have been the [president, member, organizer] of [name of organization] for [blank number of years]. Our mission [explain mission: to prevent the spread of AIS in Oconto County, to prevent AIS from entering *lake name*, to educate youth, etc.] has been supported by Amanda Strick through past projects such as [examples]. [Further detail about past collaboration].
To whom it may concern:
As President of Oconto County Lakes & Waterways Association, and also a member of the Board of Directors of Bass Lake Association, I strongly support securing a grant for an AIS Coordinator for Oconto County. We need to control the spread of AIS throughout Oconto County to protect our lakes and waterways, our most important resource in the North. Oconto County relies heavily on tourism for its financial resources, and our lakes and waterways attracts numbers of tourists. OCLAWA strongly support all your efforts to maintain an AIS coordinator for Oconto County.
Michael H. Winius
Cc: Oconto County Board Chair_______________; County Bd. Supr_______________(all representatives in your Town/Township); Town Bod. Chair_________________.
AIS Coordinator priorities/duties include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Monitoring of target waterways.
2. Grant identification and applications.
3. Inventorying boat landings for AIS signage, updating signs.
4. Education projects including: CBCW, Citizen Lake Monitoring Network, and Project RED trainings; outreach to local schools, 4-H groups, summer camps, etc; regional education including NWTC, Neville Museum, etc.
5. Establishing additional voluntary groups that would provide inspections of vehicles and watercraft at boat ramps.
6. Hired 2 interns per year to conduct CBCW interviews and assist boaters with boat inspections.
7. Establishing eradication events on waterways with volunteers.
8. Working with organizers for county fishing tournaments to wash boats and educate tournament anglers about AIS.
9. Outreach to various sporting groups including: Trout Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, Wisconsin Waterfowl Association, etc.
10. Coordinating control projects throughout the county.
11. Complete all necessary AIS grant reports and share success stories and photos with statewide AIS contacts through AIS listserv.
12. AIS Coordinator provided community outreach at various venues such as the County Fair, local festivals, conservation organizations, etc., to provide educational programs, literature, and seek input on the AIS Strategic Plan.
13. Developing a county-wide strategic plan for AIS identification, control, eradication and prevention.
14. Consultation to county lake associations regarding AIS identification, control, and prevention; water clarity issues, and referral conduit to other available resources supporting lake association concerns.
PVC Framed Weed Barrier Mat Proposal - July 2014
TO: THE WDNR - Attn: Brenda Nordin
Prepared by: Kay Rankel, secretary-treasurer - Berry Lake Property Owners Association Inc. (BLPOA)
PO Box 492, Gillett WI 54124
PVC framed weed barrier mat being installed by Doug Freeland of Ace Diving
In 2011, I was asked by Robert Rosenberger of the Peshtigo WDNR Service Center to prepare a proposal for the use of weed barrier mats here at Berry Lake. At that time, I learned about Doug Freeland in Idaho who had been successfully using mats in the western US for many years. Doug provided me with detailed information on the construction of the mats, as well as the success stories of their effectiveness against AIS. I provided this documentation in my proposal and despite the evidence, our request was denied at that time.
I was told then that the mats would kill not just EWM, but that it would also kill all native species which would create a bare lake bed that EWM would most likely reinhabit. However, “bare lake beds” are also created by the two WDNR-approved control methods as well...chemical and/or mechanical removal.
This spring, Oconto County AIS Coordinator Amanda Strick suggested that I submit a proposal again for the use of mats to Brenda Nordin of the WDNR. Before preparing this document, I contacted Doug Freeland of Ace Diving in Idaho once again to see if there were any new developments to report since 2011. We hope to be able to include the use of weed barrier mats as part of our APM plan which is being created this year by Onterra.
Doug Freeland is the company head/president of Ace Diving, a subcontracting company doing barrier work in the states of Idaho, Montana, Nevada, California and Washington. His divers install and maintain the mats, and Doug also does all of the post-treatment surveys.
Doug and I had a long phone conversation this June and he provided me with several references on the success of mats in controlling EWM which I’m including below. Doug says that mats are a “necessary tool, along with chemical and mechanical control, in the control of EWM”.
Doug also relayed this information regarding his experience with hand-pulling EWM: “Hand-pulling is only successful if there are few plants (one per meter); if there are 30 plants per meter, it becomes so difficult to see due to all the sediment that forms that it’s not effective”. For large stands of EWM, he now goes out in a pontoon and uses a dredger to dislodge the plants by the roots, and then uses a vacuum system to suck them up onto the boat. There is less fragmentation of the plants with this method.
MAT SUCCESS STORY @ EMERALD BAY - LAKE TAHOE
Per Doug…In Emerald Bay of Lake Tahoe, they used ONLY weed barrier mats to combat EWM (no chemicals) with great success. The mats they used there were longer 10’x40’ and installed by divers. Here are some videos from the Tahoe Resource Conservation District on the use of mats there:
AIS control in Tahoe using barriers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKdFbR_gnjs
Emerald Bay bottom barriers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC9pmfyAkUw
Post treatment survey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdlakArtlR0
This article appeared in the Nevada Appeal newspaper on the sucess of this mat project: http://www.nevadaappeal.com/news/local/7127015-113/barriers-plants-bay-emerald
Email thread declaring that Emerald Bay is weed-free as of June 10, 2014...
On Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 12:04 PM, Doug Freeland <email@example.com> wrote:
How is everything going. Swimmingly I hope. Please give an early season up-date so I can jump for joy. Item 2, A group in Wi. is looking for some documentation help proving barriers are effective in controlling milfoil. I thought we could send them some info regarding how well you guys are doing down there. Do you have any video or on-line stuff from US Parks that might help them.
Hi Doug, We got the boat tags in the mail yesterday and we'll be launching this morning to finish up Emerald Bay. We dove last week from shore and we've been able to survey all of Avalanche Beach, Eagle Creek, Parson's Rock to Boat Camp and from Boat camp to the mouth of Emerald Bay. We can now do the southern shore from Av. Beach to the mouth and also Fannett Is.. We found a total of (2) kitchen trash cans worth of weeds so far, including (1) single plant at Av. Beach. We've also pulled everything out already, using catch bags. Dan Shaw did his survey dives as well and declared Em. Bay "weed free". We will meet on Friday morning, having completed the rest of the survey dives. Thanks for everything.
Have a Great Day and Be Safe! Shawn
Before and after photos (due to the use of mats) by Wet Leprechaun Dive Services of Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe:
THE USE OF MATS HERE AT BERRY LAKE
As the average depth of Berry Lake is appx. 8’ and accessible to swimmers/divers, the 10’ x 10’ PVC framed weed barrier mats could be installed and removed with minimal effort in the areas close to shore around the perimeter of the lake in the boat traffic lane each year (if the mats are in place over the plants in these areas, it will minimize the spread from boat propellers going through the stands of EWM).
The large stand of EWM near the boat landing, and other large stands in not-so-accessible areas, would still need to be chemically treated as permitted by the WDNR.
Doug Freeland recommends moving the mats every 3 months. Here in Wisconsin, we would need them in place by early summer when the plants begin to emerge, and we would need to remove them at the end of summer.
The long term effects of chemical use are still unknown, and the use of weed barrier mats pose no potential risk to humans/pets. The use of mats have been proven effective in other states; we would like to include them in our Aquatic Plant Management Plan (along with the use of chemicals and mechanical methods already approved by the WDNR).
PVC Mat Construction Details Doug Freeland of Ace Diving provided the BLPOA with detailed instructions on how to build these PVC framed landscape barrier mats back in 2011. In 2014, they are still building them the same way. They are constructed from 10’ lengths of PVC piping. 2 of the sides are filled with sand and plugged, and the other 2 sides are left to fill with water. All 4 corners of the frame are fitted with T-connectors and a professional grade landscape fabric is screwed to 2 sides of the framework. They are durable and can be stored over the winter to be used over and over again.
Management - Installation/Maintenance/Evaluation
● The PVC framed weed barrier mats will be placed over the EWM plants and their locations confirmed with GPS early in the season (end of May/early June); they will be left in place for a minimum of 3 months to kill the EWM. According to Doug from Ace Diving, these mats can be used singularly over small stands of EWM or they can be placed side by side to cover large stands of EWM.
● We will check the mats again in June, July, and August to verify that the mats are still in place.
● The BLPOA will remove the mats in early fall (September) and we will use an underwater camera and take pictures to evaluate their effectiveness in preventing EWM from growing beneath them at the end of the season.
● The mats will be cleaned and stored for use again the following spring. Reports indicate that these mats can be used for up to 10 years without the need to replace the landscape fabric.
● In the spring of each year, we will check the locations where the PVC framed weed barrier mats were in place the year before (based on the GPS location on record) for signs of success/failure in killing the EWM.
● We will record the results as part of our Citizen Lake Monitoring Program.
TO PROMOTE AND PRESERVE THE LAKES AND RIVERS OF OCONTO COUNTY
GREAT WORK BEING DONE ON AIS
By: Amanda Strick
Happy summer! I wanted to take some time to reflect on all the great work that has occurred already this summer in regards to AIS prevention and education efforts.
During the 2014 field season, early detection surveys were conducted by Oconto County and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on five lakes. These lakes included: Montana, Leigh Flowage, Chute Pond, Bass (Townsend), and Waupee Flowage. These lakes were monitored using the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative monitoring techniques. Additional monitoring and training is available to lakes interested in learning how to identify lake vegetation, contact Amanda Strick for more information.
This year’s Clean Boats, Clean Waters program has continued to provide strong outreach efforts to visitors and residents alike in Oconto County. Peter Framnes and Ian Woest began working in early May and so far this summer, nearly 800 boats have been inspected and well over 1,500 people have been spoken with at boat landings!
The county had a good turnout for the 4th of July Boat Landing Blitz. The lakes that were staffed over the 4th of July weekend included: Bass Lake, Bear/Munger Lake, Boulder Lake, Chain Lake, Crooked Lake, Grindle Lake, Paya Lake, Leigh Flowage, Kelly Lake, Maiden Lake, Machickanee Flowage, Lake Michigan, Townsend Flowage, Wheeler Lake, Waubee Lake, and White Potato Lake. Thank you for making the 2014 4th of July Landing Blitz such a success for Oconto County!
This summer the county’s AIS Program has provided a free boat washing station at five fishing tournaments based out of the city of Oconto. The Southernline 4-H group was present at two of the fishing tournaments to wash boats and speak with anglers post-tournament. These efforts were well received and anglers expressed appreciation of the free boat wash and the 4-H’s involvement.
Additional updates for Phragmites treatments on the bay: In 2011 and 2012 the Wisconsin DNR implemented a grant to control Phragmites on the west shore of the Bay of Green Bay using aerial herbicide applications. Although this herbicide application was very successful in some cases Phragmites persisted or plants were missed. Oconto County Land Conservation Division is working with the Wisconsin DNR and Ducks Unlimited to implement a new 2 year project to continue follow up treatment of the area and is expected to start in late summer of 2014 with a follow up **Special Reminder**: 2014 is the last year of Oconto County’s current AIS Grant Program. In December the county will be submitting a grant application to continue the work that is being done in Oconto County to educate and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. If you or your lake organization would like to write a letter of support to continue these efforts these letters can be sent to: 111 Arbutus Ave., Oconto, WI 54153. If you have questions please email or call Amanda Strick: firstname.lastname@example.org or 920-834-7155
The Prez Says:
As we are already chasing those fleeting days of summer I wanted to briefly review OCLAWA’s activity to date. We’ve begun to address financial solvency with our first brat fry and sales of our first raffle tickets to conclude Labor Day weekend. Please purchase a ticket if you have the opportunity. These will allow continuance of our mission of AIS education and awareness in our partnership endeavor with Lakewood Super Valu and our donation commitment to the Terry Rank Education Foundation. Hopefully your lake association projects have had similar starts and success. This also offers an opportunity to address needed support from our membership this Fall/Winter 2014/2015 for continuance of our Lake Specialist position in Oconto County. The grant supporting this position is already coming to fruition. Amanda Strick and Ken Dolata will need our support in their endeavor to reapply for grant continuance and garner financial support from the Oconto County Board. Be prepared to offer letters of support, attendance at OC committee meetings, etc. I will stay in touch with Amanda and Ken to coordinate support from our membership and keep all informed of needs and progress in this matter.
All have a wonderful safe summer!
I have never been one to buy raffle tickets in the past and still am somewhat restrained when it comes to that type of gambling. However I believe I am in the minority. I recently sat at a table at the Archibald Lake Association Annual meeting and sold 21 of my 25 OCLAWA raffle tickets in about a half an hour. I was amazed. I wondered why I was so successful. Did being very visible help? I sold them at a meeting with over fifty people in attendance. Was it the cause? “OCLAWA needs the money to help pay for projects such as grocery bags at Lakewood Super Valu”. Was it my wonderful presentation? “You don’t want to buy a raffle ticket do you?” Was it that people like to gamble? ”Only three hundred tickets are being sold.” Was it a very desirable prize? “$500 on a $10 bet is a pretty good return.” Or was it more of an individual thing which may amount to a little of all of them for some people. I am inclined to believe that with most people it probably was some of all of them. I think the cause may have influenced some; the fact that only three hundred tickets were being sold greatly raised the odds of winning for others; and some may have even been influenced by the seller who did make a pitch for the raffle at the meeting. So it is my belief that visibility before a concentrated gathering; a good cause; an enhanced chance to win; and possibly familiarity of the seller all influence people to buy tickets.
I hope by now that many of you have seen our message on the grocery bags at Lakewood Super Valu. I am wondering what you think of the message? It should be noted that I did not see the message in its final form before it went to the printer so I am not sure how they came up with the message they used. Do you like the message? Do you think it gets our points across about AIS? If not, what changes would you make? I will be doing a survey of Super Valu customers at the end of summer to see how effective our effort was. If it was effective, it certainly is an inexpensive way to communicate with the public.
If you have any suggestions please email me at: email@example.com.
A Permanent Solution To Keep Asian Carp Out of Great Lakes
Edited from the Defender Spring 2014
With Asian carp knocking on the door to the Great Lakes, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released a report last December detailing options to keep these invasive species out of our precious lakes. With a $7 billion fishing industry at stake, the report was published two years ahead of schedule, showing how important it is to move quickly. Of the eight options outlined, Clean Wisconsin and many others are in strong support of options 5 and 6, permanent separation of the Mississippi River and Great lakes basins.
Clean Wisconsin has long pushed for permanent separation for several reasons. For starters, Asian carp consume up to 40% of their body weight each day. They eat plankton and vegetation, the same diet that sustains many of our favorite native fish, and they feed on the eggs of native species, wiping them out before they have a chance to develop. In addition, Asian carp have very few predators because they grow so large so quickly. Thriving in the shallower waters of rivers, it’s a guarantee that as soon as Asian carp become established in Lake Michigan, they will invade any connecting tributary.
With all this in mind, it’s clear that permanent separation is the best solution to prevent the spread of dangerous Asian carp and other aquatic invasives.
Researchers from the University of Notre Dame have already discovered Asian Carp DNA in Lake Michigan, but it’s not too late to prevent these and other invasives from becoming established in the Great Lakes. And we already have some serious political backing. On March 14, 11 U.S. senators sent a letter to USACE seeking quicker movement toward short- and long-term solutions.
USACE took comments on the report through the end of March; Clean Wisconsin advocated for permanent separation of the two water systems to prevent future invasive species introductions.
In the near future, there will be opportunities to contact you federal legislators, and we hope you’ll do just that because the Great Lakes deserve a great legacy and together, we can keep it that way.
News From Around the County: What are other lakes doing?
Annual Association Meeting: Saturday, May 17th @ Waters Edge, 9am. Boating Blitz: Inspections and Information for Boaters at Public Landing at random times over July 4th weekend. Annual Association Picnic on Saturday July 26th
The Lake Association reported good news at its annual meeting in June. We received a second WDNR EWM grant and the 2013 chemical treatment and manual removal teams were very successful. The early summer 2014 EWM survey results of the lake shows a significant reduction in known EWM plants. However, we did find some small EWM plants in the east lobe of the lake for the first time. We will continue to survey, chemically treat and manually remove known plants this year. A manual removal guideline and tools to remove EWM has been developed by association member, Steve Fleming, and is available for viewing on our website: www.archibaldlake.com
Our other aquatic invasive species, flowering rush, has been greatly reduced in treated areas as well. We have a WDNR research grant to find the best chemical to eradicate this plant. So far Diquat has given us the best results. Steve Fleming, who has been our leader in both the EWM and Flowering Rush treatment efforts, was invited to present our flowering rush chemical treatment results to the Northern Rockies Invasive Plant Council Symposium in Spokane, Washington. Flowering rush is a more prevalent invasive in Minnesota and areas in some Western states. Steve sent some rhizomes and leaf materials from our lake to Montana and Switzerland for potential bio control analysis.
We continue to monitor our boat landing with Clean Boats, Clean Waters volunteers. We also have volunteers inspect our shoreline for EWM plants with our Adopt a Shoreline program. EWM manual removal teams are assigned areas of the lake to remove the plants that are identified by the Adopt a Shoreline volunteers.
We also plan to have fun this summer with our Annual Picnic and Volunteer Recognition Picnic, both in August. In addition to the volunteers getting together to celebrate their efforts, we honor them with a Clean Boats, Clean Waters and an overall Association Volunteer of the Year award. Our social calendar for 2014 will end with a golf outing and end-of-season dinner at McCauslin Brook Country Club in September.
I wanted to let you all know that I recently submitted a revised proposal on the use of weed barrier mats for EWM control to Brenda Nordin of the WDNR. We had submitted one to the WDNR Peshtigo office back in 2011, and despite the evidence of its success in other states our request was denied at that time. The WDNR rejected our proposal back in 2011 stating that the mats would kill everything underneath creating a bare lake bed which EWM would most likely re-inhabit. Our response at that time was that chemicals and hand-pulling (the only 2 methods that our WDNR allows here in Wisconsin) would also create bare lake beds with the same result.
Oconto coordinator Amanda Strick suggested that I submit another proposal this year, and this time to Brenda Nordin. Before preparing this revised proposal, I checked again with Doug Freeland of Ace Diving to see if any changes had been made in the way they did things three years ago in the 5 western states that he manages (Idaho, Montana, Nevada, California, and Washington). We had a long phone conversation and he was nice enough to forward me references (which included video documentation and newspaper articles) on the success of mats in controlling EWM. In Emerald Bay of Lake Tahoe, where they were not allowed to use chemicals and could only use mats to control the EWM, the mats were 100% successful in eliminating the EWM there as of this June. Doug stated that mats are a "necessary tool in the control of EWM".
Berry Lake is in the process of having our APM plan done by Onterra, and we're hoping that the use of weed barrier mats can be included in that plan. Mats would work well in the boat traffic lane area around the perimeter of the lake where they could be installed and removed with minimal effort by swimmers and/or divers. In other not-so-accessible areas, chemicals could still be used as a control method as permitted by the WDNR. I'm hoping that if we have a "plan" in place that the WNDR will consider them as another option for EWM control here and allow us to use them.
Many of our residents here are concerned about the long-term use of chemicals (not to mention the cost); these mats are constructed from PVC pipes and landscape fabric and can last up to 10 years. They're 10'x10' and are easily installed and removed, and MUCH LESS expensive. If any of your lake associations would like more information on the use of mats or our proposal to the WDNR, please contact me. I'd be happy to share the documentation provided to me by Doug and others on their success in controlling EWM. And I'll keep you all posted on what the WDNR has to say this time around. They may be more likely to listen if several lakes stand behind this (BTW they also work great to kill Phragmites on the shoreline).
Kay Rankel, Secretary-Treasurer
Berry Lake Property Owners Inc.
The Bass tournament was a success, around 20 boats entered, a large number of Large Mouth Bass were caught, many in the 2 to 3 pound range. 1st place to the Dan Exferd boat with both the largest Bass and most fish caught. Around $1000.00 was raised for Walleye stocking. Big thanks to MJ at the Maiden Lake Supper Club for running this event.
The Maiden Lake Association recently purchased Please Slow Down signs for around Maiden Lake. The signs will be up Memorial though Labor Day weekend. Due to the high number of walkers, bikers, hikers, and runners, it was felt traffic was moving too fast around the lake, if anyone wants info on the process of installing the signs, contact Joy Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Maiden Lake boat parade was held July 5th, with the theme: Commercials. Not a large number of entries, but some great floats.
We also held a Kayak and Canoe night on the Lake. Around 20 craft explored hidden spots on the lake. Food and Drink were served after at the Nelson Cabin.
Coming up Saturday Aug 9th at 3:30 at the Maiden Lake Supper Club deck, will be a Gilligan's Island Party come by boat (the SS Minnow) or land. All are welcome. Come dressed as your favorite character. We'll pick the best overall crew, prizes for the best look alike.
Everyone is having fun on Maiden Lake.
See you on the water, be safe, enjoy.
Maiden Lake Association
Edited from L.L. Bean Game and Fish Cookbook by Cameron and Jones
If the chowder is made in camp milk made from powdered milk its fine without the cream.
The Fish Stock
If you’ve kept, say, three smallmouths of 1-1/2-2-1/2 pounds; skin them and use the heads and tails of all three fish and half of the meat of the smallest one.
Fish trimmings to make about a pound 1 chopped of thinly sliced carrot
3 cups of water ¼ tsp. thyme
1 cup white wine a clove or two
1 small onion sliced 1 bay leaf
1 rib celery with leaves chopped 4 pepper corns
Combine the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Strain and set the stock aside. In camp you can make the stock one night and use it for the chowder the next to keep it from being too big a chore.
21/2” square salt pork 2 bass, deboned,
cut in ½” cubes with the meat cut into chunks
1 medium onion sliced thin 2 cups milk (at home
4 peeled potatoes sliced, diced make it half cream)
4 cups fish stock salt and pepper
Fry out the salt pork cubes over low heat in a skillet until the chitlins are crisp and brown. Set them aside.
Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the salt pork fat, and in a soup pot sauté the onion in the fat. Sit in the potatoes. Add the fish stock and fish chunks to the pot, cover and simmer until the fish is just tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Stir in the milk and bring to hot, but not to boil. Check for salt and pepper.
Just before you serve, stir in the chitlins.
The world is, rude, silent, incomprehensible at first, nature is incomprehensible at first.
Be not discouraged, keep on,
there are divine things well envelop’d,
I swear to you there are divine beings
More beautiful than words can tell.
Taken from: Heron Dance Book of Love and Gratitude
Under the Lens SO FINE
Fine particulate matter affects air quality, public health
By Tyson Cook, Staff Scientist Clean Wisconsin “Defender Summer 2014
With such a strong early allergy season this year, many people have taken to checking pollen counts on their favorite weather site. If this is you, you may have also noticed information on air quality, like the EPA’s Air Quality Index, which monitors and forecasts ozone and fine particulate levels, most people recognize and know ozone, but what are fine particulates?
Fine particulates (or fine particulate matter) are a subset of a type of air pollution called particulate matter, or PM. This pollution consists of any sort of very small solid or liquid particles floating in the air, including some of those plant pollens that cause many outdoor allergies. While pollens can range widely in size, the PM pollution of most interest for human health is small particles less than 10 microns in diameter, about one-fifth the width of a human hair. These are often referred to as PM10. They are a concern because they are small enough to inhale and get into our lungs, and once there, they can be difficult for our body to remove. As a result, they can cause a number of respiratory problems like aggravated asthma and decreased lung function.
The fine particulates shown on the Air Quality Index are smaller still: less than 2.5 microns. Also called PM2.5, these particles are less than one-twentieth the width of a human hair. Like PM10, the health impacts of these tiny particles are the direct result of their size. They are so small that they can get deep inside our lungs when inhaled, and some can even get in our bloodstream and be carried throughout our bodies. As a result, the health impacts from inhaling fine particulates are not isolated to our respiratory systems; they affect our cardiovascular systems, increasing the risk of heart disease and heart attacks. Children, the elderly and people with existing lung or heart conditions are at particular risk for complications from breathing in these fine particulates and are highly advised to monitor the Air Quality Index for their area to minimize exposure.
Fine particulates can come from many sources and be made of a wide variety of compounds. For example, some PM2.5 is directly emitted as soot and other compounds from fires or burning fossil fuels; as tire and brake particles from highways; or as mineral particles from things like mining or construction sites. Other PM2.5 is formed in the air through chemical reactions of sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxide pollution that comes from power plants and automobiles.
Even with all the types and sources of PM2.5, there are many ways to control the amount in our air. The EPA limits the amount of PM2.5 that large facilities are allowed to emit, as well as compounds like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which has made a huge difference for our air quality. Additionally, other environmental regulations can indirectly reduce PM2.5; for example, the EPA’s newly proposed standards to cut carbon emissions from power plants will likely reduce the amount of electricity we get from coal in favor of cleaner alternatives like natural gas, renewables and efficiency. And as we switch to more fuel-and energy-efficient practices, we will reduce PM2.5 even more.
4 tips to reduce you PM exposure
1. On days with poor air quality: Reduce travel, avoid vigorous outdoor physical activity and avoid using you wood stove and fireplace.
2. Avoid prolonged outdoor exertion near high-traffic areas.
3. Do not burn leaves and other yard waste.
4. Subscribe to state air quality notices at dnr.,wi.gov/topic/AirQuality/Status.asp
If you are interested in joining OCLAWA, please contact one of our members for more information.