Eleven students from universities across the nation conducted research this summer to understand and improve the health of the Red Cedar watershed, which is affected by eutrophication – phosphorus and nitrogen pollution, causing blue-green algae blooms and dissolved oxygen levels.
University of Wisconsin-Stout professors led the LAKES REU students in their research across anthropology, psychology, biology and engineering disciplines.
The LAKES students and mentors invite community members to an open house from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 11, at the Raw Deal, 603 Broadway St., Menomonie. Students will present their research and join in conversations on challenges and opportunities within the watershed.
LAKES student Abby Cullen is an environmental science senior at UW-Stout and Menomonie community member.
“The issues facing Lake Menomin have caught my attention and curiosity. I am mainly interested in the effects agriculture, from conventional to regenerative, has on land, water and wildlife,” Cullen said. “I am particularly interested in entomology and pollinator ecology, both in manmade landscapes and natural landscapes.”
She has studied why farmers do or do not implement certain management practices, such as no-till and cover crops, and sifted through data to explore land management practices and how they affect soil and nutrient runoff.
“My research experience has been very eye-opening. Working with qualitative data is very different from quantitative data, and it has been a great, new experience for me,” Cullen said.
The Red Cedar watershed is nearly 1,900 square miles and includes parts of Barron, Burnett, Chippewa, Dunn, Pierce, Polk, Rusk, Sawyer, St. Croix and Washburn counties. It features approximately 40,000 acres of open water and approximately 4,900 miles of rivers and streams.