For over 50 years, UW-Superior has been a leader in advanced research on freshwater bodies like Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes. From endangered species monitoring to beach and wetland management to aquatic toxicity testing, our faculty, staff, and students have been national leaders in studying and helping conserve these vital waters to benefit the people, industries, and resources of Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest.
That’s why this year we purchased the only land-based ballast water technology testing facility in the Great Lakes region, which is also one of only two such facilities in the United States, in an effort to further study ways to prevent the spread of invasive species through ballast water.
The facility will allow UW-Superior’s Lake Superior Research Institute (LSRI), founded in 1967, to deploy ballast water treatment strategies that demonstrate success in a laboratory environment on a larger scale using Great Lakes harbor water. It will provide tremendous new research opportunities for students while creating economic development opportunities for the region.
To continue this great work, we urge Congress and President Donald J. Trump to, at minimum, fully fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).
We are grateful for the bipartisan support from our Congressional delegation, including U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who recently toured the facility. And we are pleased President Trump has reversed course and declared his support for $300 million in funding.
We’re further excited the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure voted in September to increase funding over five years from $300 million to $475 million annually. This is great news for Superior, northern Wisconsin, and Lake Superior.
Broadly, the goal of GLRI, created in 2010, is to speed up efforts to protect and restore the largest freshwater bodies in the world, the Great Lakes.
At UW-Superior, GLRI funding supports the Great Waters Research Collaborative, a partnership between LSRI and the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration. The collaborative carries out research, development, testing, and evaluation of technologies and methods to control the introduction and spread of aquatic nuisance species via commercial vessel ballast water within the Great Lakes.
GLRI funding has supported 31 staff and 90 undergraduate student employees and provided a wealth of hands-on learning opportunities for students. The work of these students and employees through the collaborative has resulted in testing 70 ballast water management technologies, the detection of five non-native species, and significant influence in creating policies that protect the Great Lakes.
We’re incredibly proud of the work of the Lake Superior Research Institute, and we’re pleased the UW System Board of Regents bestowed the prestigious Academic Staff Excellence Award to LSRI last year. With purchase of the ballast water treatment system testing facility, the institute is poised to further its influential research, education, and services.
LSRI is another example of the Wisconsin Idea in action, and more proof that when it comes to higher education … it’s #AllInWisconsin.
The University of Wisconsin System serves more than 170,000 students. Awarding nearly 37,000 degrees annually, the UW System is Wisconsin’s talent pipeline, putting graduates in position to increase their earning power, contribute to their communities, and make Wisconsin a better place to live. More than 80 percent of in-state UW System graduates stay in Wisconsin five years after earning a degree. The UW System provides a 23:1 return on state investment. UW System institutions also contribute to the richness of Wisconsin’s culture and economy with groundbreaking research, new companies and patents, and boundless creative intellectual energy.