State funds new environmental lab at UW-Superior

Wisconsin State Roundup

Published October 1, 1991  | October 1991 issue

The Lake Superior Research Institute (LSRI) at the University of Wisconsin- Superior will expand its research and staff when it moves into new laboratory space next May.

Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson's announcement of a $480,000 state grant to establish the new lab came on the heels of a federal Environmental Protection Agency grant of $1.6 million to LSRI to develop methods and criteria used in testing water quality.

Funding for the new lab, to be housed in the former Superior Water, Light and Power pumping station on Lake Superior, also includes $50,000 each from Douglas County and the city of Superior.

The new lab, which will provide up to 30 new technical jobs, will be operated jointly with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, an agency that oversees natural resources on ceded tribal lands in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. One of the goals is to fill many of the new lab jobs with Native Americans, says John Dellinger, LSRI director.

LSRI already works with the Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission on other aquatic research projects. One project under way at the Red Cliff Reservation near the Apostle Islands in northern Wisconsin is studying the effects of contaminants on fish and those who eat them, largely eagles and humans, says Dellinger.

LSRI also has a cooperative agreement with the Lake Superior Center in Duluth, an educational outreach program that sponsors study cruises on Lake Superior for students, the general public and scientific groups. LSRI provides the vessel and scientific expertise on the trips. The vessel has a laboratory on board for the study of aquatic organisms, and groups learn to do deep water sampling. About 1,000 people took the trip last year and another 1,000 thus far in 1991, according to Dellinger.

But LSRI plans to expand its connection with the Lake Superior Center, which proposes to do interpretive water quality research. The two groups are jointly applying for federal funding that would add more space to the new lab and allow for more research.

Kathy Cobb