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Society of Wetland Scientists

Michigan Tech Chapter


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The Michigan Tech Society of Wetland Scientists (Michigan Tech SWS) is a student chapter of the internationally recognized Society of Wetland Scientist (SWS), dedicated to fostering sound wetland science, education, and management. For information regarding our chapter, please contact Karl Romanowicz (kjromano@mtu.edu) or Paul Gerhart (phgerhar@mtu.edu).




Meetings and activities

Next meeting: Thursday, November 3 at 5:00 p.m.

All meeting times will be determined well in advance and posted to this site whenever possible. We use meeting times to discuss group business, ideas for projects, or to head out to the swamps to conduct research. All students interested in wetlands are welcome to attend!


Fall 2011 News

Elections for SWS officers for 2011-2012

On Thursday October 6th, we held our annual elections for Michigan Tech SWS chapter officers. The election results are listed below. New officers will be transitioned into their new roles over the remainder of this semester. We thank everyone for participating in our elections, and especially our new officers for taking on responsibilities involved in their roles. Everyone’s time is valuable, and officers spend a lot of time making things happen for our chapter.

President: Paul Gerhart

Vice-President: Cassandra Wright

Treasurer: Katie Hietala

Secretary: Kevin Madson

Parlimentarian: Karl Romanowicz



Spring 2011 News

 Pilgrim River wetland delineation

The data we collected for the KLT at their Pilgrim River Watershed Project is now being prepared for presentation! Be sure to attend the Ecosystem Science Center Annual Research Forum later this month to see out awesome poster!



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Lightfoot Bay Coastal Wetlands Preserve, Baraga County

 Fall 2010 News


KLT easement monitoring


The Keweenaw Land trust has a large tract of land near Eagle River that is due for an annual monitoring to assess any wetland impacts that may have occurred over the last year. We will be conducting this monitoring on Saturday, December 4th. Plan to meet at 9:00 am at the Forestry Building parking lot if you can attend. Our ongoing assistance is very valuable to the KLT, and this should prove to be a valuable professional experience for all members interested in the legal aspect of wetland protection. 

Pilgrim River wetland delineation

Several of our SWS members recently spent time delineating riparian wetlands in the Pilgrim River watershed project. This effort is part of our collaboration with the Keweenaw Land Trust at the recently protected site. We will likely be returning to the site in the future for more delineation. Our data helps update the National Wetland Inventory datasets, which we found to be inaccurate for this study site. Stay tuned for details on future outings!

Elections for SWS officers for 2010-2011

On Wednesday October 6th, we held our annual elections for Michigan Tech SWS chapter officers. The election results are listed below. New officers will be transitioned into their new roles over the remainder of this semester. We thank everyone for participating in our elections, and especially our new officers for taking on responsibilities involved in their roles. Everyone’s time is valuable, and officers spend a lot of time making things happen for our chapter.

President: Karl Romanowicz

Vice-President: Andrew Kozich

Treasurer: Laura Kangas

Secretary: Amy Van Steen

Parliamentarian: John Hribljan


Peepsock Creek clean-up: Another SWS success story!


On Saturday October 2nd, our SWS members led a watershed clean-up project on the Peepsock Creek just outside of Houghton. The Peepsock Creek is the smaller stream that flows through the Nara/Tech Trail system, and is probably most familiar to hikers and mountain-bikers that use the smaller, more rugged trails. It is a very beautiful stream, with many wetland areas that provide valuable habitat for wildlife.


We removed seven tires, eight car batteries, a large steel drum, a television set, barbed wire, remains of numerous other car parts, and over twenty bags of smaller trash.


This was our third clean-up project of local watersheds in the area. Our last project was a clean-up of the Huron Creek near M-26, which was featured in a story in the Mining Gazette on April 26, 2010. We will soon begin plans for our next watershed clean up event, likely happen in the coming spring.


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Our Huron Creek clean-up made the front page of the Daily Mining Gazette on 4-26-2010


Our 2010 Huron Creek clean-up was a smashing success, as we removed two truckloads of garbage from the creek and surrounding areas on Saturday, April 24th. We cleaned the stretch beginning upstream of the Houghton Wal-Mart all the way down to the valley behind the Secretary of State building. We removed six tires, many cans and bottles, other assorted large debris, and dozens of trash bags full of small debris. Photos will be posted to the website soon. The full article in the Mining Gazette can be found here.



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2010 SWS International Conference

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Our SWS chapter was well-represented at the 2010 International SWS conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Three of our members delivered presentations of their research: Drew Ballantyne, Andrew Kozich, and faculty advisor Rod Chimner. In addition to networking with conference attendees, our representatives again participated in annual business meetings and events involving the North Central SWS Chapter, which we belong to. The conference was a splendid event and we look forward to SWS 2011. Pictured above are Drew Ballantyne and Andrew Kozich receiving research awards from the SWS North Central Chapter.


Lightfoot Bay Coastal Wetlands Preserve


In 2007 the Keweenaw Land Trust established the Lightfoot Bay Coastal Wetlands Preserve in Baraga County, near the community of Skanee. The Lightfoot Bay area is a unique ecosystem featuring vital coastal wetlands that are increasingly rare along Lake Superior. These wetlands "play a critical role in maintaining the ecological integrity of greater Huron Bay, providing habitat for migrating waterfowl, breeding birds, native plants, threatened and endangered species, and other aquatic and terrestrial wildlife" (KLT, 2008).


The Michigan Tech Society of Wetland Scientists is partnering with the Keweenaw Land Trust to enhance visitor appreciation of the site through interpretative signage and possible future ecological research. Efforts for this project began last year and will be continuing soon. Several SWS members are working on educational posters highlighting the diverse features of the Lightfoot Bay site. Please contact us if you would like to get involved in this unique opportunity!


For more information on the Lightfoot Bay Wetlands Preserve, please visit the Keweenaw Land Trust's Lightfoot Bay information page here.



Other potential projects

Wetland delineation at U.P. mitigation sites: SWS member Andrew Kozich recently completed research of U.P. wetland mitigation sites. He specifically examined permit compliance and invasive plant species problems. Findings were submitted to the Michigan DEQ (the regulating agency for wetland mitigation) to aid in their assessment of policy effectiveness. We are interested in expanding this research to include site delineations to measure the actual wetland acreage successfully created at each sites. Results could be compared to the acreage specified in each site’s construction permit file, to determine if the projects have been built to required specifications. These efforts could lead to an informative report to the DEQ or a potential publication in a scientific journal, as literature frequently demonstrates such shortcomings at wetland mitigation sites. This would also be a great opportunity to gain field experience in wetland delineation.


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 Tioga mitigation site (Baraga County)                         US-2 mitigation site (Iron County)



Pilgrim River watershed project: There are ongoing efforts to permanently protect hundreds of acres of valuable Pilgrim River watershed areas. The area of concern is located upstream of the Portage Lake Golf Course and Paradise Road, and features many acres of riparian wetlands. Representatives from Michigan Tech, the Keweenaw Land Trust, and other community partners are in the early stages of a collaborative effort to protect these areas through the implementation of conservation easements. We intend to become involved in these efforts as opportunities present themselves. We are hoping to assist with ecological assessments, GIS analysis, and wetland description and delineation. More updates are likely to occur as the summer approaches.


We encourage anyone involved in the group to suggest ideas for projects or research!


2010 WWA conference


The Wisconsin Wetlands Association held its 2010 annual conference on February 11-12 in Eau Claire, WI. SWS members Drew Ballantyne and Andrew Kozich attended to present their respective research on wetland topics. Conference topics included restoration and mitigation, wetland wildlife and plants, effects of climate change, conservation planning, and more.



2009 News


2009 SWS International Conference

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The 2009 Wetlands conference took place in Madison, Wisconsin on June 22-26. It was hosted by the North Central Chapter of the Society of Wetland Scientists along with the Wisconsin Wetlands Association and the Wetland Biogeochemistry Symposium. The theme of the conference was “Wetland Connections”. Activities included oral presentations, poster sessions, business meetings, field trips, and a silent auction.


The conference was attended by Michigan Tech SWS members Drew Ballantyne, Laura Kangas, Andrew Kozich, and Shawna Welsh. Andrew Kozich received an “Honorable Oral Presentation” award for his research on Upper Peninsula wetland mitigation sites.


Huron Creek Watershed Restoration Project

SWS wetland members are helping to restore a reach of the Huron Creek and watershed that was diverted by recent commercial business expansions in Houghton. Throughout 2008 and 2009 we examined groundwater and vegetation dynamics across the site. We are currently compiling our data sets in preparation for discussion with the Houghton City Manager to explore possible wetland restoration options.

To read more about the Huron Creek Watershed Management Plan, please go here. 


Nara Nature Park Wetlands 

The Nara Nature Park underwent substantial improvements and expansion throughout 2008. Following the acquisition of additional lands, the park now encompasses over 1000 acres of forests and wetlands. The trail network has been greatly enhanced and is now fully linked to the Tech trails that reach as far as the SDC complex. The trails now total over 37 kilometers in length and are ideal for hiking, mountain biking, dog-walking, skiing, and snow-shoeing.


The final phase of the 2008 projects involved the completion of the visitor center & chalet, which is in the former animal shelter building overlooking US-41. A report describing these projects can be found here.

The Nara properties feature an abundance of wetlands, and the Michigan Tech Society of Wetland Scientists was invited to construct a wetland interpretation center inside the visitor center building. We produced several educational posters for the center that highlight the array of unique wetlands visible from the trails. The posters were installed in December 2008.

We look forward to working with the Nara Nature Park again in their future projects. The Park is located off US-41 near the Pilgrim River, approximately 2 kilometers south of the Michigan Tech campus. For more information on the Nara Nature Park and the Tech Trails, click here.





Et Cetera…


Wetland Scientists at Michigan Tech


Dr. Rodney Chimner, PhD

School of Forest Resources and

Natural Sciences



Dr. Thomas Pypker, PhD

School of Forest Resources and

Natural Sciences



SWS Officers

President: Paul Gerhart

Vice President: Cassandra Wright

Secretary: Kevin Madson

Treasurer: Katie Hietala

Parlimentarian: Karl Romanowicz


 Webmaster: Karl Romanowicz


For information regarding our chapter, please contact:

Karl Romanowicz (kjromano@mtu.edu) or

Paul Gerhart (phgerhar@mtu.edu)




Michigan Tech SWS Chapter Constitution

Society of Wetland Scientists

Keweenaw Land Trust


The American Bryological and Lichenological Society

Bryophyte Ecology

Global Peatland Initiative

Wetlands International

 Wetlands Ecology and Management

USDA Plant Database

Australian Bryophytes


Meeting Minutes


February 23, 2011

February 2, 2011

January 19, 2011

November 17, 2010

November 10, 2010

November 3, 2010

October 27, 2010

October 20, 2010

October 6, 2010

September 10, 2010

February 25, 2010

January 14, 2010

November 19, 2009

November 5, 2009

September 4, 2008

September 19, 2008

October 16, 2008

October 30, 2008

February 12, 2009

February 19, 2009



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Date last updated: November 1, 2011