WED AM News: Walleye populations facing mounting pressures in the state; Legislation to promote female truck drivers introduced

— The most popular target for Wisconsin anglers, the walleye, is facing mounting pressures from overfishing, climate change and dwindling habitats. 

In a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, UW-Madison graduate student Holly Embke found 40 percent of walleye populations in the state are “overharvested” — 10 times higher than the standard estimate based on abundance alone. 

“We wanted to take a more nuanced approach and ask not only how many fish are in a lake but also consider how fast they’re growing, how big they are, and how many are produced every year,” Embke said. 

Polling has found around half of the state’s residents fish, and hundreds of thousands of out-of-state anglers come to Wisconsin’s waters each year. An American Sportfishing Association report found recreational fishing contributes $1.9 billion to the state’s economy and sustains more than 13,000 jobs. 

Nearly three decades ago, the state DNR and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission set walleye harvest limits for both recreational fishing and tribally protected activities. The management plan created in the late 1980s was based on fish abundance, using walleye population estimates to set a maximum harvest level of about 35 percent of adult walleye in any lake. The actual rate of depletion was thought to be less than half that level. 

Study co-author Steve Carpenter, director emeritus of the UW-Madison Center for Limnology, said those regulations “worked for a long time … and then they stopped working.” 

A release from the university shows annual walleye production in many Wisconsin lakes has decreased by more than a third in the past few decades. Plus, walleye stocks now take longer to replenish themselves.

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— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin have introduced bills to establish an advisory board for women in trucking under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. 

The Promoting Women in Trucking Workforce Act would task the board with identifying barriers for women in the industry, as well as coordinating training programs and creating new education and mentorship opportunities for female truck drivers. 

Women make up 24 percent of the country’s trucking workforce, and only 8 percent of drivers. Nearly 3 million people are employed as truck drivers in the United States. 

“Small businesses across Northeast Wisconsin rely on a healthy trucking industry to ship their goods, and as trucking companies struggle to find and retain workers, it’s critical we learn why women have been greatly underrepresented in this industry,” Gallagher said in a release. 

The legislation is supported by the Women in Trucking Association and the American Trucking Association.

See more in a release: 

See the bill text: 

— U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin, as well as six other senators, are pushing for changes to a proposed rule on health care data sharing. 

In a letter sent to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, the bipartisan group of senators is recommending the rule be revised to “focus on enabling the exchange of an achievable, well-defined, and standards-based dataset.” 

They’re asking the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to establish a standard definition for electronic health information, or EHI. They want the agency to alight the definition of EHI to align with the current ONC-backed standard, the U.S. Core Data for Interoperability. 

“Health systems currently struggling to exchange electronic health information and meet regulatory requirements will be most successful if they can focus their compliance efforts on an existing core set of electronically standardized health information,” they wrote. 

See the letter: 

— Sturgeon Bay is getting a $250,000 community development investment grant from WEDC for an expansion to the Door County Maritime Museum. 

A release shows developers recently broke ground on the 10-story Maritime Lighthouse Tower museum expansion, beginning a construction process that’s expected to wrap up by October 2020. 

The work is being done by the Boldt Company, which is headquartered in Appleton. The Maritime Lighthouse Tower will include educational programs focused on how STEM skills play a role in the maritime industries and the economy of Door County. 

See the release: 

— Wisconsin municipalities are getting more than $20 million in loans and $10 million in grants for water system infrastructure from the USDA. 

The city of Mondovi is getting a $13.2 million loan and $5.4 grant to construct a new wastewater treatment plant, and also expand water and sewer mains to a proposed industrial park in the city. The old plant was constructed in the 1960s on a flood plain and can’t keep up with phosphorus limits, a release shows. The improved facility will be built in a new location and will include technologies for energy savings and phosphorus removal. 

The village of Sullivan will receive a $3.6 million loan and $3.34 million grant to upgrade its existing wastewater treatment facility. The older system is nearing capacity and also fails to meet phosphorus limits, so the village will construct a new system for conveying wastewater to a regional treatment facility. 

That project is being done in partnership with the town of Sullivan, which is getting loans of nearly $2.5 million loan and grants of $1.8 million to provide treatment for both the town and the nearby village of Sullivan.  

Meanwhile, the town of Pence is getting a $240,000 loan and $398,000 grant to improve its sewer collection system by replacing manholes, replacing part of the sewer main and installing larger capacity pumps. 

And Paddock Lake is getting a $618,000 loan to continue an ongoing expansion and improvement project for the village’s aging east side water system. The loan will fund a new pump station to house two wells, pumps for each well, and new mains servicing the local high school and businesses. 

The funds are part of $635 million going toward 122 water system projects in 42 states.  

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— Propellor Health has added pharmacy services for CVS, Walmart, Kroger and Rite-Aid to its app. 

The Madison-based company’s platform for managing asthma connects to users’ inhalers, enabling tracking of medication usage and environmental conditions. Earlier this year, the company announced the launch of the My Pharmacy in-app feature with Walgreens as its first partner.  

With the new additions, the Propellor app now connects with five of the seven largest pharmacies in the country, representing more than half of U.S. market share for prescription drugs. 

Users can manage refills for their prescriptions for asthma and other respiratory conditions, and also locate nearby pharmacies. 

See the release: 

— The UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health has named Dr. Lynn Schnapp as chair of the Department of Medicine. 

Schnapp is a researcher, lung specialist and professor at the Medical University of South Carolina. In her new role, she plans to expand the department’s research program and encourage partnerships between doctors, researchers, scientists and engineers. 

The department’s research grant portfolio for fiscal year 2019 was more than $109 million. 

Starting March 1, Schnapp will oversee the largest department at UW-Madison with more than 400 full-time faculty and 300 research and administrative staff. 

See the release: 


# Children’s Wisconsin unveils $150 million plan to increase mental health services

# Milwaukee floats Airbnb tax, ticket fees to pay for low-income neighborhood development

# AG Josh Kaul backs Michigan’s stance in lawsuit to shut down Enbridge’s Line 5

# DNR rejects Johnson Controls plan to oversee pollution tests



– Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin Dairy Insights Summit is December 5

– Farmers not quite done chopping corn yet


– Blame for Waukesha accident pinned on wind


– Wisconsin home sales continue climbing in October


– Here are Wisconsin’s top-rated middle and junior high schools for 2019


– Wisconsin’s 9-day gun deer season to begin Saturday


– Baird takes giving to another level for 100th anniversary


– Komatsu plans March 12 construction start for new manufacturing facility


– Comedian Caliendo appears at Branigan Communications acquisition, anniversary event


– Operation Finally Home provides mortgage-free homes to veterans


– Pura Vida gym relocating to building near Riverwest

– Acting management firm moving to 3rd Ward after riverside building purchase


– Kohl’s lowers fiscal 2019 guidance in third-quarter earnings report


– Brewers say “back to the future” logo, look is all about the fans

– Brewers unveil new logo, merchandise and apparel


– Milwaukee-based mosquito trap maker acquired by Pennsylvania company


– Thirty-Nine vying for 2020 Wisconsin Fairest of the Fair


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

CIB Marine Bancshares, Inc.: Announces additions to Board of Directors

Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport: Receives awards for airport branding, marketing

UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health: Lynn Schnapp named Department of Medicine chair