June 10, 2014
MADISON - Wisconsin has more than 80,000 miles of streams and now there's a comprehensive, photo-packed guide unlocking the secrets of the plants, fishes, insects, frogs and reptiles that call them home.
The field guide was co-authored and edited by a trio of state stream scientists and is available at a discount through the publisher, the University of Wisconsin Press (exit DNR). The soft-cover book is priced to cover the production cost, and neither the Department of Natural Resources nor the DNR authors receive any revenues from its sale.
"The long-awaited Field Guide to Wisconsin Streams represents a major achievement, drawing on the knowledge of more than 150 contributors from within the DNR as well as external partners and institutions," says Susan Sylvester, a longtime DNR water manager and head of DNR's water quality program.
"They have produced a field guide originally intended to help our biologists and others who manage streams, but it's beautifully illustrated and easy to use and will be a great companion for anyone who explores and cares about Wisconsin's streams."
Mike Miller, the lead author from DNR, is a Wisconsin native who has been fascinated by streams since he was about 8 years old, spending much of his free time playing in and along a small stream flowing by his house in Plymouth. He is an avid fly fisher but spends more time in boots taking various groups stream side to teach about stream ecology and the importance of healthy watersheds.
"I just finished the semester teaching UW graduate students about watershed ecology, last weekend was out with 15 Brownies, and will be out with dozens if not hundreds of students of all ages over the summer and fall, discussing the importance of protecting Wisconsin's water resources" he says.
Miller says the impetus for the field guide was that about six years ago he hired a field crew to do stream surveys across the state and the person doing the fish identification work was using a field guide for eastern states which didn't have many of Wisconsin's fish species.
"I asked him to use a different key and yet I kept seeing occasional photographs of the field crew working and this crew member was still using the one field guide," he says. "So what started out as an internal document to help DNR staff better identify fish and aquatic insects, grew into a more extensive guide. We approached UW Press seeking permission to use some of their copyrighted fish illustrations for use in the guide and they thought the guide would be a worthy effort and offered to publish it as a book."
The other primary co-authors and editors are Katie Songer, an environmental scientist, and educator who has worked with DNR and Ron Dolen, an environmental scientist who has worked on watershed studies and trained citizen volunteer stream monitors at DNR. Songer and Dolen put in countless hours contacting illustrators, photographers, and contributors, researching and drafting entries, and working through painstaking details of design, layout, and review to bring the project to fruition.
More than 1,200 images illustrate the species in the field guide, and there are descriptions of the species, lookalikes, and distribution maps. The guide identifies:
"My hope is the field guide will be of value to all who are interested in learning more about Wisconsin's aquatic resources. The more we know about streams, what lives in them, and how they are impacted by human activities, the more likely we are to value and wisely manage these natural resources" Miller said.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Mike Miller, 608-267-2753