Wetland Coffee Break

The Wetland Coffee Break series helps keep our community of wetland lovers connected and learning about wetlands throughout the year, from anywhere! Bring your coffee and learn about wetlands, the plants and animals that call them home, and the many natural benefits they provide to our communities. Sessions are held on Zoom and feature time for audience Q&A.

See below for a list of upcoming presentations and to register. Once you register, you’ll receive an automatic email including the URL link and password you’ll need to access the meeting. We record and post each presentation so you can watch any that you missed live. You’ll find links to these recordings below, and you can also find them on our Facebook page.

We are grateful to all of the presenters for sharing their knowledge and expertise and to everyone interested in learning more about wetlands! If you are interested in giving a Wetland Coffee Break presentation, or if you have a wetland topic you’d like to see covered, please contact Katie.Beilfuss@wisconsinwetlands.org.

Register for a Wetland Coffee Break

Restoring wetlands in the Mukwonago River watershed: The Mukwonago Davis Restoration Project

Josh Brown, Wisconsin DNR, and Allison Romero, Waukesha County Land Conservancy
Friday, June 21, 2024
10:30 am CT

In 2018 the Waukesha County Land Conservancy partnered with the Wisconsin DNR and The Nature Conservancy to complete a 52-acre wetland restoration in southern Waukesha County adjacent to the Mukwonago River, an important piece in the larger conservation landscape of the region. The project was funded through the Wisconsin Wetland Conservation Trust, an in-lieu fee wetland mitigation program. Now in Year four, the project is providing water quality improvement, flood abatement, and wildlife habitat to the Mukwonago River watershed. Josh Brown (Wisconsin DNR) and Allison Romero (Waukesha County Land Conservancy) will share about the experience of project planning, restoration, and maintenance, highlighting the trials and tribulations of implementing a large wetland restoration project through key partnerships.

Josh Brown is the In-Lieu Fee Wetland Mitigation Coordinator at the Wisconsin DNR. He oversees the program administration and implementation of 14 mitigation projects across the state. He has been with the DNR for 12 years.

Allison Romero has been with the Waukesha County Land Conservancy since 2022.

Wetlands and Phragmites: Management at a landscape scale

Matt Puz, Wisconsin DNR
Friday, June 28, 2024
10:30 am CT

Wetlands are dynamic by nature, but this variability affords many opportunities for invasive plants, like non-native Phragmites, to establish and spread. Additionally, increased landscape alteration, combined with the evolutionary advantages of Phragmites, often makes management of this plant difficult and expensive. In this presentation, Matt Puz, Wisconsin DNR, will discuss wetland dynamics, Phragmites biology and ecology, and how understanding these two concepts can lead to more effective management.

Matt Puz is the statewide Wetland Invasive Plant Specialist with the Wisconsin DNR, where he manages control efforts, directs research, and provides guidance and support for all things wetland invasive plant related. He has a Master’s degree in Conservation Ecology from the University of Michigan, where he researched hydrologically-restored wetlands.

On, in, and underwater: Life cycles and life history of wetland invertebrates

Jessica Orlofske, UW-Parkside
Friday, July 19, 2024
10:30 am CT

Aquatic insects and other invertebrates are the most diverse and abundant freshwater organisms inhabiting wetland ecosystems. Join Dr. Jessica Orlofske of UW-Parkside to learn about Wisconsin’s wetland invertebrates that skate on the surface, swim in the water column, or crawl along the substrate. Dr. Orlofske will discuss the life cycles of these invertebrates as well as some of their life history adaptations. Understanding the roles, traits, and behaviors of these dynamic organisms can help us to appreciate their contributions to ecosystem function as well as their role in freshwater biomonitoring.

Jessica Orlofske is an Associate Professor in the Biological Sciences Department at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside. Dr. Orlofske teaches a variety of courses including invertebrate zoology, principles of ecology, freshwater ecology, and biostatistics. Dr. Orlofske received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and graduate degrees from Iowa State University and the University of New Brunswick (Canada). Dr. Orlofske’s research focuses on invertebrate conservation and environmental monitoring.

Wetlands in Wisconsin’s mega moraines

Dr. Nelson Ham, St. Norbert College
Friday, July 26, 2024
10:30 am CT

One of the largest concentrations of wetlands in our state is found in a unique area of large hummocky moraines that spans across north-central Wisconsin. We will explore the origin of this unusual glacial landscape and how it gave rise to thousands of internally-draining (“isolated”) wetlands. 

Dr. Nelson Ham studies the origins of Wisconsin’s landscapes, especially those formed during the last ice age. He earned his PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has taught at St. Norbert College in DePere for the past 30 years.

Blanding’s turtle: A true wetland denizens

Rebecca Christoffel, Turtles for Tomorrow
Friday, August 2, 2024
10:30 am CT

Blanding’s turtles are true denizens of wetlands, traveling among wetlands to complete their life cycle, but also traveling long distances on dry land to nest. They take an extremely long time to reach sexual maturity (17 – 20 years in Wisconsin) but can live as long as humans. Join Rebecca Christoffel to learn more of the fascinating life history of Blanding’s turtles as well as some current conservation efforts underway to help their populations.

Rebecca Christoffel is the Co-Director of Turtles for Tomorrow (turtlesfortomorrow.org), a non-profit dedicated to the conservation and management of Wisconsin’s rare amphibians and reptiles, particularly turtles. Prior to her involvement in Turtles for Tomorrow, she was a faculty member and Extension Wildlife Biologist for Iowa State University.

New general permit to promote hydrologic restoration of streams, wetlands, and floodplains in Wisconsin

Tom Nedland, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Friday, October 4, 2024
10:30 am CT

In May 2021, the Wisconsin legislature, working with Wisconsin Wetlands Association, other external stakeholders, and Wisconsin DNR, passed WI Act 77, which required the DNR to develop a Hydrologic Restoration General Permit (HRGP). The permit will utilize integrated and flexible review requirements for a variety of wetland and stream related regulations so long as an applicant is able to demonstrate that the proposed activities will achieve improvements to wetland, stream, and watershed health. It is hoped that the flexibilities offered through the HRGP will accelerate the implementation of voluntary wetland, stream, and floodplain restoration and management projects. This presentation will provide an overview of the HRGP conditions and the intended uses for the permit.

Tom Nedland is a Professional Wetland Scientist with more than 20 years of experience in the wetland science and regulatory realm. During his time with the Wisconsin DNR, Tom has held positions in the Waterways Program conducting wetland and waterway permitting and serving as DNR’s wetland delineation and wetland mitigation expert. Tom is currently the Section Manager for the Waterways Program’s Policy and Professional Services Section.

Watch previous presentations

Click “Older Entries” below to see more past presentations, or view our Google Sheet index of past presentations here.

Wetland Coffee Break: Transformational Thinking in Conservation and “Outdoors Access 4 All!”

Wetland Coffee Break: Transformational Thinking in Conservation and “Outdoors Access 4 All!”

Access Ability Wisconsin works to make nature accessible to everyone by providing opportunities for individuals with mobility challenges (whether acquired at birth or later in life) to access nature and outdoor recreational experiences with minimal environmental impact while promoting access, inclusion, equity, and healthy living.