Working groups, workshops, and special sessions
Working groups, workshops, and special sessions are your chance to dive in to focused topics, discuss issues and concerns with a group of colleagues facing similar challenges, or develop action plans on particular topics. Please note that some of these sessions are offered Thursday afternoon from 1:30 – 4:30 pm, which is the same time as the field trips, and other sessions are offered at the same time as the concurrent oral sessions. No pre-registration is needed to participate in working groups.
Wednesday, February 21
Facilitators: Erin O’Brien, Tracy Hames, and Brian Vigue, Wisconsin Wetlands Association
Join WWA policy staff for a briefing on the status of the bill to overturn protections for isolated wetlands. We’ll also discuss how you can stay informed and engaged in WWA’s efforts to help Wisconsin adopt more pro-active and comprehensive strategies to protect, restore, and manage wetlands and watersheds.
Career Development & Continuing Education in Wetland Science
Moderator: Susan Schumacher, We Energies
Wetland scientists from a variety of backgrounds will address challenges and opportunities facing students, young professionals, and people considering a change in the direction of their career in fields related to wetland science. We’ll discuss “lessons learned” and the role of networks to support discovery and learning. Moderator Susan Schumacher (We Energies) will allow ample time for questions and discussion of solutions and strategies to help support advancement in satisfying wetland science careers.
Tribal Wetland Programs Working Group
Facilitator: Randy Poelma, Ho-Chunk Nation
This session will provide tribal wetlands staff with the opportunity to more formally interact, share ideas and best practices, and identify opportunities for collaboration and growth. The first meeting of this group was held at the conference in 2016. This working group contributes to efforts to foster long-term collaboration, dialogue, and exchange of information that supports and encourages strategic, effective efforts to restore and care for wetlands in Wisconsin. All tribal wetlands staff are encouraged to attend.
Wisconsin Wetland Inventory Redesign Listening Session
Facilitators: Chris Noll, Amanda Minks, and Calvin Lawrence, WDNR
As of 2017, WDNR has finished mapping all 72 counties for the Wisconsin Wetland Inventory (WWI) under its current standard. We are looking at the next generation of technologies to design an even more comprehensive and capable wetland GIS database. In this session, we will spend 15-20 minutes outlining WDNR’s current wetland mapping pilot project and our vision for a revamped WWI. During the rest of the hour, we will listen to attendees’ feedback on what aspects of the WWI are most valuable, including ideas for what might be improved, reaction to proposed changes, and any other concerns & comments about wetland mapping in Wisconsin.
Thursday, February 22
Practitioners Working Group
Facilitator: Dan Salas, Cardno
This session offers an opportunity for wetland practitioners—including consultants, federal, state, and local regulators, land managers, and others—to discuss current issues relevant to their daily work. The agenda will be set with the input of those who participated in similar sessions at previous WWA conferences. The last hour is reserved for a closed door session for consultants and WWA policy staff to discuss strategies to bring more consultant input into the wetland policy development process. Please email programs@
Aquatic Plant Identification Workshop
Instructor: Paul Skawinski, UW-Extension Lakes and UW-Stevens Point
Wisconsin is blessed with about 150 species of plants that live completely submerged or floating in our lakes, streams, and wetlands. Even a small sedge meadow pool may have a dozen aquatic species in it, ranging from carnivorous bladderworts to pondweeds to macro-algae like Chara. Paul will introduce the diversity of aquatic plants in Wisconsin and highlight the major groups that occur here. Specimens will be available during the workshop for participants to study. Paul’s book Aquatic Plants of the Upper Midwest: A Photographic Guide to our Underwater Forests (3rd edition) will be available for purchase.
To help us plan for this workshop, we ask anyone who is interested in attending to indicate this when registering for the conference. The workshop instructor will be in touch ahead of the conference to confirm your participation.
Friday, February 23
WICCI/NIACS Wetland Adaptation Workshop
Facilitator: Amy Staffen, WICCI Plants and Natural Communities Working Group
This workshop is a joint venture of the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts and the Northern Institute for Applied Climate Science.
This one-day, by-invitation-only workshop is being held the day after the Wetland Science Conference and will help attendees identify actions that enhance wetland ecosystems to adapt to changing conditions. The active, hands-on workshop will use the Adaptation Workbook to consider climate change impacts and identify adaptation options in real-world management situations. This will be achieved through step-by-step instruction using the Adaptation Workbook and small group exercises led by professional facilitators from WICCI, the USDA Climate Hubs, and the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science. More information.