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									  Partnership Effort Strives for Year-
  Round Medication Turn-In Program

  03/05/2007



  Recent surveys of surface water quality in public waters around the U.S. have
  frequently detected the presence of a variety of potent chemicals that can disrupt the
  normal physiology of certain aquatic animals. Some of these chemicals can cause a
  fish to simultaneously express intersex (both male and female) characteristics while
  another chemical can cause a female mussel to prematurely release its larvae. Many
  of these biologically active chemicals have a common source: prescription medications
  that are flushed into sewer systems for disposal. This practice was long considered a
  “safe” means to get rid of unused or expired medications and prevent accidental human
  poisonings. However, the cumulative impacts of this widespread disposal method on
  environmental quality were not readily apparent until other recent studies, many
  conducted near wastewater treatment plant outfalls in the U.S., found unexpectedly
  high numbers of intersex fish. Waterways that receive discharge from municipal
  wastewater treatment plants also provide drinking water to millions of Americans daily.
  Because current wastewater treatment technologies are unable to filter these
  chemicals or inhibit their biological activity, individuals who wish to dispose of unused
  or expired prescription medications that contain these compounds (or others which may
  harm the environment) have few legitimate options that are fully safe. However, a
  small but growing number of communities with environmental foresight in Wisconsin
  and other states have recognized this medication disposal dilemma and formed local
  partnerships to address it. The typical solution is a turn-in program that operates one
  or two-days per year (often in summer) and requires the voluntary cooperation of
  licensed pharmacists and local law enforcement authorities who receive unused
  medications from individuals and ensure these materials are securely maintained until
  destroyed in an environmentally safe manner.


La Crosse FRO Highlights April 2007                                                  Page 1
  Partnership Effort Strives for Year-Round Medication Turn-In
  Program (cont.)

  In western Wisconsin, representatives of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (La Crosse
  Fishery Resources Office), Mayo Health System (Franciscan Skemp Healthcare, La
  Crosse Campus), Gundersen Lutheran Health System, and La Crosse County
  (Household Hazardous Materials (HHM) Program) began meeting early in 2007 to
  discuss the feasibility of establishing a safe and effective turn-in program for the
  disposal of unused or expired medications that would meet the needs of the county’s
  109,000 residents. The members of this diverse team later developed a conceptual
  plan for a year-round medicine turn-in program. This plan would utilize the
  infrastructure and compliment the services of an existing county-operated facility that
  currently accepts HHM from county residents and businesses, at little or no cost,
  throughout the year. This HHM service is also provided to others in southwest
  Wisconsin, southeast Minnesota, and northeast Iowa for a nominal fee. The
  establishment of a medication turn-in program here, and perhaps in other communities
  that discharge treated municipal wastewater into the upper Mississippi River, could
  benefit fish, mussels, and other aquatic life that inhabit the 261-mile long Upper
  Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.
  On March 5th, planning team members convened a meeting at the Franciscan Skemp
  Healthcare La Crosse Campus to introduce the conceptual plan to a group of about 20
  invited guests representing several municipalities, health care providers, and retail
  pharmacies in the county. The response from this group was overwhelmingly
  supportive. This encouraged team members to subsequently draft a more detailed
  plan that will be formally introduced for consideration by elected representatives and
  officials of county government. Estimated costs to enhance security at the existing
  HHM facility to accommodate medication turn-ins and to promote this program in its
  initial year are $16,000 and $8,000, respectively. Program partners and potential
  cooperators would also commit to ongoing outreach efforts in a variety of locations
  (retail pharmacies, nursing homes, clinics, schools, festivals) and formats (print,
  television, radio, Internet) to inform the public about the benefits this service will provide
  their community. If established, the proposed program would be: one of the few year-
  round turn-in programs for unused medications in the country; a model for like-minded
  communities to strive for; and an active supporter of SMARxT DISPOSAL, a U.S. Fish
  and Wildlife Service-American Pharmacists Association joint effort to publicize potential
                                                             Heidi Keuler
  environmental and health impacts when unused medications are flushed into our
  nation’s sewer systems.
                                                                         Mark Steingraeber




La Crosse FRO Highlights April 2007                                                       Page 2
  La Crosse FRO Celebrates Earth Day in
              the Driftless
                           04/22/20070

 The Service in conjunction with many partners worked with the Natural Resource
 Conservation Service (NRCS), who organized the event, to commemorate the 37th Earth
 Day at Whitewater State Park in the Driftless Area of Minnesota. The La Crosse FRO
 supported a booth highlighting the Midwest Driftless Area Restoration Effort (MDARE)
 that is part of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan (NFHAP). The same poster displayed
 on the Partnership will be used later this month at the Casting Call in Washington, DC,
 which is an outdoor event on the Potomac River to educate Congress, partners, and
 stakeholders on this national program designed to protect, restore, and enhance our
 national aquatic systems.

 Over 200 people attended the Earth Day event that drew attention to the collaborative
 four-state effort to unite organizations, communities, and individuals within the Driftless
 area of the Upper Mississippi River Basin. The Driftless Area encompasses nearly
 24,000 square miles of the Upper Mississippi River Basin in parts of Minnesota,
 Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois. The absence of glacial disturbance and associated glacial
 drift deposits lends the region its name and contributes to its unique character. The
 rugged hills and steep topography drain to streams and rivers before emptying into the
 Upper Mississippi River. Although this region has a high ecological value and restoration
 potential, it is also a major source of pollutants to the Lower Mississippi River and the
 northern Gulf of Mexico.

 Christina Muedeking, Regional Assistant Chief for USGS, signed a symbolic check for
 $1.3 million in USDA EQUIP for the Driftless Area. Congressman Tim Walz from
 Minnesota and Brad Pfaff from Congressman Ron Kind’s office in Wisconsin joined in the
 festivities. There were also numerous exhibits and environmental learning stations like
 mist netting birds, trout and stream invertebrates, grass planting, and Angel, a
 rehabilitated bald eagle.

 The overriding message of the event was that we can make the Earth and the Driftless
 Area a better place by working together on the ground!
                                                                                Pam Thiel

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La Crosse FRO Highlights April 2007                                                   Page 3
       Students from
     La Crescent Middle
   School "Fish" for Details                        La Crosse FRO
   from Fishery Biologists                       Participates in Local
                04/20/2007                      Science and Math Expo
  As part of the Junior Achievement                         04/11/2007
  Program at La Crescent Middle School in
                                               On April 11, 2007, Heidi Keuler from La
  La Crescent, Minn., a teacher and eight
                                               Crosse FRO assisted as a judge at the
  eighth-grade students job shadowed
                                               Annual La Crosse Center Science and
  Heidi Keuler from the La Crosse Fishery
                                               Math Expo in La Crosse, WI. The Expo
  Resource Office (FRO) and Corey
                                               brought in more than 675 junior high
  Puzach and Eric Leis from the La Crosse
                                               students from around the Coulee Region
  Fish Health Center (FHC). The eager
                                               who had worked collectively on science
  students viewed equipment such as nets
                                               and math experiments. These
  and fishing gear, boats, microscopes in
                                               experiments were then displayed on a
  the laboratories, and offices and garages
                                               poster and presented to local science
  of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
                                               and mathematics professionals who
  Resource Center in Onalaska,
                                               judged not only the students’ projects,
  Wisconsin. Students viewed a live fish
                                               but also their understanding of the
  health screening of an Asian carp in the
                                               scientific method. Judges were allowed
  lab and then traveled to the La Crosse
                                               to give constructive criticism, but were
  River to see a live electroshocking
                                               strongly encouraged to stress the
  demonstration. After the demo, students
                                               positive aspects of the project. Each
  donned their waders and received
                                               judge reviewed 12-13 projects or had
  hands-on training with employing a trap
                                               contact with approximately 25-30
  net and collecting invertebrates. Finally,
                                               students. The Science and Math Expo is
  students interviewed Heidi about job-
                                               very beneficial to not only the students
  related questions such as the hours
                                               who learn about the scientific method,
  fishery biologists work, how much
                                               but also to the professionals in the
  education is required for the job, and
                                               Science and Math fields who may
  many others.
                                               employ these same students some day.


                                                                         Heidi Keuler

La Crosse FRO Highlights April 2007                                               Page 4
   Students Slice Slippery Salmonids to Learn
                     Science

                              04/26/2007


  Enthusiasm ran rampant through the class as oo’s and ah’s were
  sighed after different fish parts were shown to the advance
  agriculture class at Cochrane Fountain City High School on April
  26th. “That’s all the bigger the heart is?,” one of the amazed
  students asked. Heidi Keuler from La Crosse FRO was
  demonstrating a rainbow trout dissection before the students
  themselves would have to successfully cut open a fish without
  damage to the organs inside. “Don’t forget everyone, Ms.
  Jumbeck says we get chocolate if we don’t pop the air bladder
  during the dissection!” one of the high school students said to the
  rest of the class as she started slicing into the rainbow trout. At
  first a couple of the young ladies were tentative, but by the end of
  the class period were digging in with both hands. All eighteen
  students had lots of fun as they learned about 20 or so organs
  and their functions. In addition, Heidi spoke about several fish
  diseases including Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) which
  was originally documented in Europe in the 1930’s on a rainbow
  trout farm.
                                                 Heidi Keuler




    The USFWS and La Crosse FRO participates in: Partnerships and
    Accountability, Aquatic Species Conservation and Management, Public Use,
    Cooperation with Native Americans, Leadership in Science and Technology,
    Aquatic Habitat Conservation and Management, and Workforce Management


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La Crosse FRO Highlights April 2007                                       Page 5

								
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