WUWM: Environmental Reporting

The environmental beat is massive -  from covering threats to air and water, to sharing scientific research, to uncovering the individuals and groups working to create sustainable communities.

Although I (WUWM's environmental reporter Susan Bence) have reported on a variety of stories, I continue to think 'I need to dig deeper.' So, I'm turning to you to help make that happen.

Wisconsinites, what have you been wondering about when it comes the environment? Questions about conservation? Climate change? You ask and I'll report.

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Ways to Connect

Eddee Daniel

What started as conversations five years ago evolved into Milwaukee Water Commons. While science and business opportunities were important in those initial discussions, the group wanted to broaden their reach to get the entire community involved in protecting a common resource — water.

Susan Bence

Students took their turn Wednesday showing their young sheep at the Wisconsin State Fair. Vincent High School student Kiara Little, who wants to be a veterinarian, was waiting to show her freshly-shorn creamy-colored sheep named Teddy Bear.

The sheep are organized by breed, for example Hampshire and Southdown, and then by their weight. While some can weigh up to 150 pounds, Kiara's sheep is little — Teddy Bear weighs just 90 pounds.

Susan Bence

Not so many years ago, no one would dream of kayaking or canoeing the Milwaukee River. Now those activities are common. So, how would you feel about jumping into the Milwaukee River for a swim?

That’s what will be happening during the 2018 Cream City Classic. On Aug. 11, the one-and-a-half-mile swim race will take place just upstream from where the Milwaukee River meets Lake Michigan.

While this race is being dubbed “Milwaukee’s first open river swim,” the Milwaukee River was once a popular swim spot.

UW-Madison Department of Entomology

Public health officials are urging Wisconsin residents to protect themselves and their families from potentially dangerous tick and mosquito bites, as insect-borne illnesses are on the rise nationally. 

Diseases spread by insects, such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease, can have harmful effects on humans and animals. 

Last week a dead crow found in Milwaukee County tested positive for West Nile virus.

NASA SeaWiFS Project / Wikimedia Commons

The International Joint Commission - or IJC - was created by the Boundary Waters Treaty signed by the United States and Canada in 1909. The commission is tasked with preventing conflicts between the two countries' shared waters, including the Great Lakes.

Last week the IJC released a paper that lays out five action steps designed to assist the two countries as they coordinate efforts to keep Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) and other toxic flame retardants out of the Lakes.

Susan Bence

This evening the EPA is holding a meeting in Milwaukee.  It's one in a series around the Great Lakes designed to help the agency design Action Plan III of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, or GLRI.

The funding program came to life in 2009 during the Obama Administration. With the advent of the Trump Administration there were rumblings that GLRI would end. But the fund continues, having distributed nearly $3 billion.

Susan Bence

The Freshwater For Life Action Coalition, or FLAC, says it has information that amplifies concerns about Milwaukee's health department, and how the mayor's office has handled the problems.

FLAC wants the Common Council to dig deeper including by forcing the following people to testify before the Public Safety and Health Committee:

Eddee Daniel

The Milwaukee-based advocacy group Preserve Our Parks has rallied for public spaces, noteably Milwaukee County’s beautiful but financially beleaguered parks. In fact, Tuesday evening the group is holding a public meeting to rally support for a sustainable funding source for the system.

Walking into the 36-acre Conservancy for Healing and Heritage feels like entering a period centuries before Milwaukee was “metro-ized.” This is despite the fact that the parcel is sandwiched between busy Loomis Road and Rawson Avenue in Franklin.

MPM 2017 BioBlitz

This weekend at Lake Farm County Park in Madison, dozens of volunteers will join a handful of scientists in a 24 hour effort to document plants and wildlife in the park. The Milwaukee Public Museum is organizing the BioBlitz for the fourth consecutive year, though this will be the first event in Madison.

jStock / Fotolia

Helen Pidd, an editor for The Guardian, recently looked into why so few women feel comfortable riding bikes in cities. Her theory: They think it is dangerous. For the most part, Wisconsin Bicycle Federation's Jessica Wineberg agrees.

Susan Bence

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association, or MREA, will officially kick off its 29th annual energy fair in Custer, Wisconsin on Friday.

Three days of how-tos of solar and wind installations as well as sustainable living workshops attract people from around the country.

Milwaukeeans Elizabeth Hittman and Peter Murphy will be among them.

Susan Bence

Forty-eight Lake Bluff Elementary School students spent much of their third grade year learning about stormwater. They had a handy model outside their door.

A grassy soccer field used to occupy the northeast corner of the school yard, but was recently transformed to tennis courts, in honor of the school's recently retired principal.

However, what was thought to be a loving and activity-inducing project came with environmental headaches. The school district realized it had to meet Wisconsin stormwater drainage requirements.

Susan Bence

UPDATE: The Freshwater for Life Action Coalition (FLAC) said during a press conference Friday it found no surprises in the Wisconsin Department of Health Services report. FLAC spokesperson Robert Miranda added,  "Nothing new came out of ciy hall either....We've know that these families have not been treated, have not been provided the services that the state paid for, but yet we have not received any word from city hall or the health department stating what they have tried to do to find these families and help these families."

Susan Bence

If you don’t spend much time along the Milwaukee River, you might be surprised to know that more and more of its most urban stretch – from Silver Spring Drive in Glendale downstream to the former North Avenue Dam site is becoming more natural.

Tonight people can weigh in on the Milwaukee River Greenway’s progress and future.

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