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Marking Forty Years of the Clean Water Act

Susan Bence

Milwaukee Riverkeeper director Karen Schapiro talks about the ongoing impact of the Clean Water Act, 40 years after its passage.

A piece of landmark environmental legislation hits middle age today.  The federal Clean Water Act  - passed exactly  40 years ago - was precedent setting: It passed with strong bipartisan support over then-president Richard Nixon's veto.

Since 1972, the law has done more to help restore waterways than any other single piece of legislation – before or since.

WUWM Environmental Reporter Susan Bence joined Milwaukee Riverkeeper's executive director Karen Schapiro  - appropriately – on the water's edge.  They met up at Discovery World, where a special "Clean Water Act" exhibit is on display through November 24th.

Schapiro says the series of "super enlarged" historic photos help tell the overlapping stories of the federal law and local waters - starting with a vintage "snapshot" of Riverside Park on the Milwaukee River.

Credit Susan Bence
Students from Believers in Christ Christian Academy on the city's north side arrive for a day of water exploration. Schapiro hopes they will be part of the next generation of water stewards.

Susan Bence entered broadcasting in an untraditional way. After years of avid public radio listening, Susan returned to school and earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She interned for WUWM News and worked with the Lake Effect team, before being hired full-time as a WUWM News reporter / producer.