WUWM: Environmental Reporting

Many of us are environmentally aware — many recycle, some conserve water, you might ride a bike to work. But we do face profound environmental challenges.

Help WUWM’s Environmental Reporter Susan Bence dig deeper into the issues you are most concerned about.


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Susan Bence

You might assume Waukesha is installing massive pipes that will deliver Lake Michigan water to its residents. After all, the Great Lakes governors approved the city’s request three years ago. But Waukesha still needs the green light from Wisconsin environmental regulators.

READ: Waukesha Celebrates Great Lakes Compact Council Decision

Susan Bence

The Kirtland’s warbler is slated to come off the endangered species list any day now. This success story comes as the Trump administration has proposed stripping protections built into that law.

Leah Qusba

Gov. Tony Evers signed an executive order Friday declaring a goal of attaining 100% clean energy throughout Wisconsin by 2050. Evers also announced the formation of an Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy. The office would promote the development and use of clean energy across Wisconsin.

Lloyd DeGrane / for the Alliance for the Great Lakes

The potential impact of Asian carp on the Great Lakes has many people on edge. A new study draws attention to the threat Asian carp could pose to the Great Lakes.

While concern persists that the invasive fish could move from the Mississippi River Basin into Lake Michigan, questions remain whether the fish would find enough food to survive.

Susan Bence

Preston Cole is one step away from officially heading the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

While he awaits a State Senate vote on his assignment, the secretary-designee says there’s no time to waste when it comes to addressing Wisconsin’s drinking water concerns. Cole is optimistic solutions will be found. 

Momentum began when Gov. Tony Evers declared 2019 the year of clean drinking water.

Alesandra Tejeda

Plastic is difficult to escape. Many products are wrapped, sealed and mailed in some sort of plastic material.

And it can be difficult to know what to do with plastic bags, especially since curbside programs in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin don't accept plastic bags. However, they can be put in collection bins at some grocery stores and other businesses.

Leonid / stock.adobe.com

A pizza box, an old T-shirt, a burned-out lightbulb. This all goes into the trash bin, right?

Well, not quite.

Susan Bence

Updated on Aug. 19, at 12:55 p.m CT
UW-Milwaukee's School of Freshwater Sciences reports that We Energies has installed carbon filters on air handlers that serve the south wing of the school, which is where most people work. Filters weren’t installed in the north building, but the school will be monitoring whether odors are detected there.


The story of Starms Early Childhood isn't unique in Milwaukee: The Milwaukee Public Schools' building at 36th and Burleigh Streets is more than 100 years old and until recently, its playground was dominated by asphalt. 

But that’s about to change thanks to a green infrastructure project.

Lisa Misky can't wait. She's taught at Starms for 21 years. Over the years, she and her colleagues gradually added some green to the children's world. They put in a perennial garden bed in the front with the help of small grants.

Susan Bence

Mayor Tom Barrett says the city of Milwaukee is committed to fueling 25% of its energy needs with renewable sources by 2025, but climate change requires additional action. Earlier this month the city introduced its official Green Infrastructure Plan. It includes strategies to manage water resources and adapt to a rapidly changing climate.


States across the Midwest have been individually grappling with how to control a fatal disease impacting deer. This week, twelve states, including Wisconsin, agreed to work together to control chronic wasting disease, or CWD.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources hosted a two-day gathering in Madison that brought together state wildlife biologists, Wisconsin Tribal Nations' members, as well as state and federal conservation groups.

Together, they came up with these priorities:

Rita Flores Wiskowski

Over the last decade, Milwaukee County Parks has carried out 5,000 bird surveys and documented close to 370,000 birds throughout the system.

That work contributed to Milwaukee County Parks’ recent designation as an Important Bird Area (IBA). It is granted by a group called the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative.

Arch Electric

What Milwaukee needs is a task force. That’s what advocates say who want the city and county to jointly come up with climate change solutions. Solutions that also create jobs for people who need them.

Last week, the Milwaukee Common Council unanimously voted to create a climate task force. Tuesday Milwaukee County supervisors mulled over the possibility of joining in the effort during a meeting of the Parks, Energy and Environment Committee.

Rick Steves' Europe

Rick Steves is known for his PBS travel show and for booking 30,000 people on his European tours each year. And while he claims to be neither environmentalist nor particularly environmentally savvy, Steves is trying to balance his success by reducing the carbon footprint of all of those travelers he leads on holiday.

Susan Bence

A group of Wisconsin legislators spent more than five hours Thursday listening to experts, advocates and residents who gathered in Racine. The topic was water quality and how to improve it.