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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Ways to Connect

fullempty / stock.adobe.com

If you’re one of those people who feels overwhelmed by the waste we humans create, you might take heart with a move made by Milwaukee's Public Safety and Health Committee. It voted Thursday to prohibit local food and alcohol beverage establishments from providing customers with plastic straws.

Arlin Karnopp

Updated Wednesday at 9:12 a.m. CT

Leaders of a rural county in Wisconsin are not pleased with how the quality of its ground water is being reflected by local reporters.

Lafayette County seems like an idyllic rural spot in Wisconsin, but a local committee made waves Tuesday when it announced its board and any other officials need permission before talking about local water quality.

Office of Senator Tammy Baldwin

The five Great Lakes — Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario — contain more than 20% of the world's surface freshwater. But the basin is also plagued with challenges, from algal bloom to invasive species.  

UW-Milwaukee

An anonymous donor has pledged $10 million to help fund a new research vessel for UW-Milwaukee's School of Freshwater Sciences.

University officials said Wednesday it will be the most advanced research vessel on the Great Lakes, and the first designed specifically to conduct sophisticated research within the basin.

The vessel will replace the Neeskay, an Army T-boat the university bought and converted nearly 50 years ago.

Susan Bence

Starting Friday, people leading projects designed to preserve native plants and animals are meeting to report and share ideas. They're gathering at a nature preserve north of Port Washington.

It's kind of like a summit on steroids. Each presenter has 20 minutes to dazzle fellow conservationists with charts and graphs. But this is no laughing matter – habitat is dwindling, and so are species.

chalermchai / stock.adobe.com

The Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservancy, fondly known as The Domes, is perhaps equal parts iconic and at risk. Like fellow Milwaukee County facilities, it is woefully in need of maintenance.

Supervisor Sylvia Ortiz-Velez, whose district includes The Domes, is proposing a new source of revenue: growing hemp in one of the dome's greenhouses.

Susan Bence

More and more people appear concerned about the public health dangers posed by lead – especially to young children and pregnant women. Among the groups trying to move from conversation to action is the League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County. The group convened a roundtable discussion Tuesday in West Allis.

Michael Kienitz

Award-winning photojournalist Michael Kienitz's career was sparked by the Vietnam War. The Madison, Wis. native and at the time UW-Madison student says he was struck by the contrast between the protesting he saw around him and how it was reported in newspapers. Kienitz picked up a camera and never put it down.

Susan Bence

Gov. Tony Evers' administration has been promoting action on climate change since his inauguration day in January. In Milwaukee Thursday, Evers took a step toward tangible action.

He announced the creation of a task force charged with coming up with recommendations to combat climate change.

Susan Bence

We Energies says it's time to increase its electric rates. But critics say customers will be paying more while the utility remains too reliant on polluting energy sources like coal.

Dmitry Naumov / stock.adobe.com

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) thinks it's come up with a good formula to better protect Americans from lead in drinking water, calling it a major and much-needed overhaul. Officials unveiled the proposal Thursday in Green Bay. But concern is already bubbling up among those who feel the EPA changes aren't stringent enough.

malp / stock.adobe.com

Driving down poverty and increasing wellness — these are among the critical challenges being tackled at the annual Summit on Poverty.

The two-day program is a collaboration between Marquette University and the Social Development Commission. It’s designed to foster creative conversations among community leaders, educators, and members of the community. 

Ellen Damschen

As habitats shrink and the climate changes, animals and plants are facing challenges across the globe.

But a group of scientists, including from UW-Madison, is finding signs of hope through a research project in South Carolina. They wanted to see if they could improve the odds for species by experimenting with the longleaf pine savanna in South Carolina.

Dwayne Sperber

Chuck Leavell plays keyboards with the Rolling Stones. But he’s also a passionate environmentalist and forester.

"There was a personal connection for me. Where does that wonderful thing that's given me so much joy and a great career come from? Of course, it comes from the resource of wood, as do many, many other musical instruments. Without wood there would be hardly any music, we'd just be singing acapella," Leavell explains.

Susan Bence

Milwaukee’s harbor district is evolving. On its northern edge plans are afoot for a hotel, apartment and office complex. When that happens, a decades’ long fixture will  probably disappear — Jerry's Dock.

There’s nothing pretty about the place. It’s tucked along the Milwaukee River, on the edge of its intersection with the Menomonee and Kinnickinnic Rivers, on their path to Lake Michigan.

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