Susan Bence

Environmental Reporter

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.

Susan is now WUWM's Environmental Reporter, the station's first. Her work has been recognized by the Milwaukee Press Club, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, and the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.

Susan worked with Prevent Blindness Wisconsin for 20 years, studied foreign languages at UWM, and loves to travel.

» Twitter: @WUWMenviron

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Standing close to the spot where Waukesha’s proposed pipe would discharge treated water, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee biologist Tim Ehlinger worries about the impact it could have on the Root River.

“The Root is a fabulous treasure. I think what’s gorgeous about it down here is you’ve got all this riparian wetland and wooded wetland that floods frequently and it provides for the life of the amphibians and the birds and the water quality,” he says.

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Waukesha hopes to pump in 10 million gallons a day from Oak Creek’s utility, then treat and return the water to Lake Michigan via the Root River.

The city says it’s the best way to solve its existing underground source that it’s becoming more tainted with cancer-causing radium.

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Waukesha’s proposal to tap into Lake Michigan is inching forward after years of debate and revision.

The city is under federal order to secure clean water for residents because their underground source is increasing concentrated with radium, a health hazard.

The state DNR recently gave the nod to Waukesha’s application.

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Tia Nelson found herself in the center of  controversy at the close of her tenure as executive secretary of Wisconsin's Board of Commissioners of Public Lands. She resigned from her post last week.

The agency recently prohibited staff from talking about or working on anything to do with climate change.

Nelson is the daughter of Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson and is committed to carrying on her father’s environmental legacy.

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Milwaukee has no shortage of farmer’s markets from Brown Deer to Walker Square and multiple spots in between, yet Glenn Mattison believes there is room for one more.

This month the 5 Points Exchange Farmer’s Market is gradually coming to life Saturdays, although this Saturday’s market has been cancelled due to expected high temperatures.

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WasteCap Resource Solutions has been around for 15 years.

Salvaged beams and art deco windows are just part of its vision to transform waste into resources. WasteCap leaves no brick unturned.

Project Manager Justin Dall’Osto knows the facts. “U.S. landfills are made up 41 percent of construction demolition materials. Wisconsin is around 30 to 31 percent. So we’re a little a less but we’re doing our part to try make it even lower,” he says.

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Darren Baker, fotolia

Days before the Wolf and Wildlife Coexistence and Conservation Initiative was to be held in Baraboo, Wisconsin, organizers learned DNR staff would not be in attendance.

“Unfortunately, we did learn that the Wisconsin DNR leadership has banned their staff from attending the conference, including their lead wolf biologist,” Adrian Treves says. He heads UW-Madison's Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies’ Carnivore Coexistence Lab.

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Potawatomi Hotel and Casino on Canal Street has played a central role Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley revitalization.

Not only does it draw tourists eager to try their luck at slot machines or see a concert; Forest County Potawatomi is also making a name for itself in sustainability.

Its 381-room hotel achieved gold LEED certification. And all of Potawatomi’s food waste lands in a $20 million digester - just west of the complex - producing 2 megawatts of electricity.

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Over the last few years, nearly 70 homeowners in Milwaukee neighborhoods have jumped on the renewable energy bandwagon and installed solar on their rooftops.

Their rooftops combined produced enough electricity to offset the burning of over 200,000 pounds of coal in a year’s time.

The City’s Milwaukee Shines program helps coordinate the neighborhood initiatives. It has targeted Riverwest, Bay View and most recently Layton Boulevard West and Washington Heights.

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In the spring of 2013, Milwaukee joined some 70 cities around the U.S. and Canada  that tout local “Edible” publications. They’re part of an “Edible Communities, Inc.” movement – grounded in a mission they describe as transforming the way people shop for, cook and eat local food.

Lake Effect’s Susan Bence sat down with Edible Milwaukee publisher and editor Jen Ede at a Walker’s Point café.

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