WUWM environment

Susan Bence

Unexpected partnerships are helping the 40-year-old Schlitz Audubon Nature Center manage its 185 acres  along Lake Michigan’s shore in Bayside, Wisconsin.

David Pacifico coordinates research and policy in Cardinal Stritch University's School of Continuing and On-line Learning. He also holds a PhD in Anthropology.

Digging into how people from long ago lived their lives is Pacifico's passion.

City of Oak Creek

It took 10 years and over $7 million to create Lake Vista Park in Oak Creek. The project is far more than a facelift of the 98-acre parcel overlooking Lake Michigan. Back in the 1920s and 1930s, a chemical plant operated there, leaving behind arsenic and other contaminants.

The City of Oak Creek has gradually transformed the lakefront property, featuring tall grasses and native plants. But first crews had to carefully cap most of the site with two-feet of clay.

Susan Bence

Have you ever heard of fairy shrimp? Until recently, I hadn’t. Mequon Nature Preserve, located at the southern edge of Ozaukee County, is home to the teeny, tiny crustacean.

Picture the kind of shrimp some people love to eat, just way smaller – an inch long, tops. Jason Nickels, the preserve's education and research director, explains: “They’re anywhere from a pink, to a brown, to a green – I think it depends on what they’re feeding on."

Susan Bence

Some Milwaukeeans are raising new concerns about the potential health risks associated with lead. Critics point to a cluster of infant deaths in the 15th Aldermanic District and think contaminated water might be to blame.

Jennifer Morton

Two years ago, 87-year-old Webers Greenhouses on Green Bay Avenue in Milwaukee closed. However this past weekend, the greenhouses reopened to become the internship program Teens Grow Greens' experiential learning headquarters.

Nursery manager Claire Muza will oversee all living things in four greenhouses this season.

The American Lung Association recently issued its annual State of the Air report. Parts of Wisconsin fared very well - others, not so much.

Outrider Foundation

The Outrider Foundation's website opens with a dramatic satellite view of the earth slowly rotating as the sun blazes in the background. Click on climate change and images of intensely populated, highly industrialized scenes unfold. A giant ice formation crashes into an icy sea.

Susan Bence

If you have plans to visit the giant IKEA store in Oak Creek, be on the lookout for a 3-foot-tall wooden fence. It's not just for show, it is a wall that will help keep nearby salamanders from wandering into the store's parking lot.

The structure is called an amphibian exclusion barrier and divides Falk Park from IKEA.

At the time of the store's construction, Julia Robson was natural areas coordinator with the Milwaukee County Parks. She knows the 222-acre park well.

Susan Bence

Foxconn's massive manufacturing project slated to take shape in what is currently rural Racine County successfully jumped through two major environmental hoops this week.

Water Diversion

Wednesday, the City of Racine’s request to divert Lake Michigan water and deliver it to the Taiwanese-owned LCD plant got the green light.

The request has received a lot of attention and raised a great deal of concern among critics.

Curt Czarnecki, P.E., Kenosha Water Utility

The Kenosha Common Council recently passed an ordinance that requires homeowners to replace their lead laterals when the city initiates a project. Because this can be expensive, Kenosha aims to set up a grant and loan system to help homeowners.

Water utility manager Ed St. Peter has been working on the idea for a while, saying he wants to expeditiously replace every inch of the city’s 8,800 lead lines that connect homes to water mains.

Susan Bence

Just like Milwaukee, thousands of lead service lines deliver water from the main into Wauwatosa households. Wauwatosa's public works director David Simpson estimates nearly 10,000 of its 15,000 customers have lead pipes feeding water into their homes.

Simpson says Wauwatosa recently changed its policy surrounding pipes that break. “If we have a break on the city-owned lateral, we’ll go in and replace the entire city-owned side.” Before that, he says, city crews simply repaired the break.

Susan Bence

Update:

The EPA awarded the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee a $3 million grant to help restore the Grand Trunk wetland in the city's Harbor District.

"Milwaukee's landscape has changed significantly over the past 200 years, and the wetland marshes that dominated the center of the City have all but vanished," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said in a news release Tuesday. "This restoration work will reestablish a small portion of that wetland."

Curt Czarnecki

It’s hard to get away from discussions about lead in Milwaukee this days. Meet two people who understand the issues but have lingering concerns.

Carol Hayes – Riverwest Resident

Like many people, Carol Hayes’ awareness of the risks associated with lead in water date back the crisis in Flint, Michigan.

She was quite sure her duplex, built in 1924, had lead service lines, but had trouble sorting out how best to filter her water and that of her upstairs tenants.

Susan Bence

Longtime Milwaukee Health Department employee Lisa Lien, who coordinated the city’s struggling childhood lead program, has been suspended.

Just hours before that news broke Monday, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett held a press event on the topic of lead but didn't say a word about Lien.

She worked in various capacities at the health department for 26 years; nine years ago assuming leadership of its Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.

Susan Bence

Rice typically is grown in hot, humid areas. Yet, a Marquette University researcher has successfully cultivated a small crop on the edge of Milwaukee.

The rice harvest happened on a sun-drenched, but cold morning late last October in Ozaukee County. The one-acre paddy is located on a former family farm that is managed by the Mequon Nature Preserve.

Pai Lor was among a cluster of people helping with the harvest. She grew rice with her family during the first 35 years of her life in her native Laos.

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