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

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers officially assumed his role as chair of the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers Friday as he welcomed the group to Milwaukee.

“Today, we are gathering to protect this natural asset that is the source of our continuing prosperity,” Evers said.

The group formed over 30 years ago to cultivate environmentally-responsible economic growth.

Kate Redmond

You may not be a fan of insects, but they're both important and in decline. Just ask interpretive naturalist Kate Redmond.

"If you like birds, that’s what birds eat. And if you like a lot of other small animals, that’s what they eat. And if you like to eat strawberries, it’s insects that pollinate them. It’s a domino,” Redmond says.

Cream City Hostel

Carolyn Weber has been dreaming of opening a hostel in Milwaukee for six years. Now, Cream City Hostel is coming to life in Riverwest. 

Hostels are historically places where young people can sleep cheap and simple. Over the years, they’ve evolved to attract young and old, individuals or families.

The hostel is on the corner of Center and Holton Streets in Riverwest. It's in what was a grand neighborhood bank that Weber says was built in 1920.

Susan Bence

We're not talking about Dorothy's ruby slippers or the Wicked Witch of The West. This is a story that started 10 years ago, when a small group of volunteers devoted to conservation in Ozaukee County designed a day of exploration called the Treasures of Oz.

Chuck Quirmbach

A judge recently ruled in favor of Racine's request to divert millions of gallons of water from Lake Michigan for Foxconn Technology Group.

On Tuesday, the environmental groups that challenged the diversion issued a statement.

Racine had long argued that it was equipped to deliver the water and believed the diversion would be allowed by the Great Lakes Compact. 

Susan Bence

City leaders want to create a buzz around sustainability initiatives that have blossomed in Milwaukee’s Lindsay Heights neighborhood. There’s even a map encouraging people to tour its sustainable projects, including rooftop solar and stormwater management installations.

Susan Bence

When a child tests high for lead, Milwaukee’s health department mobilizes. A nurse begins conferring with the family while an inspector looks for sources of lead in the home.

Thursday during the Public Safety and Health Committee meeting, Alderman Jose Perez said he wants to make sure that those families living in rental properties can’t be evicted by their landlords.

Perez says he and his colleagues have been hearing from concerned Milwaukee residents.

Susan Bence

Updated on June 11 at 2:12 p.m. CT

Milwaukee County is home to more than 15,000 acres of parkland. Keeping those spaces green and healthy is daunting, especially as funding diminishes and park crews are cut. While many people cherish public green spaces, some worry about the pesticides that Milwaukee County Parks uses to manage the land.

Emily Files

In what's being called the first verdict of its kind, a federal jury Friday awarded $2 million each to three young Milwaukee men who suffered severe lead contamination.

The plaintiffs range in age from 18 to 28, but the poisoning occurred when they were toddlers. They ingested lead paint and today the men have trouble with reading comprehension, their lawyer says.

Susan Bence

If you're feeling blue about news that a million of the world's species are threatened, this might boost your spirits: A "barn swallow condo" is going up in Waukesha County.

A group of UW-Milwaukee students teamed up with a conservation biologist and a landscape architect to help design the barn swallow habitat prototype.

Susan Bence

Some people are concerned about the many lead pipes that deliver water into older Milwaukee homes. Others applaud the city for tackling stormwater management through green infrastructure. But how is Milwaukee doing at creating a comprehensive water management plan?

Susan Bence

We all know water is fundamental to our lives, and to all livings things. But do you ever stop and think about the water you have access to, and if it is actually clean?

It depends on your perspective, says John Luczaj, head of UW-Green Bay’s geosciences program.

» See More Project Milwaukee: Great Lakes, Troubled Waters Stories

Susan Bence

For months Milwaukee’s health department has been trying to dig itself out of a muddle, while city leaders continue to try to figure out what went wrong.

Problems became public in early 2018 when health commissioner Bevan Baker resigned. At the same time, the community learned that the childhood lead program – long a source of pride among city leaders – was in disarray.

Outrider Foundation

If you’ve seen Milwaukee Brewers' Brent Suter in action, you might have noticed his reusable water bottle. It’s nothing new to the pitcher.

Suter has been concerned about the environment for years. It started with a love of nature.

Growing up in Cincinnati Ohio, he was in the Boy Scouts, had pets, and loved nature and animals. His love shifted to concern when Suter was a freshman in high school.

Update:

Thursday, the Milwaukee County Board made its voice heard by voting 16-0 against allowing We Energies' Oak Creek powerplant to raise its daily maximum discharge of mercury into Lake Michigan.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has the final say in granting a the mercury variance permit to the electric company.

Original story, February 12:

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