The State Senate on Tuesday passed a bill banning the tiny bits of plastic known as microbeads from personal care products! The bill prohibits personal care products containing microbeads starting in 2018 and disallows selling them starting in 2019.These tiny pieces of plastic that are used in many soaps, scrubs, and toothpastes for exfoliation cannot be removed from wastewater discharges because they are so small. These microbeads are prolific in Lake Michigan and can be harmful to water quality and fish and other aquatic life. Watch our very own Riverkeeper Cheryl Nenn’s interview by WISN12 about this proposed legislation.
Milwaukee Riverkeeper submitted comments to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) on the draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the reconstruction of I-94 between 70th and 16th Streets. Our biggest concerns are that: the DEIS only considered expansion options (e.g. at grade or “double decker” options with differing alignments); did not consider transit options; failed to fully consider environmental justice impacts of highway expansion; and failed to adequately consider the direct, indirect, and cummulative impacts of this project on water quality and the environment, especially in combination with other projects at the Zoo and Marquette Interchanges.
Work to remove contaminated sediments from the Milwaukee River in Lincoln and Estabrook Parks is well underway! The sediment deposit just below the oxbows in Lincoln Park (deposit 3B-1 on attached figure) was completed at the end of January. Following the sediment removal, the wetland restoration and in water habitat (root wads and boulder clusters) were installed.
Calling all artists! This year is Milwaukee Riverkeeper’s 20th Anniversary of the Spring River Cleanup! Milwaukee Riverkeeper is looking for talented artists to design a graphic for our 2015 Spring River Cleanup highlighting 20 years of keeping the Milwaukee River Basin a cleaner place for all.
Your artwork will be featured on 4000 volunteer t-shirts as well as all our posters, postcards, and social media. And it gets even better; we are also offering a $100 prize and our undying admiration for the winning design.
Dysfunction Around the Estabrook Dam Continues at Milwaukee County as Finance Committee Votes to Switch County Policy on Dam. Again.
This morning, Theo Lipscomb introduced an amendment to a 2015 capital improvement bonding resolution in front of the Finance Committee that would flip the policy of the County from removal to repair of the Estabrook Dam. This amendment was passed by the Finance Committee, 5-2 and will need to go to the full County Board of Supervisors next week at their regular meeting on Thursday, February 5 at 9:30 a.m. to become final. This is indicative of the nonsense and dysfunction around this issue perpetuated by a minority of Supervisors.
We are pleased that the City of Milwaukee is minimizing salt use this year both for the sake of the environment and to save money! You may have noticed that salting has been reduced on residential streets, and that salt is being mixed with sand on main streets to reduce salt usage, which is estimated at 1,200 tons per snow event. According to this Smithsonian article, more than 22 million tons of salt are scattered on the roads of the U.S. annually—about 137 pounds of salt for every American. Past reports have shown that Milwaukee County uses 8 times more salt on average than the rest of the State.
Asian carp continue to knock on the door of the Great Lakes, based on eDNA sampling results released last week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The sampling data, collected in October, show the presence of bighead or silver carpDNA throughout the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS). Most alarming is detection of carp DNA very near the lock in downtown Chicago – less than one city block from Lake Michigan.
Earlier this year, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers proposed draft rules that clarify when geographically isolated wetlands and headwater streams are protected under the federal Clean Water Act. The current uncertainty over which waters are protected (due to several controversial Supreme Court decisions) have left nearly 1 million acres of Wisconsin's wetlands and thousands of miles of headwater streams more vulnerable to development and destruction.