Waukesha Freeman 9/12/13:
Panel: Waukesha’s water application will be challenged in federal court Barrett says other states will question service area
MILWAUKEE – Even if the other Great Lakes governors accept that Waukesha needs a new water source, they’ll have big questions about the city’s water service area, and the application will almost certainly be challenged in federal court, predicted three members of a panel at a breakaway session on Waukesha’s quest for Lake Michigan water during the Great Lakes Coalition’s 9th annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference.
At Great Lakes Week, the U.S. EPA announced a new 2013 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grantthat will go to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to fund several assessment projects aimed at better characterizing and addressing beneficial use impairments in the Milwaukee Estuary that keep us from fully using it for fishing, swimming, and other activities. This grant will also partially fund an important bacteria monitoring effort by Milwaukee Riverkeeper and the McClellan lab at the UWM-School of Freshwater Sciences to better characterize human bacteria contamination of stormwater discharge into local rivers, including better understanding how much of the bacteria load in the river is from human sources (versus wildlife or other sources).
From basement backups to beach closures, polluted runoff can have big costs for communities.
When it rains in cities or suburban areas with lots of roads and rooftops, rainwater is unable to soak into the ground. Instead, it begins to rapidly accumulate and flows quickly along the surface where it picks up sediment, pesticides, oil, or heavy metals. The polluted urban runoff flows into storm drains where it is discharged untreated into local rivers and lakes. In cities with combined sewer systems, runoff can cause sewage overflows – sending untreated sewage into local waters.
Mequon Now author Michael Meidenbauer wrote a great article on the status of the Mequon River Club's efforts to develop a 42 acre parcel, which is protected by an open space easement. Development of the site would compromise the water filtration lot provides through its dense vegetation and soils, and would decrease water quality downstream.
Milwaukee Riverkeeper announces an opening for the position of Executive Director. The successful candidate will report directly to the Board of Directors and will provide leadership and management to all aspects of the organization. Interested applicants should submit all materials by 9:00 AM, Monday, September 9.
This is a terrific opportunity and we hope you will help us spread the word by forwarding this Executive Director announcement on to your personal and professional networks.
In 2009, after 7 years, countless hearings and over 50,000 public comments, the WDNR updated our state shoreland zoning rules that set minimum setbacks for development from river and lake shorelines as well as standards for how much of a site can be disturbed and "paved over" to protect water quality. The current rules are not perfect, but balanced feedback from a diversity of stakeholders, and included some exceptions for incorporated and historically developed areas, including all of Milwaukee County. These shoreland rules are vital to protecting aesthetic beauty, water quality, and wildlife habitat, as well as our $8-12 Billion water-based tourism industry. WDNR is proposing new rules that will roll back many of these hard-fought water quality protections.
Do you know why people from Illinois come up to Wisconsin to enjoy our beautiful waterways? Because of our shoreland zoning rules!! Milwaukee Riverkeeper and many stakeholders were involved for OVER 9 YEARS in helping craft shoreland zoning rules for Wisconsin, which were passed four years ago, but largely not implemented. These rules put limitations on the amount of impervious surfaces near waterways and create setbacks for development to protect our rivers and lakes. Wisconsin DNR has now proposed drastic changes to the rules that will reverse many of these standards at the behest of the realtor and home-building lobbies. It is unfair to reopen this process after years of public process and grossly negligent to Wisconsinites to weaken rules that will benefit a couple of special interests, at the expense of the public’s rights to waterways free from sediment, algae and other forms of pollution. The current rules are also vital to protect our $8-10 billion water-based tourism industry!
Stay tuned for more information on this issue, but save the date for our closest public hearing on August 8th in Delafield (at their Common Council Chambers)!
Last week President Barack Obama's Administration released its 2013 Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework; this is the federal government's latest effort to protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp. The plan includes a new electronic barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, which connects the Chicago River to Lake Michigan, as well as some other emergency and stop-gap measures to keep the carp out of the Great Lakes. It is vital these programs are funded; however, much more needs to be done, including an ecological separation between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basins.
Swimmable Water Weekend is a global event recognizing the important role water plays in our communities. From July 25-28, 200 Waterkeepers and thousands of individuals from more than 20 countries will take to the water encourage citizens to celebrate the right to clean, swimmable waters and to promote the importance of protecting our local waterways.
It's easy to join! Simply use your favorite social media tool to share a photo from your closest beach and tag it #SwimmableWater to show you care about clean water.
The orange moon and pre-storm pink sky made for a beautiful backdrop for the 2013 Milky Moonlight Paddle. On Monday, July 22nd Milwaukee Riverkeeper and our friends at River Alliance of Wisconsin led over 60 paddlers from river to Great Lake and back again, in the shadow of skyscrapers and under the light of the full moon. View pictures of the event!