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Milwaukee Researcher Prescribes Science & Nature To Solve Toxic Algae Problem

Veterans Park lagoon along Milwaukee’s lakefront is one of the places people gravitate to fish, canoe and kayak. But over the last couple of years, concerns about tenacious toxic algae has raised public health concerns. Just to be clear, there are all sorts of algae — plants that can range in size from microscopic to massive. Many aren’t toxic, but the type of blue-green algae researchers are monitoring in the lagoon is toxic. It’s called microsystis, and it can make people sick. If someone...


What Can You Do About Climate Change?

A recent report commissioned by the United Nations predicts dramatic consequences if greenhouse gas emissions continue at current rates. So, what can you, as an individual, do about climate change? Tia Nelson, managing director of climate at the Outrider Foundation , shares some tips on what you can do to help offset climate change. She believes it's essential that humans pursue every available climate solution to avoid human-caused warming. "This report should serve as a wake-up call to...


Climate Change: New Report Creates Urgency In Milwaukee & Worldwide

The world faces dramatic consequences ranging from heightened food shortages to shrinking coastlines as soon as 2040 if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, according to scientists from 40 countries convened by the United Nations. For years experts believed a rise of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit was the threshold for severe impacts. But after reviewing more than 6,000 scholarly studies, the scientists concluded human health, economies and ecosystems will suffer with a smaller...


Great Lakes Compact: Reflecting On The Agreement 10 Years Later

It’s been a decade since the Great Lakes Compact was signed into law. The historic agreement between the U.S. and Canada puts restrictions on large-scale diversions of water. In the last 10 years, communities like Waukesha and corporations like Foxconn have made bids for exceptions to the contract. And a "first" happened this year, according to Peter Annin , the director of the Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation at Northland College. “In 2018, we had the first legal challenge ever filed...


Milwaukee Area Teens Serve Locally Grown Greens At Miller Park

Brewers fans have plenty of food options. Eight kitchens produce everything from concession-style faire to pasta with romesco sauce. And, this season a new food cart appeared at the stadium. ROOTS For the Home Team Milwaukee offers salads served by high school students. And, some of the ingredients come out of gardens the teens tended. The idea didn’t drop out of the sky. It came from Minnesota where a dietician wanted to couple two passions – encouraging people to eat fresh, healthy food...


Community Groups Take Action As Milwaukee Leaders Sort Out Childhood Lead Program

Long before Bevan Baker resigned as public health commissioner in January, the agency said it was taking appropriate steps to educate families how to protect themselves from lead in paint, soil and water. While the city of Milwaukee posted information on its website, placed ads on buses, and mailed leaflets with water bills, some community groups worried word wasn’t getting out to families. So, people stepped forward to inform people in person. That’s what happened at All Saints Family Care...


Underwater Hotels Under Construction To Make Milwaukee Harbor Hospitable To Fish

If you were a fish, you probably wouldn’t choose the harbor — where Milwaukee’s three rivers converge — as a favorite hangout. After all, its primary function has been commercial since the 1800s. Its edges are lined with steel piling and the bottom is dredged to maintain a depth of 25 feet, allowing safe passage of large vessels conveying cement, salt and such. And the highly urbanized waterway faces challenges, not least of which is stormwater runoff that sends pollutants into the harbor....


What Can A Climate Summit Accomplish?

People worldwide recently protested climate change in the “Rise for Climate” march. Last Saturday, thousands took to the streets of San Francisco, the site of this week’s Global Climate Action Summit , and hundreds gathered in downtown Milwaukee. Azam Niroomand-Rad was among 350-plus people who walked through downtown Milwaukee. “We are here so people are aware of their environmental problems so that in November they will be able to vote for the candidates who support environmental issues,”...


How Healthy Is Milwaukee’s Urban Canopy?

Milwaukee has hundreds of thousands of trees, many of them in county parks. Bay View resident Steve Ohly loves them, which is one reason he moved to Milwaukee. “I tend to be a tree hugger, really. But I do it in the morning when nobody’s around,” he says. So, it’s no surprise that Steve lives across from a sea of trees in the heart of Bay View: Humboldt Park. That’s where I met him, to help answer his Beats Me question. “What's the state of Milwaukee’s trees, I know some ash tree have come...


Art Exhibit Aims To Cultivate Awareness & Action To Protect Water

The art exhibit called “Water Works” opens Friday evening at RedLine Milwaukee . The show's curator, environmental activist and artist Melanie Ariens, chose more than a dozen artists to explore how deeply water affects our lives. “I tried to find a balance of artists whose work conveyed a spiritual or emotional connection to water and artists who take a more activist approach to addressing water issues,” she said. A few of those artists include Rina Yoon, Susan Simensky-Bietila, Eddee...


Common Council Unanimously Approves New Milwaukee Health Commissioner

Jeanette Kowalik was voted in as the City of Milwaukee's public health commissioner Wednesday. There were no votes of opposition. In January, news broke that its once–touted childhood lead contamination prevention program was grossly mismanaged. A heartbeat later, health commissioner Bevan Baker resigned. Based on the candidate’s reception at a special meeting of the Public Safety and Health Committee Tuesday, Kowalik’s prospects appeared bright. Kowalik told aldermen she feels she was...


When It Comes To Flooding, Can Milwaukee Cope?

Parts of Wisconsin recently experienced torrential rains. Roads flooded — or in some cases, washed out — in Dane and Iowa counties. Some state trails have closed until further notice. So, where does Milwaukee stand in its ability to cope with massive rain storms? WUWM Enviornmental Reporter Susan Bence met with Patrick Elliott of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) near the Kinnickinnic River in Pulaski Park on the city’s south side to help find out. The Kinnickinnic is one...


Milwaukee's Harbor District Building Its First Park

You might know about a small park within Milwaukee's harbor on Jones Island called Kaszube . Harbor View Plaza will become the first greenspace since the inception of Harbor District, Inc. Construction is expected to begin this fall. The public park will be located at the end of Greenfield Avenue. This area just south of the Milwaukee's Third Ward has felt forbidding for years. Dan Adams, planning director for the Harbor District , says the new park is another step in the harbor district's...


The Evolution Of Milwaukee Water Commons

What started as conversations five years ago evolved into Milwaukee Water Commons . While science and business opportunities were important in those initial discussions, the group wanted to broaden their reach to get the entire community involved in protecting a common resource — water. At the time Ann Brummitt was coordinating the Milwaukee River Greenway project, a more traditional environmental effort. But stepping into this new experiment in community engagement felt like walking into...


The Evolution Of Milwaukee Water Commons

What started as conversations five years ago evolved into Milwaukee Water Commons . While science and business opportunities were important in those initial discussions, the group wanted to broaden their reach to get the entire community involved in protecting a common resource — water. At the time, Ann Brummitt was coordinating the Milwaukee River Greenway project, a more traditional environmental effort. But stepping into this new experiment in community engagement felt like walking into...


Beach Trash: Where Lake Michigan’s Litter Originates

*Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that 21.8 million pounds of trash end up in Lake Michigan every year. That number is actually the total for all of the Great Lakes. Almost every day since last June, Marla Schmidt has walked along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Bay View. But she’s not lounging around enjoying the beach — she’s picking up trash. She regularly gathers plastic and other garbage that washes up on the shore, filling her bucket on nearly every trip....


Vincent High School Students Shine At Wisconsin State Fair Sheep Show

Students took their turn Wednesday showing their young sheep at the Wisconsin State Fair. Vincent High School student Kiara Little, who wants to be a veterinarian, was waiting to show her freshly-shorn creamy-colored sheep named Teddy Bear. The sheep are organized by breed, for example Hampshire and Southdown, and then by their weight. While some can weigh up to 150 pounds, Kiara's sheep is little — Teddy Bear weighs just 90 pounds. Milwaukee Public Schools' Vincent High School on...


Swimming The Milwaukee River: Should You Jump In?

Not so many years ago, no one would dream of kayaking or canoeing the Milwaukee River. Now those activities are common. So, how would you feel about jumping into the Milwaukee River for a swim? That’s what will be happening during the 2018 Cream City Classic . On Aug. 11, the one-and-a-half-mile swim race will take place just upstream from where the Milwaukee River meets Lake Michigan. While this race is being dubbed “Milwaukee’s first open river swim,” the Milwaukee River was once a popular...


Late Summer Gardening Tips: Managing Lilacs, Weeds And Homegrown Produce

The Wisconsin State Fair is in full swing, and horticulturist extraordinaire Melinda Myers spends more time at the Wisconsin-centric celebration than most. The renowned gardener talks with Lake Effect ’s Mitch Teich about what kind of gardening questions she expects to hear from this year’s fairgoers: What’s with this crazy weather? Gardening in a climate as fickle as Wisconsin’s can be frustrating. Myers says plant lovers complain year after year about the state's ever-changing weather, but...


Urban Ecology Center Hosts First International Training

The Urban Ecology Center started humbly with a small team working out of a trailer near a forlorn park above the Milwaukee River. Today the park is flourishing, the river is healthier, and the Urban Ecology Center has grown to three neighborhood-based, ecological-steeped educational centers on Milwaukee’s east, central and south sides. This week more than 20 people from around the world traveled to Milwaukee for the Urban Ecology Center's first 4-day Intensive to find out what makes the UEC...