You are on page 1of 8

J

ust as the season has turned, we here at
Sweet Water are in the midst of our own
changing seasons. Sweet Water is taking
advantage of the interim time before hiring a
new executive director to take stock, review
past achievements and processes, and to make
course adjustments for the coming years. Tis
period of review comes at an opportune time
as we also are in the midst of preparing our
third proposal for the Joyce Foundation.
Te critical work of realigning our goals,
defining our initiatives, and identifying tools
and key partners will lay a strong foundation
for the organization enabling us to establish
a clear directive for our search for a new
executive director as well as clarity as we
develop a funding strategy that includes but
is not limited to the Joyce Foundation. Pat
Marchese, our interim executive director,
and Sweet Water’s leadership team is focused
on leading the organization successfully
through this change.
We’ll leave Pat and the leadership team to those
tasks and turn to the terrific work taking place
throughout our region’s watersheds led by
faith communities, new organizations, a local
radio station, and artists as well as an update
on a significant restoration effort in the
Burnham Canal and the Inner Harbor initiative.
Tese efforts all add to the momentum in
our region restoring health to our rivers and
protecting our invaluable Great Lakes.

8
8Nine RadioMilwaukee provides
an important service to Milwaukee
through public forums, independent
music programming, and support of
local musicians and artists. Te radio
station’s new home in a renovated
two-story commercial building on
Pittsburgh Avenue by HGA Architects
and Engineers includes state-of-the-
art broadcast and production studios,
workspaces, community commons, and
tenant space for Stone Creek Coffee.
Te studio includes several sustainable
features, including reclaimed wood
used creatively throughout the interior,
and a green roof that hosts live
performances while serving as a model
in resource efficiency.
RiversReport
FALL 2014
|
VOLUME 5 NO. 3
Changing Seasons
KATE MORGAN, SOUTHEASTERN WI WATERSHEDS TRUST
RadioMilwaukee Raises the Green Roof
BY LYSSA OLKER, HGA ARCHITECTS AND ENGINEERS
Learning for life
Milwaukee Estuary
AOC Update ........................2
Fish or Freight? ....................3
Catalyzing Community
Leadership .........................4
A Faith Community’s
Water Stewardship ...............5
Organizing
Around Water .......................5
Artists’ Voices .....................6
Going Beyond Capping
to Wetland Restoration ........7
Events .................................. 8
Inside
this Issue
Milwaukee River at Estabrook Park
Continued on page 8
P
h
o
t
o
:

K
a
t
e

M
o
r
g
a
n
P
h
o
t
o
:

8
8
N
i
n
e
Green roof at 88Nine’s studio in the 5th Ward
Page 2 FALL 2014
Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern Update
& Meet Your New Coordinator
STACY HRON, WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
G
reetings from your new Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern
(AOC) Coordinator! My name is Stacy Hron and I moved
into the AOC Coordinator position in July. I am coming back to
the Office of the Great Lakes AOC program after spending some
time working in the DNR Watershed Bureau as the Wetland
Identification Specialist in eastern Wisconsin. My background is in
aquatic ecology. I graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a B.S. in
Conservation & Environmental Science and a M.S. in Biology. I
conducted my graduate research in Underwood and Lincoln Creeks.
I have past experience working for the DNR in the fisheries and
aquatic plant management programs and for a consulting firm as
a project manager/ecologist. My consulting work focused on water
resources projects including planning, storm water, remediation and
restoration. I came back to DNR in 2010 as the Sheboygan River
Area of Concern Coordinator where I planned and implemented
projects to restore the AOC. I am looking forward to taking on the
challenges of the Milwaukee Estuary and meeting and working
with all of our partners.
Tere are many projects underway in the AOC right now. Data
collection has been underway all summer with comprehensive
sampling of fish and wildlife populations and water quality. Te
US Geological Survey (USGS) is working on the fish surveys that
replicate work done in the early 1980s to see how things have
changed. USGS is also monitoring contaminant levels in tree
swallows within the AOC. Scientists from Milwaukee County
Parks and UW-Milwaukee are working on wildlife surveys as well.
Te McLellan lab at UWM School of Freshwater Sciences is
performing water quality sampling to determine the sources of
bacterial contamination to the AOC. Sampling of waterfowl
contamination and fish tumors has also been completed and we
hope to have result soon. We also have some partners working on
restoration projects, including Milwaukee County Parks, which is
in the process of restoring a grassland along the Little Menomonee
River. I am hoping to get more projects underway to make progress
towards removing impairments in the AOC. Should you wish to
contact me, my email address is stacy.hron@wisconsin.gov. •
P
h
o
t
o
:

G
a
i
l

E
p
p
i
n
g

O
v
e
r
h
o
l
t
,

U
W
E
X
Stacy Hron on recent field trip to Underwood Creek
FALL 2014 Page 3
F
ish or Freight? When the City leaders
embarked on an ambitious plan to determine
the future of Milwaukee’s harbor in 1922, they
were principally focused on the question of
commerce – the role the Harbor and shipping
could serve in preserving competition with
the railroads for the efficient movement of
goods. Harness our resources in the interest
of commerce and the economy, they decided.
Not long after, however, the quality of the
environment came into sharp focus as residents
rebelled against the stinking filth in our rivers,
and the first sewage treatment came to be
established on what was, for a few short years,
an island – Jones Island.
We are coming up on 100 years after these
grand plans, and many of the basic issues
have not changed. Similar opportunities and
challenges – promoting commerce, protecting
our environment – shape our times. Te recently
launched Harbor District Initiative is a hundred-
year update for what took place in 1922—an
effort to create a new plan for the “Inner Harbor”,
one that considers its environment and ecology,
infrastructure, cultural assets and economy.
A new organization, Harbor District, Inc. is
reaching out to the community to hear its
needs and wants for the land and waters of the
district. Tese goals will in turn inform a Land
Use and Water Resources plan that provides a
roadmap for the revitalization of the Harbor
District over the coming decade.
Tis time, however, we are framing the questions
and goals more broadly. Te Harbor District
will continue to be a vital economic resource
for Milwaukee and the broader Chicago-Green
Bay corridor. But with Milwaukee’s newfound
identity as a Freshwater City rediscovering and
reinforcing the need for a conservation-minded
economy, we have a chance to think wisely
about the investments to be made in
the Harbor District.
And not just wisely – we need to think BIG
and invest with determination when it comes
to revitalizing the Harbor District. We need to
reinforce the businesses that operate currently
in these areas, and work with them to grow
and attract complementary uses.
Our City is filled with pioneers in green
infrastructure, so let us make bold statements
that demonstrate the harmony we can achieve
—as we already have in the Menomonee Valley
—between conservation and commerce. Our
goal is to redefine the term “working waterfront”,
to create a place that works ecologically
AND economically.
For more information, email
info@harbordistrict.org or visit
http://www.facebook.com/harbordistrict
milwaukee •
Fish or Freight?
BRUCE KEYES, HARBOR DISTRICT, INC.
P
h
o
t
o
:

B
a
r
r
y

M
a
i
n
w
o
o
d
P
h
o
t
o
:

B
a
r
r
y

M
a
i
n
w
o
o
d
What will the next 100 years of
the Harbor District look like?
The opportunities for transformation in the Harbor District are immense.
Page 4 FALL 2014
T
he Milwaukee Water
Commons (MWC)
project fully launched last fall,
with a bold set of initiatives
designed to catalyze fresh
leadership for Milwaukee’s
water future that is centered
on stewardship and broad
community involvement.
Milwaukee’s identity has long been intertwined with water, as is
evident in a widely shared passion for Lake Michigan and the city’s
rivers. Although that sense of connection has not always translated
into rigorous water protection, it is giving rise today to a growing
interest in how Milwaukee’s own future is linked to that of its
waters, with initiatives arising in policy, infrastructure and research.
MWC was inspired by a belief that Milwaukee has the elements—
care, commitment, innovation, capacity—to become a true ‘water
city’, and a recognition that it won’t happen without the engagement
of the whole community. As we saw it, everyone in the city shares
a stake in our waters, and therefore should be part of enjoying the
benefits, responsibilities and decision making related to them.
Tis past year we embarked on several efforts to renew a vibrant
link between the city’s residents and its waters. Believing that
water is runs through every aspect of our city’s life, we have tapped
leadership across the city’s sectors—public health, science, food,
faith, arts and others—bringing people together to conceive of a
sustainable water future and water ethic for our city. On June 3 that
work culminated in a townhall meeting with 130 leaders gathering to
learn about water related initiatives, including those of SWWT, and
to discuss how to grow and link stewardship efforts across the city.
MWC also piloted a four-session neighborhood water leadership
training at 5 diverse community sites outside the usual environmental
circles. Tirty emergent water leaders discussed water issues and
solutions, created water-themed art and designed community-
engaging water projects. Te resulting projects included a youth
campaign to replace bottled water with refillable containers, decorative
storm water capture for community gardens and design work for
an educational and contemplative water fountain.
On August 3 we held an evening lakefront celebration of our waters,
We Are Water. Hundreds of Milwaukeeans help our artist in
residence, Melanie Ariens. illuminate a sand art installation of the
Great Lakes with candles accompanied by a rich array of cultural
offerings including the Strawberry Moon Singers, DanceCircus,
spoken word, and the Overpass Light Brigade.
It’s been an inspiring first year for the Milwaukee Water Commons
and we look forward to year two. To learn more find us on Facebook
and MeetUp, visit our webpage at the Great Lakes Commons website,
http://www.greatlakescommons.org/watercommonscommunities or
write us at Annbrummitt
@gmail.com. •
Milwaukee Water Commons – Catalyzing
Community Leadership for Our Waters
ANN BRUMMITT AND ALEXA BRADLEY, MILWAUKEE WATER COMMONS
Neighborhood Water Leadership Training combined education, art making
and project development.
The Urban Underground youth led a project to encourage refillable water
bottle use.
Inset:
The Overpass Light Brigade at the We Are Water lakefront water celebration.
P
h
o
t
o
:

M
i
l
w
a
u
k
e
e

W
a
t
e
r

C
o
m
m
o
n
s
P
h
o
t
o
:

M
i
l
w
a
u
k
e
e

W
a
t
e
r

C
o
m
m
o
n
s
FALL 2014 Page 5
Organizing
Around Water
LARRY KROLIKOWSKI, COMMON GROUND
Faith Community
Extends Mission to
Water Stewardship
SEAN FOLTZ, AMERICAN RIVERS
A
few weeks ago the roof at Tippecanoe Presbyterian Church
was transformed into a “working” intensive agricultural
vegetative green roof. It is one of the first of its kind in the state.
Te roof showcases the benefits of stormwater management, while
providing job training and produce for the less fortunate members
of the congregation and surrounding neighborhood. Te roof
infiltrates stormwater, and cisterns onsite supply water to the
vegetation during periods of drought. American Rivers, the
Fund for Lake Michigan, MMSD, Hanging Gardens, Presbyterian
Church USA and Plant Land were partners on the project.
It is estimated that the roof will infiltrate and reuse up to
4,500 gallons of stormwater per storm event while potentially
providing up to 100 pounds of produce for the homeless
community. Tis project shows the growing importance of
water reuse, and how it will play a vital role in meeting the goals
of MMSD’s Regional Green Infrastructure Plan, and the City
of Milwaukee’s Sustainability Plan.
Urban gardening and green infrastructure are helping to transform
the highly urbanized Kinnickinnic River Watershed. Te church
sits in one of the most highly impacted subwatersheds of the river.
Tis project is one of many in the Wilson Park Creek sub-watershed
which help reduce peak flow and nutrient loading to the creek.
It is another step in reducing the 100-year storm peak flow while
reducing Total Phosphorus, Fecal Coliform and Total Suspended
Solids through the continued clustering of best management
practices and implementation of green infrastructure projects
within the subwatershed.
Tis project also keeps Milwaukee moving forward as a leader
in green infrastructure, andalso helps serve as a model for other
businesses and community organizations for water resource
management and environmental justice. Te city has embraced
the idea of a “garden for every food pantry,” and this is a good
first step in that direction. •
C
ommon Ground is a congregation-based community
organization that strives for positive change in the Milwaukee
area. Tey have organized for foreclosure abatement in Sherman
Park and for a health insurance cooperative, to give just two
recent examples. Now, one of their member churches, Unitarian
Universalist Church West (UUCW) in Brookfield, has set its
sights on water. Here is how we did it.
UUCW has a history of working on environmental issues. It fits
with the core principles of Unitarian Universalism. So last year,
we began a process of selecting an environmental issue where
we could have an impact. We considered public transit, local
food sourcing, and banning the use of plastic bags, but in the
end, the church voted in October 2013 to form the Common
Ground Green Initiative to work on water.
Starting with a December tour by 50 church members of the
Jones Island sewage treatment plant, we spent the next four months
meeting with as many “water people” as possible. Tis research
included 30 individual meetings. We met with government
officials, private companies, and non-profits, looking for an
opportunity to bring Common Ground’s organizing expertise to
bear on an issue that already has many interested participants.
In the end, UUCW decided to focus on storm water management.
Specifically, we are working in three areas. First, we are studying
the possibility of incorporating a bio-swale into plans to reconstruct
North Avenue in Brookfield. Second, we are beginning to
implement an overflow alert system to ask that people use less
water during major storms when a sewer overflow is likely. And
third, the Green Initiative is investigating creative options for fixing
leaky sewer laterals that contribute to sewer backups and overflows.
We have learned quite a bit about water in the past year. Our
next step is to take action in the areas outlined above, growing
and building on “people power” to make change happen. We
intend to add the Green Initiative to Common Ground’s list of
successes in our community. •
Karen Jagen, pastor of Tippecanoe Presbyterian Church, surveying the
new green roof
Common Ground/UUCW at Jones Island
P
h
o
t
o
:

U
U
C
W

C
o
m
m
o
n

G
r
o
u
n
d
P
h
o
t
o
:

A
m
e
r
i
c
a
n

R
i
v
e
r
s
Page 6 FALL 2014
Artists’ Voices
MELANIE ARIENS, MILWAUKEE WATER COMMONS, AND EDDEE DANIEL, MENOMONEE VALLEY
A
rt speaks a universal language. Art can create bonds between people and with
the earth. We are two artists who share a passion for the environment and use
our creative talents to express the beauty in our own backyard and to communicate
our values. Water is a common theme for both of us. Melanie’s multidisciplinary
work focuses on the Great Lakes and freshwater issues. Eddee’s artistic practice,
which includes writing as well as photography, explores Milwaukee’s waterways and
what he refers to as “urban wilderness,” or places where nature and civilization intersect.
Both of us can trace our love of nature to childhoods that included camping, hiking,
and neighborhood exploring. In college Melanie studied science as well as art. A
deep concern for environmental health has developed into a studio practice that
emphasizes the preciousness of our water resources. Melanie makes shrines, prayer
flags, and other artwork as a way to honor the Great Lakes and fresh water. She
considers her work a meditation and hopes that it will move people to reflect on
how important water is to life and to be stewards of this vital and amazing resource.
Eddee has been an environmental advocate as well as an artist all his life; but only
recently has he begun to combine the two. A local issue—“saving the Milwaukee
County Grounds”—inspired him to create a body of work that advocated for its
preservation. Empowered by its success Eddee has continued to make art that
expresses his love of nature and culture and places where they intersect. Milwaukee’s
three rivers and urban parks are among his favorite subjects.
Tough we work in different media our art is formed by and inextricably linked
to our lives of environmental activism. Awareness and engagement come in many
forms, such as education and study, lectures, and reading. We have chosen to
communicate our concerns for the environment through our art because art engages
the heart and spirit in ways that traditional activism doesn’t. We both share the
belief that art can help people reconnect with nature and with resources like water.
When people can make a heartfelt connection with a resource, realizing their life
depends on it, they are more likely to protect it. It takes all forms of communication
and awareness to inspire stewardship, and art is our tool. •
“‘Restoration” by Eddee Daniel depicts the development
of Three Bridges Park on the Menomonee River
“Water Shrine” by Melanie Ariens set up at the confluence of the Menomonee and Milwaukee
P
h
o
t
o
:

E
d
d
e
e

D
a
n
i
e
l
P
h
o
t
o
:

E
d
d
e
e

D
a
n
i
e
l
FALL 2014 Page 7
Going Beyond Capping to
Wetland Restoration
PATRICK ELLIOTT, MILWAUKEE METROPOLITAN SEWERAGE DISTRICT
T
he Burnham Canal is in the Menomonee River Valley,
just south of downtown Milwaukee. Te thousands of
acres of deep and shallow marsh wetlands that originally made
up the Valley were eliminated, starting in the late 1800’s, to
accommodate commercial shipping and urban land uses. Te
Burnham Canal was one of several canals created for commercial
navigation to connect the inland industries to the Milwaukee
harbor. Since the 1950s, the shipping use declined and the
canal no longer has a navigable waterway designation.
Unfortunately, what remains of the Canal is a repository for
contaminated sediment and an environmental liability for the
Milwaukee Estuary and the Great Lakes. Metals and polycyclic
aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) compounds contaminate sedi-
ment throughout the Canal. Concentrations of these contami-
nants are significantly higher west of S. 11th Street which is
identified as a Superfund Alternative Site.
Te Miller Compressing Company is the cooperating responsible
party. Te primary source of contamination, a wire reclamation
furnace, ceased operation in the mid-1980’s. Te Superfund
Record of Decision (ROD) requires the excavation of soil and
sediment at the west end of the Canal and the installation of a
12-inch cap over the remaining sediment from the west end to
S. 11th Street. Although the ROD’s actions are an important step
toward improving environmental conditions, it provides limited
habitat improvement and does not address the contaminated
sediments east of the bridge.
MMSD proposes a betterment to the 12-inch sand cover
required in the ROD by replacing this cover with 15-20 feet
of clean fill material and extending project east of 11th Street
to the Canadian Pacific Railroad located near the mouth of
the canal. Te fill area will be graded to perform as a wetland
with emergent vegetation and will restore features to improve
the Canal’s water quality, improve the Canal’s fish and wildlife
habitat, and enhance the quality of Lake Michigan.
Te wetland will not only cap the existing contaminated sediment
but will also create approximately 7 acres of thriving wetland,
which will make fish, wildlife, and benthic populations more
diverse and numerous. Tis project will also increase public
access to the canal, which will provide an important natural
asset to the culturally diverse, low income population living
blocks from the project area.
MMSD and Miller Compressing are currently working to
revise the ROD to replace the 12-inch sand cap with a material
that will not only provide the same benefits as the sand cap but
be strong enough to support the proposed wetland. In addition,
MMSD and Miller Compressing are updating an agreement to
define Miller Compressing’s funding contribution to the overall
wetland project based on the estimated costs of the construction
and long term maintenance of the sand cap. Tis amount of
funding will not cover the entire cost of the wetland and so
MMSD continues to seek additional outside funding to cover
the remaining costs.
Te US Army Corps of Engineers is performing the wetland
design under an agreement with MMSD. It is anticipated that
the project team will hold public meetings in the 1st quarter
of 2015 to obtain feedback on the preliminary design prior to
completing the final design in the summer of 2015.
For questions regarding the project, please feel free to contact
the MMSD Project Manager, Patrick Elliott, at (414) 225-2168
or PElliott
@mmsd.com. •
Page 8 FALL 2014
University of Wisconsin Extension
9501 W. Watertown Plank Road
Wauwatosa, WI 53226
PHONE (414) 256-4632
WEB naturalresources.uwex.edu
EMAIL gail.overholt@ces.uwex.edu
Learning for life
Sweet Water
600 East Greenfeld Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53204
PHONE (414) 382-1766
WEB swwtwater.org
EMAIL info@swwtwater.org
morgan@swwtwater.org
MANAGING EDITOR
Kate Morgan, Sweet Water
CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
Gail Epping Overholt, UW-Extension
This publication made possible in part through
the generous support of
RiversReport PARTNERS
October 10:
Deadline for applications
Watershed-based Grant Program
– Accepting Applications
Root Pike Watershed Initiative Network
http://www.rootpikewin.org/index.
php?option=com_content&view=
article&id=165&Itemid=171
October 15
Milwaukee Riverkeeper’s
River Regale
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Discovery World
500 N. Harbor Drive | Milwaukee
http://www.mkeriverkeeper.org
October 21
Webinar: Landscape-scale
Identification of Actually
Restorable Wetlands
Town and Country Resource
Conservation and Development
3:00 PM – 4:30 PM
http://www.tacrcd.com/wetlands-
webinars-2014.html
November 4: Vote
Wisconsin General Election
http://gab.wi.gov
November 7
Seismic Shift—Te Impact
of Changing Demographics
Conference
Monona Terrace Convention Center
Madison, WI
1000 Friends of Wisconsin
www.1kfriends.org
November 14:
Deadline for submissions
Call for Presentations for 20th
WI Wetlands Conference
WI Wetlands Association
For more information, contact WWA
at abstracts@wisconsinwetlands.org
http://www.uwlax.edu/conted/wwa/
call-for-presentations.html
November 14:
Deadline for submissions
Water Quality Mini-Grant
Program – Request for Proposals
Southeastern WI Watersheds Trust
www.swwtwater.org
For more information, contact
Joan Herriges at herriges@swwtwater.org
Events and
Important Dates
Nearly 40 percent of the roof is covered with
deciduous and evergreen plants to slow rainwater
runoff and reduce thermal gain while a series of
rain barrels further controls rainwater flow.
Specifically, RadioMilwaukee’s green roof reduces
run-off load on sewer systems by holding rainwater
until it is naturally absorbed into the plant
system and released as atmospheric vapors. Te
green roof further serves as insulation to keep the
building cool in the summer and warm in the
winter to reduce the mechanical systems’ energy
load. And looking beyond a single building,
green roofs such as RadioMilwaukee’s collectively
mitigate the urban heat island effect in summer.
For RadioMilwaukee, the green roof is part of
its mission to engage community members with
publically inviting spaces, from the interior commons
to sidewalk seating outside the coffee shop to the
roof, where they can enjoy a performance in a
green setting overlooking the Hoan Bridge and
downtown skyline.

Radio Milwaukee story continued from page 1
Green roof ambiance for rooftop event
P
h
o
t
o
:

8
8
N
i
n
e