As More Children Test Positive for Lead,
Milwaukee Confronts Public Health Crisis

by Sylvan Bachhuber, age 17

Controversy and concern over lead pipes and safe drinking water is exploding in Milwaukee.

New reports in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and elsewhere show city leaders knew about the situation at least three years ago and delayed taking action. Now citizens and a concerned public are calling lead contamination in the city a “public health crisis.” [Read More]

Wisconsin Looks to Revive State's Youth Conservation Corps

by Cristian Cruz, age 15

The Wisconsin Conservation Corps was a work program aimed at helping public or tribal lands in the state. The program employed more than 11,000 young people during a 20-year run, until it ended. It was eliminated in 2003 by Democratic Governor Jim Doyle and GOP lawmakers due to a 3.2 million dollar budget deficit faced by the state.

Now there's an effort to bring it back. The new program would focus on environmental conservation projects that are not high-priority level, but are necessary to keep state parks and other sites in good condition. According to Representative Jeff Mursau, R- Crivitz, this is significant because more than 17 million people visit Wisconsin state parks contributing about 1 billion dollars to the state economy. [Read More]

Madison Meets Water Conservation Goals

by Eva Stouffer, age 13

In 1998, the aquifer (a reservoir of water located deep underground) under the Madison area dropped to 130 feet, an all time low since when experts began monitoring water levels in the 1930’s. This worried many experts.

Now, water levels have risen around 30 feet, according to local Water Utility Supply Manager Joe DeMorett. Madison has also hit its conservation goal of single-family homes using only 55 gallons of water per-person, per-day. This is three years earlier than expected. [Read More]

Lead Pipes in Wisconsin Continue to Make News and Cause Controversy

by Virginia Quach, age 16

After the Flint, Michigan water contamination crisis that left Flint residents without clean water for months, Wisconsin is taking steps to help homeowners pay for lead water pipe replacements.

A bill (Senate Bill 48) was passed Tuesday, January 23 by the Wisconsin State Senate, allowing public water services and local governments to give grants and loans to homeowners to cover the cost of pipe replacement. A version of this bill was passed in October 2017 by the Senate which allowed for coverage up to at least two-thirds of the cost. However, the bill was adjusted by the Assembly in November, lessening the coverage to half and requiring loans or grants to be the same regardless of household income. The current bill passed by the Senate was a result of this compromise. [Read More]

Proud to Support Academic Achievement in Wisconsin
The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), recently predicted that the Great Lakes water levels will rise again this spring for the fifth year in a row. [read more...]
After the Flint, Michigan water contamination crisis that left Flint residents without clean water for months, Wisconsin is taking steps to help homeowners pay for lead water pipe replacements. [read more...]
A plan to prevent Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes is in hot water. Recent plans to protect the lakes is meeting opposition from both the Trump administration and some Great Lakes states, despite the support of environmentalists. [read more...]
Just south of Madison, there is a problem with Rock County’s wells. Contaminated water is posing a serious threat to the health of those who live there. The culprit—nitrate. [read more...]
Controversy and concern over lead pipes and safe drinking water is exploding in Milwaukee. New reports in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and elsewhere show city leaders knew about the situation at least three years ago and delayed taking action. Now citizens and a concerned public are calling lead contamination in the city a “public health crisis.” [read more...]
In 1998, the aquifer (a reservoir of water located deep underground) under the Madison area dropped to 130 feet, an all time low since when experts began monitoring water levels in the 1930’s. This worried many experts. [read more...]
The Wisconsin Conservation Corps was a work program aimed at helping public or tribal lands in the state. The program employed more than 11,000 young people during a 20-year run, until it ended. It was eliminated in 2003 by Democratic Governor Jim Doyle and GOP lawmakers due to a 3.2 million dollar budget deficit faced by the state. [read more...]
Por primera vez, la división de parques del condado de Dane ha desarrollado una encuesta como un esfuerzo añadido para obtener aportes de los ciudadanos en su Plan para Parques y Espacios abiertos. Cada cinco años la división de parques actualiza su plan, pero este año realizará una encuesta para los habitantes del condado de Dane tanto en inglés como en español. Los resultados obtenidos de la encuesta serán considerados para diseñar el plan para el periodo de 2018-2023. [read more...]
The sound of a buzzing bee is seemingly a simple sound we hear on the average summer day, a sound we often pay no mind. But for bees, buzzing has a vast importance. [read more...]
Last Thursday, I paid a visit to the Jenni and Kyle Preserve, a Dane County Park with a positive mission. Specially designed for people with disabilities, the park is fully accessible to ensure a fun outdoor experience for all. [read more...]
Mary Kolar, District 1 Supervisor and member of the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission, and I recently sat down with James Mills discuss local water issues. He spoke articulately and passionately about his work, the environment, and his perspective on water. [read more...]
In an effort to reach underserved young people and diversify their pool of applicants, Edgewood College recently created a program that would encourage diversity among its college students. To learn more about this program—the “Edgewood College Math Precollege Program”—Simpson Street Free Press reporters interviewed Steven Post, professor of Mathematics at Edgewood. [read more...]
Recently, a sandbox was installed at the Henry Vilas Zoo. But it’s not just any sandbox. It is an Augmented Reality (AR) sandbox that simulates topographic features and water systems to teach people about watersheds. The Dane County Land and Water Resources Department and the Henry Vilas Zoo partnered to construct this educational model for all ages to view. A watershed is a piece of land that drains precipitation into a body of water. The exhibit at Vilas will help citizens of Madison understand how watersheds work. The model also aims to make viewers more aware of where water goes when it runs off their yards and driveways into storm drains, lakes, and streams. [read more...]
Wisconsin will face $7 billion in wastewater infrastructure and drinking water needs over the next 20 years, according to a recent report from the American Society of Civil Engineers. [read more...]
Michelle Richardson came into our office with a smile on her face and a map in her hand. She is the GIS Analyst at the Dane County Land and Water Resources Department. We spent the morning discussing her career, personal life, and experiences working at the department. She was very kind and conversational, asking us about our school and lives. [read more...]
Over the years, invasive species have made a home in the Mississippi River. But it seems that the Asian carp has yet again found its way into a Chicago waterway that is nine miles from Lake Michigan. It was caught below T.J. O’Brien Lock and Dam by a commercial fisherman working with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. This is not the first time an Asian carp has snuck through the three electrical barriers, which are located in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. In 2010, a bighead carp was caught in Lake Calumet. [read more...]
Last Tuesday, we sat down with Seth Ebel, a thirty-something civil engineer at the Dane County Land and Water Resources Department. He has the air of a pragmatic idealist: passionate and motivated, yet down-to-earth and committed. [read more...]
A tiny creature is making a big splash in Dane County. The New Zealand mud snail was detected for the second time in the area, and officials are becoming concerned about the invasive mollusk. First discovered three years ago in Black Earth Creek, the snail was recently sighted in Badger Mill Creek in Verona. [read more...]
Gray wolves, a mighty canidae species that roam the vast territories of North America, are currently facing an uncertain future. In 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the U.S. Department of the Interior (USDOI) removed the federal protections for gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes region. They argued that the roughly 6,000 wolves that lived in the region constituted a large enough population for the species not to need protection. With federal protections lifted, states took on the responsibility of managing wolf protections and hunting laws. States such as Minnesota and Wisconsin immediately authorized hunting. In the hunting season immediately following the lifted regulations, hunters in these two states killed a combined total of 530 wolves. The same season, Michigan legislature voted to authorize wolf hunting, beginning the following fall. [read more...]
Milwaukee residents are concerned that lead may be poisoning their water. According to a 2014 report, over eight percent of children tested in the city had blood levels at or above the level indicating lead poisoning. This figure is significantly higher than it is for individuals in Flint, Michigan. An increasing number of Milwaukee citizens are concerned that not enough has been done to address this issue. [read more...]
Solar power has taken Wisconsin by storm. In 2015, the state’s installed solar capacity grew by 94 percent and powered more than 3,800 homes. As demand for solar panels has risen, so have associated costs. Recent changes to large-scale energy company’s billing provisions, like We Energies, have made solar power much more expensive. [read more...]
A recent discovery from a Dane County study found that targeting residual sludge might be the key to mitigating phosphorus pollution in the waterways of southern Wisconsin. This has spurred immediate action by the county, and a new plan by Dane County Executive, Joe Parisi may make waves in Wisconsin environmental efforts. [read more...]
Since the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, the issue of lead-contaminated water and lead pipes has gained renewed attention. Since then, many states, including Wisconsin, have taken action to replace the lead water pipes still in use by schools, homes, businesses and other facilities. [read more...]
Wisconsin has a long running history with timber wolves, also known as gray wolves. Since 1960, their population has varied significantly. [read more...]