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Green Sustainability

Changes Coming to Wisconsin Wetland Regulations

Changes Coming to Wisconsin Wetland Regulations

On March 28, 2018, Governor Walker signed Wisconsin 2017 ACT 183, which calls for a variety of changes to the way wetlands are managed and permitted in Wisconsin. Read more to learn about the many details and nuances to these changes.

The Problem with Plastic Films

The Problem with Plastic Films

Spring has officially arrived, whether it feels like it or not, and Earth Day is just around the corner! The focus of Earth Day this year is to end plastic pollution. One significant source of plastic pollution is plastic film. Plastic films are used in almost every industry throughout the United States because they are easy to manufacture, lightweight, and inexpensive. Learn more about ways you can assist in ending the pollution of plastic.

Aquatic Plant Management for Storm Water Ponds

Aquatic Plant Management for Storm Water Ponds

While storm water ponds can be aesthetically pleasing and a community recreation feature, they are actually engineered devices with two main functions. First, they prevent flooding by capturing runoff and flow from local storm water pipes, swales, and drainage ditches. Second, they provide water quality treatment by settling out excess sediment and nutrients from storm water that flows to the pond.

Apply Now for Wisconsin DNR Storm Water Construction Grants

Apply Now for Wisconsin DNR Storm Water Construction Grants

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is now accepting grant applications for construction of storm water treatment practices through the Urban Nonpoint Source and Storm Water Grant Program.  This is a valuable funding program that helps offset the cost of meeting MS4 Permit requirements and protecting local lakes, streams, and wetlands in Wisconsin. 

Observing Storm Sewer Discharges During Wet Weather Conditions

Observing Storm Sewer Discharges During Wet Weather Conditions

In addition to doing illicit discharge inspections during dry weather, monitoring storm sewer outfalls during snow melt and rain events can reveal pollutants that accumulate and mobilize only when storm water flows through the system.

How to Pay for Storm Water Controls:  Planning + Opportunities

How to Pay for Storm Water Controls: Planning + Opportunities

Storm water controls are necessary to prevent flooding, protect property, and to protect local lakes and streams.  Unfortunately, effective storm water controls are often very costly.  Maintenance to ensure these features keep working means additional costs that are added on each year. 

Green Infrastructure Functionality in Cold Weather

Green Infrastructure Functionality in Cold Weather

One common concern with green infrastructure practices is their functionality in cold weather. However, studies have shown that green infrastructure continues to be effective for water quality treatment and peak flow reduction in cold weather.

Do Salt Brine and Pre-Wetting Road Salt Really Work?

Do Salt Brine and Pre-Wetting Road Salt Really Work?

Snow plowing and applying road salt was the accepted norm from the mid-20th century until just a decade or so ago.  More communities are now using new technologies and methods that are ultimately cheaper, better for the environment, and most importantly provide the level of safety the public expects during winter storm events. 

TMDLs: Taking Restored Streams off the List

TMDLs: Taking Restored Streams off the List

Why do some streams have TMDLs while others don’t?  When monitoring or sampling results over a designated period of time reveal problems with the physical, biological and/or chemical conditions of a stream, river or lake, a waterbody can be listed on a state’s Impaired Waters List.

The Heat Island Effect

The Heat Island Effect

Vegetation shades the land in rural areas, allowing it to stay cool and moist. Urban development causes these natural environments to be replaced with roads, buildings, and other dry, man-made surfaces that retain heat causing the "heat island effect".

Smart Location Mapping Tools

Smart Location Mapping Tools

Developing and analyzing data sets showing the relationship between land use and location efficiency can be a difficult and expensive process. In response to this issue, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed three tools that analyze the land use and transit accessibility of metropolitan neighborhoods in the United States: Smart Location Database, Access to Jobs and Workers Via Transit Tool, and National Walkability Index.

Infiltrating Runoff in Parking Lot Islands

Infiltrating Runoff in Parking Lot Islands

The City of Oconomowoc, with assistance from R/M, constructed joint parking lots with vegetated parking lot islands to allow storm water to flow across the lot and into bioretention areas.

Road Salt Workshops...Coming Soon!

Road Salt Workshops...Coming Soon!

It may be sunny and 80 degrees outside, but it’s the perfect time to think about snow and ice.  Many training sessions will be held this fall addressing road salt and other winter road management activities. 

Porous Asphalt Pavements: City of New Berlin

Porous Asphalt Pavements: City of New Berlin

The City of New Berlin was faced with a difficult design challenge for a 7-block section of alley in the Buena Park neighborhood. The City wanted to take advantage of a Green Solutions grant from the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD). The solution was a porous asphalt pavement to provide storm water storage, filtration, and conveyance.

Why is Phosphorus Bad? Part 2: Economic Impacts

Why is Phosphorus Bad? Part 2: Economic Impacts

Excess phosphorus causes rapid formation of algal and cyanobacterial blooms, which have readily apparent impacts such as undesirable aesthetics, fish kills, and public health concerns. However, there are also less tangible economic impacts.

Porous Asphalt Pavements

Porous Asphalt Pavements

As municipal governments continue to move towards green infrastructure, innovative uses of existing materials become increasingly important. Additionally, the need to effectively move and treat storm water runoff becomes increasingly important.  Local municipalities are recognizing the importance of these two items. 

Why is Phosphorus Bad? Part 1: Environmental Impact

Why is Phosphorus Bad? Part 1: Environmental Impact

Nutrient pollution, also referred to as eutrophication, is a widespread environmental and economic issue. Excess nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen exist naturally in aquatic systems, but are detrimental if concentrations become elevated for several reasons.