This summer Clean Wisconsin is encouraging you to help Keep the Great Lakes Great. We’ll be posting different images, blog posts and videos about the health of the Great Lakes. This campaign will show what you can do to protect the Great Lakes from harmful chemicals, invasive species and dropping water levels.
Over the summer we will:
Update you on chemicals, such as mercury, in Wisconsin’s Great Lakes, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. Due to mercury levels, statewide fish consumption advisory has been issued, but pollution from boats such as the S.S. Badger and from plastics due to littering cause chemical trouble too.
Photo by NASA Goddard, taken August 28, 2010 of the Great Lakes
Teach you how to keep invasive species out of the Great Lakes and inform you of the whereabouts of invasive species like Asian Carp. These nonnative species can have dramatic effects on the Great Lakes ecosystem making it crucial to keep them out.
Illustrate the drastic changes in water levels the Great Lakes have experienced in the last few decades. There are a few reasons why this is happening and many effects that impact aquatic life and Wisconsinites.
Define the Great Lakes Water Compact and how it protects the Great Lakes. Also we’ll hash out what’s happening in the city of Waukesha and why that’s important to the Great Lakes.
The Great Lakes are a major part of the Wisconsin lifestyle and they’re in danger. This summer let’s work together to help Keep the Great Lakes Great.
On Saturday, dust off your hiking boots, pack your trail mix, and grab a friend there are trails to explore!
The first Saturday of June is National Trails Day. Wisconsin is home to over 2,730 miles of hiking trails. While Wisconsin is lucky to have these hiking trails across that state, Clean Wisconsin is working harder than ever to protect these places we love.
Want to hit the trails this Saturday? Here are a few you’re sure to love.
North: For longer trips, a hike down the Nicolet State Trail might be just the ticket. Spanning 89 miles, it offers spots for fishing, water recreation, and watching wildlife. A trail head and parking lot are located in the town of Suring next to the city hall.
Northeast: Starting in Green Bay, the Fox River Trail is 14 miles long and allows for walking, biking or skating with paved paths. This historical trail follows a path Native Americans walked from village to village. The trail head is located just south of the Mason Street Bridge, with other entrances along the river.
East: With eight trails all less than one mile, Harrington Beach State Park a fun place to explore and wander. This park is open year-round and is just 35 miles north of Milwaukee.
South Central: Our “State Scenic Trail” is the Ice Age Trail that winds its way through the state. The Ice Age Trail follows along where the glaciers began to recede during the Ice Age. The portion of the trail in the Kettle Moraine Forest is 31 miles long. A trail head and new parking area is located in Fitchburg.
West: Following along an old railroad route, the La Crosse River State Trail is 22 miles long and permits biking and foot travel. This trail also connects to the Elroy-Sparta State Trail and the Great River State Trail for further adventures. The trail headquarters is located in Sparta on Milwaukee Street for daily and seasonal passes.
The Nicolet State Trail is a great way to spend National Trail Day.
Spending a day outdoors and enjoying nature is good for us and the environment. Maintaining trails and natural areas for public help prevent runoff, provide wildlife habitat and protect our natural resources, but recent funding cuts and other policy measures introduced in the state budget put these areas at risk. Clean Wisconsin is committed to protecting the places we all love.
For more information on trails in your area and around the state visit the Wisconsin DNR’s website.
May is National Barbecue Month, a great way to celebrate warmer weather and to kick off summer. Make your next cook-out environmentally friendly and a hit with your guests.
Set the table: It’s easy to default to paper plates since you’re eating outside, but instead try reusable dishware. This time of year, you can find outdoor-ready dishes and utensils in bright colors perfect for entertaining.
Fuel choice: Studies show that gas grills emit less carbon dioxide than charcoal grills. They cook more efficiently, saving you time and reducing your carbon footprint.
Think local: For your cookout shopping, hit up your local farmers market to buy everything from meats to vegetables. Supporting farmers markets is better for the local economy and the environment.
Toasting time: In Wisconsin, it’s easy to find a local microbrewery with great tasting beer close to home. Not only is it a short drive to buy it, but you are also supporting your local economy. Cheers to a win-win.
Easy cleaning: While the grill is warm, clean it with baking soda, water and a wire brush. This will prevent your grill from smoking and your food will taste better.
With these tips, the whole neighborhood will want to be at your next cook-out. Happy grilling!
Now that spring is here, it’s time to head outdoors. Unfortunately for some, it might get a little harder to breathe. This Air Quality Awareness Week, here are five easy ways to improve your air quality.
Huge turn off: It seems simple, but remember to turn off lights when leaving the room and power down unneeded appliances and electronics. Using less energy means power plants create less particle pollution, while reducing your electric bill.
This week we can all work together to help each other breathe a little easier.
Firewood etiquette: Last winter was harsh, but now is the time to start preparing for next winter. By chopping wood in the spring, it will be dried out by the winter, reducing the amount of smoke and particles created when burned.
Ride with company: Catch a ride to work with coworkers. Carpooling reduces pollution from traffic and you’ll save gas money by rotating who drives each morning.
Freshen up: During spring cleaning and touch-up, opt for the environmentally friendly cleaners and paints to keep from breathing in chemicals.
Collect, combine, compost: Instead of burning yard wastes, which is banned in some cities and causes high particle pollution, start your own compost or contribute to your city’s composting site.
MADISON — This Friday, let’s make a toast to our most precious natural resource: Water!
March 22 is World Water Day, a day dedicated to sustainably managing the world’s drinking water. A vital natural resource, it’s critically important that even in a water-rich state like Wisconsin, residents do all they can to protect their waterways and drinking water.
“While our families have clean drinking water, it’s not something we should take for granted,” said Ezra Meyer, water resources specialist at Clean Wisconsin. “World Water Day is a great time to take a few easy actions that help ensure our water remains clean and healthy for generations to come.”
Rain barrels are an easy way to collect rain water for later use.
Here are 5 tips to make that happen:
Pet Patrol: Cleaning up after your pet won’t just keep the bottoms of your shoes clean, it helps keep our waterways clean too. Pet waste contains phosphorus and when excess phosphorus gets into our lakes, rivers, and streams it can cause stinky, dangerous algae blooms.
Green Rule of Thumb: Don’t run off to the garden store just yet. Lawn and garden fertilizers can be harmful to our waters, so be sure your garden needs it before applying fertilizer this spring. If your lawn or garden does need a pick-me-up, use fertilizer sparingly and as recommended.
Free Water:April showers bring May flowers, but that rain water can work overtime so you don’t have to. Direct your downspout toward your garden for effortless watering or collect rainwater in a rain barrel for later use.
Four-Wheel Inspection: Most vehicles can’t tell you when they have sprung a leak, so do a spring car check-up and look for leaking fluids, such as oil and antifreeze. These fluids get washed off of driveways, streets, and parking lots and straight into our rivers and lakes.
Less is More: Every drop of water we don’t waste is one we’ll have on hand to meet our needs in the future. Install water-saving appliances such as toilets, dishwasher, washing machine, shower heads, and faucets in your home.
When we all do our part, our rivers, lakes, and drinking water can stay clean and healthy for everyone to enjoy!
The Highland Wind Project proposed for St. Croix County would bring over 100 jobs and enough clean renewable energy to power 29,000 homes in Northwest Wisconsin, should it get approved.
Unfortunately, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) denied the Highland Wind Project’s permit on February 14, imposing burdensome new sound modeling standards and asking the developer to reapply for a permit.
Please email Gov. Walker and Rep. Honadel today to ask them to support this important project.
Public support from these key leaders could represent a turning point in the fight to make the Highland Wind project a reality.
Today, state legislators are holding the one and only public hearing on the iron mining bill.
We understand how difficult it is to take time off to attend a hearing in Madison, but we need as many people as possible to register their opposition to this disastrous bill. Luckily, you can do it from home.
In addition to contacting your state legislators directly (find yours here), you can email the Committee Chairs your personal testimony. To be entered into the official record, submit testimony via email prior to the end of today’s public hearing (9 p.m.) Your submittal should include a request that the testimony be considered part of the record. You are encouraged to request a confirmation.
In writing your testimony, speak about why this issue is important to you. Stories from people like you are far more important than spending all your time on talking points. However, if you do need supporting facts on the more egregious parts of this bill, please see our fact sheet.
We’ve just learned that legislators will hold a hearing on the Open Pit
Mining Bill at the State Capitol on Wednesday, January 23, from 9am to 9pm.
If passed, the Open Pit Mining Bill would let mining companies fill our lake beds, contaminate our drinking water, and dump toxic mine waste in wetlands
and flood plains. Filling hearing rooms with people like you helped defeat
the mining bill last session, and it can happen again.
Please help protect Wisconsin’s waters and the health of our families by attending
the hearing on Wednesday, January 23, and telling legislators NO to the Open
Pit Mining Bill.
Coming to a hearing on a controversial issue like this is not easy and is
time consuming. However, it is the best hope we have of turning legislators
against this bill.
This could be your only chance to have your voice heard on the record in the
fight against the Open-Pit Mining Bill! Join us in room 411 S. at the State
Capitol this Wednesday!
It’s no secret that I love fly fishing. In fact, I moved to Ashland 36 years ago so I could live closer to some of my favorite trout streams.
So when we began to hear rumblings that a mining operation wanted to move in, an operation that would harm the area’s pristine trout streams, I knew I had to act.
My name is Bill Heart, past chair of Wisconsin Trout Unlimited, and last year I had the opportunity to work with Clean Wisconsin to help defeat a dangerous mining bill that would have decimated my beautiful trout streams and put the Northwoods at risk. Unfortunately, legislators are already looking to revive this horrible bill when they head back to the Capitol next month. I know Clean Wisconsin will have a strong and vital role in the mining debate to protect the Northwoods in the new year.
The mining bill proposed last session was written by and for mining interests that wanted to roll back environmental protections, silence the voice of the public, and eliminate accountability for mining companies. As legislators promise to pass a similarly disastrous bill this session, I am doing my part to help ensure Clean Wisconsin has the resources it needs to keep mining laws strong.
Everyone knows to recycle cans, bottles and paper, but what do you do with old cell phones, motor oil and light bulbs?
Today is America Recycles Day, a day to promote recycling and inform Americans about local recycling regulations. Since 1990, Wisconsin has been a leader in recycling and the program has since grown to include more than the basics of paper, plastic and glass.
Wisconsin has been a leader in recycling for over 20 years, with the average person recycling over 250 pounds of materials a year, materials that would otherwise be taking up space in landfills.
The most recent addition to Wisconsin’s recycling repertoire is e-waste, or electronic waste, recycling. In 2010, Clean Wisconsin helped pass legislation to establish a program to recycle electronic waste such as computers, VCRs, TVs and major appliances like air conditioners. Since then, 35.1 million pounds of electronics from Wisconsin homes and schools has been recycled. (Find collection sites here.)
While there are numerous ways Wisconsinites can recycle other everyday materials, here are a few:
Used motor oiland filters are banned from landfills in Wisconsin. For do-it-yourselfers, check with a local mechanic or your municipality for recycling options.
Cell phones are banned from landfills, but are not part of the e-waste program; luckily, many recycling options are available. For starters, check with your nearest electronics or cell phone store. In addition, some organizations collect old phones for redistribution or recycling.
While compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are a smart investment for the environment and your wallet, they do contain small amounts of mercury and must be properly recycled; if your local municipality doesn’t recycle CFLs, most hardware and lighting stores accept spent bulbs for recycling.
While slow, Styrofoam packaging recycling is gaining ground around the country; some Wisconsin communities now offer block Styrofoam recycling. For packing peanuts, mailing and moving stores often accept them for recycling and reuse.
Our robust recycling ethic in Wisconsin saves over $70 million per year worth of material and helps protect our air and water. America Recycles Day is a day to celebrate the progress we’ve made and to double down on Wisconsin’s commitment to reducing, reusing and recycling.