By Karen Stokes
Waterway Restoration Partnership (WRP) recently introduced its new website, www.mkewaterwaypartners.org. This valuable one-stop website unites the WRP’s 15 partners, the work of the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern (AOC) and ongoing waterway projects.
In the late 80’s, the Milwaukee Estuary along with the harbor and the rivers that feed it, became a federally designated Area of Concern, one of 43 significant human-caused polluted hot spots on the Great Lakes requiring special attention to clean up pollution, restore habitats and improve the waterways’ health.
“It’s important to acknowledge that we are on the AOC list and that we will do what we can to get off that list,” said Stephen Galarneau, director of the Office of Great Waters at Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
The WRP new website will provide effective educational tools for Milwaukee-area residents who are concerned with environmental issues while communicating and promoting upcoming events about the ongoing AOC projects, particularly related to water quality and health.
“The Waterway Restoration Partnership launched the new website June 20, 2021 and the idea was to have a really strong number of partners in the Milwaukee area working together to move forward the Milwaukee Estuary AOC clean up,” Galarneau said.
Partners include: City of Milwaukee, EPA, Milwaukee County Parks, UWM School of Freshwater Sciences, We Energies, DNR, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, Urban Ecology Center, Sixteenth Street, Milwaukee Riverkeeper, Milwaukee Water Commons, Milwaukee Valley Partners, Sea Grant, Ozaukee County, SEWRPC, Port Milwaukee, River Revitalization, Fund for Lake Michigan, MMSD and Harbor District.
“Working together with our partners, we felt it’s important to create a new website which will be a one-stop central source of information about the AOC and the ongoing individual projects by our partners in the Milwaukee area,” Lilith Fowler, executive director, Harbor District Inc., said in a press release statement.
“Some of the critical things we want to do is address the contaminants that are in the river and it’s also about habitat loss,” Galarneau said. “Those are some of the projects that we’ve had some great success in already.”
There is a citizen advisory committee that has been formed to communicate with the public.
“The intent of this whole thing is to be very approachable. I invite people to be involved and please follow us and contact us,” Galarneau said. “This is a very exciting opportunity for the whole community and it’s one we should all work together on. Our interest is doing a project with the community rather than to the community.”