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Paul: It was actually two years ago when we
started meeting and forming this organization
of the exact structure and the people to staff
it had not yet fully worked out, and the
district consultant was just in the process
of putting their plan together and
contributing just tons and tons and tons
of management data that was broken down by watershed.
Faith: And the areas or whatever…
Paul: Right, the areas that, the watersheds
that we're working in now. I think the
biggest step that this group is taking is
that we've acknowledged that the watersheds
don't know any governmental boundaries and so,
we're crossing those boundaries, and
we're taking it as, what is contributing to
the river's pollution, not just from a
community or one arbitrary manmade boundary,
but the natural boundary itself. And that's
what that's been…just monumental to take
that approach. So now we've got people on
the ground, people that live in those areas
and know the areas and can help identify
where pollution has the potential of coming
from or it's definitely coming from and
that's going to help us target these projects
that we're now two years into the process now.
We recognize what the water quality issues
are from the previous study, and now we can
go into those watersheds and identify
what the problem is.
And that targets the public's money. It's
a better use of the government money. So
hoping we get some meaningful and most
important, measurable results out of doing
those projects. I see water quality benefit,
chemistry benefit, habitat benefit, and recreational-use benefit.
Faith: Have you seen with the citizens that
live nearby the river, do they have more of
an ownership as the process is developed,
do you see that kind of growing or awareness
that they have this resource that maybe
they can take advantage of more in terms
of whether is recreation or just tying in more to that?
Paul: It's been an interesting mixed of
folks that have come to these meetings.
Many of them have their own motivations.
The fishing group wants to see habitat
improved. The canoe and kayak group
would like to see access and recreational and…
Faith: It's a big topic on the Menomonee?
Paul: Very big, very well utilized.
And then, there's the local residents
that just want to see improvement in
the overall, what's the right word, I
guess the local residents just want to
see a beautification of that area that
affects their own property values. A lot
of senior citizens have been very active
in helping out and volunteering. It's been a great mix.
Faith: It sounds like you have a great group down there.
Paul: Yes, we do. We do. And some of
the communities are more invested in
the process as well. It's good to see
them get involved. We get a lot of support.
Faith: Do you at GRAEF, are you the
facilitators also for coordination for
activities or how does that work or is
that yet to be developed as you get into the plan more?
Paul: At this point, it's not a paid position.
We're volunteers like everybody else but
the local residents bring their local
anecdotal accounts and knowledge of the
area. We have some technical experts
that can help make that contribution
and the decisions of projects and what
not. It's a mix of everybody helping out.
So far, we're on a voluntary basis. We
support the cause, we support the
organization, and we see good things coming out of it.
Faith: Do you do as far as like the
data that gets collected and stuff,
is that done through counties…keep
track of that, within their systems or,
I was thinking like as, any kind of monitoring data…?
Paul: The MMSD right now has extensive
monitoring in place and more going in
and some of it can be accessed online
in real time which is just tremendous.
But they've been the impetus of giving them
measurable results and the measurable status
where we are right now. And that's the criteria
that'll be used in the future as well. We run
a real wide gamut, I think you just heard in the
meeting that there's parts of the Menomonee
that are, have very sensitive, and developed habitat and ecosystems.
Faith: Yes, protection types.
Paul: Protection type measures and then there's
other ends of it that are just metal
sheet pile wall lined, and totally urbanized.
So it does really come down to this
sub-watershed. Each individual area has
to be judged on kind of its own merits.
It's not a one size fits all.
Faith: And wondering what's happening
in there, in that particular area?
Paul: Right. That's why is so important
to take each section on its own. Get the
people within that area to contribute as
to where the most benefit can come from.
Faith: Yes, and then they also get the
buy-in and can see the benefit side of
it of those benefits. That's neat.
Paul: It's neat. I grew up around the
Menomonee. I grew up in Wauwatosa and
we had quite a bit of discussion tonight
already about areas of Wauwatosa. And so
I got a little bit invested, a little
bit skin in the game, I'm on this one
too; so it's not just where where I work.
Faith: The only other watershed plan,
I've been involved in some forested areas
in the northern part of the state, I know
that everybody's been doing their
watershed plans across the state. Just
the complexity of this one, and all the
entities involved is pretty daunting.
Paul: It is. I think…
Faith: And then all the issues.
Paul: I was going to Wauwatosa West
High School when we had our first, was
it ecology day, which is right along
the Menomonee and Wauwatosa, on Seventh Street.
And now we're reaching out to businesses
and asking them, would you please adopt
part of the river or take on a particular
action and make a contribution, a volunteer
contribution. There are a lot of businesses
that are environmentally minded or want
to make a claim that they're a green company
and that type of thing and contribute. So,
I'm hoping that we're going to get some
good response out of the business community as well.
Faith: That's a good resource.
[End of Audio]
Title: Making Watershed Action Teams Successful
Faith Fitzpatrick (U.S. Geological Survey) and Paul Lohmiller (GRAEF-USA, Inc.) talk about the communities and groups that make up the successful Menomonee River Action team in Milwaukee, Wis.
Location: Milwaukee, WI, USA
Date Taken: 11/16/2010
Video Producer: Douglas A. Harned , National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA), USGS, North Carolina Water Science Center, Raleigh, NC
Note: This video has been released into the public domain by the U.S. Geological Survey for use in its entirety. Some videos may contain pieces of copyrighted material. If you wish to use a portion of the video for any purpose, other than for resharing/reposting the video in its entirety, please contact the Video Producer/Videographer listed with this video. Please refer to the USGS Copyright section for how to credit this video.
Additional Video Credits:
Faith Fitzpatrick: Scriptwriter, Narrator, Scientist Consultant
Gerard McMahon: Producer
Douglas Harned: Producer, Video, Editor
Alan Cressler: Video
Luke McMahon: Video
Paul Lohmiller (GRAEF-USA, Inc.)
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