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Grassroots Effort Brings Municipal Water to Bayside

by John Bruggeman 2. May 2016 09:33

John Bruggeman

As a traffic engineer, I don’t deal with water issues on a daily basis. However, as a resident of Bayside, Wisconsin, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in a voluntary project that will provide municipal water access from the Mequon Water Utility to over 550 homes in the village.

The project started as part of a grassroots citizen effort over the past few years, initially focused on a small area of the central village, which spread to encompass large portions of eastern and northern areas of the village. Most of the homes in the project area were served by private or shared wells. Several smaller citizen-led projects, including the most recent in 2013, provided the framework for this project. I served as a block captain to inform residents in my neighborhood and encourage participation in the project. Most of our information sharing was by word of mouth, so it gave me an opportunity to get to know my neighbors better, listen to their concerns and answer their questions. Several project volunteers, including project leader Penny Goldman, dedicated countless hours to the effort.

The Village of Bayside (which took no official position on the project) served as the conduit between the project and Bayside residents, offering numerous public information sessions, newsletter articles and information booths at local events. The Village also provided financing options to residents to pay for the project over a 20-year term.   
 
After 2-plus years of hard work in planning and design, the project was constructed in summer 2015. Construction started in June and was substantially complete by late fall. Final restoration and punch list items will be completed in spring 2016. The final totals included the installation of nearly 14 miles of water main, 106 fire hydrants, and 127 mainline valves for over 500 new Mequon Water Utility customers. With this project, over 85% of the Village now has access to municipal water. 

Connecting individual residences to municipal water is a costly endeavor. This project provided an “economy of scale” by getting a large group of residents to connect at one time and provide a more cost-effective solution. It is believed to be the largest project of its kind in the state of Wisconsin.

Mequon Water Utility distribution system
Image showing a portion of the Mequon Water Utility map showing the homes to receive municipal water access thanks to this grassroots effort. View the entire map below as a PDF.

Mequon Water Utility.pdf (351.49 kb)

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Municipal

Regulation of the Invasive Species Takeover

by Theran Stautz 25. February 2016 13:14

Our native landscape is our home, the little world we live in, where we are born and where we play, where we grow up, and finally where we are… laid to eternal rest. It speaks of the distant past and carries our life in the tomorrow. To keep this pure and unadulterated is a sacred heritage and noble task of the highest cultural value. 
— Jens Jensen, landscape architect, 1860-1951

Theran Stautz, ecologist/project manager

Invasive species, both animal and vegetative, are becoming an increasingly large problem in the United States. Nationally, billions of dollars are spent every year by private landowners, municipalities, non-profits and state agencies to control the spread of these species.  In Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources alone spent approximately $11 million to control invasive species in 2013 (WDNR Invasive Species Report, 2013).

Two examples of recent invasive species issues are the attempts to prevent Asian carp from becoming established in the Upper Mississippi River and the Great Lakes, and the infestation of Phragmites on the south and west shores of Green Bay. Those of us who enjoy camping know firsthand how the State Park System rules have changed in the last several years in regard to firewood and the spread of the emerald ash borer.

Phragmites patch overtaking a stormwater basin.Phragmites patch overtaking a stormwater basin.

The Wisconsin Legislature established “the Invasive Species Rule” in 2009, making it “illegal to possess, transport, transfer or introduce certain invasive species in Wisconsin without a permit” (Wis. Adm. Code ch. NR 40). A list of regulated species can be found at the WDNR’s website.  Additionally, in 2013 the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council created a statewide strategic plan for 2013-2016, highlighting objectives and goals to guide stakeholders in the process of establishing invasive species control plans.

If you are interested in helping with these efforts, please contact your local Prairie Enthusiasts chapter or The Nature Conservancy for more information.  In addition, other local organizations such as Wild Ones, Pheasants Forever and State Parks “Friends” groups provide educational opportunities and other volunteer events.  You can also contact any one of our ecologists at R.A. Smith National.

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Ecology

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