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The 6th Annual
March 23rd, 2018      Veterans Terrace at Echo Park     Burlington, WI
Keynote Speaker - 

The Economic Impact of the Huron River - 

       Elizabeth Riggs - Deputy Director,

               Huron River Watershed Council

HEALTHY RIVER$$$ - Discovering the Economic Impact of River-based Recreation


Can you put a price on a river? A team of river managers and researchers in Michigan posed this question with the Huron River in mind and then embarked on a year-long study to find the answer. The resulting “Economic Impact of the Huron River” provides the much-needed data to reach new partners, prioritize watershed protection, and guide investments in river-based recreation. Elizabeth Riggs will share the story of the people, work, and financing of a creative public + private partnership to revitalize the Huron River and make it new the Main Street for communities.


The press release, summary, and full report here: first-of-its-kind-study-on-rivers-economic-impact

Michigan Water Trails Manual:

Prepare to Launch:

The mini-documentary “The Blue Economy of the Huron River” the-blue-economy-of-the-huron-river

Bio: Elizabeth Riggs is a sustainability leader with 25 years of experience working at the nexus of science, policy, and management. She currently serves as Deputy Director for the Michigan-based Huron River Watershed Council. Elizabeth also manages RiverUp!, a nearly $50 million public-private revitalization of the river focused on projects that improve river ecology, recreation, and place-making that leverages freshwater assets. Elizabeth facilitates the Huron River Water Trail and led the effort for its designation as the 18th National Water Trail by the National Park Service in 2015. She previously facilitated initiatives with municipal, business, and university partners to achieve Clean Water Act program compliance. She earned her M.S. at the University of Michigan, School of Environment and Sustainability, and her B.A. from Lawrence University. Elizabeth also serves on the Board of Directors for the Michigan Environmental Council and is a fellow of the Great Lakes Leadership Academy.

presentation .pdf here

Featured Speakers - 

Chloride Impact Study for the Southeastern Wisconsin Region - 

       Laura K. Herrick P.E., CFM - Chief Environmental Engineer,

       Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission

SEWRPC will conduct a study of the introduction of chloride in the environment and of the environmental impacts of such introduction within the Region. The study would provide a comprehensive inventory of the historic and present sources of chloride loads to surface and groundwater resources; an assessment of the impacts of these loads on the environment, and in particular on the surface water and groundwater resources of the Region; development of a State-of-the-art component addressing current research and emerging technologies and policies related to mitigating the environmental effects of chloride from multiple sources; identification of alternative means of achieving desired levels of management of sources of chloride; and the formulation of recommendations for abatement of the undesirable environmental impacts of the use of chloride.

Link to article on the study: Rivers and streams getting too much salt, so study flag where chloride coming from

Bio: In her role as the Chief Environmental Engineer for the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, Ms. Herrick manages a staff of eight with specialties in engineering, planning, and biology.  She has 23 years of experience in the water resources field, specializing in hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, water resources engineering, water quality analyses, and floodplain and stormwater management.  Prior to joining the Commission in 2008, Laura worked as water resources project manager for the consulting firms HDR Engineering and CDM Inc.  Ms. Herrick received her BSCE degree from Valparaiso University and MS in Civil Engineering degree from the University of Minnesota. 

presentation .pdf here

Oak Ecosystem Recovery in the Fox River Watershed & Beyond

                 Chris Mulvaney, The Morton Arboretum’s Oak                                                           Ecosystem Recovery Collaborative

Oak ecosystems are a critical habitat within the Fox River Watershed, yet they are under intense, combined pressures from a number of threats, including habitat fragmentation, development, direct cutting, invasive species, changing climate, and lack of management. In addition, oak populations are suffering from severe reproductive failure. Very old trees characterize many of the region’s oak stands with an understory almost completely lacking in new recruits, giving way to more shade-tolerant species such as sugar maple. To counter these challenges, several organizations and agencies are working together, using a collective impact framework, to protect and restore oak ecosystems across the Chicago Wilderness Region - a landscape spanning Southeastern Wisconsin, Northeastern Illinois, Northwestern Indiana and Southwestern Michigan.


In 2014, these partners completed a spatial analysis of oak ecosystems across Northeastern Illinois over the last 150 years. This study, based on a similar analysis for McHenry County completed in 2005 documented the extent of oak dominated communities during three points in time: 1) pre-Euroamerican settlement, 2) 1930s, and 3) 2015. The analysis has since expanded to include Southeastern Wisconsin, which is expected to wrap up in early 2018. The information gleaned from this mapping is being used to advance a number of goals identified in the Oak Ecosystems Recovery Plan for the Chicago Wilderness Region. In addition to helping tell the story of our region’s oak ecosystems, this analysis will provide a solid baseline of information that can help to guide the preservation, restoration, and expansion of these important natural communities.


This presentation will include an overview of the remnant oak mapping project and discuss the various ways partners are working together to develop a collaborative, regional framework to preserve and recover our remaining oak ecosystems across the bi-state Fox River Watershed and the broader Chicago Wilderness Region.

Bio: Chris Mulvaney coordinates The Morton Arboretum’s Oak Ecosystem Recovery Collaborative, a partnership involving dozens of organization’s working together to conserve and restore oak woodlands and savannas across Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. By leveraging the resources of the partners, including their vast scientific expertise and on-the-ground knowledge, he helps build and sustain momentum toward common conservation goals to ensure the preservation, improvement, and expansion of our region’s oak ecosystems. Previously, Chris served thirteen years with Chicago Wilderness, a regional conservation alliance of more than 200 organizations, where he helped to lead regional biodiversity recovery strategies by facilitating partnerships, guiding coordinated actions, and developing and monitoring metrics toward collective impact.


Chris holds a Master’s degree in Biology from Illinois State University and a Bachelor’s in Biology from Millikin University.

Record Flooding on the Fox River Summer 2017, Burlington, WI

       James E. Kleinschmidt - Baxter & Woodman

       Donny Hefty, Foreman - City of Burlington Wastewater

Link to City of Burlington 2017 Flood Page

Bio Hefty: I am a lifelong resident of the City of Burlington.  I began my working career as an electrician apprentice with a local contractor right after high school.  I became a Journeyman Electrician in 2007 and continued in the electrical field until 2010 until I was offered a job at the City of Burlington Wastewater Utility as a Wastewater Operator.  In late 2011 I was promoted to my current role as Utility Foreman, managing the Utility and its 7 full time employees.  I am a DNR Certified Wastewater Operator holding all Advanced certifications and I am the designated contact and “Operator-in-charge” for the City of Burlington Water Pollution Control Facility recognized by the WDNR.  I have most recently spear headed the journey to Phosphorous compliance laid out by the WPDES Permit and the Storm Water Management Program for the City of Burlington following closely along with our MS4 Storm Water Discharge Permit.

presentation .pdf here

presentation .pdf here

Fox River Park BioBlitz June 2017 —  

          Dr. Ellen Censky - Milwaukee Public Museum

The Southeast Fox River Partnership attended the BioBlitz at Fox River Park last June and witnessed an army of scientists scouring Fox River Park in Waukesha County, documenting every fish, plant, mammal, insect, spider and more that they could find. We'll let Dr. Censky reveal how many species they found .... Let's just say we were astonished by the results!

Bio: Dr. Ellen Censky returned to Wisconsin in 2008 to take the Position of Senior Vice President and Academic Dean at the Milwaukee Public Museum. Her responsibilities include oversight of research, collections, and exhibits. She has 40 years of museum experience, including 10 years as Executive Director of two natural history museums. Censky started her museum career as a UWM work study student at Milwaukee Public museum and then moved on to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, where she worked for 20 years. Censky earned her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh in 1994 and her B.S. in Zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She was involved in field research on biodiversity in Costa Rica, Paraguay, British West Indies, Dominican Republic and several states in the US. She has authored more than 50 scientific papers and three books. She was a founding developer of the BioBlitz, a 24-hour scientific survey and educational event, which now is conducted by organizations across the world. She headed up MPM’s green team which was instrumental in developing the museum’s Green Policy and Plan. The results include the green roof and solar panels as well as several upgrades to lighting in the museum.

Collaborative Community Planning on the Fox River in Illinois - 

           Kate Evasic - Associate Planner, Chicago Metropolitan

           Agency for Planning (CMAP)

The Fox River is one of the greatest assets of the Chicago region. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), in partnership with McHenry County Planning and Development is collaborating with Lake County, state and local governments, and organizations to create a corridor plan for an 11-mile stretch of the Fox River. The plan focuses on convening a diverse group of stakeholders to improve water quality, multi-modal transportation access, recreation and open space, and river-related commerce. To learn more, visit the project website at

Bio: Kate Evasic is an Associate Planner at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. In this role, Kate works to integrate stormwater management into decisions about land use and development to help communities mitigate flooding, become more resilient in the face of climate change, and improve water quality. Previously, she focused on the application of sustainable stormwater strategies to restore ecological system health of urban and natural watersheds as a Water Resources Planner in the Philadelphia area. Kate holds a Master of Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from West Chester University of Pennsylvania.

presentation .pdf here

Update on WI-IL Fox River Water Trail Initiative - 

       Karen Miller, AICP, Kane County Development Department, IL 

       Barbara Messick, Village of Waterford, WI

The Core Development Team has been busy collecting existing data regarding canoe/kayak access points including signage, parking, and amenities on land at the access location. Data collection on river segments regarding the journey experience such as time expected to travel a segment, hazards, dams and portages, and experience level is also needed. This data will be used to develop maps of the Fox River, a public website and plan for suggested future improvements.

presentation .pdf here

Waukesha County Aquatic Invasive Species Strategic Plan -  

          Perry Lindquist, Land Resources Manager

          Alan Barrows - Senior Conservation Specialist

          Waukesha County Dept. of Parks & Land Use

Waukesha County’s aquatic ecosystems are experiencing negative impacts from existing aquatic invasive species (AIS) and continued to be threatened by new invasions. AIS have significant economic impacts on utilities, tourism, and property values. They enter and are distributed by human-assisted vectors including recreational boating, hunting, fishing, tourism, development, and the trade of live organisms. In Waukesha County, an AIS Strategic Plan was developed to direct staff and volunteers that dedicate thousands of hours each year to prevent the spread of AIS. The plan lists priorities and action items to guide the implementation of the AIS program through 2023. The goals in the plan are to educate county residents about AIS; prevent the spread; collect, map and analyze AIS populations; reduce, manage, and control AIS; network and collaborate with other entities; and sustain the AIS program. To be effective, the listed goals require a coordinated effort around the county and the continuation of the AIS program, either through grants or other funding sources. The Waukesha County AIS Strategic Plan and AIS Strategic Plan Interactive Map are available on the Waukesha County webpage.


Bio Linquist: Land Resources Manager for the Waukesha County Department of Parks and Land Use since 1999, where he oversees land conservation, stormwater, and recycling programs.  Prior to that, he served as County Conservationist for Washington County for 16 years.  For the past two years, he has also been administering an aquatic invasive species (AIS) program in partnership with WDNR, Washington County, and local lake and conservation groups – including the preparation of a countywide AIS Strategic Plan, which is what he is here to discuss today.

presentation .pdf here

Urban Leaf Management Practices and Phosphorus

              Loading in Local Waterways - 

                         Phil Gaebler, P.E. -Water Resources Specialist - 

                                                          City of Madison

While the sources of nutrients to urban stormwater are many, the primary contributor is often organic detritus, especially in areas with dense overhead tree canopy. One way to remove organic detritus before it becomes entrained in runoff is to implement a city-wide leaf collection and street cleaning program. Improving our knowledge of the potential reduction of nutrients to stormwater through removal of leaves and other organic detritus on streets could help tailor more targeted municipal leaf collection programs. This study characterized reductions of total and dissolved forms of phosphorus in stormwater through implementation of a various municipal leaf collection and street cleaning program in Madison, WI, USA.  Total phosphorus was reduce between 80% to 40% depending on the collection technique and frequency. The majority of nutrient concentrations were in the dissolved fraction making source control through leaf removal one of the few treatment options available to environmental managers when reducing the amount of dissolved nutrients in stormwater runoff. Subsequently, the efficiency, frequency, and timing of leaf removal and street cleaning are the primary factors to consider when developing a leaf management program.

Bio: Phil Gaebler is a Water Resources Engineer for the City of Madison. His work focuses on stormwater management with a focus on water quality. He has recently been focused on helping the City of Madison efficiently reach the Rock River TMDL goals and a chloride reduction effort.

presentation .pdf here

Convention and Visitors Bureau Activities and 

               Perspectives from WI and IL - partners for the future - 

                                          Dave Blank, Real Racine

Bio Blank:  A thirty five year veteran of the hospitality field, Dave has been the President and CEO of Real Racine, the County‘s official tourism agency, for the past 21 years.  His career in tourism has included ski area marketing, campground and canoe livery operations, and destination marketing organization management in California and Utah, as well as Wisconsin. Locally, he currently serves on the Racine Civic Centre Commission, the MetroGo southeast Wisconsin regional transit leadership council, the Racine Arts Council Board of Directors and the Gateway Technical College Hospitality Management Advisory Board. He also serves on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism Sports Marketing and International Marketing committees.

presentation .pdf here

Panel Discussion - From Confluence to Collaboration - 

       Gary Swick and Gary Mechanic, Friends of the Fox River

presentation .pdf here

Thank You to our growing list of sponsors and vendors! Please visit their sites and connect!
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