When it comes to Wisconsin we tend to be surrounded by a lot of freshwater resources. These freshwater resources are being used in many ways whether it be used for recreational or personal/public use. When it comes to our drinking water, living in Wisconsin is something that we take advantage of. We will most likely never have to worry about a shortage of water within the near future, compared to some of the states in the West when they go through droughts because of warmer temperatures due to climate change. Obviously, Wisconsin is a great place to live when it comes to our water supply. The only problem is the way our water is being delivered to us. As we have seen with Flint Michigan our water supply can be contaminated with lead through our delivery system. Many pipes that were used 50 years ago used contained lead in them and nowadays those lead pipes are garnering more attention.
In a recent study statewide in Wisconsin it was found that 4.5% of children under the age of 6 tested positive for lead poisoning in Wisconsin. This is mostly because Wisconsin’s pipes are highly outdated, and they tend to contain a fine amount of lead in their pipes in their public water systems. Milwaukee is affected the most by lead in their pipes because it was found that 8.6% of children under the age of 6 tested positive for lead poisoning. Now the City of Milwaukee knows this is a problem proposing a $750 million budget to fix this issue. Even with this amount of money being proposed to help, it would not be able to fix the problem. There would still be a small amount of lead in the pipes even after they would perform such an undertaking. This is where money and health tend to play a key role in deciding certain problems. The only question, would it be worth it to spend all this money even though we would still see lead in the water but to a smaller degree?
For those who don’t know what a bugle is, it is something that must be heard in order to really understand the beauty of such a call. A bugle is a sound produced by a bull elk used for asserting their dominance and locating other bulls to potentially steal their potential mates. Bugling only really occurs during their mating season, something that only occurs during the months of September and October. I myself have never heard such a coveted sound except for on YouTube, but recently according to the WI DNR the current elk herd in Wisconsin is around 400 elk. When I first heard this my initial reactions were a reaction comprised of surprise and bewilderment, mostly because I had no idea we actually had a viable elk population in Wisconsin at all. This is mostly due to a relationship created in 1995 between the WI DNR and The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation that helped to reintroduce 25 elk at the time in the Clam Lake Region in Wisconsin. Throughout recent years more elk have been introduced into other northern regions across Wisconsin and it has proven to be a success. Currently, in the Clam Lake region, it’s population of elk is around 185 elk.
These methods of reintroduction have proven to be so successful that in 2018 Wisconsin held it’s first-ever elk hunt, which allowed 10 lucky hunters to harvest a mature bull. The hunt turned out to be a success and was held in 2019 and are currently applications for the upcoming 2020 hunt. If you are interested in applying the application fee is $10 and if you lucky enough to get picked out of the raffle the license fee is currently $49. In addition to that if you get picked you must complete a mandatory elk hunter orientation. If you ask me if this is worth it, I would 100% of the time say yes. I always wanted to hear a bull elk bugle or see them in the wild and Wisconsin is becoming one of those places two do both of those things.
Lake Michigan is the only Great Lake located entirely within the United States borders, but especially with the entire East coast of Wisconsin. The lake is home to many different species from the animal kingdom like fish and birds but is also home to a variety of invasive species as well including the zebra mussel and the Asian carp. Zebra mussels, originating from the Caspian Sea, are causing a wide array of damage to the ecosystem both directly and indirectly. For starters, zebra mussels are known to coat pipes that lead to drinking water treatment plants and make their home within those pipes. This can lead to more money needing to be put into these plants in order to keep them functional and operational as Lake Michigan is a great source of drinking water for the entire community. The invasive species also have a habit of killing the native mussel population just due to their reproductive nature. Native mussels may take 3-5 years to fully mature and develop while zebra mussels only take a matter of one year which allows them to spread faster and deplete natural resources from the native species.
While originally not considered viable to survive in Lake Michigan, the Asian carp, arriving from Southeast China, has proved that it can be devastating for the long-term sustainability of the lake’s ecosystem. While the zebra mussel has many damaging implications towards human culture the carp can do monumental damage towards other fish within the waters such as walleye, yellow perch, and whitefish. Since the Asian carp has such a flexible diet consisting of anything from plankton to the feces of invasive mussels such as the zebra mussel. With few natural predictors, there’s no telling how out of control these invasive populations will get without spreading awareness and allocating resources towards saving one of Earth’s greatest ecosystems.
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