Susan Bence

Environmental Reporter

Susan Bence entered broadcasting in an untraditional way. After years of avid public radio listening, Susan returned to school and earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. She interned for WUWM News and worked with the Lake Effect team, before being hired full-time as a WUWM News reporter / producer.

Susan is now WUWM's environmental reporter, the station's first. Her work has been recognized by the Milwaukee Press Club, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, and the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.

Susan worked with Prevent Blindness Wisconsin for 20 years, studied foreign languages at UWM, and loves to travel.

NASA SeaWiFS Project / Wikimedia Commons

The International Joint Commission - or IJC - was created by the Boundary Waters Treaty signed by the United States and Canada in 1909. The commission is tasked with preventing conflicts between the two countries' shared waters, including the Great Lakes.

Last week the IJC released a paper that lays out five action steps designed to assist the two countries as they coordinate efforts to keep Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) and other toxic flame retardants out of the Lakes.

Susan Bence

This evening the EPA is holding a meeting in Milwaukee.  It's one in a series around the Great Lakes designed to help the agency design Action Plan III of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, or GLRI.

The funding program came to life in 2009 during the Obama Administration. With the advent of the Trump Administration there were rumblings that GLRI would end. But the fund continues, having distributed nearly $3 billion.

Susan Bence

The Freshwater For Life Action Coalition, or FLAC, says it has information that amplifies concerns about Milwaukee's health department, and how the mayor's office has handled the problems.

FLAC wants the Common Council to dig deeper including by forcing the following people to testify before the Public Safety and Health Committee:

Eddee Daniel

The Milwaukee-based advocacy group Preserve Our Parks has rallied for public spaces, noteably Milwaukee County’s beautiful but financially beleaguered parks. In fact, Tuesday evening the group is holding a public meeting to rally support for a sustainable funding source for the system.

Walking into the 36-acre Conservancy for Healing and Heritage feels like entering a period centuries before Milwaukee was “metro-ized.” This is despite the fact that the parcel is sandwiched between busy Loomis Road and Rawson Avenue in Franklin.

MPM 2017 BioBlitz

This weekend at Lake Farm County Park in Madison, dozens of volunteers will join a handful of scientists in a 24 hour effort to document plants and wildlife in the park. The Milwaukee Public Museum is organizing the BioBlitz for the fourth consecutive year, though this will be the first event in Madison.

jStock / Fotolia

Helen Pidd, an editor for The Guardian, recently looked into why so few women feel comfortable riding bikes in cities. Her theory: They think it is dangerous. For the most part, Wisconsin Bicycle Federation's Jessica Wineberg agrees.

Susan Bence

A Bubbler Talk listener was curious about Milwaukee's breakwater, wondering where the rocks came from, and how they ended up standing in the middle of the harbor. WUWM Environmental Reporter Susan Bence explored the subject for this week's segment.

To kick off our sixth season of Bubbler Talk, Susan turned to Larry Sullivan, chief engineer with Milwaukee’s Port Authority. She asked him about the history of the breakwater structure.

“It was built by the federal government to create a harbor of refuge, for boats to get away from the storm,” Sullivan says.

Susan Bence

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association, or MREA, will officially kick off its 29th annual energy fair in Custer, Wisconsin on Friday.

Three days of how-tos of solar and wind installations as well as sustainable living workshops attract people from around the country.

Milwaukeeans Elizabeth Hittman and Peter Murphy will be among them.

Susan Bence

Late last week County Executive Chris Abele appointed long-time parks employee Guy Smith to become director. Smith has experience at several levels within the Milwaukee County Parks.

First starting in 2004 as trails coordinator, Smith quickly grew into supervision and management and transitioned to several roles within the department - including deputy regional manager of land resources and chief of operations.

When then director John Dargle resigned late last November, Smith was tapped to fill in as interim director.

Susan Bence

Forty-eight Lake Bluff Elementary School students spent much of their third grade year learning about stormwater. They had a handy model outside their door.

A grassy soccer field used to occupy the northeast corner of the school yard, but was recently transformed to tennis courts, in honor of the school's recently retired principal.

However, what was thought to be a loving and activity-inducing project came with environmental headaches. The school district realized it had to meet Wisconsin stormwater drainage requirements.

Susan Bence

On Tuesday with a 5-2 vote, the Wisconsin Supreme Court removed a regulatory hurdle that was holding the Wysocki Family of Companies back from creating a large scale dairy.

This type of operation is commonly called a CAFO, or a concentrated animal feeding operation.

The vote comes after five years of heated debate.

The company wants to create Golden Sands Dairy just south of Wisconsin Rapids in the Town of Saratoga. The Wisconsin River flows along its western edge.

Susan Bence

UPDATE: The Freshwater for Life Action Coalition (FLAC) said during a press conference Friday it found no surprises in the Wisconsin Department of Health Services report. FLAC spokesperson Robert Miranda added,  "Nothing new came out of ciy hall either....We've know that these families have not been treated, have not been provided the services that the state paid for, but yet we have not received any word from city hall or the health department stating what they have tried to do to find these families and help these families."

Susan Bence

If you don’t spend much time along the Milwaukee River, you might be surprised to know that more and more of its most urban stretch – from Silver Spring Drive in Glendale downstream to the former North Avenue Dam site is becoming more natural.

Tonight people can weigh in on the Milwaukee River Greenway’s progress and future.

Susan Bence

This Sunday, May 20, is the first World Bee Day, and also is World Migratory Bird Day. A couple of groups in the Milwaukee area that are concerned about the health of bees and birds will use the day to shine a light on their importance.

On December 17, 2017 the General Assembly of the United Nations unanimously declared May 20 World Bee Day:

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