Meet the Board: Joan Giuliani


Joan Giuliani, Sweet Water’s newest board member, joined us in December. We sat down to get her take on the exciting projects happening in the Milwaukee area and her current role as Environmental Engineer at MillerCoors.

Sweet Water: What experiences lead you to your current position?
Giuliani: I moved to Milwaukee in 2002 for an environmental consulting job and then ended up to getting my masters in Environmental Engineering at MSOE. During that time an internship opened up at Miller Coors. I became an intern there while going to school and later was hired on full time. I’ve been the Environmental Engineer in the MillerCoors brewery since 2007.

S: What are some of the current projects you are most excited about?
G: Currently, I’m spending a lot of time on MillerCoors’ partnership with Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS). The goal is for our brewery to achieve the International Water Stewardship Standard and we’ve been working on that for a couple of years now. If we get it, our MillerCoors brewery in Milwaukee will be the first brewery in the world to get certified. As environmental engineer, I’m also responsible for compliance reporting and some other projects that pop up at the end of the year.

S: In your opinion, what makes Milwaukee’s water quality challenges different from other parts of the Midwest and the United States as a whole?
G: From a brewing perspective, Milwaukee is extremely fortunate to be located right next to Lake Michigan and to have clean and abundant water. Three other MillerCoors breweries are located in water-stressed areas. This is an advantage and a disadvantage. It’s easy to overlook the importance of conservation when you have abundant freshwater resources and it’s hard to teach communities about the importance of protecting their water unless they feel like it’s in crisis. Other breweries we have in Texas and California already understand the importance of water conservation because they are feeling the lack of reliable freshwater so strongly right now. This contrast has opened my eyes in regards to Milwaukee’s main challenges because it’s easy to look at Lake Michigan and forget that we also have major quality and health-related issues to work on here that are just as important.

S: How do you feel that your work impacts the greater Milwaukee area?
G: MillerCoors' efforts to improve our water efficiency are pretty well known. We do our best to continue improving our water use and the way we engage with our community. Our work toward achieving the AWS International Water Stewardship Standard would be very exciting and would lift Milwaukee’s role in the international water community. In addition, I’d like to think that we have also been able to support other local organizations working on these issues through our community outreach and through events like Great Water Month. We’re always working to bring water quality issues to the front of people’s minds because without clean water, there is no beer!

Personally, my goal has always been to continue to learn from others and gain more regional connections. I want to partner more with local organizations that are already doing exciting work, whether that is outreach or education or research. I have been very impressed with our community’s efforts.

S: What are you hoping to bring to the Sweet Water board?
G: I really want to learn as much as possible. I’m hoping I will be able to learn how I, and how MillerCoors, can be more involved in the health of these watersheds and improve community resilience in the Milwaukee area. I look forward to sharing my experiences but mostly I’m hoping it will be an inspiring and educational experience for me.  

S: What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?
G: Most of all, I love spending time with my two boys. They are honestly the light of my life. You have a really bad day at work and just seeing them and being around them is wonderful. They’re everything.

Announcing Sweet Water's 2018 Mini-Grant Recipients

One of the 2017 mini-grant project sites. Sweet Water will be continuing the mini-grant program for the 2018 season with new projects. 

One of the 2017 mini-grant project sites. Sweet Water will be continuing the mini-grant program for the 2018 season with new projects. 

Written by Joan Herriges

Thank you to all who applied for a Sweet Water mini-grant this past fall.  The Water Quality Mini-Grant Program funds local, grassroots efforts that employ practices and have activities that will improve regional water quality, enhance conservation, restore natural habitat, or educate people about water quality issues.  There were 32 proposals submitted and we are proud to announce our 14 awardees listed below.

Sweet Water is seeking to grow the Mini-Grant Program and looking for additional funders.  If you or your business is interested in sponsoring a mini-grant project, please call Joan Herriges at 414-382-1766 or email at .

Sweet Water 2018 Water Quality Mini-Grant Program Winners - by Organization, Name of Project, & Watershed

·      Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary & Arboretum - WATERshed Program; Root

·      Highland Community School Outdoor Classroom Watershed Model; Menomonee

·      Humboldt Park Friends - Pilot Shoreline Restoration of the Humboldt Park Lagoon; KK

·      Mequon Nature Preserve - Rainwater Harvesting System; Menomonee

·      Midwest Pesticide Action Center - Midwest Grows Green Lawn & Land Forum; All Southeastern WI Watersheds

·      Milwaukee Area Science Advocates - Urban Garden Project at the Milwaukee Women's Center; Milwaukee

·      Milwaukee Audubon Society, Inc. - Tendick Nature County Park Wetland Restoration; Milwaukee

·      Northwest Side Community Development Corp. - Rain Garden & Tree Planting at Samuel Clemens School; Milwaukee

·      Ozaukee Washington Land Trust - Treasures of Oz 2018 Eco-Tour--Ozaukee's Other Coast; Milwaukee

·      Partners of Greenfield Parks & Recreation - Garbage to Green: Improving Konkel Park's Wetlands; Menomonee

·      Schlitz Audubon Nature Center - Garden Play Space Sluiceway & Rain Garden Project; Lake MI Near Shore Drainage

·      Spririt of Peace Lutheran Church - Disconnection of Roof Downspouts, Runoff Capture & Irrigation; Menomonee

·      The Table - Alice's Garden Rain Water Harvesting Project; Milwaukee

·      Watershed Team of Common Ground - Water Drop Alert Outreach; All Southeastern WI Watersheds

We Thank Our 2018 Mini-Grant Program Funders for Their Support.

Save the Date: Upcoming Green Infrastructure Workshop


We're excited to announce an upcoming workshop on Green Infrastructure Stormwater Opportunities for Community Groups and Houses of Worship.

Join us to learn how you can make a difference in our community by helping to manage stormwater where it falls! Green infrastructure stormwater practices beautify neighborhoods, improve water quality in our rivers and Lake Michigan, and help reduce flooding and basement backups, along with other important benefits.

Sweet Water and Clean Wisconsin are helping expand the reach of MMSD’s Regional Green Infrastructure Center of Excellence through a series of green infrastructure stormwater workshops. We’re working to make the material in this next workshop especially relevant to folks who work with community / neighborhood organizations and/or with their houses of worship.

The workshop will take place starting at 5:30pm on Wednesday, February 28th, in Room 3080 at UW–Milwaukee's School of Freshwater Sciences, located at 600 E. Greenfield Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53204. 

Please spread the word on this workshop far and wide, and please register by sending an RSVP email to Ethan at

2018 Agenda for Sweet Water’s Science and Policy Committees

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By Janet Pritchard

Sweet Water’s Policy and Science Committees bring together stakeholders from across relevant communities of practice working on watersheds – from government, academia, NGOs, businesses, and funders – to analyze key problems we confront in our efforts to restore the Greater Milwaukee Watersheds.  At these meetings, we unpack the complexities of these problems. More importantly, we work together to design workable solutions to the problems examined, drawing upon the experience, insights, and expertise of people working on these issues from a variety of postures and perspectives. Each committee meets every other month, and sometimes the committees meet jointly.

Over 2018, the Science and Policy Committees will examine several important issues. Potential topics include:

  • TMDL implementation
  • Developing a watershed-wide reporting system to monitor progress to restore the Greater Milwaukee Watersheds
  • Driving best practices in municipal leaf management
  • Ensuring the community benefits of investments in watershed restoration are equitably distributed
  • Rolling out protocols for identifying sources of bacteria loading that have been developed by the Science Committee’s Bacteria Working Group
  • Next steps to address PAH contamination, including disposal considerations for PAHs in stormwater pond sediment
  • Monitoring and addressing chlorides

Does your work involve any of these topics? Would you like to get involved in our Science or Policy Committee? If so, please contact Chris Magruder (Science Committee Coordinator) or Janet Pritchard (Policy Committee Coordinator).

Nine Key Element Planning Update

Why is Nine Key Element planning important?

Nine Key Element planning is based on the United States Environmental Protection Agency's "Nine Minimum Elements of Successful Watershed Plans." The elements cover a range of considerations that have been proven critical for addressing non-point source pollution, including technical, financial, educational, and adaptability/sustainability factors. Together, these help ensure that watershed plans are robust and effective in improving water quality.

Approval of 9KE plans by WDNR and the EPA makes section 319 federal funding for watershed projects more accessible. Nine Key Element planning has also become the de facto standard for many of the NGO funding sources, making 9KE plans even more critical for accessing the full range of resources for watershed projects.  

What progress has been made on the planning recently?

Sweet Water is currently working on four 9KE plans for the Milwaukee region. The plan for the Kinnickinnic River watershed has been submitted to WDNR and we are currently incorporating feedback for the final draft to be submitted for EPA approval by the end of 2017. The plan for the Menomonee River watershed is mostly complete, and will also be submitted to WDNR by end-of -year.

Due to its size and complexity, planning for the Milwaukee River is segmented at the sub-watershed level. Sweet Water is currently working on two plans for Milwaukee River sub-watersheds. Nine-KE planning for the Cedar Creek and Lake Michigan Frontal sub-watersheds is still in the initial stages. This planning will utilize some new watershed modeling tools and approaches, which will be "firsts" for the development of 9KE watershed plans in Wisconsin. The anticipated completion of these sub-watershed plans is mid-2018. 

How will 9KE planning impact TMDL implementation?

Nine-KE plans are complementary precursors to Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) implementation plans, and help to inform the implementation plans. Sweet Water’s 9KE plans incorporate and address many aspects of the TMDLs, and also include aspects of watershed quality that fall outside the TMDL focus, so these plans have a more comprehensive scope. More detailed and targeted TMDL implementation plans will be developed at appropriate scales, based in part on the 9KE watershed and sub-watershed plans.

Bayside Village: Stormwater Flow Education

The Village of Bayside has been awarded a Fund for Lake Michigan grant to work with the Pelham Heath neighborhood (bounded by East Brown Deer Rd, North Lake Drive, East Dane Rd, and the railroad tracks) and Schlitz Audubon Nature Center to map and assess the current flow and drainage of stormwater across the neighborhood due to the present land management practices in the right-of-way.

Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust, Inc. (Sweet Water) brings diverse partners together and provides the leadership and innovation necessary to protect and restore our shared water resources in southeastern Wisconsin. For this project, we will be working with Bayside to create a series of educational content in the "Bayside Buzz", sharing project information at the Village's Summer Picnic, helping facilitate and coordinate neighborhood meetings, and gather information to create a social map which locates areas of flooding due to poor stormwater drainage.

In addition, we will be asking residents to participate in a collaborative design process wherein stormwater runoff ditch designs will be built in an outdoor classroom. This outdoor classroom will allow residents to see different design and vegetation options and understand how these land management practices work to enhance safety and protect property by insuring proper stormwater flow and drainage.