April 2018 Grant Opportunities

Sweet Water compiles a list of upcoming and ongoing grant opportunities that are available for environmental and water quality projects in our region. We encourage our partner organizations and community members to seek funding for green infrastructure, conservation, and outreach projects.

Find the list here!

Save the Date: Municipal Green Infrastructure Workshop


Municipal Green Infrastructure Opportunities
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
7:30 - 8:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast and Networking
8:00 - 10:00 a.m. - Program

UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences—Room 3080
600 E. Greenfield Avenue Milwaukee, WI

See more event information here!

More and more municipalities in Southeastern Wisconsin are finding a place for green infrastructure stormwater management practices in their stormwater “toolbox.” Meanwhile, municipal stormwater permits from the state and TMDL requirements both generate opportunities to use green infrastructure to realize multiple objectives and benefits for the municipality and the community at large. Attend this workshop and hear from other municipalities in the region what they have done to take advantage of these opportunities. If you are municipal staff in stormwater, engineering, public works, planning, or community development, or if you work for a consulting firm that assists municipalities with stormwater planning, design, and/or construction, this workshop is for you!

Please RSVP to Ethan at etaxman@cleanwisconsin.org


The agenda for the event will be as follows:

7:30 a.m – Continental breakfast, networking with industry professionals

8:00 a.m – Introductions, program begins

8:15 a.m – Pamela Ritger, Clean Wisconsin – How Municipal Code and Ordinance Updates Can Improve Water Quality and Further Compliance with TMDLs

8:30 a.m – Andy Kaminski, MMSD – Green Solutions Funding Opportunities

8:45 a.m – Mary Jo Lange, City of Cudahy – Packard Avenue Streetscape Reconstruction, Proposed Green Alley Project                  

9:15 a.m – Matthew Maederer, Village of Brown Deer – Bradley Road Green Infrastructure & Badger Meter Park

9:45 a.m – Wrap up, additional Q&A

Green Infrastructure Codes and Ordinances

 View of downtown Milwaukee and the shoreline of Lake Michigan

View of downtown Milwaukee and the shoreline of Lake Michigan

Across the country, green infrastructure practices have become increasingly important elements of local efforts to improve water quality. These practices improve the health of watersheds, beautify neighborhoods, and reduce maintenance costs. Despite the benefits of incorporating green infrastructure practices, many groups are still hesitant to adopt them. In order to uncover the barriers that prevent communities, municipalities, and organizations from adopting these methods, Sweet Water and other regional stakeholders have partnered with Juli Beth Hinds of Birchline Planning to study the best way to encourage best practices in the Milwaukee area.

According to Hinds, some of the largest barriers originate at the municipal level. “We have found that one of the biggest barriers that keep Milwaukee area municipalities from adopting these practices is that they don’t have enough time or resources to update their zoning ordinances,” says Hinds. Where municipalities have outdated codes and ordinances and lack the resources and time to update them, they struggle to provide support to local businesses and groups that might be interested. Improved ordinances increase local incentives for groups to incorporate green infrastructure and can also reduce startup costs.

Lack of resources for training and education is another large barrier. According to Hinds, "Sometimes it's not the regulations that are turning people away, it's just bad habits and lack of a deeper understanding. It’s a very multifaceted issue." The ultimate goal is to normalize green infrastructure so that it is the obvious choice. This requires both behavior changes and improved regulations.

Over the past few years, Hinds has been able to forge meaningful relationships with several municipalities. Recently, she partnered with the Village of Bayside to better understand how stormwater flows through a residential neighborhood. She worked with the community to create a range of solutions from municipal ordinances to helping property owners design and implement their own solutions on their properties. “Helping communities prioritize investments in their own water quality is the first step,” says Hinds, “and in the context of that, we’re helping them look again at whether there are code changes that will help.” Hinds has also been working with the City of Milwaukee to promote new landscape standards for the edges of small commercial sites and with the City of Oak Creek as they update their ordinances.

Interested in learning more about green infrastructure? In combination with Clean Wisconsin, Sweet Water is providing an on-going series of workshops on various green infrastructure technologies and options for funding. The first of these workshops was hosted at UW–Milwaukee's School of Freshwater Sciences and was tailored to community groups and houses of worship. More information will be provided as future workshops are announced. 

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 herriges@swwtwater.org .

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 etaxman@cleanwisconsin.org.