Algae impacts hit home in Milwaukee

Megan Severson

Montana Morris is a Community Programs Manager at Victory Garden Initiative in Milwaukee. She shares her perspective on the impacts posed by algae here:

In the wake of the 2014 Toledo Crisis, Milwaukee Water Works declared that the city has no history of toxic algae outbreaks affecting our drinking water quality. This may have been true at the time but a few years later, toxic algae was found in the Veteran’s Park Lagoon on the heels of an extreme water ski competition. This was not an outlier event but an expected occurrence that we should not overlook. 

Algae outbreaks are especially common during the summer as excessive nutrients wash off the landscape and enter our water sources like Lake Michigan. These toxic outbreaks are partly a consequence of climate change and a larger indication of inadequate water infrastructure and improper land management. 

Water is life. We must protect and preserve it. Milwaukee is a water city. This is what we are known for, what makes this city great. Without Lake Michigan, our three rivers and the many lakes surrounding us we would just be another midwestern town in the middle of a cornfield. We were given a gift of water that much of the world would give anything to have. We must protect it with our lives! 

Congress must recognize the unceasing public health threat algae outbreaks pose and invest in real solutions that will reduce the agricultural runoff that invades our waterways and get at the root of this problem.


Megan Severson