The Stream

Water in Wisconsin's Northwoods and Michigan's Upper Peninsula serves as the basis of life and health. With countless lakes, rivers, springs, and aquifers, water is also linked with the very identity of this region. As a service to our listeners, WXPR is pleased to announce the creation of a new reporting position with a specific focus: water.

What do you wonder about water, water quality and water resources in our region? 

Ask us a water-related question and it could be a future story in our new feature series, The Stream! Use the form below to submit your question.

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tonyevers.com

When Gov. Tony Evers took office in January, he could have put his priorities in a lot of different places.

But he chose to put a large amount of political muscle into improving drinking water in Wisconsin.

Just 15 days after he was inaugurated in January, he proclaimed 2019 the "Year of Clean Drinking Water” for the state.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Few drivers zipping along Northwoods roads probably think about the culverts they cross, culverts sending stream water underneath the pavement or gravel.

Instead, it’s Jon Simonsen’s job to worry about the structures, which play a major role in both transportation and fish habitat.

“People don’t give a culvert much thought, and they’ll pass over it.  But they think about it a lot when the road is washed out and the road has failed,” said Simonsen, a DNR transportation liaison.  “So that’s when it has become significant.”

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Shanai Matteson poured three small cups of water for Mary Moxon last Friday, putting them on a wooden board, like a flight of beers at a craft brewery.

“It’s very subtle, but water has different tastes, and it has to do with the mineral content of the water, the treatment of the water,” Matteson said.  “Sometimes it has to do with the pipes or the container that the water comes in.”

Matteson had just set up her table, called a popup Water Bar, at Project North, a music and sustainability festival in Rhinelander.

Jim Albert

Twenty-one-year-old Kai Movrich has enough to worry about.

On top of working at Contrast Coffee in downtown Ironwood, she owns and is an instructor at a dance studio in town.

She didn’t need her tap water at home to be a problem, too.  But she found something gross when she moved into a new house in July.

“Through our faucet in our bathroom, when we turned the spouts on as soon as they turned our water on, we actually had sediment coming through our spouts,” Movrich said.  “We’re talking rocks the size of nickels.”

Her frustration isn’t unique.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Ron Wiedeman’s ancestors came here around 1900, as best as he can tell.

It’s a swath of land along the Wisconsin River in the Town of Crescent, just southwest of Rhinelander.

“I’ve lived in this area my whole life,” said Wiedeman, sitting at his kitchen table.

When he was a kid, the spring now known as Crescent Spring was on his family’s property.

“Just clean, fresh water, always clean, and good tasting water,” Wiedeman said.  “I’ve [drunken] out of there since I was probably eight years old.”

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Pete McGeshick III sometimes has a hard time explaining what being on a wild rice bed feels like for him.

As he used a 16-foot pole to push a canoe across Rice Lake on the Sokaogon Chippewa reservation in Forest County, he said he feels the spirit of wild rice while on the water.

“It talks to me.  It’s something you feel in your heart.  You can’t describe it,” McGeshick said.  “All you can do is feel it.”

Water in the Wisconsin's Northwoods and Michigan's Upper Peninsula serves as the basis of life and health.  With countless lakes, rivers, springs, and aquifers, water is also linked with the very identity of the region.  As a service to its listeners, WXPR is pleased to announce the creation of a new reporting position with a specific focus:  water.