The EWB-UW Domestics group has been working on projects with the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior in Chippewa and our local community in Madison.
In 2007 we began our project in Red Cliff with the aim to provide ground water drainage and storm water management infrastructure and address health issues of the tribe. Throughout 2008 and 2009 we made several assessment trips to form relations with the tribe and develop plans for working on a sustainable solution to the flooding of a local cemetery. We did this with the help of our partners: the Red Cliff Tribal Council and Community, EWB-UW Madison, EWB-USA, the Indian Health Service (IHS), the UW-Madison College of Engineering, Department of Landscape Architecture, School of Pharmacy, and Center for Global Health. In fall 2009 we successfully implemented a tile drainage system in the cemetery, and have followed-up on the project. We are currently working with local law enforcement, health care workers, and UW School of Pharmacy students on a “med-drop” program that will enable locals to dispose of their prescription and non-prescription drugs in an environmentally friendly manner. Special Thanks to the Red Cliff tribe’s collaboration with EWB for being welcoming and supportive of our project, and Ira and Ineva Idea Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment for providing the funding to make this project happen.
In addition to our work in Red Cliff, we have begun a local project right here in Madison to develop a solution to clean Vilas Beach, Lake Wingra. In 2008 Vilas Beach was added to the EPA’s 303(d) list of impaired waters due to the frequency of beach closures related to excessive E. coli levels found in the swimming water. In Spring 2010 we partnered with several local community organizations including: Friends of Lake Wingra, Yahara Lakes Legacy Partnership, Yahara CLEAN, Madison Area Permaculture Guild, and Town and Country Water Issues Team RC&D to develop a sustainable and educational solution using biofiltration and mycofiltration methods.
Currently, we are in the design stages of our project for the biofiltration garden and floating wetland islands at Vilas Beach. This summer we held a community meeting/design charrette at Vilas Beach, in which we gathered community input of priorities (function, aesthetic, educational) for the area. This was very good input! This Fall we hope to gain additional community support for this project and conduct further research into biofiltration methods. For more information please check out our website at https://sites.google.com/site/cleanvilasbc/ or email us at CleanVilasBeachCoalition@gmail.com.