Cheryl Nenn has been Riverkeeper at Milwaukee Riverkeeper for 17 years, and will talk about how her organization uses water quality data and scientific research to drive strong water policy in the Milwaukee River Basin and Great Lakes. Milwaukee Riverkeeper evolved from humble beginnings in 1995, to become part of an international coalition of Waterkeepers around the glove fighting for clean water and healthy communities. The organization runs a successful citizen based monitoring program, with approximately 80 volunteers monitoring baseline water quality at over 100 sites throughout the Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic Rivers. In addition, 20+ volunteers tested local rivers for chloride toxicity last winter responding to peak runoff conditions, and 17+ volunteers test for emerging contaminants several times per year as part of a collaborative monitoring effort called CLEAR (Community Leaders Engaged in Aquatic Research). Riverkeeper analyzes
water quality data from several stakeholders in the Milwaukee River Basin, and produces an Annual River Report Card to educate the community about water quality conditions, new river protection policies, and projects that are addressing pollution and restoring habitat. Ultimately, the goal of Riverkeeper's citizen monitoring program is to provide valuable data for making sound management and policy decisions for Milwaukee's waters and wildlife, and to inspire volunteers to become stewards of their local waterways. Riverkeeper staff uses science as a basis for public outreach presentations and materials on what the community can do to help address pollution by changing their behaviors, and have developed a curriculum based on the River Report Card that is being brought into a dozen local schools in 2020. Riverkeeper also engages over 4,000 volunteers each spring to clean up local rivers, and has over 100 organizations/businesses that have adopted
sections of the rivers to conduct more regular cleanup and restoration activities throughout the year.