If I Were Mayor of My Town...

November 10, 2017
By TicklishWasabi GOLD, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
TicklishWasabi GOLD, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
10 articles 2 photos 1 comment

If I were the mayor of Waukesha County, I would exercise my ability to manage future land management projects. Specifically, I would cancel any projects that destroys, or transforms natural wetlands into residential, or commercial property. Waukesha county experiences major flooding every few years, causing millions of dollars worth of damages to homes, businesses, and even government buildings.

On July 12th 2017, the basement of city hall was flooded, which caused a power outage to the local library. The city administrator was quoted, "The staff that's been here a really long time says this is the worst they've ever seen it." (Mitchell, 2017). The total damages of this flood came close to 18 million dollars. Money that could have gone into road repairs, parks, and drug prevention programs. Unfortunately the floods will continue to get worse as more wetlands are destroyed.

We’re essentially trying to fit a gallon of water into a one liter bottle. Our ‘solution’ to this has been to build more and more water runoff systems, which are not only ineffective, but costly. The current plan for storm management has been proposed, and will cost an estimated 66 million dollars to enact. What the enactors of this plan fail to realize is that the storm runoff systems simply discplace the rainwater into other bodies of water. Usually man made detention, and retention ponds. Which we already had naturally, and yet we decided to try  to fix what was never broken in the first place.

While most  growing communities do need to build storm runoff systems to prevent erosion, Waukesha county was blessed with natural wetlands, which have vegetation surrounding them that already prevents erosion. In addition to improving water quality, something which man-made water basins fail to do.

The money it costs to preserve the environment is a wildly debated topic. Just in the Waukesha area we have have spent thousands of dollars on building habitats for Chimney Sweeps. A type of bird named for its tendency to nest in chimneys. This time, preserving the environment not only doesn’t cost a dime, but actually saves money too. Something rarely seen in issues such as these. Yet we continue to throw our money away and destroy the wetlands that make up Waukesha county. The same county that was listed in the top 100 places to live nationally in 2012, “Natural springs first drew visitors to [Waukesha]...” (Millard, 2012). As you can see we weren't listed for our overabundance of manmade run off systems. 

This is why, if I were mayor, I would stop the destruction of Waukesha county wetlands, and the construction of the superfluous storm drainage systems. Preventing soil erosion, maintaining water quality, and saving millions of dollars in the process.

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