Episode 9: Creating a Water Stewardship District with Vicki Elkin and Lilith Fowler

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Situated on the shores of 20 percent of the world’s freshwater supply, Milwaukee’s inner harbor is a natural resources gem. Not only a confluence of three rivers that come together and flow into Lake Michigan, but it’s also a confluence of creative collaboration between private and public entities working together to support the region’s redevelopment with a focus on natural resource rehabilitation. Through sustainable land and water use practices, hear how local water-related stakeholders developed an urban ‘Water District’ model based on the principles of the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Standard that serves as a best practice for other regions to follow.

 

About VICKI ELKIN

Vicki Elkin is the Executive Director at Fund for Lake Michigan, a philanthropic organization based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Under Vicki’s direction, the Fund for Lake Michigan has awarded more than $30 million in grants to improve and restore the health of Lake Michigan and its shoreline and tributary river systems. Prior to joining the Fund for Lake Michigan, Vicki worked as a Policy Initiatives Advisor to the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) where she worked on farmland preservation, renewable energy, water quality and sustainability initiatives. Vicki served as Executive Director of Gathering Waters Conservancy, a non-profit umbrella group for Wisconsin’s land trusts, from 1998-2006.   During her tenure, the state’s land trust community grew from a handful of mostly volunteer groups to over 50 professional organizations with a combined membership of 45,000 individuals and families and a portfolio of more than 200,000 acres of protected land. From 2006-2009, Vicki led Gathering Waters’ successful and bipartisan efforts to pass the sweeping Working Lands Initiative into law and to increase funding for Wisconsin’s nationally-recognized public lands fund, the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, to $86 million a year. Vicki holds an M.S. in Land Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a B.A. from Oberlin College in Ohio.

 

About LILITH FOWLER

Lilith Fowler is the Executive Director of Harbor District, Inc., a non-profit organization she helped to found to lead the revitalization of Milwaukee’s harbor and surrounding area. Under her direction, the organization has engaged public, private and community partners to create award-winning plans and new public spaces, and generated enthusiasm and momentum behind a redevelopment effort leading to several hundred million dollars in new investment and hundreds of new local jobs.  Lilith also served as the first executive director of Menomonee Valley Partners, helping to launch a successful redevelopment effort in that area and leading the creation of sustainable design guidelines. Previous work focused on the intersection between the community, business, and the environment, including through a fair trade coffee company and the San Francisco Public Market. In her decade as a stay-at-home mother of two, she enjoyed having time for gardening and cooking, and spearheaded the transformation of a 14,000 sf school parking lot into a green playground. She currently serves on the Board of Milwaukee Riverkeeper as its Treasurer. Lilith grew up in San Francisco, and has a BA from Pomona College and an MBA from Georgetown University.

 

About MATT HOWARD

Matt Howard oversees The Water Council’s sustainability and stewardship initiatives, which include its regional partnership and oversight of the Alliance for Water Stewardship’s International Water Stewardship Standard (“AWS Standard”) and System in North America. In this capacity, Matt serves as the Director for AWS North America. He has 15 years in sustainability program development and management, including five years as Milwaukee’s Sustainability Director. Matt came to Milwaukee from Washington, DC where he worked at the U.S. Department of Commerce and spent time as a staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives. He earned an MA from George Washington University and a BA from Valparaiso University. He is an AWS and Lean Six Sigma accredited professional and currently serves on the WELL Water Advisory and the Wisconsin Governor’s Wetlands Study Council. He served on the US EPA’s National Advisory Council on Environmental Policy and Technology from 2014-2019.

 

for further reading

 MILWAUKEE’S INNER HARBOR 

HARBOR DISTRICT IS MILWAUKEE’S NEXT BIG REDEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE 

MILLERCOORS AND GLOBAL WATER CENTER ACHIEVE FIRSTS IN WATER STEWARDSHIP 

Construction boom in Harbor District


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sPECIAL THANKS TO OUR SERIES SPONSOR rexnord

Major support is also provided by:
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation | Corvias

Additional funding is also provided by:
Badger Meter | Baird | Fund for Lake Michigan | Evoqua | Kikkoman
Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District | Quality Water Products | SCS Global

This post was tagged under: Inner Harbor District, FFLM, Redevelopment