Root-Pike WIN in the News

We are working tirelessly every day to restore, protect and sustain the Root-Pike Basin watersheds through the implementation of Nine Element watershed restoration plans. Visit this page regularly for links to media stories on our work and announcements from our staff and board.

SEE our calendar FOR an upcoming meetingS or eventS. Contact us for more information.

March 3, 2019 - This time a year, very few people are thinking about wetlands. Yet, they are there, waiting for spring when they erupt with an astounding diversity of life, ideal for the development of conditions that form the base of the food web for myriad native species of all kinds. It’s showy and exciting. But there are essential functions that wetlands perform that are subtler and equally as important — if not more so…

January 28, 2019 - With Kenosha County as the lead and fiscal sponsor, Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network (WIN) has worked cooperatively with County leaders, local stakeholders and various funders to encourage the South Branch of the Pike River’s renewal. Initially based on the “critical” recommendation in the DNR/EPA-approved Nine Key Element Pike River Watershed Restoration Plan , the first phase of planning with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has begun. Planning includes the assessment of approximately five miles of potential stream restoration and upland revitalization to include more habitat for native species – even the endangered Rusty-Patched bumble bee.

January 3, 2019 - Neumiller Woods Park could serve as ground zero for a more ambitious restoration project, if the efforts of a group of local organizers come to fruition. As is the case with many areas along the Pike River watershed, portions of the Neumiller site in Somers, 8128 12th St., have been altered over time at the hands of humans and population growth. But grassroots groups, such as the Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network, are hoping to not only put an end to the degradation of the wetlands like the Pike River, but also to bring some of the altered areas back to their former glory.

October 29, 2018 - No park in the greater Racine area has seen more change than the 79-acre Pritchard Park has experienced over the past year, and its transformation has only started. Beyond those man-made, recreational enhancements, plans for the park also will include numerous improvements in the natural domain. Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network is working with Racine County, with contributions from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Fund for Lake Michigan.

September 15, 2018 - “It was wonderful,” said volunteer Dan Meyer, a board member of the Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network. “We kicked it off in the morning and talked to everyone about what we were doing and assigned people to different areas. We had crews all over. We pretty much covered the entire river.”

October 12, 2018 - "For 20 years, Root-Pike WIN has brought together municipalities, residents, donors and experts to improve the environment in southeastern Wisconsin and Racine County. That spirit of cooperation has protected the watersheds in our region, improved water quality and made Racine County a better place. I am grateful to recognize Root-Pike WIN with a Community Impact Award for creating places where people want to live, work, and invest." - Jonathan Delagrave, County Executive, Racine County

July 22, 2018 - The Village of Mount Pleasant and Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network have partnered and secured grant funds for the restoration of 15 acres of prairie to improve an area on the north side of Smolenski Park by removing invasive species and creating a new trail. Thirty-five native prairie plant species will be planted in the invasive species’ place.

July 19, 2018 - A new food pantry in Racine called A Place of Provision aims to be a multi-faceted asset to the community. The inner city property sits on high ground with a bluff on the east face and holds the potential to be an environmentally sustainable and functional community green space. The area will also be demonstration area for stormwater runoff solutions that can reduce runoff and erosion, create habitat for butterflies and birds, and provide natural beauty for the surrounding community. Root-Pike WIN partnered with A Place of Provision to create a landscape plan for the site to help accomplish these goals.

July 6, 2018 - The Pike River watershed will experience significant changes in the next decade. We will see a dramatic conversion of agricultural land to commercial, industrial and residential developments. As keepers of the watershed, Root-Pike WIN has partnered with the Great Lakes Community Conservation Corps (GLCCC) to begin monitoring the water quality of four tributaries likely to receive the most impacts. Our goal is to work with the developers, landowners and municipalities in their planning to ultimately and measurably improve the water quality of these tributaries.

June 15, 2018 - During an interview with WGTD's Greg Berg, David Giordano, Executive Director of Root-Pike WIN, said he's had "a number" of conversations with Foxconn representatives. "I'm optimistic about what might happen," he said, cautioning that it was too early to discuss details. Giordano made it clear that the Network's first preference is to leave things in their natural state, but that removing 1,500 acres of farmland will mean fewer pollutants running off of farm fields and into area rivers and streams.

June 7, 2018 - Construction of the Phase I Pike River Streambank and Wetland Restoration project in Petrifying Springs Park will begin Friday, June 8, Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser announced today. “This project will restore and preserve the Pike River watershed, which, in turn, will feed cleaner water into Lake Michigan,” Kreuser said. “This is a win-win for our environment and our quality of life, which is enhanced so much by the natural resources around us."

April 23, 2018 - Root-Pike WIN helped Racine County secure a $590,000DNR grant through the Wisconsin Wetland Conservation Trust to fully fund the restoration of the wetlands inside Cliffside Park, 7320 Michna Road in Caledonia. According to county officials, the project plans to restore the wetlands inside Cliffside Park to “pre-settlement conditions” by providing “an improved natural area for public recreation, slow soil erosion, remove invasive species, provide habitat for unique species and improve water quality to Lake Michigan.”

April 18, 2018 - Racine County and Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network (WIN) have announced a partnership to restore wetlands inside Cliffside Park to near pre-settlement conditions as part of a DNR grant program. Cliffside Park is a County-owned park with a unique coastal environment located on the shore of Lake Michigan in Caledonia. The restoration of this wetland inside Cliffside Park will provide an improved natural area for public recreation, slow soil erosion, remove invasive species, provide habitat for unique species and improve water quality to Lake Michigan.

March 27, 2018 - Racine County and Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network have announced a partnership to restore wetlands and other natural areas in Pritchard Park. Racine County will provide $25,000 to restore a four-acre wetland that was overrun with invasive buckthorn in the southeast corner of the park. Along with the removal this winter of hundreds of dead or dying trees affected by the Emerald Ash Borer, the area will become a better-functioning wetland, with thriving and diverse plant communities to help reduce flooding and runoff pollution, improve and expand habitats, and create places where people want to be.

December 11, 2017 - Root-Pike WI is focused on five watersheds in the Root-Pike basin, all of which are on the DNR’s proposed 2018 list of impaired waterways. The organization’s primary goal is to get those waterways off the list, but it’s going to take a lot of time and money to get there. Giordano said they prioritize projects that will reduce pollution — such as nitrogen, phosphorus, road salt and animal waste — from getting reaching our waters.

December 4, 2017 - SC Johnson announced a donation of $35,000 to Root-Pike WIN to support the organization’s restoration projects, with the goal of significantly reducing runoff pollution, flooding issues, and habitat degradation that threaten area streams and Lake Michigan. “Issues like soil erosion and storm water runoff have to be addressed because clean water is essential so communities and the environment can thrive,” said Kelly M. Semrau, Senior Vice President – Global Corporate Affairs, Communication & Sustainability at SC Johnson. “We partner with Root-Pike WIN to ensure that the health our area’s major watersheds will continue to improve.”

Volunteers sought for Pike River Cleanup Saturday

September 12, 2017 - Over the years, volunteers have pulled 125 tires and 100 yards of trash from the Pike River in Kenosha. “We’ve pulled out computers and lawnmowers, trash barrels, steel barrels, rugs,” event organizer Jim Zondlak said. Volunteers are needed to help with the Pike River Cleanup from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday. From sawing log jams out of the river to picking up trash along the river banks and feeding volunteers, helpers of all ages are welcome, Zondlak said. This year’s Pike River Cleanup is sponsored by the Kenosha Sportfishing and Conservation Association in conjunction with Kenosha County Parks, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network and American Rivers.

August 3, 2017 - By providing clean water, communities, businesses and the environment can all thrive, Dave Giordano told a group of people at Kenosha’s Northside Public Library Thursday evening. But Root-Pike WIN can’t do it alone. Protecting major watersheds takes a cooperative effort and WIN aims to bring diverse groups together on projects to restore wetlands, plant native vegetation and reduce pollution.

July 31, 2017 - Local environmental experts, including Dave Giordano, executive director of the Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network, refrained from knee-jerk reactions opposing the proposal and instead suggested parties come together to ensure a rational, balanced approach that minimizes environmental damage through planning and foresight.

June 25, 2017 - The Village Board of Somers authorized Root-Pike WIN to serve as agent to find grant funds for the restoration of Somers' Neumiller and Gitzlaff Parks because local funding is not readily available. In Neumiller Woods, a trail creation and restoration project will provide better, long-term access to an area of Somers that has rare, pre-settlement conditions to experience. In Gitzlaff Park, there is a unique opportunity to bring back some of the pre-settlement wetlands, which help minimize the effects of fast-moving, erosive, and polluted storm water. 

June 22, 2017 - Sparkles the Water Spaniel has been spotted all over southeastern Wisconsin lately! Along with his hostess, Katie Knoff, he not only participated in, but led the annual Wind Point Pet Parade. Following the parade, Sparkles was honored to be the celebrity judge for Wind Point pets entered for best costume, best talent and best grooming.

May 31, 2017 - Root-Pike WIN has a new “life size” clean water mascot, “Sparkles the Water Spaniel”. Sparkles was created as part of the Respect Our Waters program, which began in 2012 as a new way to educate residents of Southeastern Wisconsin on ways to reduce stormwater runoff pollution through better homeowner land management practices. Sparkles will make his first appearance at the Kenosha HarborMarket on June 3, 2017, to meet area residents and encourage people of all ages and interest levels to enjoy WIN’s “The Mystery of Pike Creek” event at Kenosha Public Museum.

May 21, 2017 - 200 middle school students visited the mouth of the Pike River in Kenosha to understand watershed connectivity and the basic principles of what happens on land ultimately ends up in the storm sewers, rivers and lakes. Dave Giordano shared his thoughts on the importance of educating youth on watershed issues and solutions.

May 19, 2017 - Allison Thielen, Program Manager of Root-Pike WIN, accompanied Nan Calvert for Nan's monthly environmental program on WGTD's Morning Show. What is a watershed? What can municipalities do to reduce stormwater runoff issues? What can homeowners and business owners do on their own properties to help hold back stormwater and reduce the pollutant load entering our streams and Lake Michigan? All of these questions (and more) were answered on the radio show.

May 17, 2017 - Root-Pike WIN Executive Director, Dave Giordano, outlined the issues the restoration project is looking to address and the expected outcomes and impact on water quality in the Root River and Lake Michigan. Improving the ravine and wetland will help minimize the future deposition of excess sediment and nutrients. The project will bring other benefits to the community as well, as Colonial Park represents a rare opportunity for Racine residents to enjoy a beautiful, quiet natural area in the middle of the city.

May 17, 2017 - During a press conference, Root-Pike WIN, along with the City of Racine and Weed Out! Racine, announced plans for the ravine and wetland restoration project in Racine's urban Colonial Park. The project is currently in the design and engineering phase and is expected to move into implementation in 2018.

May 17, 2017 - Root-Pike WIN Executive Director Dave Giordano, along with City of Racine's Mayor John Dickert and Melissa Warner of Weed Out! Racine, announced on Wednesday a restoration project aimed at restoring a ravine and wetland as well as removing invasive species in Colonial Park. The project could create spawning habitat for Northern Pike that currently doesn't exist between the mouth of the Root River and the Horlick Dam.

May 11, 2017 - Dave Giordano shares about Root-Pike WIN's history, mission, current projects and objectives, challenges and ways you can get involved. He discusses upcoming events, such as the Mystery of Pike Creek event to be held at the Kenosha Public Museum on Saturday, June 3rd, as well as WIN's outreach efforts through the Respect Our Waters campaign.

May 8, 2017 - As Racine County prepares to spend $2.25 million to transform Pritchard Park into an outdoor youth sports complex, it has asked the Root-Pike WIN to help it return the park’s natural areas to a more native habitat. In a step toward that effort, the group organized more than a dozen volunteers who were on hand beating back two invasive species that continue to crowd out native forest plants in the park.

May 2017 - Wind Point Living Magazine - During a downpour at a typical home, water gushes out of downspouts, across lawns treated with pesticides and fertilizers, into an oily street and, finally, down a storm drain that dumps that pollution along with the water into a stream or Lake Michigan. By building a rain garden, you can divert your gutter water into an attractive planting bed that works like a sponge and natural filter to clean the water and lets it percolate slowly into the surrounding soil.

April 22, 2017 - On the Saturday closest to Earth Day in April, Gateway celebrates our environment with displays, workshops, hands-on activities for people of all ages, and other environment-related activities. Hundreds of community members visit the Gateway campuses each year to learn and show their support for our environment. The 2017 Celebrate Earth Day event was held on April 22--the actual Earth Day.

March 2, 2017 - Have you noticed? Whenever it snows, the beautiful pristine white piles of cottony looking snow morph quickly into dirty, unsightly mounds of who knows what. Well, that gray icing is runoff pollution that you normally don’t see when it rains. Root-Pike WIN discusses how dirty snow gives us the uncomfortable reminder that pollution exists in forms we can see and others we cannot.

February 27, 2017 - Community Connection is a weekly feature of the Kenosha News helping people learn about organizations making a difference in Kenosha County’s communities and sharing ways to get involved. Root-Pike WIN was featured in February 2017 and Dave Giordano discussed the origin and mission of our organization, our current work and how we can best be supported by the community.

December 2016 - Root-Pike WIN's executive director shares information to make it easy to strike a balance between safely clearing snow and ice from your property this winter and reducing impacts to the environment, human health, and pet health. Salt less, salt smarter. See better results and cleaner water!

October 2016 - We created “Riffles” to give you a snapshot of what’s happening with the Plans for the Root-Pike Basin. Much like riffles add oxygen to water and increase habitat, these bits of progress we are sharing add energy and enthusiasm to what we are trying to accomplish. It’s exciting, and together, we’re making progress. The value we are providing to the communities in which we live, work and play is clear. We’re the catalyst for awareness… and action. Please support us and stay involved.

August 15, 2016 - Jacob Kittilstad of CBS 58 explores a section of the Pike River in Mt. Pleasant that has undergone a major transition thanks to many dedicated individuals and the Village of Mount Pleasant. Tony Beyer and Sonny Havn from the Village of Mount Pleasant are interviewed in the tour.

July 14, 2016 - Dave Giordano, Root-Pike WIN's Executive is interviewed by Greg Berg on 91.1 FM WGTDs Morning Show. Dave, along with Nan Calvert of the SENO/Kenosha-Racine Land Trust, discuss the condition of the Root-Pike basin watersheds and Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network's strategy to improve land management and water quality in Southeastern Wisconsin.

June 14, 2016 - Root-Pike WIN has been caring for downtown Racine's Sixth Street Stormwater Planters since May of 2013. Recently, program manager Allison Thielen assisted city staff with soil sampling of the planters to determine nutrient losses and the effects of road salt on the engineered soil in the planters, which contain native plant species.

May 18, 2016 - Root-Pike WIN is excited to announce the return of Allison Thielen to the program manager position for the organization. Allison previously held the same title for the organization from 2013 to 2015. She will primarily be responsible for managing the Respect Our Waters campaign, working with the Southeastern Wisconsin Clean Water Network, office management and some grantwriting and watershed plan implementation work.

April 20, 2016 - Letter to the Editor by Dave Giordano, executive director of Root-Pike WIN:
Championed by County Executive Jim Kreuser, Kenosha County’s enthusiastic support for the Pike RIver Watershed Restoration Plan began in 2012 with active participation in the planning meetings. In 2014, the Kenosha County Board of Supervisors agreed to adopt the plan after it received approval from the Environmental Protection Agency. Today, Kenosha County, among other municipalities in the Pike River watershed, has been working to advance the recommendations, while introducing new ideas to make the plan even better.

April 13, 2016 - Executive director Dave Giordano and Root-Pike WIN board member Lori Artiomow describe the current conditions and needs of the Pike River watershed, for which a 9-element restoration plan was completed in September 2013. The organization has a new focus on implementation of the Pike River Plan along with the Root River and Wind Point Watershed Restoration Plans.

April 7, 2016 - Root-Pike WIN participates in the annual free kids fishing clinic organized by Salmon Unlimited Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Racine County parks system. During the clinic, held at Quarry Lake Park of Racine in the Root River watershed, members of the Root Pike Watershed Initiative Network will be on hand to talk about protecting water resources.

March 15, 2016 - The Respect Our Waters Campaign by Root-Pike WIN along with over 40 other vendors to participate in the first EcoFest Racine, co-organized by Greening Greater Racine and Gateway Technical College. Visitors to the Respect Our Waters booth can collect bookmarks, stickers, buttons, pet waste bags and other items and information designed to teach local residents things they can do on their own property to help reduce stormwater runoff pollution. Respect Our Waters will also raffle off a free rain barrel.

February 26, 2016 - Root-Pike WIN and Weed Out! Racine is seeking volunteers to assist with managing the stormwater planters at Sixth Street and College Avenue in downtown Racine. Volunteers would weed the planters, remove last year's dead foliage, plant replacement plants and come back to weed again as needed.

January 2, 2016 - The Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network has named Dave Giordano as their executive director. A former board member and current resource group member since 2011, Giordano’s new duties include leading fundraising efforts, day-to-day operations and communications. “The impaired watersheds in Southeastern Wisconsin are in a fragile state, and I couldn’t be more excited to take on a leadership role in an organization that can affect significant improvement”, Giordano said.

October 12, 2015 - Funded in part by Root-Pike WIN's watershed-based grants program, the WATERshed program teaches 4th grade and 7th grade students about the area’s system of streams, rivers and lakes. Students are also taught the importance of keeping that system healthy and safe for plants, animals and people, according to Nancy Carlson, program coordinator and naturalist at River Bend Nature Center.

July 13, 2015 - After more than two years of planning, Root-Pike WIN will introduce its plan to restore the Wind Point watershed at a meeting Thursday evening. The Wind Point Watershed Restoration plan will include 10 projects most critical to complete a restoration of the watershed, which includes portions of Racine and Milwaukee counties. Officials with Root-Pike WIN will present the plan at a public meeting Thursday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Wind Point Lighthouse, 4725 Lighthouse Drive.

May 29, 2014 - (Fox 6 video) A couple of weeks ago, a quiet neighborhood in Franklin was taken over with lights, microphones and camera crews as an every day house was transformed into a stage. Chip and Chris were able to crash the set to bring us a behind the scenes look at just what was going on. Interviewed by the reporters were Allison Thielen of Root-Pike WIN and Sparkles the Water Spaniel himself.

September 26, 2013 - A new plan calls for restoration of the Pike River and its watershed area in part to reduce pollutants, like nitrogen and phosphorous, found in the water. The plan, to be formally presented today, comes from the Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network, a nonprofit that tries to protect and restore the Root and Pike river watersheds. The plan includes 10 “critical” recommendations. Five of those are in the Somers area of Kenosha County, and five are in the Mount Pleasant area of Racine County.

August 27, 2013 - Alternatives for the Horlick Dam will be the focus of the Root River Planning meeting from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28, at River Bend Nature Center, 3600 N. Green Bay Road. The dam has inadequate spillway capacity to safely pass the 500-year flood level, and the state Department of Natural Resources is expected to require Racine County to improve the safety of the dam by increasing its spillway capacity or removing it. Staff from the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission will present four conceptual alternatives for the dam.