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For Immediate Release

Contact: Jennifer Day (519) 257-6733

Binational Conference to Host Public Tours of Milwaukee Area Attractions

As part of the International Joint Commission's 1999 Great Lakes Water Forum being held Thursday through Sunday, September 23-26, 1999 in Milwaukee, a variety of exciting tours have been arranged that showcase the best of the nature environmental Milwaukee has to offer and to provide an educational tour of local water quality information and areas that are being protected and restored. Some tours have a $20 fee and include coach bus service and lunch, others are free and all are open to the public.

On Thursday, September 23, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. a coach tour will visit Fischer Creek and Saxon Homestead Farm. A fee of 20$ per person is required and can be paid in advance or at the Midwest Express Center the morning of the tour. Join tour guide Rolf Johnson of the Milwaukee Public Museum to learn about, experience and hike the Fischer Creek Conservation Area, a 125-acre near-shore complex of semi-wild habitats, dunes, wetlands and over one mile of lake Michigan shoreline. A coalition of private and public groups worked together to secure and purchase the site, which represents the nucleus of a proposed 1,500-acre conservancy area. The Saxon Homestead Farm demonstrates the positive environmental effects of rotational grazing practices for dairy-based agriculture and a bison farm. A bratwurst fry lunch on the lake bluff is included.

"A Living Landscape for the 21st Century," the Menomonee River flows past rural, suburban and urban parkways and through heavily industrialized areas. It is a prime example of a degraded urban waterway that is being actively restored in keeping with its location and use. On Saturday from 1-5:30 p.m. Bob Boucher, riverkeeper and executive director of Friends of the Menomonee River will guide the coach tour along the river from it rural source to its end and discuss the problems, programs and progress affecting its restoration. A fee of 20$ per person is required and can be paid in advance or at the Midwest Express Center the morning of the tour.

For canoeing and biking enthusiasts: 2 2-hour bike trips are planned, one along the Milwaukee River on Friday at 2 p.m. and one along Lake Michigan on Saturday at 2 p.m. A fee of $20 covers transportation and bicycles. A canoe trip on the Milwaukee River on Friday from 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. will excite the advance canoeist and beginners will enjoy the trip planned on Sunday from 9:30-11:30 a.m. A fee of $20 includes lunch.

Take a tour of the Milwaukee Harbor and nearshore of Lake Michigan aboard the research vessel W. G. Jackson. Scheduled tours start at 3 and 5 p.m. on Friday; 1 and 3 p.m. on Saturday and 9 and 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Tours and activities that are free of charge and open to the public include:

  • dockside tours of the Great Lakes research vessels the Lake Guardian, Limnos and Mobile Bay any time between 1-4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 9-11 a.m. on Sunday. The vessels will be docked at the site of the Wisconsin Lake Schooner, which is also available to tour.
  • tour of the University of Wisconsin Great Lakes WATER Institute and dockside tour of its research vessel Neeskay any time between 12:30 and 5 p.m. on Friday.
  • tour Milwaukee's Linnwood Drinking Water Treatment Plant on Friday or Saturday from 1-3 p.m. Transportation to and from the plant will be provided from the Midwest Express Center.

All coach tours and shuttles to others begin and end in front of the Midwest Express Center in downtown Milwaukee on the corner of 4th Street and W. Wisconsin Ave.

The Great Lakes Water Quality Forum, being held during this time at the Midwest Express Center, is hosted by the International Joint Commission, a binational Canada-United States organization established by The Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 to help the two Governments prevent and resolve disputes over use of waters along the U.S. and Canada boundary. Under the 1978 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, IJC assesses progress by the two counties to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes basin ecosystem. The Forum is free and open to the public.

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