By the 1960s, the Peregrine Falcon had become an endangered species due to the widespread use of DDT which was later banned in the 1970s. Efforts to repopulate the Peregrine have included the introduction of birds raised in captivity to urban landscapes where tall buildings, close proximity to water and sources of pigeons and starlings for food approximate the bird’s preferred natural habitat.
In 1999, an adult pair of peregrines nested under the Hoan Bridge at the intersection of several massive steel girders. While successful at producing 4 young, generally bridges are unsafe nesting sites for peregrines because the young often end up in the water below and drown when they fledge and take their first flights.
Recognizing the opportunity to assist this endangered species Veolia employees gave the peregrines a helping hand by installing a nest box on the roof of the Milorganite® Building in 2008. The falcons took to their new home and have been nesting there ever since. To date, this site has produced a total of 22 young.
As part of our commitment to sustainability through improved fuel efficiency, Veolia Water Milwaukee and Wisconsin Clean Cities conducted an Eco-Driving training course for our fleet drivers. Combining classroom and behind-the-wheel training, it provided Veolia Water fleet drivers with the opportunity to learn new sustainable driving behaviors. These will result in increased miles per gallon gas of gas used, fuel savings, and cleaner air from decreased emissions.
Fleet vehicles have been outfitted with a computerized fueling system that tracks vehicle miles, fuel consumption and vehicle hours. The data from the system will be analyzed on an ongoing basis for fuel consumption rates as an indicator of vehicle operations (driving behaviors) and engine condition.
Veolia Water is continuously looking for ways to make the wastewater treatment and Milorganite production processes more energy efficient. A key initiative is a methane gas pipeline from Emerald Park Landfill to the Jones Island water reclamation facility. Methane gas – normally “flared off” into the atmosphere at landfills – could serve as an alternative fuel source for the energy intensive process of producing Milorganite. Burning methane gas to fuel the dryers would not only eliminate that facility’s reliance on natural gas, but it will also decrease the facility’s carbon footprint, and result in significant energy cost savings.
Check back in March to view the live FalconCam and watch Peregrine Falcons in their nest atop the Milorganite ® building.