River Restoration and the Four Spheres

Milwaukee River

Milwaukee River

I wanted to examine the ways that my restoration work has benefited or impacted the four spheres that make up our earth, lithosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere.

The lithosphere, or geosphere labelled in the images, is broadly the entire range of crust that surrounds our planet including the mountains, lake beds and ocean floors. On a more specific scale it is thought of as the rocky mineral crust that coats the planet. River Revitalization Foundation has done tremendous work for regaining health within the lithosphere of the River Basin. I have helped with this mission by irradiating invasive species and planting or live staking native species. This will balance out the chemical composition within the soil and help to rejuvenate the ground. In turn the trees will flourish as well as shrubbery and saplings, in turn the rest of the spheres can work together to restore the land.

The biosphere is composed of all living organisms. In the case of the Milwaukee River or Southbranch Creek, the biosphere needs help in order to restore to a homeostasis. Healthy native plant life invites native wildlife and the biological web can then continue to grow. We have seen a great improvement in wildlife and plant life restoration at the Riverview location. It has also benefited the human species as it provides public access to the green space. I have helped to promote the biosphere at Riverview and Southbranch Creek by planting Basswood, and Buttonbush trees, as well as creating nesting cribs and introducing sunlight to the forest floor where native species had once been shaded and crowded.

The hydrosphere may be the most important aspect of restoration at the Riverview property. Maintaining and improving the water quality of the Milwaukee River can greatly improve several ecological aspects. It will promote a healthier functioning ecosystem with cleaner water. In turn, the atmosphere will improve too. Not only will the ecosystem benefit but also the government of Wisconsin can recognize the success of RRF and encourage funding to keep the river clean. Now that I have seen the river from a new perspective, I know where there are areas of floating garbage and debris. I am planning on organizing a canoe trip with rakes and garbage bags to see if I can remove the pollution in the river. My canoe partner and I managed to remove some pollution the first trip we took but discussed how important it would be to come back in the spring.

Finally, the atmosphere is all of the air and water vapor surrounding the earth. When restoration has occurred in the lithosphere and the hydrosphere, the quality of the atmosphere finds balance as well. Healthy native trees produce abundant oxygen and provide cleaner air. The relationship that the spheres have is crucial to a developing city to maintain a healthy biosphere. I plan to continue planting native species and learning other ways to enrich the quality of the air. The Southbranch Creek location will make a great impact on the community when the land and plant life continue to revive. I plan to work at both locations to do my part in our city’s restoration.

When all of the spheres are working harmoniously the results are bountiful. A healthy ecosystem can improve the overall quality of life within the area, and not only wildlife but also society will be enriched too. I often envision a city with plants and trees around every corner and out of every windowsill, some day entire city will be less destructive and more productive in the fight against decline.

Rehabilitated Hill Along River BasinRehabilitated Hill Along River Basin
Public Access Ways

Public Access Ways

Buttonbush - Native Tree to Wisconsin

Buttonbush – Native Tree to Wisconsin


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