The Missing ‘Small Magic’ of Water /
2013 / N. Aten
loss we have in urban neighborhoods is the ‘small magic’ of water – we no longer see little streams; they
run underground in pipes; we no longer see little wetlands and ephemeral wetlands; they are filled. When our only visible
water is the big rivers and the Great Lake, we have lessened our opportunities for intimate connections to water, and the
sense of stewardship such intimate relationships often engender.
Left, showing present WDNR-mapped surface waters
in yellow — notice the absence in Milwaukee — and overlaying the historic vegetation of Milwaukee. The
historic vegetation is extrapolated from the 1835 GLO surveys; reds and blues were large swamps. The Milwaukee County boundary
is shown; and the boundary of the inset view to the right.
zoomed in to Milwaukee, showing the 1835 GLO land survey maps, with then-mapped large wetlands (those visible walking the