LIFE in Our Natural Environment

In general, both community leaders and community members have positive views about the quality of the natural environment in Brown County. In 2011, 76% of community members rated the quality of the natural environment as excellent or good. That number increased to 79% in 2016. In 2011, 82% of leaders rated the natural environment as excellent or good. That number was nearly identical in 2016 (81%).

Figure 1 indicates that community members have divided views about the quality of water in lakes and rivers in the area. In 2011, 45% of community members said that the quality of water in rivers and lakes was excellent or good. That year, 54% rated area rivers and lakes as fair or poor. In 2016, 50% of people rated the quality of rivers and lakes as excellent or good and 48% rated the quality as fair or poor.

Community members have split views about the extent to which Brown County addresses emerging environmental issues before they become significant problems. In 2016, 45% of community members rated Brown County as excellent or good on this issue. That same year, 35% of community members rated Brown County as being good or fair on this issue. Perceptions about addressing emerging environmental issues were nearly identical in 2011 compared to 2016.

Figure 2 illustrates that the number of residents who commute alone (by car) to work has remained fairly stable over time in Brown County. In 2014, data from the U.S. Census reveals that 85% of people commuted to work alone. That number is higher than the state rate of 81% and the U.S. rate of 77%.

Figure 3 provides a look at the leading indicators for this section. The number of days with good quality air has been improving in recent years, which is a positive trend. When it comes to impaired surface water, conditions have been worsening in the past several years.