Tuesday , 21 February 2017

April 20, 2016 E-News

IRRIGATION CITED FOR LOW LITTLE PLOVER RIVER LEVELS – A long-awaited study that examines how irrigation is affecting the closely watched Little Plover River in central Wisconsin could help prevent the river from running dry again. The results of the state-funded research may also provide clues on how large-scale groundwater withdrawals are impacting streams, rivers and lakes elsewhere, according to scientists. Groundwater issues have become increasingly contentious in Wisconsin, especially in the 1.75 million acre Central Sands region — home to a large potato and vegetable growing industry. The region relies on more than 3,000 high-capacity wells to grow crops. The Little Plover, a Class 1 trout stream, flows for about 6 miles near Stevens Point before it enters the Wisconsin River. But more than its reputation for fishing, the river is infamously known for stretches that run dry, as they did in 2005 and 2009. The culprit? For years, scientists have said irrigation of potato and vegetable crops have had a major impact on the river. Wisconsin is the No. 3 producer of potatoes in the country, and much of the crop is centered around Stevens Point. http://www.stevenspointjournal.com/story/news/2016/04/15/irrigation-cited-low-little-plover-river-levels/83103966/

PROFESSOR RECEIVES $500,000 NSF GRANT TO STUDY THE RECOVERY OF PHOSPHORUS FROM WATER – Dr. Brooke Mayer, an assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, has received a $500,000 CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation to study how to remove and recover phosphorus from water. The CAREER grant is the foundation’s most prestigious award in support of junior faculty. Mayer’s five-year study, “CAREER: Harnessing the Power of the Phosphate-Binding Protein PstS to Recover Phosphorus,” will examine how to remove phosphorus from polluted water and recover it for future use in fertilizer. “We want to not only capture it, but also recover it for future use,” Mayer said. Excess phosphorus in stormwater runoff from fertilizer and animal waste and wastewater discharges is the leading cause of pollution in freshwaters. The overabundance of phosphorus in waterbodies due to waste discharges and runoff has become a major issue in many areas of the world, including the Great Lakes region and the Everglades in the United States. https://news.marquette.edu/news-releases/professor-receives-500000-nsf-grant-to-study-the-recovery-of-phosphorus-from-water/

PARTY POLITICS AFFECTING PROGRESS ON GROUND WATER LEGISLATION – Comprehensive ground water legislation has not been passed through the state government after decades of research.  That may change in 2017, if both parties can agree to terms. State Representatives Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) and Scott Krug (R-Wisconsin Rapids) represent areas of the Central Sands region of Wisconsin which has been a particular subject of water rights reform between large agricultural developers and homeowners who depend on well water for their water access. Shankland supports the Water Sustainability Act, a bill that was introduced in the last legislative session but did not receive a hearing and will have to be reintroduced in 2017.  She says previous bills did not go far enough to respect the water rights of all parties involved. http://wsau.com/news/articles/2016/apr/11/party-politics-affecting-progress-on-ground-water-legislation/

WISCONSIN MANURE IRRIGATION WORKGROUP REPORT AVAILABLE AS RESOURCE FOR CITIZENS AND LOCAL MUNICIPALITIES – Manure irrigation is the practice of applying livestock manure to fields using irrigation equipment. Although not currently in wide-spread use in Wisconsin, the practice is expected to grow over time. At the same time, there is increasing debate about the pros and cons of this practice. Many communities are struggling to make decisions about if and how manure irrigation can work for them—often due to a lack of information. To help address this information deficit, in 2013, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources requested UW-Madison/UW-Extension convene a workgroup to study the issue. The workgroup, composed of scientists, public health specialists, state agency experts, farmers, conservationists and others, spent over two years gathering and reviewing scientific information on the practice and developing their report, which includes findings, responses and recommendations. http://news.cals.wisc.edu/2016/04/14/wisconsin-manure-irrigation-workgroup-report/

SAND COMPANY CUTS JOBS IN WESTERN WIS. – Fairmount Santrol is laying off 55 employees at three locations in western Wisconsin, according to filings with the state Department of Workforce Development. The cuts affect plants in Menomonie (N5628 580th St.), Hager City (N1464 770th St.) and Maiden Rock (W3302 Highway 35 S.). Thirty-nine were laid off in Maiden Rock, 13 in Menomonie and three in Hager City. Seven were salaried positions, and 48 were hourly. “The layoff has been prompted by organizational restructuring and a reduction in business operations,” the company said in the filings. Fairmount Santrol said the duration of the layoffs is not known but could be permanent.  Chesterland, Ohio-based Fairmount Santrol provides sand and sand-based products used by oil and gas exploration and production companies. http://www.leadertelegram.com/News/Local/Briefs/2016/04/15/Sand-company-cuts-jobs-in-western-Wis.html

QUOTE– “Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.” –  Lou Holtz

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