Saturday , 25 February 2017

July 20, 2016 E-News

RULING IN CAFO CASE ADDS NEW TWIST TO DNR POWERS – A Dane County judge has added a new twist to a simmering dispute about the state Department of Natural Resources’ authority to protect water quality. Judge John Markson ruled the state can set limits on large dairy feedlots to protect water from pollution, overturning a decision of DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. The case is complicated, but conservation groups said the ruling was important in part because Markson rejected the view that a 2011 state law aimed at strictly limiting the power of state regulators was applicable. That law was the basis of a formal opinion Attorney General Brad Schimel issued in May prompting the DNR to begin issuing permits for high-capacity wells without considering the impact of all nearby wells on lakes, streams and groundwater. Environmentalists have said they expect to challenge Schimel’s opinion.

DNR INITIATES RULES FOR STRICTER MANURE SPREADING CONTROLS – Under pressure from citizens and environmental groups, state officials took a step this week in advancing regulations that would impose stricter controls on manure spreading on Wisconsin’s most vulnerable soils. The Department of Natural Resources released plans for new rules to limit manure use in certain zones where animal waste poses a greater chance of polluting streams and groundwater. Currently, Wisconsin has uniform standards for manure spreading, but if the changes are made, farmers in some regions would be required to limit their spreading more. “This is the first time that we would have different practices for specific areas,” said Russ Rasmussen, who is leading DNR efforts on manure issues. The measures are an outgrowth of a task force of citizens, farmers and public officials in northeastern Wisconsin, which met for months. After completing work, they recently called for limits on manure spreading and more government oversight of farming practices.

PROPOSED WOOD COUNTY WATER RULES IN LIMBO – Bolstering regulations against water contamination has proved once again to be a highly charged topic among members of the Wood County Board. The board on Tuesday considered a draft ordinance aimed at penalizing people who contaminate ground and surface waters, partly in response to concerns about a proposed large-scale dairy in Saratoga. But the measure did not pass and was instead referred to a committee for further consideration, drawing the ire of the legislation’s supporters. At issue was procedure: Board member Ed Wagner argued that a board vote on the merits of the proposal was premature because some steps required by state law had not yet happened. Those prerequisites included committee approval of the ordinance, a public hearing and consent from voters in a referendum, Wood County lawyer Peter Kastenholz said.

PANEL TO DISCUSS WATER POLLUTION – A Wisconsin River advocacy group hopes to draw attention to concerns about water quality by bringing together experts and highlighting the impact of cuts made to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The panel discussion and question and answer sessions are presented by Friends of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway, a river conservation group that has been cleaning up the river and advocating for its preservation for nearly 30 years. The group’s president, Timm Zumm, said the events are intended to help residents sort through the science and state regulations related to water quality. The first panel will meet at 7 p.m. July 26 at the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center, 5607 Highway C in Spring Green, a site that overlooks the Wisconsin River. The second will be at 7 p.m. Aug. 23 at the Wyoming Valley School Cultural Arts Center, 6306 Highway 23.

2016 WRWA 15th ANNUAL OUTDOOR EXPO – Mark your calendars now to attend this educational and fun-filled event. Classroom training, product demonstrations, attendee activities, heavy equipment displays, Raffle prizes and lunch & refreshments provided. New for this year is our “Buy, Sell and Swap” area where you can display items for sale to the over 600 attendees of the event, and the “Tools of the Trade” area where you can display items, tools and equipment you’ve designed yourself to make your job easier. For additional information on this event or to register, go to

QUOTE – “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” –  Abraham Lincoln

“This week’s issue of the Rural Water E-News is sponsored by the following WRWA Corporate Gold Members and Businesses:”

HD Supply Waterworks2

“For information on WRWA Corporate Gold member benefits and other advertising opportunities, contact Renee at”

David Lawrence
WRWA Executive Director
(715) 344-7778

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