Saturday , 18 November 2017

March 22, 2017 E-News

AGRICULTURE LEADERS SLAM TRUMP’S USDA BUDGET CUT PROPOSAL – Agriculture leaders including lawmakers from President Donald Trump’s Republican Party on Thursday criticized his planned 21 percent cut to discretionary spending at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), saying it could take a toll on the rural communities that helped elect him last November. Trump has proposed slashing the USDA’s discretionary budget by $4.7 billion to $17.9 billion by halting funding for rural clean water initiatives and rural business services, reducing some USDA statistical services and cutting county-level staff. “I strongly oppose the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts to programs that are critical to farmers, ranchers and families in small towns across America,” Debbie Stabenow, ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Trump’s blueprint aims to save $498 million by eliminating a program that helps fund clean water and sewer systems in small communities.

SARATOGA WATER ORDINANCE GETS STATE OK – For five years, the town of Saratoga has been working to stop a proposed large-scale dairy farm that officials and residents fear could harm the water supply. Now they have another weapon in that fight. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources last month determined that an ordinance the Town Board had enacted to protect groundwater could take effect, according to a letter DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp sent to the town. The ordinance spells out actions the town can take when water quality standards are violated, and gives the town authority to enforce state rules governing large farms, town attorney Paul Kent said. The decision comes as the town and many of its residents continue efforts to block the planned Golden Sands Dairy, a 5,300-cow farm that would operate and grow crops on nearly 8,000 acres, most of which are in Saratoga.

DNR MONITORING WATER QUALITY AFTER 100,000-GALLON MANURE SPILL IN BROWN COUNTY – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources responded to a 100,000-gallon manure spill at the James Kroll Farm on Finger Road in the Town of Humboldt, which is located in southeast Brown County. The DNR says the manure reached School Creek, a tributary of the Kewaunee River. “The DNR and county health department advise the public that the water in the stream might not be safe for people or pets. Surface water samples are being taken to monitor water quality impacts,” reads a statement from the DNR. “DNR has determined there is some risk of groundwater impact due to the dominant geology in area being shallow bedrock and advises private well owners to closely monitor water quality.”  The spill happened on March 13 when a valve was left open by a farm employee, according to the agency.

GROWERS FACE OFF AGAINST CONSERVATIONISTS, FISHING ENTHUSIASTS OVER EFFORT TO DEREGULATE HIGH-CAPACITY WELLS – Farm interests faced off Wednesday against conservationists, fishing enthusiasts and other users of lakes and streams over proposed legislation to further roll back state regulation of high-capacity wells. The debate focused on the Central Sands region of the state, where water levels in trout streams and lakes have dropped, in some cases dramatically, as millions of gallons of water have been pumped from the ground to cultivate some of the nation’s most productive potato-growing fields. As a standing-room-only crowd listened in a state Capitol hearing room, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald told members of two committees the legislation he introduced last month was needed to ensure the health of Wisconsin agriculture. “I don’t want any lakes to dry up, and I don’t want any streams to dry up,” said Fitzgerald, a Juneau Republican. “But I’m also not going to hamstring an industry that’s the backbone of this state.” But citizens who testified during the all-day session and Democratic lawmakers questioned why the bill addressed the concerns of farmers, but not owners of lakefront property or businesses that rely on tourism driven by outdoor recreation.

WISCONSIN STUDY LOOKS AT WAYS TO REDUCE ‘LEGACY’ PHOSPHORUS – A long history of heavy fertilization by growers has created an overabundance of phosphorus in Wisconsin soil, according to a new University of Wisconsin-Madison study, and farmers cutting back on manure and fertilizer application would help improve water quality. The research by the UW-Madison Institute for Environmental Studies used computer models to simulate the movement of water and phosphorus in the Yahara Watershed. The study’s lead author, Melissa Motew, said scientists have long known a build-up of phosphorus spread on the soil decades ago continues to harm water quality. The new findings, she said, show how much harm is caused by the so-called “legacy” phosphorus and what a reduction of the chemical would mean. “We found that currently we have about four times as much phosphorus in soils than is actually needed to support crop growth,” she said. “Right now there’s an abundance of phosphorus that you could remove right away and not have any effect on agricultural productivity.”

LAWMAKERS GRILL WISCONSIN DNR CHIEF OVER CRITICAL AUDIT – Environmentalists and Democratic lawmakers expressed worries over the Department of Natural Resources’ handling of water regulation on Tuesday, although Secretary Cathy Stepp defended the agency and said officials were addressing longstanding problems. Stepp and other officials appeared at a legislative hearing to respond to a critical state audit that found a drop in enforcement activity and other problems in the wastewater program for factories, municipalities and large farms. The audit found that enforcement actions of municipal and industrial wastewater permits declined from 2005 through 2014. The auditors, using the DNR’s own standards, also found the agency failed to issue violation notices nearly 6% of the time in 558 cases they examined. In addition, it turned up backlogs: The DNR did inspections of 17 large farms — 6.5% of the total — after permits had already been re-issued.

WHY YOU SHOULD DRINK WATER FIRST THING EVERY DAY– The benefits of water are well known, but experts say reaching for H2O before your morning cup of coffee could jumpstart your system just when you need it most. After going several hours without a sip, a serving of water first thing can hydrate the body while aiding digestion and metabolism. Here’s what experts advise. Water does wonders for our wellness. Angela Lemond, national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, calls it the gold standard fluid for the body. “An adult body is around 55-60% water,” she said, so “drinking water every day is vital for the body to work correctly.” Lemond has heard theories that drinking two glasses in the morning on an empty stomach can aid digestion and other functions. “Drinking a couple glasses of water to allow the body to rehydrate allows for better digestion when you do eat.”

WRWA ANNUAL TECHNICAL CONFERENCE – Less than a week until the WRWA 29th Annual Technical Conference is held March 28-31 in LaCrosse. With 1,500 anticipated attendees and 230 exhibit booths this should be the largest WRWA conference ever. Don’t miss the opening session and awards presentation, Sportsman’s Raffle prize drawings, banquet; poster, video and water taste contests and over 40-hours of training sessions throughout the week. This conference has something for everyone in the water & wastewater industries. For more information, go to

QUOTE – “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”- Peter Drucker

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

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David Lawrence
WRWA Executive Director
(715) 344-7778

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