Friday , 20 October 2017

May 24, 2017 E-News

DNR APPROVES SAND MINING PROJECT WITH LARGE WETLANDS LOSS – A timber company’s plans to develop a $65 million sand processing facility between Tomah and Black River Falls that would destroy a large swath of wetlands were approved by the Department of Natural Resources on Friday. Meteor Timber is proposing to construct a plant and rail transfer site in Monroe County where sand from a nearby mine it owns would be shipped to drillers in Texas and North Dakota, where production is ramping up. Meteor, a large private landowner with extensive forest holdings in the Wisconsin, has touted the economics of the project and its willingness to take extra steps to make up for the loss of wetlands. But environmentalists have been critical of the company’s plans because of the large wetlands loss and potential harm to wildlife and the ecosystem. The DNR approved plans by the company to destroy 16.25 acres of wetlands, including 13.37 acres of white pine and red maple swamp. A white pine, red maple swamp is considered imperiled by the DNR because there are few remaining sites in Wisconsin. Meteor’s plans would be the largest wetlands loss from the sand industry in a decade, according to the DNR.

CONGRESS AND FARMERS ARE SHOCKED BY PROPOSED USDA CUTS– Top officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture didn’t even try to act enthusiastic as they unveiled details of their agency’s proposed 2018 budget, which includes drastic cuts in spending. “We’re going to do the best we can,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “It’s my job to implement that plan.” The broad outlines of this budget, with its 20 percent cut in the USDA’s discretionary spending, had been released two months ago. This week, it became clear exactly what the Trump administration wants to cut: agricultural research, food aid for the poor, and programs that benefit small rural communities.  In a statement, the American Farm Bureau Federation said that “this budget fails agriculture and rural America.”

DNR ASKS FOR COMMENTS ON MONITORING SITE GUIDANCE– The Department of Natural Resources has developed draft guidance for making decisions related to monitoring the drinking water at public water systems. The draft guidance addresses where to collect drinking water compliance samples, specifically entry point samples, and how to handle situations that do not conform to code. The draft guidance document is posted online and available for public review and comment through June 7, 2017. To access the document, visit and search “program guidance.” Please send comments to . All commenters will be notified of responses to comments and the final guidance.

MEGA-DAIRY TO FIGHT RULING THAT BLOCKED SARATOGA CAFO – A proposed mega-dairy in Saratoga isn’t dead yet as the owners fight a court ruling that went against them. The Wysocki Family of Companies, which is planning to build the Golden Sands Dairy in Saratoga, filed documents Monday asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to review a previous ruling by an appeals court that put plans for the dairy in jeopardy. The owners of Golden Sands Dairy do not have the right to use more than 6,000 acres of land for agriculture and manure spreading, according to the Wisconsin District IV Court of Appeals in an April 13 ruling. The ruling overturned an earlier decision by a Wood County Circuit Court judge, which found the Wysocki Family of Companies’ application for dairy buildings on 100 acres of Saratoga land allowed it to use additional land associated with the proposed dairy for agricultural purposes. The potential impact on water from manure spreading from approximately 4,000 cows and watering more than 6,000 acres of crops has been the subject of public protests and moves by town residents seeking to block the project.

EPA SHARES TOOLS FOR COMMUNITIES AND UTILITIES PARTNERING FOR AWARENESS AND WATER RESILIENCE– EPA has developed tools for utilities to use to promote awareness and resilience of their water systems. One is the “Water Utility Public Awareness Kit” to help inform your customers and community about the threats to your water system and motivate them to take action. By using several of the most effective communications methods – print, web, and TV – you will reinforce the message and drive home the Call to Action: Be aware, Be prepared and Show you care. It can be accessed at . EPA has also developed a variety of tools to help promote resilience of water facilities, they can be accessed at

EPA DEVELOPS TRAINING RESOURCES FOR PUBLIC HEALTH PROFESSIONALS – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designed two resources that support the design and implementation of Public Health Surveillance (PHS), a component of a Surveillance and Response System (SRS). They employ multiple components to detect water quality incidents with potential public health and economic consequences. They can be found at

EPA WATER AND EMERGENCY SERVICES SECTOR WEBINAR SERIES– The first is on May 24, 2017 at 1:00 PM ET and is titled What Others Have Done? It is designed for drinking water, wastewater utilities and emergency management agencies to see how two drinking water and wastewater utilities have worked with their local emergency management agencies, to their mutual benefit. To register go to . The second webinar is on June 14, 2017 at 1:00 PM ET on Confronting Challenges -Access and Fuel Supply Planning for drinking water, wastewater utilities and emergency management agencies to hear how two water utilities and an emergency manager approached resolving access issues to disaster sites and the efforts they have undertaken to create a more resilient fuel supply. To register go to

QUOTE– “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.”-  Albert Einstein

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David Lawrence
WRWA Executive Director
(715) 344-7778

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