James Rowen
Op Ed

State’s Impaired Waters Jump by 20%

DNR adds another 240 waterways that are officially impaired, bringing total to 1,300.

By - Nov 17th, 2017 03:01 pm
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Six Mile Creek. Photo from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources .Six Mile Creek. Photo from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources .

Six Mile Creek. Photo from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources .

Still waters run deep, and ever murkier in Gov. Scott Walker‘s Wisconsin. Official records show that Walker:

*  Demanded successfully that Foxconn be allowed to fill wetlands without DNR permission, regardless of evidence that such kid-gloves ‘regulation’ might not be such a good idea;

* Is set to sign a mining bill that will open Wisconsin to toxifying, sulfuric acid-producing, metals mining;

*  Has a water privatization agenda that repeatedly puts businesses in control of the public’s waters;

*  Allowed his “chamber of commerce mentality” natural resources department to overlook runoff from dozens of expanding big dairy cattle feeding operations;

But here’s the latest:

The DNR has reported to the federal government that another 240 Wisconsin waterways are now officially impaired:

The DNR said Wednesday that of those, 183 of them are lakes or river stretches that exceed more restrictive phosphorous standards that took effect in December 2010.

Sharon Gayan is director of the DNR bureau for water quality. She says over the past five years the DNR has assessed more than 6,000 waterways and more than 80 percent are in good condition. This year, she said 35 bodies of water have been removed from the list of those needing management attention.

The impaired waterways list comes out every two years. About 1,300 segments are now listed.

The findings fit a pattern: in 2016, I cited the most recent report at the time, which contained a roughly similar submission:

In the proposed 2016 list update, DNR proposes to add 225 new waters. A majority of the listing additions were waters that exceed total phosphorus criteria. A significant number of new listings were also based on poor biological condition. Ten waterbodies are proposed to be delisted.

James Rowen, a former journalist and mayoral staffer in Milwaukee and Madison, writes a regular blog, The Political Environment

Categories: Environment, Op-Ed, Politics

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