Wisconsin Water Issues


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Sierra Club presentation on water quality and supply

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Wisconsin Water Issues

  1. 1. Sierra Club – John Muir Chapter http://wisconsin.sierraclub.org shahla.werner@sierraclub.org 222 South Hamilton Street, #11, Madison, WI (608) 256-0565
  2. 2. John Muir’s Fountain(Ennis) Lake Peninsula State Park • Wisconsin has over 15,000 lakes, 53,413 rivers and streams, and countless creeks. • We have 103 are Outstanding Resource Waters (ORWs) and 1,544 Exceptional Resource Waters (ERWs) • Wisconsin is bordered by Lake Superior and Lake Michigan • Our western border is formed by the Mississippi River
  3. 3. 15,000 members & supporters in WI 6 Local Groups: Chippewa Valley, Coulee Region, Four Lakes, Fox Valley, Great Waters, Southeast Gateway 3 Special Activity Sections: River Touring Section, Inner City Outings and Sierra Student Coalition Executive Committee: 15 elected volunteers (9 at-large, 6 group delegates) 3 Chapter Staff: Chapter Director - Shahla Werner Chapter Coordinator - Jacinda Tessmann, Conservation Programs Coordinator - Elizabeth Ward Priorities: Reducing Climate Change through Clean Energy and Clean Transportation; Protecting Water Resources; Preventing Destructive Mining Impacts
  4. 4. • We thwarted Perrier’s plans to build a water-bottling plant in Adams County – 2001 • We pushed for clean-up of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the Fox River • We supported Federal Wild & Scenic River designation for the St. Croix & Namekagon Rivers • We helped secure Wild River status for the Pine, Pike, Popple, Brunsweiler, and Totogatic Rivers, established by the WI state legislature in 1965 to preserve select rivers in a free-flowing condition and to protect them from development. • We helped pass the historic Great Lakes Compact - 2008 • We helped pass a ban on Phosphorus lawn fertilizer - 2009 • We supported enactment of the strongest numerical phosphorus and nitrogen nutrient limits in the nation - 2010
  5. 5. Protecting Water Supply: Opposing efforts to deregulate high capacity wells through budget motion 375 and SB 302 (undermines Lake Beulah and Richfield CAFO high capacity well challenge); supporting new Groundwater Management Areas, spring protection, statewide water conservation Protecting Water Quality: Opposing uninspected, minimally enforced, highly subsidized factory farms or Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) whose runoff and manure spills kill fish, contaminate drinking water and cause algal growth and dead zones in water bodies; Supporting increased water program staffing, increased inspections and enforcement; increased local control over livestock siting; stronger waste spreading rules
  6. 6. Source: U.S. Geological Survey 70% of Wisconsinites and 97% of inland communities depend on groundwater for drinking water Wisconsin uses about 760 million gallons of groundwater per day. Rainfall over Wisconsin averages 32 inches annually, but only 6-10 inches of it soaks in to become groundwater.
  7. 7. Photo by Tom Kujawski/For the State Journal Robert’s Irrigation of Plover drilling a high capacity well in Portage Co.
  8. 8. There are over 3,000 high capacity wells permitted in the Central Sands Area, where surface water drawdowns are already occurring, according to the Friends of Central Sands. The proposed Richfield Dairy in Adams County would house 4,300 cows and pump 72.5 million gallons of groundwater each year (138 gallons / min)
  9. 9. The 2011 Lake Beulah vs. DNR State Supreme Court decision stated that the DNR has the authority – and the responsibility – to consider the environmental impacts of significant groundwater removal. Budget Motion 375 prevents neighbors from challenging a high capacity well based on cumulative impacts; and SB 302 would prohibit DNR from considering cumulative impacts in high capacity well permitting and mandate rushed permit reviews
  10. 10. 2005 1997 Images: Friends of the Little Plover River American Rivers rated Central Wisconsin’s Little Plover River as the 4th Most Endangered River in the US in 2013
  11. 11. • Supporting maintaining DNR authority to consider cumulative impacts of permitting new high-capacity wells (Opposed Budget Motion 375; SB 302) • Supporting increased protections for springs • Supporting Adaptive Management, which would allow the DNR to change permits if impacts result from overpumping • Opposing arbitrary legislatively mandated permit deadlines in favor of allowing DNR to take the time needed to review complex high capacity well applications (SB 302) • Conserving water by promoting rain barrels and using
  12. 12. • 2013 Autumn Assembly Presentation by Francie Rowe, member of Water Sentinels & Central Sands Action Coalition, regarding WI high capacity well issues, water drawdowns, and pending litigation • January Muir View newsletter article on High Cap Well Bill (SB 302); continued editorials, Facebook posts, media outreach to defeat efforts to gut current protections • August 2014 Paddling Outing to Pleasant Lake, located in the Central Sands near proposed and existing CAFOs (Richfield, New
  13. 13. Wisconsin has over 235 permitted Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO’s) or factory farms, most of which are dairies. A CAFO is defined as an operation with at least 1,000 confined Animal Units, or at least 700 dairy cows, 55,000 turkeys, or 20,000 laying hens. Wisconsin’s Livestock Siting Law, enacted in 2004, along with DATCP’s “Siting Rule,” issued by the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) in 2006, restricts ability of local governments to direct the location of new CAFOs through zoning or protective ordinances. DATCP on the current Livestock Siting application: “A properly completed [siting] application essentially guarantees approval.”
  14. 14. The number of CAFOs skyrocketed after the Livestock Siting Law / Rule was enacted
  15. 15. Jeff Glaze – State Journal Monona’s Hudson Beach closed 2012 UW-Madison Photo Library Lake Mendota algae Phosphorus from farm runoff, leaves & fertilizer (though it was banned from lawn fertilizer in 2009) leads to toxic blue-green algal blooms in Wisconsin’s lakes, rivers and streams; threatening public health and decreasing summer recreational opportunities
  16. 16. Phosphorus pollution (550,000 lbs enter the Bay each year) is responsible for a growing dead zone that starts north of Green Bay and extends for 30 miles. The number of hypoxic days has increased from 4 in 1990 to 43 days in 2011. http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/scientists-dead-zone-showing-up-in-green-bay-b9977069z1219902171.html
  17. 17. What triggers the WI Livestock Siting Law? • First – a local government must enact a siting ordinance to even gain access to the uniform state standards of the Siting Law (without a local ordinance, there is no opportunity for local communities to weigh in on siting decisions!) • Second, in most instances the livestock operation must propose to have at least 700 Animal Units for the Siting Law to apply • Third, for expanding livestock facilities, the proposed expansion must be at least 20% for the Siting Law to apply • Fourth, if there is a local ordinance and the planned facility is of the requisite size, the owner of the proposed facility must complete a DATCP application that addresses each of the five standards found in the law 1) Location of livestock structures 2) Odor and air emissions 3) Nutrient Management 4) Waste storage facilities and 5) Runoff management
  18. 18. Karst is an area of irregular limestone characterized by fissures, sinkholes, underground streams, and caverns. Karst areas are especially vulnerable to pollution, as waste can travel long distances. Karst areas should be mapped statewide, and afforded stronger waste spreading protections. Wisconsin should also require Nutrient Management Plans for spreading industrial and municipal (non-manure)
  19. 19. “The Day Enforcement & Science Died” Aug. 19, 2013, DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp: “The Division of Enforcement and Science will be eliminated as a Division and its component parts – Law Enforcement and Science Services – will report to the Secretary’s Office.” Under the reorganization, “the Chief Warden will report directly to the Deputy Secretary” and “effective immediately, the Bureau of Science Services will become a part of the Office of Business Support and Sustainability and report directly to the Office’s Director.” http://thepoliticalenvironment.blogspot.com/se arch?q=dnr+enforcement+and+science
  20. 20. Town of Ripon residents near the 8,000 cow Rosendale CAFO can participate in a well water sampling program sponsored by Fond du Lac County UWExtension and the Town of Ripon. 6.5% private wells in WI exceed safety standards for nitrates. In past 20 years, 17% of wells sampled near Ripon have tested positive for bacteria http://www.riponpress.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=20&ArticleI D=2422 Rosendale’s WPDES permit was renewed in 2013. The WDNR reduced the land-spreading setback from private wells from 200 to 100 feet.
  21. 21. 2002: Maple Ridge Dairy (Central WI) spread 250,000 gallons liquid manure onto 32 acres frozen field in February near their Stratford farm in Marathon county. Run-off traveled onto neighbors’ land and a tributary feeding the Big Eau Pleine River. http://www.wsn.org/factoryfarm/stratford_manure_spill.html March 2004: Stahl Brothers Farm (Northeastern WI) spread tens of thousands of gallons of animal waste on a field across the from the Tremls’ home, causing every family member, including their 7 month-old, to become seriously ill from contaminated water http://www.midwestadvocates.org/archive/Treml/index.htm. In April 2009 the same farm had a manure pit leak that sent 100,000 gallons of manure into a waterway http://www.fox11online.com/dpp/news/local_wluk_kewaunee_dnr_cleaning_up_manure_spill_200 904161654_rev1 November 2013: A pipe ruptured at the Dane County Digester, spilling 300,000 gallons of manure, with some going into Six Mile Creek. Aggressive clean-up efforts have been employed, and a berm and automatic shutoff valve was constructed, though they are currently NOT required
  22. 22. • We need to restore some local authority to take into account localized concerns, such as high-quality waterways, unique topography, etc. “Uniform state standards” make little sense because our land and natural resources are not uniform! • We need to increase the scientific understanding of the environmental and public health impacts of livestock operations so that local restrictions are scientifically sound and truly protective of public health and the environment. • We need to return zoning power to local communities so that at least some areas can be maintained “CAFO-free.”
  23. 23. Photo: MI Sierra Club • • • • Builds community awareness of pollution problems Helps identify and restore problem sites Become advocates for their watersheds Increases the amount of needed water quality information available on our waters
  24. 24. • Restoring Local Control for WI Livestock Siting • Stronger Waste Spreading Regulations, especially for Karst areas, and statewide Karst Mapping • Stronger Regulations for Industrial and Municipal Waste Spreading • Pushing to Require all Manure Digesters to Install Automatic Shutoff Valves and Berms around pipes • Pushing the EPA to Create Strong CAFO Rules • Supporting a federal ban on sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics in CAFOs
  25. 25. • Citizen Water Monitoring / private well testing with an emphasis on CAFOs (test for E. coli, Phosphorus if suspected) • Tracking and Publicizing Manure Spills/Heath Impacts • Tracking & Exposing the Dairy Business Association, the Farm Bureau, and other Industry Lobbying and Campaign Contributions • Testifying at DNR, DATCP, and Natural Resource Board water hearings • Paddling Outing near Factory Farms or on lake impacted by algal blooms • Field trip to Milwaukee Metro Sewerage District and Discovery World • World Water Day Presentation / Invited Speaker (March 22) • Outreach at Organic Valley’s Kickapoo Country Fair, MOSES & other events • Highlighting businesses who support clean water & highlight economic / jobs value of sustainable, organic farms; tourism; fishing (St. Croix); swimming; paddling (Rutabaga/ Canoecopia); eco-minded Real