The Attack on Wisconsin Water continues…

Blue Cheddar reports:

AB679: Easing high capacity well approvals
AB680: Allowing fees in lieu of reduction in phosphorus discharges
~ Wisconsin Lakes is OPPOSED to both of these bills ~

AB679 – Haven’t we seen this groundwater bill before?

AB679 is the Assembly version of SB302, the bill introduced last fall and passed by a Senate committee. It would drastically limit the Department of Natural Resources ability to regulate high capacity wells. These wells suck huge amounts of groundwater, and in some areas of the state like the Central Sands are draining surface waters. This bill not only fails to address this problem, it makes it worse by preventing DNR from looking at the cumulative impact of all wells in an area before approving a new well by overturning the landmark WI Supreme Court’s Lake Beulah case.

You can bet your grandma’s knickers that Wisconsin is being influenced to change its laws for the betterment of business and to the detriment of the people.

In addition to the quantity of water available to citizens, the quality of that water is under attack.

AB680 would add a third option, and it’s not a good one. The bill would allow businesses and cities to opt out of the solution simply by paying a fee to the county. Now, that fee would go to help farmers solve their runoff problems, which is a good thing if the money is spent well. Unfortunately, this bill has too many problems to be a workable solution. AB680:

Gives businesses and cities nearly twenty years in some cases – twenty years! – to achieve good water quality,
Provides no accountability for what happens to the fees paid to the counties – if the money doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do, their is precious little oversight and even less recourse,
Lets cities and industries off the hook with nothing more than a payment, rather than encourage ALL parties to the problem to work together to solve the problem in the most cost efficient way.
We understand that solving the problem of phosphorus in our waters can be huge, and we support efforts, like adaptive management that try to honestly balance everyone’s needs in the most efficient way. But AB680 doesn’t do that – instead it could end up hurting farmers, harming tourism and recreational uses, depress property values, and negatively impact all of us who use and treasure our lakes.

Let’s all go join our local clean water clubs and give them a hand and a voice. They have some tough competition.

Jeremiah’s Water and Public Enemy # 1

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. Genesis 2:15

And I brought you into a plentiful land
to enjoy its fruits and its good things.
But when you came in, you defiled my land
and made my heritage an abomination. Jeremiah 2:7

People cannot live a full life if the water and the land are polluted. Mankind is called to be a good steward over the Earth. We have fallen short of that in Wisconsin.

TOWN OF LINCOLN, Kewaunee County — In one of the most intensively farmed parts of America’s Dairyland, where 29 percent of the county’s private wells test unsafe due to bacteria or nitrates, residents have a new concern: estrogenic well water.

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay researchers cited manure as a possible source — though not the only one — for the endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in half of 40 wells in northeastern Wisconsin, chosen for testing because of their susceptibility to contamination.

“We don’t know what the human health risks are,” said Angela Bauer, lead author. “But what we do know is that long-term exposure to estrogen in general can increase your risk to certain types of diseases, including hormone-sensitive cancers. So I think it’s absolutely something that requires further attention.”

Lincoln resident Mick Sagrillo had already stopped drinking his well water before he learned that it had “the honor,” as he put it sarcastically, of being Kewaunee’s most estrogenic — that is, tainted with the hormone estrogen or something mimicking it.

Wisconsin Watch has  a terrific article detailing the Water Woes of Wisconsin.

For more than a decade Sagrillo, an energy consultant, has kept a spreadsheet of his well’s woes, using happy and sad faces to annotate test results. The nitrate tests all show sad faces, while the coliform bacteria are about half and half. Last spring, for the first time, his well test identified the fecal bacteria E. coli.

To Sagrillo, the estrogenic water is just another reason to worry about Big Dairy’s effects on this vulnerable landscape. In Lincoln, 51 percent of the wells tested are unsafe — more than twice the statewide rate of about one quarter.

Of course, there is no “scientific evidence” that estrogenic water comes from the effluence of dairy cows that are fed estrogens and whose urination and defecation are full of the stuff. There is never enough evidence until all of a sudden everyone agrees that there is. Tritium poisoning, asbestos cancers, smoking cancers, Love Canal, and Superfund sites across America all are testaments to the fact that there is never enough scientific evidence until there is.

Here in eastern Barron County, the lake waters are filled with algae that turn the local lakes as green as a shamrock on St Patrick’s Day. The lakes are surrounded by farms that are “fed” by turkey manure spread on local farmland. But no one wants to admit it. They like to think that lake residents and Scott’s Turf Grow lawn products are responsible. While there is no evidence that the effluence of turkey farms and dairy operations are the single largest contributor to the problem, there are no other sources that can be identified as contributors. The algae find the manure contribution from farmland magically delicious and it grows unimpeded. The Chetek Lake Protection Association does what they can (which is talk, watch, and measure) but there is no money anywhere to make things better. The state financial contribution to re-establish clean air and water borders on insanity. Does $3.5 M in grants sound like enough to you? Didn’t think so. There is $200M available in the Clean Water Fund for “Construction of wastewater and storm water treatment facilities, sewer systems, and interceptors necessary to prevent a violation of discharge limits, to meet new or changed limits, or to protect human health and water quality in unsewered areas.” For human crap and drinking water, not for restoring the ‘free water’ of Wisconsin.

Manure. We are full of it. Manure trucks carry so much that they are overweight and local authorities are meeting on January 27th with the County Sheriff to consider establishing a special deputy who will weigh trucks to make sure they are not overweight for the roads they ride on. It’s not just manure, it is also logging trucks, agricultural implements of husbandry, and perhaps frac sand trucks that will be overweight but it’s the manure and other fertilizers that feed the algae every year.

I have not tested my well for estrogens but I will. I will also test it for other toxic materials… like manure.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture uses the term “manure-to-cropland ratio” to describe the problem. Brown County, where Green Bay’s urban sprawl has eaten into farmland, has the highest ratio, followed by other northeastern counties.

“You have the worst-case scenario here,” said Bill Hafs, a former Brown County conservationist who now directs the environmental program for NEW Water, the Green Bay sewerage district. “The trends are unsustainable for agriculture and water quality.”

Gordon Stevenson, a retired former chief of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources runoff management section, calculated that Wisconsin’s 3.4 million cows produce more waste than the people of Tokyo and Mexico City combined. He called land spreading of untreated manure “public enemy No. 1” in a recent speech.

If I were President, I would piss everyone off by saying that the goal of the EPA is to return America’s ‘free water’ quality and ‘free air’ quality to the same levels as 1620 when the Mayflower Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. I would give the EPA “four score and seven years” to make it so. No more rivers catching fire, no more undrinkable water wells.

People need clean air and clean water to live. We must do what we can to obtain it, reclaim it, and provide cleaner water and cleaner air to our descendants. Air and water quality must be better when we leave this world than when we found it.

US Minesweeper destroyed by false chart

minesweeper pieces

Look Here.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency misplaced a reef in the Philippine Islands by eight miles on its digital nautical charts, which caused the USS Guardian to run aground Jan. 17, destroying the ship.

NGA director Letitia Long told Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert that the digital nautical chart display of the Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea was wrong due to erroneous commercial satellite imagery. Long made the assertion in letters obtained by the watchdog website Government Attic.

That error was compounded by “exclusive reliance” of the USS Guardian crew on GPS as a “single source of navigation.” The crew did not pay heed to lighthouses on the reef, according to a 160-page post-wreck investigation report by Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Minesweepers have wooden hulls as a safety measure to prevent activating mines. They are ripped apart by reefs when they run aground.

Using Up Wisconsin Water

Wisconsin Watch has a good article that shows how legislators can corrupt the law for someone’s gain and everyone else’s pain.

Go read that article. It demonstrates that stewardship of natural resources is a hot topic in Wisconsin. The picture below shows a boat ramp that has no water around it.

Long-Lake-dock-1024x682

High capacity wells are draining Wisconsin’s Central Sands dry. But one lawmaker saw fit to change the law for the benefit of one more high capacity well. State Rep. Daniel LeMahieu’s  actions will expedite the demise of current water levels in central Wisconsin.

“Any fifth-grader can tell you that if you put too many straws in the water it’ll be gone,” said Bob Clarke, a board member of the nonprofit stewardship group, Friends of the Central Sands. “For our legislators to ignore that is just wrong.”

Experts say the implications of overpumping are on display across the state.

In the Madison area, the deep aquifer is down almost 60 feet. Waukesha’s withdrawals have pushed the deep aquifer down 600 feet. Green Bay had to tap Lake Michigan after depleting its groundwater in the 1950s.

In the Central Sands, scientists say that a rapid expansion of irrigated agriculture may be largely to blame — setting the stage for a water fight between farmers and those who fear for the region’s lakes, rivers and wetlands.

Of course, small lakes are simply drying up. Cabins and boat ramps are left high and dry. The farmer who wants a high capacity well today says “Why should I be denied a well when all my neighbors have one?” Others say that you cannot manage the draw down of water one well at a time.

Remember when legislators were good stewards of our resources? Me neither. Now they seek to use the force of law once again for commercial gain. Look at the following chart:

wells_lineChart

Mark my words: one day mankind may be able to live only in places where there are no resources for commercial gain. And they will do that only by having those same commercial entities selling them everything they need to live.

It will literally be “A hell of a place to live”.

The Beaver Dam Episode

In the tony farming area (Ha! Bet you didn’t know such a thing existed!) known as Cumberland, WI there is an ecological drama unfolding. I think I have captured the essence of it here but if the facts conflict with what I write then please know I have written this in the spirit of Jimmy Buffet’s song…Semi-True Story

(It’s a semi-true story
Believe it or not
I made up a few things
And there’s some I forgot.
But the life and the tellin’
Are both real to me
And they all run together and turn out to be
A semi-true story.)

One of the über tree hugging couples has chosen to let the beavers on their land have the power to alter a small ecosystem. When the lake levels began to drop in some areas, it was soon learned that a beaver dam of biblical proportions was diverting water. When the couple was asked to remove the beaver dam, they replied that the beavers should have their way.

You may not know that Duck Lake drains into Buck Lake and Buck Lake has a single outlet that feeds the Yellow River that ultimately becomes the Wisconsin River. When the waters back up between Duck and Buck, that water has to go somewhere. Now it is simply increasing shoreline as it floods the fields on the übers property.

Many residents learned that removing the dam would have no impact as the beaver would simply rebuild it. I am told that the matter has been discussed many times and that many of the locals simply want to shoot a hundred beaver a year until the problem is resolved. Special permits are required from the DNR to do this. Of course, this is all talk and no one knows the truth of anything because no newspaper has investigated the Beaver Dam Episode.

But you can see the map here.

You can zoom in and see the ring around Buck Lake is increasing as its flow of water is diminished. This has been the process for several years now. A once vibrant lake teeming with waterfowl is under stress.

The übers have been notified by the DNR that they will be responsible for any upstream damage to property due to the waters backing up and this is giving them pause. Unfortunately it is not enough to stir them to action.

No one wants to kill beaver indiscriminately but the fact remains that water which no longer flows elsewhere must now seek another outlet.

The local Lake Protection Association is run by an ex-Siemens power plant operator who has vowed to make enough waves to get this resolved.He is rumored to have said that one man can do nothing by himself and that in this situation it will take many voices being heard by politicians to effect change. He intends to find those voices.

I just know there is a ballad in the Beaver Dam Episode someplace. From tree huggers to corporate managers and Norwegian neighbors, there is a song in here worthy of Wisconsin folklore…

p.s. It should not be a surprise to you to learn that the name of the main lake in Cumberland is Beaver Dam Lake….But don’t get it confused with this semi-true story…