Wisconsin River success story

Wisconsin’s Green Fire Board member Bob Martini gives many presentations around the state about the era (1968-2010) when the Department of Natural Resources provided evidence-based science to help reconcile our state’s industries and our environment. That effort contributed to the quality of our lives today.

The DNR provided science-based management information to policy makers, the public, and the press with the hope, that if done properly, controlling pollution and managing our natural resources could be:

1. Good for our economy
2. Good for our public rights
3. Good for our community
4. Good for our environment.


How solid science makes a difference

One hundred twenty miles of the Wisconsin River was once so polluted that the water had no dissolved oxygen. But now the Wisconsin has transformed into a swimmable and fishable river. Wisconsin’s paper mills and scientists worked together to clean up the river, which has been vital to the citizens of Wisconsin. Paper mills learned to reduce water use, reduce energy use, and reduce chemical wastes once discharged to rivers by recycling the waste into other profit generating products. State regulations protected the environment, protected public rights, and benefited communities through scientific analysis and public involvement.

State regulators also used scientific analysis to manage Wisconsin dams. Although the removal of some dams initially met resistance by the local communities, the DNR reconciled public concerns with science and research, which restored the ecosystem, increased property values, benefited the local economy, and produced a 120 acre park with excellent brook trout fishing.

Bob Martini retired from the DNR after 32 years, serving as the statewide river protection coordinator. Bob continues to work with many organizations, including Wisconsin’s Green Fire, to protect the environment for Wisconsin’s citizens.

Watch Bob’s presentation about the Wisconsin River cleanup and more.

Please see this excerpt from a message from Mitch Leavitt of Baileys Harbor, WI after hearing Bob’s presentation (used with permission).

Dear Bob,

I attended your presentation in Egg Harbor this week. Your presentation content and style were superb. Obviously you’ve mastered how to present the information in a non-partisan, and unemotional manner, understanding the value of cooperation and inclusion of all interests that bear on an issue. Reminding us of past successes that result in “win-win-win” for all parties is useful in these times when the situation can be discouraging. So, thank you very much for your efforts and commitment, and for sharing your expertise.

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