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Water Quality

WGF analyses concerning water quality standards, methods of evaluating water quality, and regulation to protect water quality in Wisconsin’s lakes, rivers, and streams. Also see the Agriculture category for analyses of nonpoint sources of pollutants. This work is developed by WGF’s Water Resources and Environmental Rules Work Group.

Nitrates in Wisconsin Waters – A Wisconsin’s Green Fire Policy Analysis

While Wisconsin has among the finest freshwater resources in North America, an increasingly large number of Wisconsin communities, homes, schools, and businesses find their water sources unsafe to drink. The water crisis in Flint, Michigan was a wake-up call about the hazards of water supplies we once assumed would always be safe. The total scope of the water quality crisis in Wisconsin today is much larger however than one community or one region. Wisconsin needs a drinking water solution equal to the magnitude of the problem. This paper lays out elements of that solution.

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WGF Comments to DNR on draft administrative rule NR 119 Phosphorus Site-Specific Water Quality Criteria

These comments from Wisconsin’s Green Fire – Voices for Conservation are specific to the sampling requirements in NR119.06 (1) Site Specific Criteria (SSC) study area (c) for a less stringent SSC for phosphorus on a flowing water system:

NR 119 only very generally addresses study site selection by major stream order and proximity to outfalls. Once …

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WGF Analysis: Nitrogen Pollution and The Need to Develop Nitrogen Criteria for Wisconsin’s Surface Waters

Background: Considerable research – both in Wisconsin and across the county – supports the need to control both phosphorus and nitrogen to adequately manage water quality problems in surface waters. In many lakes and streams, both nitrogen and phosphorus contribute to eutrophication and water quality degradation. However, nitrogen itself may be the most important nutrient …

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WGF Testimony on 2019 Senate Bill 91 Relating to Buying and Selling Water Pollution Credits through a Central Clearinghouse

My name is Jim Baumann and I am here today representing Wisconsin’s Green Fire. Wisconsin’s Green Fire supports the conservation legacy of Wisconsin by promoting sciencebased management of its natural resources. Members represent extensive experience in natural resources management, environmental law and policy, scientific research, and education. I am here today to testify for information …

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WGF Policy Analysis: 2019 Senate Bill 91, Legislation to Buy and Sell Water Pollution Credits through a Central Clearinghouse

Executive Summary of Wisconsin’s Green Fire Analysis

2019 Senate Bill 91 would create a clearinghouse for sale and purchase of water pollution credits between water pollution sources. Although water pollution credit trading is a provision in current federal and state law to help achieve pollutant reductions, the use of trading in Wisconsin has been limited.

This bill …

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WGF Comments on WDNR Draft Total Maximum Daily Loads for Total Phosphorus in the Wisconsin River Basin

In general, the August 20, 2018 hearing draft of the “Total Maximum Daily Loads for Total Phosphorus in the Wisconsin River Basin” represents a robust modeling effort that far exceeds efforts in previous TMDL modeling efforts. At the same time, it seems to omit basic information, sometimes lacks clarity and is not presented in a …

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WGF Comments on WDNR Draft Guidance 2018-2020 Triennial Standards Review Priorities for Water Quality Standards

Wisconsin’s Triennial Review process identifies its 3 year plan for keeping its water quality standards consistent with current science. This document identified 5 priorities for future work including:

  • Cyanobacterial Toxin and Cell Density Water Quality Criteria and/or Guidance for Recreational Exposure
  • Mercury Variance Streamlining or Multi-Discharger Variance (MDV)
  • Human Health Criteria Revision/Development
  • Outstanding/Exceptional Resource Waters Process Revision
  • Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS)/Perfluorooctanoic …
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  • Wisconsin River success story

    Photo of Bob Martini

    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, …

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