Wisconsin River success story

WI Green Fire, July 20, 2018

Photo of Bob Martini
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, 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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1 Comment

  1. JEFFERY S BROWN on July 20, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    I just saw the article “Saving Our Lakes and Rivers” in today’s(7/20) Lakeland Times. Your science based approach taken by Green Fire is exactly what I would like to provide each township within Oneida County regarding concerns with the LYNNE SULFIDE MINE Referendum taking place on November 6th.. A group of citizens has formed as effort titled “Protect The Willow Flowage” with the intention of educating County residents of issues with the LYNNE site and SULFIDE mining in general. We are initiating fund raising and awareness of our concerns, but we lack the precise knowledge required of the scientific facts I feel we need to move forward. We want to develop a “fact sheet” to provide points of discussion and discovery for County voters before the referendum. Would Green Fire be in a position to provide support to review our statements for accuracy and validity?
    I will be asking each Township Chairman for the opportunity to meet their boards and interested citizens at their September or October town meetings. Additionally, we want to host our our Town Of Lynne public meeting at our local fire station to offer a mine site tour and a review of issues we have the this proposed mine. This will likely be in late October and your presence, and possible involvement, would be welcome.
    Finally, here is my latest crazy idea! I have asked Town Board member Lisa Zunker to approach Oneida County’s Zoning Administrator, Karl Jennrich, with the idea of creating a new Zoning Type – “Conservatory”. She and all town board members have been invited to meet with Karl on July 25th.. The Conservatory Zoning designation should be given to lands and waters considered essential to life as we know it – not just for man, but all living creatures. This is suggested in the same regard as the “Outstanding Resource Water” designation was created. I would suggest that extended periods of time be tied to areas given this designation as great care would need to be used in placing such a high value on these exceptionally critical lands and waters.Would Green Fire’s scientific background support such an idea?
    If you are still with, thanks for your time! We want to get our word out accurately and as simply as possible. Please let me know if Green Fire might be positioned to offer support to our effort. Thank you.