Sunday, February 23, 2020

Wisconsin DNR releases updated impaired waterways list

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently updated its list of impaired waterways, adding 209 waters to be targeted in a pollution-reduction plan despite overall reductions in runoff levels in major rivers over the last 20 years.

"Overall, the long-term trend and satellite monitoring show that we are making progress with good overall water quality," Susan Sylvester, DNR's water quality bureau director, said. "Combined efforts including new regulatory approaches as well as strong partnerships with lake associations, local government and others have made a big difference. However, through expanded monitoring, we've identified lakes and rivers where more work is needed to improve water quality for fish to thrive and for people to enjoy them recreationally."

Roughly 70 percent of the 2,400 waterways assessed over the past two year are in good condition, and most of the new listings qualify for the impaired waters list due to stricter phosphorus standards enacted in 2015. The DNR is accepting public comments on the updated list until Nov. 25 and will host a webinar on the subject Tuesday.

"Before you can solve a problem, you have to identify it and acknowledge that it exists," DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp said. "The good news is, we are doing that by listing these new waterways so we can start working to restore them to their natural quality."

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Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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