Clean Water Referendum Passes with Bipartisan Support

On April 6, 2021, the voters in Marquette, Portage and Wood County voted to support the right to clean water in Wisconsin, with a 73% yes vote in Marquette County, a 77% yes vote in Portage County, and a 76% yes vote in Wood County. Read the press release from River Alliance of Wisconsin here.

WCC Virtual Spring Hearing April 12, 2021

The Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC) and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will be holding the annual Spring Hearings online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Questions #5 and #21 on high capacity wells and local control, respectively, may be of particular interest to CSWAC members.

The 2021 Spring Hearing online input webpage and will go live at 7 p.m. on April 12 and will remain open for three days (72 hours). Results will be posted as soon as they are available.

More details are available here.

Legislature Can Defend Law Restricting Administrative Powers

According to a Wisconsin State Journal article published on January, 11, 2021, “In an order issued Tuesday, the high court granted a request from the Joint Committee on Legislative Organization to intervene in a pair of joined cases that hinge on the balance of power between elected politicians who make the laws and technical experts who implement it. Click here to read the full article.

PFAS Action Plan Released

The DNR released a PFAS Action Plan, but the Legislature’s rules committee is meeting to consider suspending key parts of the rule.

Read about the action plan here, here, and here.

The rules committee will hold a public hearing Friday on the proposal that will include only speakers invited by the Republican co-chairs. The committee has not released a list of invited speakers. Read about the rules committee’s hearing here.

Water High Now, But Prepare for Normal and Dry Times

The Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association’s (WPVGA’s) Joe Kertzman got it right in the September 23rd Argus – the levels of lakes and groundwater are way up right now. And though he didn’t say it, so are the levels of wetlands and the flows of streams.

It’s curious that the WPVGA should bring up water levels at this time, as they’ve often deflected attention from lake and stream drying due to high capacity well pumping by claiming water levels barely ever change. We have to wonder: could they be trying to sow confusion in anticipation of the release of DNR’s Central Sands Lakes Study (CSLS)? That study, due for public comment in March 2021 and submission to the legislature on June 1, is supposed to recommend measures that could limit how much water irrigators can pump when unlimited pumping causes fish die offs and lake and stream drying.

More on the CSLS later, but first let’s explore what makes water levels go up and down.

Click here to read the full article, and click on the “download” symbol if necessary to open the article.

DNR Seeks Public Input on Water Quality Standards

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is beginning a public input process to determine what issues it will work on over the next three years to protect water quality in lakes, streams and rivers. This process is called the Triennial Standards Review and is required by the Clean Water Act. This review is an opportunity for the public to provide input on current water quality standards or guidance.
To begin this process, we are asking you to provide topics related to water quality standards that you believe should be considered for the 2021-2023 review. Topics that can be evaluated in the review include rules and guidance related to designated uses, water quality criteria, antidegradation and water quality variances. Though important, the following topics are outside the scope of this review: concentrated animal feed operations (CAFOs), groundwater, shoreline zoning, wetlands and dams.
After the topic suggestions are compiled, the DNR will provide an online survey for the public to rank which topics they feel should be the top priority for the DNR during the next few years. The DNR will host an online public hearing to answer questions and take comments on the topics or review process. Your input helps the DNR focus efforts to best protect the health of Wisconsin’s lakes, rivers and streams.
To submit your topic suggestions, use this form. Topic suggestions will be accepted until September 14, 2020. A preliminary list of topics that we already plan to consider is here (these do not need to be resubmitted).
  • Triennial Standards Review Fact Sheet
For more information on the Triennial Standards Review process and past reviews, please visit
If you have any further questions about the Triennial Standards Review, please contact Meghan Williams at:
We encourage you to share this invitation with others who may wish to submit a topic for consideration. We thank you for your input, which helps protect Wisconsin’s waters.

PFAS Regulations on Hold

Guidelines for the containment and disposal of the substances known as “forever chemicals” or PFAS are on hold after heavy corporate lobbying. Read more here from Up North News.

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