TMDL Meeting Monday, April 17

Please attend and hear the DNR explain this very important issue that affects our natural resources in the Manitowoc area.

The informational meeting will include a presentation from DNR staff as well as a question and answer session. Representatives Paul Tittl (R-Manitowoc) and André Jacque (R-De Pere) will be in attendance, and would be honored if you could attend.

TMDL issues and phosphorus runoff in the Northeast Wisconsin watershed. 
Monday, April 17 at 10:30am
Manitowoc County Office Complex
4319 Expo Drive, Manitowoc WI 54220

MCLA has been an early advocate of the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) modeling, as an essential step toward enhancing the quality of area lakes and watersheds. The DNR, the County Soil and Water Conservation Department, and LNRP are actively pursuing the establishment of a TMDL program in Manitowoc County. Several area legislators are considering the establishment of a much larger area of study, covering essentially the whole of Northeast Wisconsin. They are holding listeningsessions to ascertain public support for the program. Please review the TMDL document and press release below. 

If you cannot make the meeting, you can improve your waters by contacting your State legislators expressing support for the program.   


April 7, 2017                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Contact: Representative Paul Tittl (608) 266-5831, Representative André Jacque (608) 266-9870

DNR to Hold Briefing on Phosphorus Runoff, Possible TMDL Study

Madison: State Representatives Paul Tittl (R-Manitowoc) and André Jacque (R-De Pere) announced that they have arranged a community briefing by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The representatives invite the community to attend and discuss phosphorous runoff within Northeast Wisconsin watersheds and potential responses available. The meeting will take place at the Manitowoc County Office Complex on Monday, April 17 at 10:30 a.m.

“As a long-time fisherman and hunter, I have always valued our natural resources – especially our water,” said Rep. Tittl. “It’s important that I as a legislator as well as the people I serve have the opportunity to become more informed about this issue.”

Rep. Jacque noted, “Our residents, area businesses and local governments all have unique responsibilities and perspectives to contribute toward protecting water quality.  This is a great opportunity to provide input and to ensure all viewpoints and suggestions are considered- everyone that lives and works in a watershed both uses and impacts the quality of our waters.”

The DNR will provide information about the extent of phosphorus runoff, discuss the option of undertaking a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study, and answer questions.

DNR staff members will give the presentation. Reps. Tittl and Jacque will be in attendance.

Manitowoc Information Session
Where: Manitowoc County Office Complex
4319 Expo Drive, Manitowoc WI 54220
When: Monday, April 17, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.


Executive summary:

Ambiguity is the enemy of action. Watershed management is extremely complex, and there has much ambiguity in the definition of the problem of nutrient pollution, the responsibility of the various watershed land uses, and the effective means of addressing solutions. The development of sophisticated monitoring technology and the use of advanced computer modeling now allow the TMDL program to end the uncertainty, and identify an equitable and effective means of improving Wisconsin waters. Once the TMDL process is completed, the procedures for effecting nutrient loss reductions are familiar and can be applied, and financing of implementation costs are, to a large extent, available. TMDL monitoring will document improvements which will not be otherwise readily observable.

  • “Under the Clean Water Act, WI is required to develop TMDLs for all waters on the Impaired Waters List. TMDL or Total Maximum Daily Load is the maximum amount of a pollutant that a body of water can receive while maintaining water quality standards. A pollution “budget” for a body of water or watershed that creates reductions needed from each pollutant source to meet water quality objectives. A TMDL study and implementation plan provides a strategic framework and prioritizes resources for water quality improvement.” The TMDL process has two distinct phases; analysis, and implementation. It is important to recognize the two, the differing agencies involved, and to frame the process as a single initiative, insuring full benefit. 
  • A responsible CAFO farmer in Manitowoc County has exclaimed; “I do what the DNR tells me to do, I have put in buffers, and I feel I do a good job. Farmers used to America’s heroes, and now we are the enemy. What do they want me to?”  The TMDL model may recognize this gentleman for his responsibility, will make clear if this operation has room for improvement, and will be able to identify the extent of further actions.
  • 83% of Manitowoc County Land use is agricultural. The major cities are on the shore of Lake Michigan, and discharge water treatment effluent and much of the urban run-off directly into that water body. Consequently, the focus of the TMDL process will be on agricultural practices. However, the assignation of responsibility will not be generalized, and further actions will be targeted and effective.
  • The TMDL monitoring will be in place to reward those responsible land users with the recognition that they do not contribute to the problem, when that may not be otherwise apparent. Phosphorous pollution has so permeated Manitowoc waters that it will take decades for observable improvements in the watershed. Manitowoc’s seepage lakes take 75-100 years for a water re-charge. The low slopes characterizing the landscape have led to sinks of settled nutrients. Without a TMDL, neither land users nor policy makers would be able to valuate the remedial actions based on generalized stream data, as P levels across the watershed will decline only slowly.
  • As many of Manitowoc County waters are already impaired by phosphorous over burden, a program to address the rectification of the waters needs to be included in the TMDL implementation program. These actions for lakes may include wetland settling zones, muck dredging, alum (aluminum sulfate) treatments, and site specific aeration. Stream bank stabilization programs, apart from the buffer installation, will be required to reduce erosion and resultant phosphorous pollution.
  • Historical weather data has shown that storm patterns have been changing over the two preceding decades. Future policies should be forward thinking in planning for implementation practices.
  • Neighboring States, especially Minnesota, have begun legislating Best Management Practices (BMPs) which will be the actions required during the implementation phase of a TMDL program. Care should be taken to insure access to Federal funds is not compromised by such legislation, but those programs should be studied for their effectiveness.
Updated: April 25, 2017 — 11:28 pm

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