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Readers of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine:
Thanks for taking the time to learn more about what Wisconsin is doing and what we will be asking you to do to curb polluted runoff. In these pages, you have learned about an important piece of Wisconsin environmental legislation. You have learned about the process, the rules themselves, and where we are headed with implementation.
We'll continue to reduce pollution from industries and municipal waste treatment, but to make headway, these rules focus on the biggest remaining threat to Wisconsin lakes and rivers – polluted runoff from farms, cities, construction sites and roads.
New restrictions on polluted runoff went into effect in October 2002, and these actions to curb such pollution are the most comprehensive in the nation. The rules were developed with the help of numerous advisory groups and through an extensive public participation process that included 34 public hearings in 17 locations around the state. The final rules reflect more than 4,000 verbal and written comments. Meaningful changes in how Wisconsin communities develop can only happen when local concerns are heard and built into the process, and when we look not only at a water body, but at the entire area that drains into it.
Our hope is that these rules will go farther to protect and enhance the quality of our streams, lakes and wetlands. We can do this by improving our lawn care and household waste management, reducing soil erosion during construction, creating more pedestrian friendly neighborhoods, providing open space for recreation, and protecting forests, wetlands and other wildlife habitats.
Our aim is to move ahead to ensure that even more of our lakes, rivers and coastal waters are safe for drinking, fishing, swimming and wildlife. These rules make Wisconsin a front runner in tackling a major threat to water quality. The requirements will be phased in over time. And it will take time for us to gauge the results.
The rules are a step in the right direction. Please join us in keeping Wisconsin ahead of the game.
DNR Secretary Scott Hassett