NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 4,247 days

ARCHIVED Weekly News Published December 21, 2010

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DNR debuts new website

MADISON - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Matt Frank unveiled DNR's revamped website today, inviting Wisconsinites to take a test drive.

"People rely on DNR's website for everything from planning family trips to applying for an environmental permit. It's critical that our huge diversity of users be able to find what they need on our more than 120,000 pages. That's why I directed staff to reinvent the website to better guide users to the information they need," said Frank.

The new site features an easy Google search appliance, options to sign up for automatic delivery of information and more photos. Information is organized around four main topics: Outdoors and Nature; Business and Government; Environment and Health; and help for Landowners.

The redesign, completed by DNR staff on regular work time with help from interns, accommodates experienced DNR website visitors by simultaneously offering both the old and new sites while content is migrated. A lighthearted greeting urges users to "don your hardhat and click on...the new site under construction. Kick the tires. Do a test drive. Tell us what you think."

"The web gives us the means to serve our customers 24/7," Frank says, "and for that reason, we want to offer the best site possible."

Users can access the home page of the DNR website at [].

FOR MORE INFORMTION CONTACT: Diane Brookbank - (608) 267-7799



2010 Department of Natural Resources Highlights

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Here were some of the key natural resources highlights for Wisconsin in 2010.]

Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program enters its third decade -- More than 580,000 acres have been preserved for public use over Stewardship's first 20 years; better than 90 percent is open for public uses like hunting, hiking and nature study. Purchases include new properties, improvements and trail links. The legislature bolstered the commitment to Stewardship by raising the bonding authority from $60 million to $86 million annually for the 10-year period that began July 1, 2010.

Forty years for cleaner air - This year, Wisconsin residents have good reason to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Clean Air Act. A mercury pollutant rule has the state's major utilities on track to reduce their mercury emissions and reduce multiple pollutants including nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. Businesses, home owners, local governments, commuters and others are committed to become more energy efficient to further reduce emissions and benefit from the savings. This year a pilot program allowed individuals to specify counties, when receiving air quality notices, instead of receiving statewide notices.

Green Tier double participants -- Green Tier, a program that provides incentives to businesses and communities to move beyond environmental compliance, address unregulated problems and restore natural resources, sustained momentum in 2010 with the number of participating facilities more than doubling, (42 in December 2009 to 86 in December 2010) and now representing 43 businesses in the program. Participants in the programs range from very large to very small manufacturers, units of government from special districts to school districts to incorporated units and also include farms, service organizations and many other entities. Green Tier ventured into new relationships through charter provisions that were expanded when the law was made permanent by the legislature. One highlight of 2010 was the signing of the Green Tier Legacy Communities Charter, an agreement signed by DNR, five communities and five non-governmental organizations. The charter recognizes and brings together local leaders interested in sustainable growth to share ideas, technologies and policies that will enable communities to help Wisconsin reach environmentally-sustainable economic growth. Two pilots will focus on water issues and will address the full range of local water resources issues by integrating wastewater, stormwater, drinking water, wetlands, and other water issues in a holistic, watershed based manner. Under another provision of the Green Tier law, 16 independent colleges and universities have used compliance audit provisions to complete the most comprehensive environmental review and improvement program undertaken thus far under the law, having made myriad improvements to assure environmental protection.

Environmental cleanups -- In 2010 the Remediation and Redevelopment program provided $1.5 million in DNR Brownfield Assessment Grants to assess contamination at abandoned or underused properties in 26 communities across the state, which help jump start the redevelopment at these brownfields; to date the program has helped assess more than 1,600 acres of contaminated property in 205 Wisconsin communities. Additionally, seven communities received more than $600,000 in environmental funding to assist with cleanup work at closed industrial sites through its Wisconsin Plant Recovery Initiative Program, a statewide effort to expedite the cleanup at recently closed factories and plants and return them to economic vitality. To date the program is working with communities and companies on 53 plant closings that may have environmental issues. Through the Wisconsin Sustainable Cleanups Initiative a project was set up to install 44 solar panels at the Refuse Hideaway landfill near Madison to run collection and gas release systems. The Remediation and Redevelopment program also awarded the 100th voluntary party certificate of completion to the AxleTech International manufacturing firm in Oshkosh. The certificates help clarify future liability at contaminated properties that businesses and communities willingly clean up, as long as they receive state oversight and follow all environmental laws.

Shoreline protection rules receive significant public input -- Earlier this year, state shoreland development rules were updated to better protect lakes and rivers, while allowing property owners more flexibility on their land. These improvements were made after more than 30 public hearings, more than 70,000 public comments and hundreds of hours of research. The final rules offer a workable set of guidelines that allow property renovations, guide new development and encourage buffers and naturalized shorelines for better habitat and pollution prevention.

E-Cycle gets the waste out -- It is now easier for people to recycle or donate unwanted electronics. E-Cycle Wisconsin provides a list of collection sites across the state. Wisconsin's electronics recycling law, passed in October 2009, bans the disposal of a wide range of consumer electronics in state landfills and incinerators and creates a statewide electronics recycling program, under which electronics manufacturers pay to recycle a certain amount of electronics. This year we celebrated 20 years of recycling law in Wisconsin.

New Hunting Mentorship Program is a hit -- This law allows people interested in experiencing hunting, including those age 10 and older, to hunt under controlled conditions and under the close supervision of a mentor. By working together, many statewide conservation organizations, the DNR and legislators have made this the safest mentored hunting law in the country. This law gives seasoned hunters a chance to give something back -- to do for someone today what someone else did for them years ago -- introduce them to the hunting experience.

Ballast water exchange requirements - Wisconsin has started regulating oceangoing ships arriving in its Great Lakes waters to stop the flow of invasive species in ballast water. Wisconsin is also pushing treatment technology that will provide the greatest level of protection possible against releasing aquatic invasives from ballast water. Starting January 1, 2012, new oceangoing ships must treat their ballast water to reduce, contain and make harmless the number of live plants, animals and organisms. Wisconsin, other Great Lakes states, the federal government and the shipping industry have jointly supported the Great Ships Initiative, a research effort designed to find the most cost-effective treatment technology for freshwater shipping on the Great Lakes.

Phosphorus rules tackle a long-standing problem - Wisconsin is respected nationally for its efforts to reduce pollution. The state took another major step in that direction this year when the Natural Resources Board and then the legislature approved new rules to reduce phosphorus and other nutrients in state waters. The end result should be cleaner water, improved public health and healthier fisheries and wildlife.

Vigilance to identify and control invasive species - Surveys at Wisconsin boat landings in summer 2010 show that 96 percent of people say they are following a new law to prevent the spread of Eurasian watermilfoil and other aquatic invasives. We've set up a comprehensive program to identify and then curb new invasive species before they can get a foothold in Wisconsin. Local groups across the state have taken advantage of a tripling of grant funding opportunities to set up local programs to control invasives and stop their spread by many innovative means. Web users can find statewide data by county on boat inspection efforts, boater compliance and special projects to prevent or control invasive species.

Web redesign - Our customers told us our website needed improving, so we are working to better meet your needs. For starters, we have improved our search engine to help people find the information they need. We have been removing outdated information and are providing features like real-time news updates and links allowing you to easily subscribe to specific information.

Other major news items for 2010



New rules will help Wisconsin's bats

MADISON -- Bats in Wisconsin have received some much needed assistance to help stave off a deadly disease. Earlier this month the Natural Resources Board unanimously approved three new rules to help protect Wisconsin cave bats from white-nose syndrome, a fungus that has killed over a million bats as it spreads rapidly across the northeastern United States.

The new rules list four cave bat species as threatened; list the white-nose syndrome fungus as a prohibited invasive species; and calls for monitoring of caves and mines and other preventive measures to limit the potential introduction and spread of white-nose syndrome.

Laurie Osterndorf is the Department of Natural Resources land division administrator. She credited the state's ability to move quickly on the WNS threat to the excellent cooperation between commercial cave owners, the caving community and DNR staff.

"We're grateful that we've been able to work collaboratively to develop policies that will help protect our bat populations without harm to Wisconsin's business, tourism and recreation interests," said Osterndorf.

White-nose syndrome is associated with a fungus - Geomyces destructans - that grows on nose, ears, muzzles and wings of bats. The disease can be transmitted from bat to bat or to bats from a cave or mine that has been infected. As witnessed in states along the east coast, WNS can kill 90 to 100 percent of the bats hibernating in infected caves or mines.

Wisconsin has the largest concentration of bats in the upper Midwest. The most common Wisconsin cave bat - the little brown - is particularly susceptible to the disease and faces extinction from WNS. Other Wisconsin bats that are vulnerable to WNS are the big brown bat, northern long-eared bat and eastern pipistrelle. There are approximately 120 known bat hibernacula in Wisconsin

Since it was first discovered in 2006, WNS has spread across 14 states and two Canadian provinces. This past fall, it was found less than 250 miles from Wisconsin's borders, well within the 280-mile migrating range of bats.

"We are now at the front line in fighting this disease," said Dave Redell, DNR's lead bat ecologist. "The next three to four years are crucial. If white-nose syndrome reaches Wisconsin, we are looking at potentially losing almost all of our cave-dwelling bat populations."

Redell noted the benefits of bats and what is at stake for Wisconsin. Bats provide a valuable service - at no cost. They help control insect pests that harm crops, forests, and people; and they play an important role in the ecological health and balance of our natural world.

Summary of the new rules

Before the Natural Resources Board voted to make the rules permanent, they reviewed more than 280 comments received at five public hearings or submitted during the comment period that ended November 29.

Erin Crain, DNR endangered resources section chief, said that for most people and in most situations, the new rules will not require any new permits or otherwise have any impact their activities. The rule listing four bat speciesóthe little brown, big brown eastern pipistrelle and northern long-eared--as threatened identifies situations in which these bats can be killed or removed, provided it does not put the overall bat population at risk.

The new rules will help detect and prevent, or slow, the introduction and spread of white-nose syndrome. Department staff will work with landowners and businesses to access and inspect caves and mines to monitor for the fungus.

For landowners with caves and mines on their property, routine daily activities will not change unless a landowner intends to transport, kill or sell cave bats. If caving activities are allowed on the property, landowners are required to follow the new provisions or develop an alternate plan to minimize the risk of introducing the fungus to the property through human transmission. This includes not using caving equipment and clothing that has been used outside of Wisconsin, and decontaminating clothing and gear that have been used at other caves or mines in Wisconsin. It may also include installing, at the expense of the DNR, physical barriers to limit access to a cave or mine by either people or bats.

Crain said the department is working cooperatively with commercial cave owners to identify measures to minimize risk of visitors accidentally transferring white-nose syndrome while maintaining recreational opportunities and economic income.

These options may include providing dedicated clothing and gear, excluding bats from entering a cave prior to hibernation, and easy to follow instructions to help visitors determine if they should not bring personal items into a cave that may have been exposed to WNS. Educational information on the importance of bats and the threat of this newly emerging disease is available at these tourist sites, as well.

"Any rules and plans we develop need to be adaptive," said Erin Crain "The provisions of the rules we pass today may not be what we will be doing three years from now. We will continue to research, monitor and adjust as we learn more about white-nose syndrome and how to protect our bat populations."

More information on how to help protect bats can be found on the Saving Wisconsin Bats page of the DNR website.




Changes proposed to ballast water rules

MADISON - Wisconsin is proposing to change its requirements for oceangoing ships arriving in its Great Lakes waters. The change would set ballast water discharge standards to those required by the International Maritime Organization. The proposed change reflects the latest science about reducing the risk from invasive species carried in the ships' ballast water, state officials say.

The proposed modifications to a general permit issued by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to large oceangoing commercial ships will be the subject of a public hearing January 26 in Superior.

Large commercial ships take on and release water to help balance the vessels as cargo is loaded on and off. Along with the water, plants, animals and pathogens are taken in and released as well. Ballast water is the primary way aquatic invasive species such as the zebra mussel, round goby and spiny water flea have been introduced into the Great Lakes over the last century.

Wisconsin issued a ballast water discharge general permit effective February 1, 2010, with a requirement to determine, by the end of 2010, if effective treatment systems would be available by the implementation date.

The department engaged the Ballast Water Collaborative, a group of experts from academia, government, the shipping industry, testing facilities, treatment vendors and nonprofit organizations in an unprecedented in-depth discussion and review of ballast water treatment technologies and the science available to measure their effectiveness. The collaborative concurred with the latest science and technology reports that treatment systems have not been approved to the level Wisconsin's standard required and cannot be measured to that level to prove the treatment effectiveness. The group concluded that technology does not yet exist to verify whether a treatment system can rid ballast water of organisms effectively enough to meet Wisconsin's standard. A feasibility report (pdf)) based on the findings is available on the DNR website. This standard is set at a level of 100 times the International Maritime Organization standard.

After considering the best science and technology now available, Wisconsin is proposing to set the discharge standard in the permit modification to the international standard. Under the proposal, Wisconsin would continue to require oceangoing ships to treat ballast water to reduce the remaining organisms to a level that meets the international numerical standard.

To provide added protection, Wisconsin is also proposing to continue requiring ships to flush their ballast tanks at sea. This ballast water exchange process is now required by the federal government but is likely to change when revised federal rules are final, according to Matt Frank, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

"We want to be confident that we're getting the highest level of protection possible, and right now that includes making sure ballast water exchange continues, even if the final federal rules drop that requirement," said Frank. "The latest research suggests that ballast water exchange, combined with the required international standard, may result in better protection for our Great Lakes and inland waters."

Breaking research shows that exchanging ballast water at sea can reduce, typically by 95 to 99 percent, the number of invasive species that have the greatest chance of surviving and causing trouble in freshwater bodies, according to Sarah Bailey, PhD, a research scientist for of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and a member of the collaborative.

Earlier research raised questions about the effectiveness of ballast water exchange. Bailey's research is showing that when the exchange is done right, the plants, animals and pathogens are purged at sea as the ballast water is exchanged; organisms remaining in the tank are then subjected to the saltwater taken in, which kills and weakens many of them,

"We've been completing analysis of flushing and we're finding such exchange is much more protective of freshwater ports than marine ports," said Bailey. "This idea of combining exchange with treatment may be a more meaningful increase in protection because you're now addressing two of the three factors necessary for a successful invasion, not just one."

The three factors are: how many of a particular species are released over time; whether environmental conditions (including salinity and temperature) are hospitable to a species; and whether the food chain is conducive to the survival and growth of a species.

In issuing its general permit, Wisconsin joined Minnesota, Michigan and New York in regulating large oceangoing ships entering Great Lakes waters to provide greater protection than provided by federal permit requirements. After more than a decade the federal government is still working on developing ballast water regulations.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin and other Great Lakes states, the federal government and the shipping industry jointly support the Great Ships Initiative, a research effort designed to find the most cost-effective treatment technology for freshwater shipping on the Great Lakes. It is expected that these research efforts will lead to better and quicker protection of the Great Lakes from aquatic invasive species.

Certain Wisconsin requirements for handling ballast tank sediment, seawater, and other substances took effect on February 1, 2010, and applied both to oceangoing ships and to the ships that travel only within the Great Lakes. Other requirements will phase in over time, specifically the numerical treatment standard that would apply only to oceangoing ships. New ships must meet the requirement in 2012 and existing ships in 2014. These implementation dates will remain effective in the proposed permit modification.

"If proposed changes to the permit requirements are made," Frank noted, "Wisconsin still has one of the most protective ballast water permits in the Great Lakes."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Sylvester, DNR - (608) 266-1099 or Theresa Nichols, Fisheries and Oceans Canada - (204) 983-0600



Emergency rule exempts small Wisconsin business from federal greenhouse gas regulations

MADISON - The state Natural Resources Board has approved an emergency rule exempting small businesses, farms and others from federal greenhouse gas regulations recently adopted under the Clean Air Act. The emergency rule, approved at the board's Dec. 8 meeting in Madison, is based on a similar federal rule designed to limit permitting and control requirements to the largest industrial sources.

The new federal greenhouse gas regulations go into effect on Jan.2, 2011 and are intended to address large sources of greenhouse gases and the impact those gases have in global climate change. The way in which these new federal regulations were originally adopted under the Clean Air Act had the unintended effect of imposing permitting and control requirements on small sources of greenhouse gas such as small businesses, farms, and possibly even some large multi-family residential heating systems. The emergency rule corrects this by setting higher threshold limits below which small sources will not be subject to regulation.

"The emergency rule mirrors federal rules and is necessary to bridge the gap between now and the time that we can publish a permanent rule in state law," said Andrew Stewart, DNR air program manager. "The federal government gives Wisconsin authority to enforce the Clean Air Act within the state but in order to do so we must include these laws as part of our state regulations. That is what we'll be working on in the coming year."

An emergency rule is temporary and intended to address immediate concerns until a permanent rule process that includes public and stakeholder input and testimony and legislative oversight can be completed.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Andrew Stewart - (608) 266-6876



Candlelight ski, snowshoe events ring in the New Year

MADISON - People looking for a unique way to ring in the new year can participate in the first of more than 30 candlelight skis or hikes that will be held this winter at Wisconsin State Parks, Forests and Trails. Blue Mound State Park west of Madison in Iowa County will hold a candlelight ski, hike and snowshoe event on the night of New Years Day, Saturday, January 1, 2011. People may ski, snowshoe or just hike along 1 to 2 mile trails that will be lit with hundreds of candles

In all, there are 36 candlelight events scheduled at state properties this winter, with events held at different parks most weekends in January and February.

Most events held throughout the winter, include additional activities, including bonfires and hot chocolate and other refreshments for sale. Some events offer grills for cooking food or roasting marshmallows.

Candlelight events are free, but 2011 Wisconsin State Park annual or daily vehicle admission stickers are required. Pets are prohibited on the trails at most candlelight events, except on the Blue Mound snowshoe/hiking trail were leashed pets are allowed.

"Candlelight events grow in popularity each year," says Dan Schuller, director of the Wisconsin State Parks program.

Last year, Kettle Moraine State Forest Ski - Pike Lake Unit held its 21st annual candlelight ski/hike following, with a fresh 10-inch snowfall, clear skies, and temperatures around 20 degrees, attracting almost 1,000 hearty outdoor enthusiasts. Rib Mountain State Park, which does not have cross-country ski trails, held a candlelight snowshoe hike that attracted nearly 700 people.

Many of the parks receive help from volunteers in their friends groups setting out the luminaries, baking treats and helping clean up after the event.

If there is a sudden decline in snow conditions due to changes in the weather, some events will be held as hikes only, and others could be cancelled, so state park officials say it is always best to check the DNR website for updates and contact the park or forest where the event would be held for updates.

The complete list of candlelight events with times and more details is available on the Department of Natural Resources website.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011

  • Governor Thompson State Park, Crivitz, Candlelight Ski and Hike.
  • FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Wisconsin State Parks - (608) 266-2181



    State grant to help protect Lake Superior coastline

    SUPERIOR, Wis. - State grants will help Superior and its partners evaluate and develop a management plan intended to secure the future of Wisconsin Point, an area of wetlands, forests and sand dunes on the Lake Superior shoreline.

    The combined $50,000 in grants, provided by the Department of Administration's Coastal Management Program and the Department of Natural Resources, will help pay to assess the 2,800-acre site's natural resources, conduct a public outreach effort to gather citizens' ideas and desires for the area and develop a plan to achieve and sustain those goals.

    "Wisconsin Point is a natural gem with great potential for outdoor recreation and cultural, scenic and natural resources preservation," says DNR Secretary Matt Frank. "We are pleased to help support and participate in a collaborative effort by the city and its many partners to help Wisconsin Point achieve its full potential."

    The funding and partnership grew from a visit city representatives and local residents made to Frank's office during Superior Days in Madison in February 2010 and a visit by Governor Doyle to Wisconsin Point last August. Improving land management of Wisconsin Point, a largely undeveloped corner of the city owned by several public entities, was one of the top items on the city delegation's list to discuss with DNR officials.

    Wisconsin Point has long been a favorite recreational area for picnickers, hikers, birdwatchers, anglers, duck hunters, and swimmers. The northern end of the point area is the Wisconsin entry to the Duluth-Superior Harbor and is also the site of an historic Native American village and burial ground. The Fond du Lac Tribe is an important partner in the planning effort.

    The point is jointly owned by The City of Superior and Douglas County, who are the largest landowners, the U.S. Coast Guard, the City of Superior School System, the DNR and private owners.

    Part of the site was also recently designated the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, which is managed by the University of Wisconsin-Extension. The reserve will be managed to "protect and enhance the ecological health of the St. Louis River Watershed and Lake Superior coastal habitats."

    "We are very pleased with the state's commitment to this project," said City of Superior Mayor Dave Ross. "We look forward to working in partnership with the state and the other owners to develop a plan which reflects a joint community and landowner vision for the future of Wisconsin Point."

    DOA Secretary Daniel Schooff said the Superior community has been a long-standing partner with the state on a number of important issues, including environmental stewardship. "This grant will strengthen this relationship and will foster future partnerships by allowing a variety of stakeholders to work together to determine how to best protect this popular natural area."

    State Senator Bob Jauch said that Wisconsin Point is one of Wisconsin's great natural treasures and the funds will assist the community in managing this beautiful resource. "This grant is yet another example of the long list of state investments for northern Wisconsin from the Doyle Administration and I am grateful for Governor Doyle's leadership in identifying funds to facilitate a community discussion on protecting this valued property."

    Doug Finn, Douglas County Board Chair, said he is "extremely pleased to form a partnership between governments, tribe and citizens to develop a long range plan that protects Wisconsin Point."

    The area covers about 5.5 miles of shoreline and its location at the intersection of marsh, lake and woodland habitat types makes it one of the best migrant bird areas in Wisconsin in the spring. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service designates the point as critical habitat for piping plover, a tiny, iconic shorebird species listed as endangered in Wisconsin.

    The next steps are to conduct an initial assessment of the natural resources present on the site. Partners will gather maps and data, do an inventory of land use and habitat types, and then ask area residents what features and uses of the site are most important. The end result of the project will be a plan to guide the public landowners' management of the area.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: John Gozdzialski, (715) 635-4002; Jeff Prey (608) 266-2182 or Bill Smith (715) 635-4057



    New safeguards for drinking water and water supplies

    Measure to kill viruses in drinking water, others on tap

    MADISON - Wisconsin residents - and the 8.5 billion gallons of water that Wisconsin businesses, farms and utilities use every day will be safer in 2011 and beyond, state environmental officials say.p>

    A trio of new safeguards adopted by the state Natural Resources Board and approved by the legislature earlier this year are starting to kick in:

    "These new safeguards will better protect public health, our groundwater and surface water supplies," says DNR Secretary Matt Frank. "Wisconsin families, our environment, and our economy will benefit now and in the future."

    88 percent of systems already disinfect; now all will do so

    The disinfection rule, affecting Natural Resources chapters 809, 811, and 810 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code, enables Wisconsin to meet recent requirements in federal Safe Drinking Water Act amendments and responds to recent research about illnesses from viruses in drinking water drawn from groundwater.

    Research from the U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, and Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation showed that viruses carried in municipal wastewater can seep out of leaky sanitary sewer systems and contaminate municipal groundwater wells. The viruses are not filtered out naturally as they seep through layers of soil and rock, as previously believed. The research ("Assessment of Sewer Source Contamination of Drinking Water Wells Using Tracers and Human Enteric Viruses," (exit DNR) and a related study, "Assessment of Virus Presence and Potential Virus Pathways in Deep Municipal Wells," (exit DNR;pdf) )led the DNR to develop rules requiring that all municipal water systems disinfect their water to kill viruses.

    About 12 percent of Wisconsin's 614 municipal drinking water systems do not now disinfect. The water systems can apply for state financial help through DNR's low-interest loan program for drinking water projects.

    Standards protect groundwater from contaminants

    The second measure added groundwater standards for 15 new contaminants and revised standards for 15 others. Standards are set for the first time for four pesticides, compounds left when pesticides break down, and compounds related to the production of explosives and munitions, including those detected in groundwater near the Badger Army Ammunition Plant.

    "Wisconsin relies more heavily on groundwater for our drinking water supply than most other states, so it was important to get these proposals in place," Frank says.

    Rules implement Great Lakes Compact

    Three rules go into effect next year implementing the Great Lakes Compact, a formal agreement between the Great Lake states, and two Canadian provinces, and the Wisconsin legislation stemming from those agreements.

    The Compact commits the states and provinces to manage water in the Great Lakes watershed collectively, including banning water from being "diverted," or piped out of the basin with a few limited and strictly regulated exceptions, and instituting water conservation requirements within the basin.

    The rules define who must register and annually report their water use to allow the state to understand how much water is being withdrawn, where, and how it's being used. They also establish fees paid by people who withdraw more than 50 million gallons per year from the Great Lakes Basin, and the $125 fee that the Wisconsin law set for all other water withdrawers.

    The third rule, Chapter NR 852, Wis. Admin. Code, establishes the water conservation requirements that will be mandatory in the Great Lakes basin for water users seeking new or increased withdrawals or diversions, and mandatory elsewhere in the state withdrawls that result in a water loss averaging 2 million or more gallons per day in any 30-day period.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jill Jonas - (608) 267-7545



    Seven communities receive funds to assess contamination at closed industrial facilities

    MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will assist seven communities with funding environmental work at closed industrial sites through its Brownfields program.

    The DNR is granting more than $600,000 in funds and services to help communities address economic and environmental impacts at closed industrial facilities and to aid in the revitalization of these sites.

    "These grants demonstrate the DNR's commitment to improve both the environment and the economy of Wisconsin," said DNR Secretary Matthew Frank. "Each site represents new economic opportunities as well as a chance to improve water and air quality. We will ensure the sites are properly cleaned up and ready to attract new or expanding business, help bring back jobs and protect public health in these communities."

    Frank noted that communities will use the grants to assess environmental contamination issues at select facilities. Assessments are vital first steps in attracting new owners or developers while supporting business expansion at former plants.

    $200,000 will be provided to the city of Kenosha for the recently-closed Chrysler engine plant and $100,000 to the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee for the Century City manufacturing complex. The city of New Holstein will receive $100,000 to address the former Heus/Tecumseh manufacturing plant.

    Four other communities will receive a total of $200,000 in DNR-directed environmental consulting services to assess contamination concerns at facilities. The contractor-service projects include the former Synergy Web Press facility in Mazomanie, the Semco window plant in Merrill, the former Jongquist Family Kitchen plant in Baldwin and the Shurpac facility in Racine. DNR has retained AECOM, The Sigma Group and Short Elliot Hendrickson, Inc. to provide these services.

    DNR obtained funding for the new grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    In 2010 the DNR received one of four national innovation awards for its Plant Recovery Initiative from the Environmental Council of States.

    More information about the Plant Recovery Initiative, is available on the Remediation and Redevelopment Program pages of the DNR website. Communities and businesses are encouraged to apply to the DNR to receive DNR-directed environmental consulting services for assessment of former manufacturing plants. Contact Melissa Enoch at 608-266-9263 or Melissa.Enoch@Wisconsin.Gov for more information.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Melissa Enoch at 608-266-9263 or Melissa.Enoch@Wisconsin.Gov



    100th voluntary party cleanup certificate awarded to Oshkosh manufacturing company

    MADISON -- AxleTech International has received the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' 100th voluntary party Certificate of Completion for cleanup work conducted at their Oshkosh manufacturing facility.

    The certificates are part of the Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE) process, created in 1994 to help parties clarify their future liability at contaminated properties they willingly clean up, as long as they receive state oversight and follow all environmental laws. The DNR certificate is a company's final seal of approval from the state, confirming the environmental cleanup is complete at a "brownfield."

    "This 100th Certificate of Completion is a great milestone for the state's Brownfield Initiative," said DNR Secretary Matt Frank. "It shows once again Wisconsin is at the forefront of innovative cleanup efforts."

    Frank said that many businesses take advantage of the certificates because the VPLE process is streamlined, provides additional liability protection and transfers protection to future property owners if the land is sold.

    "Helping businesses revitalize brownfields is good for Wisconsin's economy," said Frank. "The VPLE was key to AxleTech taking on this site so we can keep jobs and manufacturing in the Oshkosh community."

    AxleTech, an axle/suspension manufacturing firm, purchased the 600,000-square foot facility located along the Fox River from Meritor in 2002.

    The first Certificate of Completion was awarded in 1995. Any party can enroll in the VPLE process, including those responsible for the contamination. Currently there are 125 entities enrolled in the VPLE process.

    To view the other 99 parties receiving Certificates of Completion, or to learn more about voluntary cleanup work in Wisconsin, please view the Voluntary Party Cleanup page of the DNR website.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Andrew Savagian, Wisconsin DNR, 608-261-6422,



    Recycle your Christmas tree, don't trash it!

    MADISON -- As the holiday season draws to a close, people across the state are hauling their Christmas trees to the curb and waiting for pickup day.

    But did you know that there are other ways to dispose of your tree that not only reduce the amount of waste that goes to the landfill, but also help the environment? Cut trees can be reused in a variety of ways. Keep your holiday green by trying one of the suggestions below:

    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kathleen Kiefaber, (608) 267-2463.



    DNR offices closed on December 24, 27 and 31

    MADISON - Many state offices, including all Department of Natural Resources offices, will be closed Friday, Dec. 24, the day before Christmas and Friday, Dec. 31 the day before New Years for state holidays. Additionally DNR offices will be closed Monday, Dec. 27, for an unpaid furlough day for state employees as part of state government cost cutting measures.

    Key DNR services will be maintained. State conservation wardens will be on duty. State parks, forests and trails will be open and staffed as necessary.

    DNR Call Center to be closed Dec. 24, 25, 31 and Jan. 1

    Questions on rules, regulations, or other DNR program, can be directed to the toll free DNR call center 1-888-WDNRInfo [1-888-936-7463,] available seven days a week. The center will be open until 10 p.m. on Dec. 23 and then is closed until it reopens at 7 a.m. on Dec. 26. The call center closes at 10 p.m. on Dec. 30 and will reopen at 7a.m. on Jan. 2.

    Live on-line chats are available on the DNR Web site 7 a.m. until 9:45 p.m. when the call center is open.

    DNR partners with more than 1,400 retail stores offering convenient service and hours for purchasing hunting and fishing licenses. A list of license agents is available on the DNR Web site.

    Customers can visit the online licensing center through the DNR website or call 1-877-945-4236 24/7 to buy a license. Phone callers can, for example, order a fishing license, get a confirmation number, and head out fishing right away.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Diane Brookbank - (608) 267-7799


    Read more: Previous Weekly News

    Last Revised: Tuesday, December 21, 2010

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