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October 5, 2010

Used to determine list of impaired lakes and rivers

MADISON -- Citizens around Wisconsin are invited to submit information they've collected about streams, rivers, and lakes to feed into the state's biennial process for determining which waters do not meet water quality standards.

The Department of Natural Resources will use the citizen data it receives by the close of business Dec. 31, 2010, to help assess the condition of Wisconsin's water bodies and to form Wisconsin's list of impaired waters and the biennial water quality report it must submit to the U.S. Congress.

"More citizens and partner groups than ever before are collecting data on Wisconsin's waters, and that information can help make sure the DNR's got the most accurate picture possible of the condition of our streams, lakes and rivers," says Kristi Minahan, a DNR water quality specialist involved in the process.

Almost 1,000 lake volunteers and almost 2,000 stream volunteers participate in citizen-based monitoring programs, and many universities and state or local agencies collect water quality data as well.

Every two years, people have the opportunity to submit their data to the DNR for use in developing assessment reports that can help steer scarce state resources to clean up lakes and rivers. DNR considers that information along with internal DNR monitoring data and other assessments.

Data submitted by citizens by Dec. 31, 2010 that meets specific quality control requirements will be considered for use in developing the 2012 Water Quality Report to Congress and Impaired Waters List, both required under the 1972 Clean Water Act.

That landmark federal legislation establishes the goal that every water body should be able to maintain healthy aquatic communities, provide safe habitat for wildlife, and provide citizens opportunities for fishing and swimming. Every two years, each state is required to assess the condition of its water bodies to determine if they are meeting these goals.

Minahan says that Wisconsin DNR is interested in receiving all types of water quality data and information for lakes and rivers -- so-called surface waters -- for the 2012 Report, particularly data collected between the years of 2005-2010. Data must be submitted in a specific format to allow for efficient analysis, and meet the quality assurance and regulatory decision-making needs associated with these programs.

More information about data quality requirements and how to submit data can be found on the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kristi Minahan (608) 266-7055; Lisa Helmuth (608) 266-7768

Last Revised: Tuesday, October 05, 2010

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