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RED CEDAR BASIN WATER QUALITY REPORT HEARINGS SET FOR LATE JULY

July 12, 2011

Seeks to tackle Tainter/Menomin Lake problems

EAU CLAIRE - A new report that explains efforts to improve water quality in the Red Cedar Basin will be the topic of public informational hearings later this month in Menomonie and Rice Lake.

The current proposal is directed at improving water quality problems that affect swimming and boating in Tainter Lake and Lake Menomin, but is expected to benefit other lakes and rivers in the basin as well.

The Department of Natural Resources, in consultation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and local stakeholders, has developed a "pollution reduction plan," for the Red Cedar River Basin. Known as a Total Maximum Daily Load] (TMDL), the document establishes the total amount of phosphorus that waterbodies covered by the TMDL can receive and still support recreational use.

"This is an important step forward in cleaning up the Red Cedar system," says Dan Baumann, who directs DNR water programs in Eau Claire.

Once the TMDL is approved by EPA and public comments are incorporated into any revision of the document, planning will be focused on the best ways to accomplish the phosphorus reduction goals set in the TMDL, Baumann says. "In order to improve water quality, all sources of phosphorus will need to be reduced," he says. "DNR will work together with stakeholders to find solutions and reduction strategies to meet the water quality goals of the TMDL."

The TMDL document details the amounts of phosphorus Lakes Tainter and Menomin can receive and still support recreational use, and identifies the reductions needed from each source of those pollutants, says Paul La Liberte, DNR coordinator for the Red Cedar River TMDL project.

"Once we determine the total amount of a pollutant a body of water can receive and still support recreational use, we can calculate needed reductions from specific sources," he says.

Phosphorus is a naturally occurring nutrient that also is found in soils, livestock manure, commercial fertilizers and wastewater discharges. It fuels algae and plant growth, sometimes leading to excessive levels of both. This pollutant reaches rivers and streams from polluted runoff from farm fields, barnyards, residential yards and wastewater treatment plant discharges.

The goal for Lakes Tainter and Menomin is to reduce algae blooms and improve water clarity to fully support recreational use. To meet established targets, a 45 to 65 percent reduction of phosphorus loads is proposed. Upon reaching this goal, the lakes should have significantly better average water clarity and experience less frequent algae blooms, which in turn is expected to improve recreational use opportunities, LaLiberte says.

The public informational meetings begin at the times listed below. An opportunity for informal questions will occur 30 minutes before the scheduled hearing and immediately after the hearing.

As part of the review and submittal process for TMDLs, people may submit written or electronic comments through Aug. 19, 2011. Please direct comments to Paul LaLiberte, DNR, PO Box 4001, Eau Claire WI, 54702 or paul.laliberte@wisconsin.gov.

People can view the draft TMDL report and formal public notice on the DNR website. Supporting information can be found at: [basineducation.uwex.edu/lowerchip/redcedar] (exit DNR).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul LaLiberte at 715-839-3724

Last Revised: Tuesday, July 12, 2011




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