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May 12, 2015

MADISON -- Projects to protect Wisconsin waters against degradation, revise bacteria water quality criteria and develop guidance for blue green algae are among the priorities established by citizens statewide through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' triennial standards review process.

Every three years, DNR reviews Wisconsin's surface water quality standards and asks citizens to weigh in on priorities and topics of concern. This comprehensive evaluation is required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to keep waters swimmable, fishable and drinkable.

Ashley Beranek, DNR water resources management specialist, said the review helps the department focus its resources to integrate the latest science, technology and federal requirements to protect public health, recreation and fish and other aquatic communities. As described in the 2015-2017 triennial standards review publication [PDF], DNR currently has eight projects underway related to surface water quality standards; the triennial standards review process allowed for the identification of three additional major projects over the next three years.

The new projects focus on:

The projects were chosen based on their environmental importance, feasibility and levels of public concern. Citizens used an online survey to rank their top water quality concerns.

DNR will use the identified priorities to plan work through 2017 and address the topics as resources allow. Any changes to standards must be approved by the Natural Resources Board, the Wisconsin Legislature and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The list of priority topics along with the full final report are available by searching the DNR website for "triennial standards review."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Ashley Beranek, DNR water resources management specialist, 608-267-9603,; Sarah Yang, DNR environmental toxicologist, 608-266-9262, or Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, 608-770-8084,

Last Revised: Tuesday, May 12, 2015

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