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Public comment sought on proposed rules to assess the health of Wisconsin water bodies

Published by Central Office July 16, 2019

Contact(s): Kristi Minahan, DNR water quality standards specialist, 608-266-7055

MADISON - The public has until September 20, 2019 to provide feedback on two proposed rule revisions related to assessing the overall health of lakes and streams in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on two proposals that would update Wisconsin Administrative Code related to protecting water quality.

Biologists examine stream insects collected for a stream health survey. - Photo credit: DNR
Biologists examine stream insects collected for a stream health survey.Photo credit: DNR

"The goals of these revisions are to clarify policies, provide consistent processes and provide protection of aquatic life and recreation for the public," said Kristi Minahan, a DNR water quality standards specialist. "These rules describe how the biology of a lake or stream, such as its fish, insect, plant and algae communities, are used to assess its overall health. They also establish how algae and plants will be used to determine whether a water body is responding to elevated phosphorus levels and whether it may need a different phosphorus criterion."

The first rule (Natural Resources Board order WY-23-13) addresses processes the department uses to assess bodies of water for impairments, including biological criteria for water quality standards and phosphorus impairments.

The second rule (NRB order WT-17-12) would establish a process for determining when an individual waterbody needs a higher or lower phosphorus criterion than the statewide target in order to meet water its quality goals.

The proposed language can be found by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for "public input" and clicking on the buttons for "proposed rules" and then "Permanent" rules and looking for Board Order numbers WY-23-13 and WT-17-12.

A public hearing will be held for both rules at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, with simultaneous telepresence in Madison and Green Bay.

Written comments may be submitted at the public hearings or by mail to Kristi Minahan, Wisconsin DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison WI, 53707-7921, or by email to Kristi.Minahan@wisconsin.gov or DNRAdministrativeRulesComments@wisconsin.gov. Comments and questions may be directed to Kristi Minahan by phone at 608-266-7055.

People can sign up for email notifications of updates by clicking on the email icon in the footer of the DNR website, following the prompts, and then selecting Water Quality Standards and Assessments under the "Water" topic listing.

Last Revised: Tuesday, July 16, 2019

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