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Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

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June 2003

Evolution of controlling
polluted runoff

A brief timeline.

Carol Holden and Lisa Gaumnitz


Congress passes the Clean Water Act, making it illegal to discharge pollutants without permission and permits, and establishes goals to make the nation's waters fishable
and swimmable by 1983.

The Wisconsin Legislature creates the Nonpoint Source Water Pollution (Priority Watershed) Program which becomes a national model by offering to share costs with landowners and communities that voluntarily take steps to keep soil, nutrients and construction site sediment from washing into streams and lakes.

Congress amends the Clean Water Act to classify certain storm water discharges as regulated point sources, requiring permits to control pollutants in storm water.

The state legislature strengthens the Priority Watershed Program by requiring that "critical sites" of pollution be controlled.

A state Animal Waste Advisory Committee develops guidelines and prohibitions aimed at promoting environmentally sound manure management.

1997 and 1999
Wisconsin passes sweeping legislation to redesign its nonpoint source program to make it applicable statewide.

Wisconsin's Natural Resources Board adopts a comprehensive rules package aimed at reducing polluted runoff from farms, urban areas, construction sites and other rural and urban sources.

Carol Holden is a DNR Water Program education coordinator. Lisa Gaumnitz is a public affairs manager for the DNR Water Program.