MADISON — Work to improve the water quality of the Wisconsin River Basin will soon take another step forward when the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources begins accepting public comments on a draft study.
The Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, Study will provide a strategic framework and prioritize resources for water quality improvement in the Wisconsin River Basin, according to the DNR.
A public hearing on the study will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 22 at the Portage County Courthouse Annex Building, 1462 Strongs Ave., Stevens Point.
“We incorporated comments received during the March listening sessions and comment period and we will outline those changes at the hearing,” said Kevin Kirsch, DNR water resources engineer and manager of the project, in a newsletter. “In addition to those changes, we also added additional material to aid in implementation efforts.”
One important addition is a summary of phosphorus goals for agricultural sources
“To my knowledge, no other TMDL in the country has gone to this level of detail. It will really aid in implementation by allowing agricultural producers to evaluate the management options needed to protect water quality at the field scale,” said Marcia Willhite, chief of the DNR Water Evaluation Section.
The public hearing version of the TMDL Study incorporates input and comments received during the March listening sessions and comment period. The Aug. 22 hearing will include a presentation outlining the modifications made. For those who are unable to attend the public hearing, comments on the TMDL Study can be submitted to Kevin Kirsch at DNRWisconsinRiverTMDL@wisconsin.gov or by mail to: Kevin Kirsch, Wisconsin DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921
The study area covers the Wisconsin River Basin north of Lake Wisconsin encompassing or touching portions of 22 counties. The Wisconsin River Basin has 109 stream and river segments and 38 lakes or reservoirs that are currently listed as impaired due to elevated levels of phosphorus. The EPA, under the Clean Water Act, requires that waters not meeting water quality standards be listed as impaired and have TMDL or equivalent restoration plans developed.