WATERWAYS, Fall 2018
This is the introductory article from our fall 2018 WaterWays newsletter. Download a PDF of the full Newsletter.
One Thing We Know
By Raj Shukla
Wisconsin politicians have grown comfortable eroding long-held protections of our waters. The trend toward “anything goes” sped up in the last few years. But dangers to our waters have been met with great energy from local advocates. We honored many of them recently at River Bash 2018 (pictured above)—five River Champions and 40 Water Heroes to be exact. They work on the most critical water issues we face.
- Foreign mining interests now have a green light to put local waters at risk. Last year the legislature and Governor agreed that sulfide mines no longer have to prove they are safe. Not a single member of the State Senate spoke in favor of the change on the floor. But River Alliance, other conservation groups and many local groups have taken up the challenge of ensuring local waters remain pristine. More on mining in Wisconsin.
- Permits for high-capacity wells have grown at a staggering pace with no thought to the total impact on surrounding waters.
- Farm runoff continues to foul streams and rivers, and drives the spread of algae on lakes across the state. We’ve seen progress with new rules that safeguard groundwater in northeast Wisconsin. And we will soon certify our first two farms through our Clear Water Farms pilot program. We believe the market can help local farms protect local waters. Clear Water Farms proves it.
- Invasive species continue to plague the state. The response by volunteers has been remarkable. River Alliance’s state-wide 2018 Snapshot Day brought hundreds of people and organizations out to keep waters free of harmful intruders.
- The Great Lakes Compact is being put to the test. Racine won a diversion of Lake Michigan water to solely benefit Foxconn. But your voices were clear and we joined an appeal led by partners at Midwest Environmental Advocates. A hearing on whether to reverse the decision awaits.
There is a lot at stake as the Nov. 6th elections approach. We don’t know who will steer the agencies guarding natural resources from our own excesses. We don’t know who will craft policies that impact the health of Wisconsin’s waters.
Your Vote Matters
We know your vote will be decisive. Despite huge obstacles you continue to show up, speak out and act. And it’s working. We’ve seen elections won by candidates who champion clean water. We’ve seen business people voice their support for a healthy economy built on a healthy environment. And we’ve seen local groups of water heroes get their feet wet to protect native habitats.
Now you get another chance to protect and restore water. On November 6, we urge you to use your vote to bring Wisconsin’s policies back in line with our values.