Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Non-point pollution hearings coming soon

The Wisconsin DNR will soon hold a series of public hearings on proposed revisions to administrative rules regulating non-point pollution. Administrative rules implement the statutes enacted by Wisconsin Legislature and have the full force and effect of law. Look here for a list of upcoming hearing locations.

The proposed changes would--among other things--create new agricultural standards to further limit the amount of fertilizer and manure carried into water bodies. They would also allow municipalities more time to meet the requirement that they reduce the amount of stormwater pollutants.

Furthermore, new performance standards are being proposed: the Phosphorus Index and Tillage Setback. The Phosphorus Index is a planning tool for assessing the potential of croplands, pastures and winter grazing areas to contribute phosphorus to the nearest waterbody. The Tillage Setback performance standard is designed to protect the structural integrity of streambanks and shorelines from tillage operations and to prevent the direct application of sediment to state waters.

Learn more about the proposed administrative rule changes—and the Wisconsin Buffer Initiative that recommended many of them—at the following websites:

Nonpoint Source Program Administrative Rules

Wisconsin Buffer Initiative

Public hearings set on DNR's proposed runoff rules