Saving the Central Sands
Today’s guest blog about the #4 Little Plover River- a part of our America’s Most Endangered Rivers® series- is from Bob Clarke with Friends of the Central Sands. Friends of the Central Sands (FOCS) works to promote a healthy Central Sands landscape through natural resource stewardship, community involvement, scientific knowledge, and advocacy.
This week, the Wisconsin General Assembly (and potentially the State Senate) will vote on a budget that includes a controversial provision stripping citizens of their right to challenge the DNR’s permitting of high capacity wells when cumulative impacts are not considered.
Given this critical decision, Friends of the Central Sands has released a short film highlighting why this issue is so important. Not Standing Still: The Degradation of Wisconsin’s Waters clearly shows the loss of water to Wisconsin’s lakes and streams.
Recently, the Little Plover River in Portage County was named #4 on the 2013 list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers by American Rivers due to the threat of excessive water withdrawals from high capacity wells. Other bodies of water have also been impacted by this practice, such as Pickerel Lake and Lake Huron; they are drying up as depicted in the film.
Over the past few weeks, thousands of citizens and dozens of environmental organizations have expressed concerns about the Joint Finance Committee of the Wisconsin Legislature’s approved measure (Motion #375), which is specifically aimed at the public’s rights to protect the environment from high-capacity well pumping. The motion states:
Move to specify that a person may not challenge an application for, or a permit for, a high capacity well based on the lack of consideration of the cumulative environmental impacts of the proposed high capacity well together with existing wells when approving the high capacity well permit. This provision would apply to applications for high capacity well permits and high capacity well permits in effect before, on, or after, the effective date of the bill, and for applications and permits for which final administrative or judicial review has not been completed on the effective date of the bill.
It is our goal to not just talk about but to show the impacts that the loss of water is having on our lakes and streams. Clearly there is a problem that needs to be addressed and can no longer be ignored.
Please help us protect the Little Plover River! If you live in Wisconsin, contact your state legislators and ask them to remove the provisions in the budget limiting the consideration of cumulative impacts for high capacity well permits.