Protecting Wisconsin’s Waters: Better Oversight of Development is Necessary to Prevent Runoff Pollution

 From the Sugar River south of Madison to the Lake Michigan shoreline, the excess flow of runoff pollution into Wisconsin’s waterways has led to serious water quality problems, including impaired drinking water quality, degraded wildlife habitat and uncontrolled sewage overflows. These problems extend downstream, from contamination in the Great Lakes to the dead zone that forms every year at the mouth of the Mississippi River.

In 2002, the state took a major step toward solving these problems by adopting a set of the nation’s strongest stormwater regulations. The regulations set limits on runoff from roads and developed areas and require nutrient management plans for agricultural land.

However, developers are not fully complying with the law. To improve the health of Wisconsin’s waterways, the state should strengthen its oversight of development projects. Polluted runoff degrades thousands of streams, rivers and lakes in Wisconsin.