Is the Dead Zone Growing?

Find out the answer to this question at the annual Door County Environmental Council (DCEC) summer program on Sept. 10 at the Baileys Harbor Town Hall at 7 pm. The featured speaker is Gordon Stevenson, former chief of runoff management with the Wisconsin DNR who retired after 26 years with the department. His professional expertise includes watershed-based water resource protection and control of diffuse water pollution sources. Stevenson has been instrumental in development of policies and administrative codes for Wisconsin involving both agricultural and urban non-point source water pollution. In particular, Gordon has been an architect of Wisconsin’s environmental programs that apply to Wisconsin’s extensive livestock industry.

Proving that farmers “can cause water pollution was part of my job,” Stevenson said. “Some people do not believe that yet. We did not solve all the problems while I was at the DNR. Soil loss is up by 20 percent since 1997. Half of the land that was once in the Conservation Reserve Program has been taken out.”

Stevenson cites the recent disclosure of a major dead zone for aquatic life in the bay of Green Bay for which multiple sources agricultural, residential, and commercial were the likely contributors of runoff nutrients and contaminants that caused that condition. “Nutrients from the landscape in northeast Wisconsin and the Central Sands have been bled to the surface waters,” Stevenson said.

Admission for the presentation is free. There will be resfreshments served.