Letter to the Editor: More ‘Healthy’ Millpond Drawdown Logic

In an attempt to show their concern about our local residents’ well-being, DC officials sent out a fact sheet about the health risks of the Forestville Pond drawdown. 

One full page is about blastomycosis, a potentially serious fungal infection that primarily affects the lungs and can be especially deadly for dogs because they keep their nose to the ground. A quote from the fact sheet: “As with other pathogens, children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are at greater risk.” Question for DC officials: Is this an environment you would feel comfortable having your loved ones exposed to? 

The fungus lives in organically rich soil and decaying vegetation. The fact sheet states: “Door County has had a very low incidence. From 2007 to July 2019, Door County has had [fewer] than five cases of blastomycosis reported.” This might be true, but it did not have a two-year drawdown during that period either. 

The fact sheet also states, “Blastomycosis fungus grows when temperatures climb above 50 degrees F.” Although a winter drawdown (when it’s unlikely temperatures will rise above 50 F) was one of the original 10 options presented in the Millpond report, but officials crafted a two-year drawdown “solution” not in the report. So this not only vastly increases the risk to the public from a duration point of view but magnifies the risk because temperatures well above the 50 F are introduced in that time frame. 

As if that is not bad enough, SWCD says on its website, “Safety hazards and odors are possible as sediments dry out, decay and compact until vegetation is established,” and they might have to do this every five to 10 years to “sustain environmental benefits long term.” 

Residents’ health takes a back seat in their quest for environmental benefits? Are people not part of the environment? The last sentence of the fact sheet states, “Door County Public Health works to protect our community from illnesses such as these.” Are we in Southern Door not part of your community?

Robert Sijgers

Forestville, Wisconsin