Revising Our Standards

State officials are seeking public input on 22 water quality standard topics for Wisconsin lakes and rivers related to the protection of public health, recreation, fish, and other aquatic communities.

This process, which occurs every three years, is called the triennial standards review. The topics under consideration address things such as levels of pollutants, algae and nutrients as well as guidance for implementing water quality criteria.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is proposing to revise some existing standards because of new information on certain contaminants and to reflect changes in federal or state regulations. Any actual changes to standards must be approved by the Natural Resources Board, the Wisconsin Legislature and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Due to limited resources, not all of the changes can be addressed at the same time. To help prioritize which standards and policies should receive attention first, the DNR is asking for input from the public.

Stakeholders are invited to comment on the standards-related topic priorities through Aug. 7, 2014 in an online survey. The Public Ranking Survey and topic descriptions are available by searching the DNR website for “triennial standards review.”

The DNR will use that final priority list to plan its work over the ensuing three years and each topic will be addressed as resources allow.

A public hearing will be held on July 30, from 10 to 11 am. This hearing is for citizens to comment on or ask questions about the process and the topics presented. Anyone who would like to participate is invited to join online through a webinar using the link posted on the DNR website, or in person at the State Natural Resources Building, 101 S. Webster St., Madison, in Room 313, after signing in at the visitor’s desk.

Questions or comments on the triennial standards review process should be directed to Ashley Beranek at 608.267.9603, [email protected], or mailing to Wisconsin DNR WT/3, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707.