State News: Foxconn, Mississippi River, Fish-Stocking

Evers Says Changes to Foxconn Deal Likely

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers said recently that he thinks the state of Wisconsin and Foxconn will renegotiate their contract because the company is no longer building the product it promised when it agreed to the deal. The company also confirmed that it is in talks with the state, though it didn’t specify what kind of changes it was discussing.

Foxconn’s original agreement, which was approved by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker and GOP state lawmakers, would pay the company up to $2.85 billion by 2032 through a combination of job and capital-investment tax credits.

The original deal called for the company to build what’s known as a Generation 10.5 liquid-crystal-display plant, meaning it would have built some of the largest, most technologically advanced screens in the world. When the deal was pitched to the Legislature, it called for a 22-million-square-foot manufacturing campus.

The company has since backed away from those plans and is currently building a 1-million-square-foot facility that could eventually build Generation 6 screens, which are smaller.

Water on Mississippi Causes Shipping Delays

A record-breaking amount of water on the Mississippi River caused major shipping delays and increased maintenance needs in 2019.

More than 20 trillion gallons of water had flowed through Lock and Dam 10 in Guttenberg, Iowa, as of November, setting a new record high. 

Patrick Moes, public-affairs specialist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ St. Paul District, said the 50-year average for the lock is 12.4 trillion gallons.

“The 2019 navigation was one for the record books, to say the least,” Moes said. “We kind of went from late ice to high spring flooding. And that flooding – that high volume of water – just kind of sustained itself through mid-summer.”

Moes said high waters carried more sediment than usual into the river, increasing demand for dredging to maintain the nine-foot-deep navigation channel that the shipping industry needs.

DNR Announces Lake Michigan Fish-Stocking Plan

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will launch a coaster brook trout stocking initiative in Lake Michigan next year and will also increase stocks of coho, Chinook and steelhead salmon in the lake as part of its 2020-22 fish-stocking plan announced earlier this month.

The DNR held four public meetings and two comment periods related to Lake Michigan fish stocks in 2019. Todd Kalish, deputy director of fisheries management, said the DNR also sought input from organizations across Wisconsin, other Great Lakes states and federal groups such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“We feel that this plan really acknowledges the diverse sources of input and expertise throughout Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan shoreline that this world-class resource deserves,” Kalish said.

According to a news release, the DNR will add 1.2 million Chinook salmon, 500,000 coho salmon, 460,000 steelhead salmon, and 450,000 brown trout to the lake during each of the next three years. In 2020, the DNR will also launch a brook trout stocking initiative.