Conservation Groups Against Rolling Back Wetland, Stream Protections
Groups supporting conservation and restoration of the Great Lakes and the Upper Midwest are speaking out against the Trump administration for proposing to roll back protections for wetlands and streams.
In December, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed changes to its definition of “waters of the United States” that receive federal protection.
Federal agencies, including the EPA, say they’re concerned the Obama administration greatly expanded federal control over local land use.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Preston Cole wrote in an April 15 letter to the EPA that the proposed changes could eliminate protections for much of the state’s more than 5 million acres of wetlands.
“Many of the small and ephemeral wetlands that would no longer be federally protected are critical to providing food and habitat for migrating, breeding and brooding ducks,” Cole wrote.
Taylor Ridderbusch, Great Lakes organizer with Trout Unlimited, said the proposal would allow more development to degrade hunting and fishing over time in places such as the Driftless Area. He added that the organization has been working for more than a decade with farmers and state and federal partners to improve water quality, reduce nutrient loading and reconnect floodplains.
The Trump administration has said the changes will protect the nation’s navigable waters while reducing barriers to business development.
DATCP Secretary: Increasing Dairy Exports Top Priority
Gov. Tony Evers’ pick to the lead the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) said increasing dairy exports is essential to boosting milk prices for farmers.
DATCP Secretary Brad Pfaff said removing barriers to trade is one of his top priorities as agency head.
After four years of low milk prices, more farmers’ organizations have considered or called for managing the supply of milk. Wisconsin Farmers Union leaders have continued to call for supply management as a way to prevent the boom-and-bust cycle of milk prices.
Proposed Hog CAFO Stirs Debate
An Iowa company is planning to build a $20 million large-scale farm for more than 26,000 hogs in northern Wisconsin. The concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) would be located in the town of Trade Lake in Burnett County, near a state wildlife area and tributary of the St. Croix River.
Iowa-based Suidae Health and Production, a veterinary clinic that consults on production, is working with Thorp farmer Jeffrey Sauer to manage the proposed farm owned and operated by Cumberland.
Sauer anticipates the farm would employ around 20 people from the surrounding area at $32,000 to $45,000 a year.
Cumberland would begin operations with 3,750 sows, 9,390 pigs and 50 boars. The farm would then possibly double that amount within the first five years, Sauer said. The operation would become the largest hog farm permitted to date in northern Wisconsin.
Lawmakers Propose Vaccination Bill
Compared to many other states, Wisconsin has strict rules on when pharmacists may give immunization shots. Pharmacists may not administer vaccines to children younger than age six, and they must form a collaboration with a local physician.
A bill proposed by two rural lawmakers who are concerned about access to health care would allow trained pharmacists to give shots to younger children with a doctor’s prescription. A pharmacist could immunize all ages against any diseases on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s immunization schedule without a prescription.
Two thirds of the state’s counties are medically underserved, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Pharmacies say that with their expanded hours and multiple locations, they can provide preventive care to people who might otherwise skip things such as vaccines.
Twenty-seven states allow pharmacists to vaccinate people of all ages, said Danielle Womack of the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin.
UW-Madison Arboretum Added to National Register
The UW-Madison Arboretum has been named to the National Register of Historic Places. The Arboretum is known for its spring magnolias, crab apples or lilacs, and its abundance of wildlife and effigy mounds.
The Arboretum joins 70 other properties around UW-Madison’s campus that are already listed as protected historic places.
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