Wisconsin walleye have been declining for a long time. They aren't as plentiful as they used to be, and they're growing more slowly. Many lakes that used to support natural walleye reproduction no longer do, according to Gretchen Hansen of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Gov. Scott Walker’s science cuts may hinder efforts to halt walleye decline

Wisconsin’s walleye have been in decline for as long as scientists have been collecting solid data, about a quarter-century. They aren’t as plentiful, and they’re growing more slowly. Now the state Department of Natural Resources’ ability to research and reverse that decline could be at risk, with Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed cuts of DNR scientists. Continue Reading

Agriculture contributes nearly half of the phosphorus pollution that causes Green Bay's annually recurring dead zone, where the water lacks oxygen to support life.

Farmers vow to reduce phosphorus, bane of Green Bay

Despite fish kills, toxic algae blooms, unsafe beaches and an annual dead zone in the Lake Michigan bay sparking concern across the region, the level of phosphorus loading has changed little over the past two decades, and even gone up in the past couple of years. “I’m part of the problem,” said John Pagel of Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, one of the largest farms in Wisconsin, at a summit hosted by U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble in Green Bay. “But I’m also part of the solution.” Continue Reading

State auditors say two family planning clinics overbilled Medicaid for $3.5 million, largely for birth control; the providers say the state is using the wrong reimbursement rate. Now Republican legislators are seeking an audit of all such clinics in Wisconsin.

Republicans seek Medicaid audit of all family planning clinics, including Planned Parenthood

The 32 legislators’ action was prompted by a Center story in November about state auditors alleging that two family planning clinics overbilled Medicaid by $3.5 million, largely for birth control drugs and devices. Family planning providers say the auditors’ stance could force many clinics to close, while the state maintains it is protecting taxpayers. Continue Reading

Fly ash samples

‘Beneficial reuse’ of coal ash could contaminate drinking water statewide

It’s not a good sign when even the dogs won’t drink your tap water. “They sniff it and then drink the bottled water we pour,” said Frank Michna of Caledonia, one of hundreds of southeastern Wisconsin residents whose wells are contaminated by pollutants that may be coming from buried coal ash. Continue Reading

About 100 milligrams of nails are all that's needed to show if someone has been heavily drinking — at least six binges in the past three months.

Wisconsin first to test repeat drunken drivers with alcohol biomarkers

In the past several years, a handful of Wisconsin counties became the first nationwide to test repeat drunken drivers for molecular evidence of heavy drinking in nail or blood samples. Researchers say their initial data show that biomarker testing during treatment may help these offenders stay sober longer, keep them from getting rearrested, save counties money — and make roads safer. Continue Reading