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.
A state law requires that before the DNR can lay off a single permanent staffer, it must let go any limited-term employees or probationary employees with the same job classification. According to numbers DNR furnished the Legislative Fiscal Bureau in early May, the science bureau has 95 LTEs.
Phosphorus flowing into the bay causes fish kills, toxic algae blooms and an annual dead zone. “I felt it was important to bring the stakeholders together, and see if we could maybe stop pointing fingers at each other, and start pointing fingers at solutions,” Rep. Ribble said about the April 1 event he’s hosting.
Thirteen years after CWD was first discovered in Wisconsin, a state wildlife expert says many hunters “just want things to go back to normal.” That’s not likely to happen. A far more plausible scenario is that the disease will continue to spread, infecting and killing deer, until the number of animals available for hunters is seriously depleted.
Citing a rash of contaminated wells, the groups point to manure from animal agriculture as the leading risk to the region’s drinking water supplies and therefore the health of residents — and say state and local authorities have not done enough.
Daphnia, tiny crustaceans in Lake Mendota that graze on algae, and their good works are in danger. Each year their population is now crashing in the late summer as they are decimated by a voracious new predator called the spiny waterflea.
Since 2001, manure digesters have been popping up across the state. Wisconsin now has 34, the most in the nation, with two more scheduled to begin operating by 2015. In all these digesters, bacteria eat biomass like manure, food scraps or whey and emit energy in the form of methane gas.
Life for Wisconsin families has been disrupted by the relatively rare practice in Wisconsin of using water irrigation systems to spray liquid manure on farm fields. Now the issue has taken on new urgency as more large dairy farms consider using the practice.