Posted inEnvironment, Failure at the Faucet, Government, Health & Welfare, Water Watch Wisconsin

Going organic: One farmer’s fight against contaminants in the groundwater

In the early 1990s, Jim Goodman and his wife began to worry about how the chemicals they were using on the farm might affect their children. The fourth-generation Wisconsin farmer decided to make the shift away from conventional farming at his Sauk County operation. Now certified organic, the farm includes 120 head of cattle on pasture, including 45 milk cows, and 300 acres of crops.

Posted inEnvironment, Failure at the Faucet, Government, Health & Welfare, Water Watch Wisconsin

Nitrate in water widespread, current rules no match for it

Levels of nitrate, one of the Wisconsin’s top drinking water contaminants, are increasing. Nitrate comes primarily from fertilizers, including manure, and puts infants and expectant mothers particularly at risk. A projected 94,000 households are drinking private well water with unsafe levels of nitrate. And many of them don’t even know it since few private well owners conduct regular testing.

Posted inNews about Wisconsin Watch, Water Watch Wisconsin

Investigative Reporting + Art: The Spring 2015 Wisconsin Tour

We’ve transformed our reporting on problems with Wisconsin’s water quality and supply into sculptures that you can see and touch — including a life-size half cow and 1,000 balls of wool. Meet the artist and the reporters and learn about Wisconsin water in this series of events across the state April 30 through May 7.

Posted inEnvironment, Government, Health & Welfare, Water Watch Wisconsin

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.”