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DNR looking for water quality input from public

The Wisconsin DNR is offering the public a chance to rank which issues the DNR should focus on over the next three years, to protect water quality in lakes, streams and rivers. This process is called the Triennial Standards Review and is required by the Clean Water Act.

The DNR is providing online tools, a comment period and a public hearing to gather public input. The DNR is asking the public to complete an online form to rank 15 specific topics, indicating which ones should be the DNR’s top five priorities.

“The Clean Water Act specifies what types of issues are covered under the triennial review,” said Kristi Minahan, DNR water quality standards specialist. “The topics focus on setting goals for water quality, mainly related to setting thresholds for different types of pollutants.”

Specifically, topics that will be evaluated in the 2021-23 review, include policies, rules and guidance related to waterbodies’ designated uses, water quality criteria, antidegradation and variances. The list of 15 topics includes some that were suggested by the public and partners in an earlier phase of the process.

The DNR will also hold a public hearing and webinar at 1 p.m., Nov. 16, to describe the topics, answer questions and take comments. The ranking form and any additional comments may be submitted until Dec. 4.

After the comment period closes, the DNR will prioritize the topics based on input from the public, technical staff and partners, and prepare a final prioritized list of items to work on over the next three years. The prioritized list is expected to be completed this winter.

When the workplan is complete, work will begin on the priority topics.