SPILL IN SOUTHWEST DANE THREATENS COLD WATER FISHERY
March 01, 2005
Kevin Connors, 224-3730
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) reports a fish kill on the West Branch Sugar River, which just celebrated its removal from the State’s impaired waters list last fall. WDNR staff is investigating all possible sources and the full extent of the fish kill. Liquid manure spread on steep frozen slopes is suspected to be the culprit.
The weather this past fall prevented many farmers from emptying their manure storage facilities. Many of these structures are now reaching capacity and there is still a month to go before the ground thaws so manure can be safely spread and incorporated into the soil. However, if the following conditions occur -- frozen ground, warm temperatures, melting snow and intermittent rain -- liquid manure spread now can easily threaten the nearest lake or stream, even if that waterbody is miles away.
County Executive Falk asks Dane County farmers not to spread liquid manure because of current conditions. “Let’s learn from these incidents. If you don’t have to spread liquid manure right now, please don’t,” requests Executive Falk. “This is a critical time to protect the lakes and streams of Dane County. The best solution to this problem is prevention.”
“If liquid manure must be hauled because of insufficient storage space, landowners are strongly encouraged to stay away from drainages to lakes and streams and channelized areas; not to spread on steep slopes; to spread as low a rate as possible; and keep in mind where the melting snow or rain is going to flow so the liquid manure won’t be transported,” states Kevin Connors, Director, Dane County Land and Water Resources Department (LWRD). Farmers with manure storage problems are encouraged to contact the Land Conservation Division of the Dane County LWRD at 608-224-3730 to discuss options.
In addition to the emergency earthen dams and other measures agency staff implemented to impede the flow of manure to the West Branch, one landowner has contracted a deep-tilling machine that will breakup the frost layer to allow the liquid manure to infiltrate into the soil and not become runoff.
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