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hek  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, January 6, 2016 5:45:09 PM(UTC)
hek
Rank: Midge

Joined: 1/6/2016(UTC)
Posts: 18
Location: Wyoming State of Mind

Hi All.

I am posting this at the request of an e-mail that Trapper sent to me (hello Trapper!).

This is Henry Koltz. I am the former State Council Chair of Wisconsin Trout Unlimited.

Let me start by saying that neither I, nor Wisconsin TU, care how you fish. We don't care if you use spinners, flies, worms, or any other legal means. We taught all three methods at our youth camp this year.

I say that because TU is sometimes characterized as fly fishing only, and I wanted to get it out of the way. So there you have it.

I created this log in because, as mentioned, Trapper asked me to post what you'll find in the next post.

What follows is a political post. If you disagree what we're asking, I respect that, and thanks for your consideration. If you agree with what we're saying, then please take action. As the following post says, I think this is an all hands on deck moment for our trout streams and their health.

Thank you, take care, and be well.

- hek





hek  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, January 6, 2016 5:47:10 PM(UTC)
hek
Rank: Midge

Joined: 1/6/2016(UTC)
Posts: 18
Location: Wyoming State of Mind

Earlier this week, a bill was introduced (Senate Bill 493) by Senators Thomas Tiffany and Richard Gudex which would greatly expand the ability to use natural water bodies for fish farming operations.

The bill was introduced on January 4, 2016, and a public hearing was set in the Senate Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry just 24 hours later.

This bill has been co-sponsored by Assembly Representatives Mary Czaja, Cody Horlacher, David Murphy, Adam Jarchow, Thomas Larson and Janel Brandtjen. To my knowledge, no Assembly Bill Number has been assigned, and no public hearing is set at this time in the Assembly.

Truthfully, I have had only a short time to review the bill. I have grave concerns about the bill, however, because:

1. It would greatly expand the types of natural waterbodies which could be used for fish farms. Under current law, only freeze-out ponds, pre-existing fish rearing facilities, or permitted bodies may be used for fish farms. Under SB 493, springs which provide water to artificially constructed ponds may be used for fish farm operations.

The Wisconsin DNR notes that it has mapped over 10,800 springs in Wisconsin, and that “expansion of aquaculture use of headwater spring habitats could impact state trout fisheries and stream water temperature and habitat.”

2. Under SB 493, fish farms would no longer be required to obtain permits to construct or dredge artificial enlargements of navigable waterways, or to grade on the bank of navigable waterway – including trout streams and “outstanding and exceptional resource waters.”

The Wisconsin DNR notes that “Construction of aquaculture ponds in these areas have significant potential to create difficulty meeting physical and chemical water quality standards for the waterway, habitat fragmentation, and impacts spawning and fish rearing areas. Unregulated construction of aquaculture ponds on navigable waterways could create conflict between aquaculture business owners and members of the public exercising their right to navigate on navigable waterways.”

3. Under SB 493, dams used for aquaculture facilities would be exempted from minimum flow requirements. Under current law, dams on navigable streams have minimum release standards that they must abide by. Because of the exemption, it appears that neither a public notice and comment process will exist concerning permits, nor will the public have an ability to challenge them.

The Wisconsin DNR notes that “this change could have impacts on stretches of streams that could become de-watered,” and that resulting lack of flow “could potentially leave some watercourses short of the water needed to remain viable.”

4. In addition, SB 493 appears to exempt fish farms from current nonpoint pollution standards, and allows agricultural performance standards to apply instead. As a consequence, it also appears that the State of Wisconsin and its taxpayers would be required to help pay cost-sharing for the price of fish farm best practice pollution controls.

The Wisconsin DNR notes that “By adding aquaculture to the list of activities that make up ‘agricultural practice,’ the agricultural performance standards and associated cost-sharing requirements under the current statute would also apply to aquaculture facilities.”

5. It appears that SB 493 will alter the manner in which groundwater withdrawals are defined under the Great Lakes Compact. Under SB 493, only an initial taking of water will be considered a withdrawal. Subsequent recirculation of water (from pond to pond, for example, of from one pond out of a water basin) will not be considered withdrawals.

6. Finally, SB 493 would provide various exemptions or changes in the way Wisconsin implements the federal Clean Water Act. Although Wisconsin may alter the way which it implements the Clean Water Act, applicants would still need to comply with federal requirements, including those imposed by the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The result would be a two-track (or more) application process, which could lead to confusion by applicants, and create needless red-tape.

Our waters and the angling they support are good for our kids, they are good for our Veterans, they are good for our economy, they are good for jobs, they are good for our citizens, and they are good for our State.

Any gain that would be had by fish farming under SB 493 stands to have significant and incredibly detrimental effects upon the $2.2 BILLION annual impact that angling has upon Wisconsin’s economy (per a 2013 report from the American Sportfishing Association).

It is early in the year for me to ask but IF YOU DO ONE THING FOR TROUT STREAMS THIS YEAR, let this be it:

1. Call your State Representative and State Senator, and tell them in no uncertain terms that you are strongly opposed to SB 493, and to the harm it would cause Wisconsin’s streams and economy.

You can find your representatives’ contact information by using the “find my legislators” link on the upper right side of this link: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/

2. Send your State Representative and State Senator an e-mail or hard-letter, stating the same.

3. Contact as many other members of the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate, via as many methods you can, and voice your concerns to them.

This truly is an “all hands on deck” moment for anyone who cares about our streams.

This bill was introduced and heard on 24 hours’ notice. Our response must be as swift, and as strong.

Please help in whatever way you can.

Thank you.
hek  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, January 6, 2016 5:50:15 PM(UTC)
hek
Rank: Midge

Joined: 1/6/2016(UTC)
Posts: 18
Location: Wyoming State of Mind

Here is a link to the bill, and its Legislative Analysis.

http://docs.legis.wiscon.../related/proposals/sb493

Skimmer  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, January 6, 2016 8:04:23 PM(UTC)
Skimmer
Rank: Caddis Fly

Joined: 2/25/2015(UTC)
Posts: 222
Location: WI

Was thanked: 1 time(s) in 1 post(s)
Done. I'm on a first name basis with my districts senator as I've been working with him on another conservation project.
William Schlafer  
#5 Posted : Thursday, January 7, 2016 7:37:41 AM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 2,826
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

Thanks: 2 times
Was thanked: 20 time(s) in 17 post(s)
Just one of many bills that have come down the pipe, further degrading Wisconsin's heritage of progressive conservation and environmental protection. We need new leadership in the Legislature and the governors office. People who will work for the citizens of Wisconsin, instead of big business, big money, and national political groups.

Vote carefully.


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
Pete  
#6 Posted : Thursday, January 7, 2016 8:10:15 AM(UTC)
Pete
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 6/30/2011(UTC)
Posts: 501
Location: Far west suburbs of Chicago

Thanks: 2 times
Was thanked: 7 time(s) in 5 post(s)
Anything we FIBs can do to help? Obviously no state legislator cares what we think as we can't vote for or against them, but is there someone at the DNR or elsewhere who would be interested to hear of our opposition to the bill?
galleon2  
#7 Posted : Thursday, January 7, 2016 9:59:19 AM(UTC)
galleon2
Rank: Midge

Joined: 11/24/2014(UTC)
Posts: 38

Hey Henry!

Here is a link to the actual bill: https://docs.legis.wisco.../related/proposals/sb493

The bill was introduced on 1/4 - public hearing 1/5.

William Schlafer  
#8 Posted : Thursday, January 7, 2016 11:45:50 AM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 2,826
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

Thanks: 2 times
Was thanked: 20 time(s) in 17 post(s)
Pete wrote:
Anything we FIBs can do to help? Obviously no state legislator cares what we think as we can't vote for or against them, but is there someone at the DNR or elsewhere who would be interested to hear of our opposition to the bill?


Definitely.

Write to Wisconsin legislators and the governor, let them know you spend money here (funny how that always gets their attention) and let them know you don't like the direction they've taken. If the Koch brothers (who are not residents) can have a say, so should you.

BTW; whenever I've written to my elected state officials, I typically get a form letter back saying thank you for supporting their position(s) - like somehow I was in favor or what they're up to! And, you will end up on their propaganda mailing list. Be sure to include in your letter words firmly stating your opposition/concern, and to please leave your name off their mailing database (unless you like lots of junk mail).


-Bill

Edited by user Thursday, January 7, 2016 11:46:25 AM(UTC)  | Reason: typo

“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
hek  
#9 Posted : Thursday, January 7, 2016 1:35:13 PM(UTC)
hek
Rank: Midge

Joined: 1/6/2016(UTC)
Posts: 18
Location: Wyoming State of Mind

For out-of-staters, I think you can can play a role. If you are concerned, call and tell bordering legislators, and those in the areas you fish, that you come here, you spend money, and you won't if the streams are lost.

Thank you again. You cats are all right. I guess you can say that "I was so happy" when I read your support.
trapper  
#10 Posted : Thursday, January 7, 2016 3:29:07 PM(UTC)
trapper
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 3/24/2010(UTC)
Posts: 2,107
Location: West Fork

Thanks: 3 times
Was thanked: 7 time(s) in 5 post(s)
Thanks HenryThumpUp ThumpUp
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