EPA and DNR approve Nine Key Element Plan

EPA and DNR approve the 14 Mile Creek Watershed Nine Key Element Plan for restoration of the watershed!

June 8, 2020 – Rome, WI – DNR Water Resources Management Specialist Andrew Craig announced the conditional approval of the Nine Key Element Plan for the 14 Mile Creek Watershed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  It’s conditional awaiting the addition of some appendices, and matching of planned phosphorous reduction calculations with the Wisconsin River Basin TMDL.

So, what does this plan mean for us on the lakes in Rome?  For starters, it’s the result of an effort begun when the 14 Mile Creek Watershed Joint Committee was created in 2017 following the presence of harmful blue-green algae blooms (HBA’s) on our lakes.  The plan was drafted by multiple agencies including; our county conservationist Kason Morley, with assistance from three other upstream county conservationists, dozens of people from the DNR, Adams County, and WI Land and Water.  Data collected by our 14 Mile committee was used as baseline data in the plan.

We were the drivers to get the process started.  We are now one of more than 50 stakeholders in the 38-mile watershed sharing a responsibility to take actions to reduce the excess flow of nutrients into our surface water and groundwater that creates water quality issues such as HBA’s.  Milestone activities have been identified for us and for the agricultural and forest industries, as well as municipalities upstream from us. Coordination will come from Kason Morley, our Adams County Conservationist.  This is a 10-year, $8 million project with specific activities, monitoring and identifiable goals. The plan provides access to expertise and to funds from sources such as EPA, DNR, DATCP and other grants to cover much of the cost.  Most importantly, it brings together all parties in the watershed with a common goal.

These water quality issues have been building since we were first made aware in a 1979 UW study.  The solution is at hand.  We are now officially recognized as a geographical/cultural area that is in need of repair and renewal. As Kason Morley stated prior to announcing the provisional approval of the 9 Key Element program, “the hard work has just begun”. This applies to each and every one of us. Let’s get started!