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Contact: Kristi Minahan, DNR Water Quality Standards Specialist or 608-622-2940

DNR Seeks Public Comment On Updated Water Condition List

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking public comment on revised water condition lists included in the draft 2024 Impaired Waters List.

Every two years, the Clean Water Act requires states to publish a list of all waters not meeting water quality standards and an overall report on surface water quality status of all waters in the state. The department is seeking comments and will hold an informational meeting on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023.

More than 80% of Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers recently assessed are attaining water quality standards, continuing a trend of improved surface water quality across the state.

Although the majority of waterbodies are in good condition and have been placed on the list of Waters Attaining Standards, 52 new waterbodies or segments are now classified as impaired. Placing waters on the Impaired Waters List means those waters require a restoration plan to improve aquatic habitat, recreation opportunities or fish consumption.

A total of 81 new pollutant listings are proposed; a waterbody can have multiple pollutant listings. Some of the new listings are on waters already identified as impaired. The majority of new pollutant listings are for phosphorus and aquatic plants. This is the first assessment cycle to use the new assessment thresholds for aquatic plants recently approved by the Wisconsin legislature.

“As part of this year’s updates, we also have several waterbodies that are newly covered under restoration plans, setting them up for water quality improvement projects to begin,” said Laura Dietrich, Chief of DNR’s Water Evaluation Section.

Of the 81 new listings, 17 will be placed directly on the list of waters in restoration because they are covered by an existing restoration plan called a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) analysis. The listings are being added to the Milwaukee River Basin TMDL (8 listings), Upper Fox-Wolf Basins TMDL (5 listings), the Northeast Lakeshore TMDL (3 listings) and the Wisconsin River Basin TMDL (1 listing). The department is also seeking public comment on these TMDL additions.

Simultaneously, 37 impairment listings will be removed, with over half being for phosphorus. Overall, the 2024 draft Impaired Waters List contains 1,481 listings. The draft list of Waters In Restoration contains 670 listings.

The department is asking for public comments regarding the new listings and TMDL additions. Provide written comments by Dec. 6, 2023 to or:

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
c/o Kristi Minahan, Water Quality, WY/3
P.O. Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707

The water condition lists are submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency every even-numbered year in accordance with the Clean Water Act. The department follows standard procedures to assess waterbodies against water quality standards.

The 2024 lists and other materials can be found on the DNR’s website.





What: Public meeting on impaired waters in Wisconsin

When: Nov. 20, 2023 at 1 p.m.

Where: Register for the Zoom meeting.