Speaker: Luke Beringer and Aaron Marti
In 2019 the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources initiated a new statewide program to improve watershed and waterbody protection efforts. A work group investigated other national, regional, and state protection programs, evaluated available datasets and conservation planning tools, and developed a statewide framework – Healthy Watersheds, High Quality Waters– to prioritize protection actions. Given that Wisconsin has over 15,000 lakes, 42,000 miles of perennial streams and rivers, and > 5.3 million acres of remaining wetlands, most waters have not been monitored for Clean Water Act assessment purposes. Thus, a combined approach of using modeled and empirical datasets was identified as critical to identifying protection opportunities at the watershed (HUC12) scale. We will share the results of our efforts using USEPA’s Watershed Recovery Potential Screening Tool to identify healthy watersheds at various scales and the individual High Quality Waters within those watersheds. Join Wednesday’s Part 2 Planning to learn more.