It seems that “karst” has finally entered into the public discourse and is getting media attention on a regular basis! This took years of education and a terrible drinking water crisis in Kewaunee County to achieve, but we’ll chalk that up as progress. There still is a long way to go before we can protect our sensitive geology, but Crawford Stewardship Project is busy spreading the word, gathering together the science, and leaning on our agencies and elected representatives to take action!
Our Karst Landscapes and Groundwater Susceptibility Survey of Crawford County is taking shape, with most of the maps completed and the beginnings of our online platform up and running. Some of our preliminary results got their first public showing at our July Karst Exploration in Prairie du Chien, which went beautifully thanks to all our volunteers and the knowledge of Dr. Kelvin Rodolfo and Phil Burgess, our presenters.
On November 3, at 7 p.m. in the Prairie du Chien City Hall, we will have our next Karst Citizen Science event where we will gather to complete our mapping of sinkholes in Crawford County. Please consider participating in this fun, educational, and critically important project! While we are certainly moving forward on this front, the urgency to gather this data and raise public awareness has never been higher. The state legislature just attempted, though they again failed, to strip away local control of mining operations, is moving to eliminate our state “prove-you-won’t-pollute” mining moratorium, and there is even a lawsuit by the Dairy Business Association seeking to dismantle the permitting process for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.
The Wisconsin DNR has finally agreed to enhanced groundwater protections… but only for fifteen counties in eastern Wisconsin, despite the many comments that flooded in from across the state requesting inclusion in these protections in other counties with karst geology. This April at the County Conservation Congress, CSP spearheaded an effort that led to nine counties overwhelmingly passing resolutions to include all karstic areas of the state in these protections. It is probable that this resolution will be on the statewide ballot next year and we are actively working to make that so.
We will not wait until we see the contamination levels seen in Kewaunee County before we take action. We will not wait until clean water is available only to those with enough money to purchase expensive filtration systems, as is the case in many areas already. This is a matter of our basic rights, and through scientific understanding and community action we will defend them.