As 2011 draws to a close, I want to give you an update on what’s been happening — and NOT happening — on the high-capacity well issue. First, though, I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the Save Copper Creek cause in a dozen different ways: for all your ideas, encouragement, donations, petition-signing, putting up yard signs, attending meetings, writing letters, the rummage sale, and on and on and on and on . . . . Thank you, thank you, thank you!
* There have been several articles in the Crawford County Independent/Kickapoo Scout about the status of the well. They report no action on the test well, but also suggest that Dr. Long may be focusing more on bottling the water and perhaps giving up on the use of the water for emergencies. Check the papers for the stories — also, the articles sometimes appear on the newspaper chain’s website, http://www.swnews4u.com/ — click on news or headlines. The DNR also reports that it has not heard anything new on the test well in the last couple of months.
* The SCC legal team and science team remain vigilant in light of Dr. Long’s changeable motives and actions on this project. We continue to explore the revised zoning ordinance in the Town of Utica as another alternative for preventing the use of the well.
* At the suggestion of Edie Ehlert and Ellen Brooks of Crawford Stewardship Project, I attended a presentation in Prairie du Chien by Don Barrett, who is conducting research on aquatic invasive species in a nine-county area, including Crawford. He spoke to the Crawford County Land Conservation Committee. He has identified Japanese hops, an invasive species, in segments of Copper Creek. I talked to him after the meeting about whether well-induced changes in flow and temperature could make Copper Creek more susceptible to invasive species. He couldn’t give a definitive answer, but said that anything that changes the natural baseline characteristics of a stream has a potential for harm. While there, I also was asked to give the Committee a brief update on the status of the well, which I did.
* Save Copper Creek received a letter last week from Kim McCarthy, Chair of Wisconsin Trout Unlimited, notifying us that Save Copper Creek will be receiving the TU’s Appreciation Award for our efforts to protect the creek. The award will be presented at the TU annual State Council evening banquet in Wausau on February 4, 2012. We plan to have a representative of Save Copper Creek on hand to accept the award.
I hope you have had a wonderful holiday season so far and that we can all look forward to a happy new year.
Bob Van Hoesen for Save Copper Creek