Year of Clean Water

Richland County Update

The Richland Stewardship Project provided the following testimony at the first Water quality Task Force hearing in Lancaster, WI on May 8th.

We are working collaboratively with our county as well as Crawford and Vernon Counties to develop a groundwater study. We have had two water forums in Richland County and have heard how concerned our community is about the quality of our ground water. Many expressed a need for further study of our karst geology and well testing to determine if our water may have become contaminated either by septic, agricultural use or from flooding. We hope that we can count on your support to help Richland, Vernon and Crawford counties develop a thorough understanding of the geology, geography and ground water:

  • Fund a well testing program similar to the SWIGG study in Richland, Crawford and Vernon counties in order to determine the health of our groundwater and if necessary to develop specific protections for our


  • Fund mapping of the soils for all of Karst geology of the state


  • Increase resources and staff for the state Center for Watershed Education and the UWSP Water and Environmental Analysis Lab (to accommodate increased local well testing programs, to compile all state well water quality data, and to increase analytical and mapping capabilities, development of water standard testing standards for private and agricultural wells)

  • Centralize all the data collected for well testing to develop a baseline of the quality of our groundwater


  • Increase funding for DATCP-approved Producer-Led Watershed Councils


  • Develop rules and regulations that our tailored specifically to the sensitive areas of our state i.e. the Driftless area – not a one size fits all regulation


  • Provide monitoring and enforcement resources to ensure we maintain the quality of our drinking water


We also sponsored three Educational forums “What’s in Your Water?”

  • March 15thin Richland Center
  • May 4thin Gotham
  • June 7thin Viola

Presenters were:

–    Dr. Norlene Emerson, emeritus professor of geology at UW-Platteville Richland: the geology of the Driftless in Richland County and how it influences our water quality

–   Scott Laeser, Water Program Director for Clean Wisconsin:  an overview of current water quality concerns and issues arising from the SWIGG project in Lafayette, Iowa and Grant Counties.

–  Melissa Luck, Richland County Supervisor, Land Conservation Committee

–  Rose Kohout – Richland County Public Health Manager

–  Forest Jahnke – Crawford Stewardship Project

–  Kriss Marion – Lafayette County Supervisor –Land and Water    Committee


The Stewardship is also a member of the Driftless Area Water Study (DAWS), made up of County Land Conservationists and Public Health Departments  from Richland, Crawford and Vernon Counties. Crawford Stewardship Project, Valley Stewardship Network and Melissa Luck Richland County Board Supervisor on the Land Conservation Committee.

The Goals of DAWS is to develop a 3 county study similar to the Southwest Wisconsin Groundwater and Geology Study (SWIGG) conducted in Grant, Iowa and Lafayette Counties. The SWIGG study will test water from hundreds of wells in Grant, Iowa and Lafayette counties to determine whether drinking water contamination issues exist and if so what is causing the contamination.

DAWS is working to develop methodology and funding for a similar SWIGG type study to test wells in Richland, Crawford and Vernon counties to determine if water contamination exists and if so what is causing the contamination.  Our goal is to obtain local and state funding to conduct the study.

It has been a busy 2019 for Richland Stewardship Project. I will keep you posted on the DAWS project and the State Water Quality Taskforce.

Below are links and websites  for more information on Water Quality:

Speakers Water Quality Task Force:  to watch hearings live


Richland County Land Conservation Committee

Crawford Stewardship Project

Interactive website done by WU-Steven’s Point







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