Friday, October 19, 2018

Getting Out

Field Notes 12/1/17

Air quality better across state

MADISON — The state Department of Natural Resources annual air quality report for Wisconsin shows the air we breathe continues to improve.

The Air Quality Trends Report, released this month, provides official state monitoring data for air pollutants through this year. The report shows that concentrations of most pollutants regulated under the Clean Air Act have decreased during the past decade throughout the state.

DNR air program director Gail Good said the report includes many success stories such as reductions in pollutants like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and fine particles. For example, sulfur dioxide emissions have dropped 77 percent since 2011, she said. 

Another success story, she said, is the significant reduction in fine particle pollution. Statewide, ambient concentrations of fine particles have decreased by about 30 percent during the last decade. Concentrations of fine particles are currently well below the federal air quality standards in all Wisconsin counties, Good said. 

For more about Wisconsin’s air quality, search the DNR website,, using keywords “air quality.”

Input sought on water plan

MADISON — The state Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment through Dec. 15 about a new set of Clean Water Act water quality plan updates. 

The plans are designed to help the department better understand the state’s water resources and plan for future improvements.

Water quality plans for 14 study areas were developed by the DNR to describe the results of studies conducted from 2014 to 2016. At least one plan update was conducted in each region of the state. 

Clean Water Act water quality plans have been developed since the early 1970s and are used to identify watershed-based priorities for water resource management ranging from wastewater treatment plant recommendations to support opportunities to address contemporary issues such as streambank erosion.

The plans are closely tied to the state’s Clean Water Act Water Quality Report to Congress as well as local and regional partnerships.

Prior to commenting on the plan, people can view online presentations and additional information at the DNR website, Public comments about the program or specific plans can also be submitted in writing to: WQM Plan Public Comments, c/​o Lisa Helmuth, WY/​3, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921. Comments may be sent via email to

Comments will be reviewed and incorporated into the plans before documents are sent to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

From staff reports

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