Budget Makes Major Cuts To River Cleanup Projects In Western Wisconsin

Coalition Has Worked To Reduce Runoff Into St. Croix, Red Cedar Rivers


A cleanup project for the western Wisconsin’s Red Cedar and St. Croix rivers could be in jeopardy due to a line item cut proposed in the state budget.

In 2013, the University of Wisconsin-Extension, the Department of Natural Resources and counties formed a set of farmer-led councils aimed at reducing farm runoff into the Red Cedar and St. Croix Rivers that contributes to toxic algae blooms. However, the proposed state budget would cut $770,000 from that and other efforts in the state.

Tainter-Menomin Lake Association President Ron Verdon told the Joint Finance Committee this week that the move would cut key positions.

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“UW-Extension staff members play a critical role in providing support, knowledge, leadership and resources to address issues we face in returning our waters to a healthy condition,” said Verdon.

The farmer-led councils and larger cleanup project includes 26 partner organizations and 11 counties in western Wisconsin.