Sunday, June 15, 2014

Apply Water Protections Principles To More WI Waters

The Journal Sentinel has backed up the paper's recent reporting on the improved water quality in Milwaukee's rivers and its resulting economic benefits with a strong editorial in support of more measures to prevent destructive runoff pollution from upstream sources. Truer words were never written:

Basically, this is a great regional success story with one significant remaining challenge: runoff pollution from farms, development, lawns, roads and other non-point sources...soil, manure, fertilizer, grass clippings, gasoline and oil and other pollutants stream off the land into the three river systems that span nearly 900 square miles before they converge near the lake.
And just as the editorial argues that pollution abatement solutions need to be expanded across Southeast Wisconsin to build on the watersheds' gains, so also should that approach be extended to other state water resources, and in particular to high-profile proposals that carry similar pollution risks statewide.

These projects include the large dairy expansions on impervious land in the Kewaunee area near Lake Michigan, the frac sand mines in Western Wisconsin close to the Mississippi River, and the proposed iron ore open-pit mine in the Penokee Hills and Bad River watershed (which the paper has endorsed) just upriver from tribal, water-dependent wild rice beds close to Lake Superior.

And the editorial's principles certainly should be used to evaluate a plan to build an upscale golf course near and along the edge of Lake Michigan abutting Kohler-Andrae State Park south of Sheboygan on 247 acres of pristine wetlands and forest through which the Black River runs.

The land is owned by Kohler Co. This news story contains a map of the proposal, and video, which disclose that four of the golf course holes could be sited overlooking Lake Michigan. The video says the golf course would need an access road cut from a local street across Kohler-Andrea Park.

So DNR permissions as well as local permitting will come into play, and there is opposition.

By the way - - 247 acres with forest, wetlands, perhaps Indian mounds with Lake Michigan access and a side-by-side with a state park featuring sand dunes and unspoiled beaches is a significant, perhaps unique parcel in Wisconsin. 

By comparison, Lake Park in Milwaukee is 137 acres and South Shore Park is 45 acres, according to Milwaukee County records.

To get a better idea than what I can provide below with a camera phone, take a walk along the shoreline on the public right-of-way at the water's edge heading north from Kohler-Andrae Park so you can see how the site lines up with the park and Lake Michigan.

The park is about an hour's drive from Milwaukee up I-43 to exit 120, then another two miles to the park, which has excellent signage.

The dunes there and beach walk to, below and past the proposed golf course location are gorgeous, 

And to again pick up the theme from the Journal Sentinel editorial:

How do you prevent golf course fertilizer and other pollutants from running into the Black River and any wetlands that might survive the timber cutting and bulldozing (those unseen areas would be behind the trees on the site's private property and are not visible in the photos below taken in the public domain from the water's edge) - - and finally into Lake Michigan from the construction and operation of the course, clubhouse, parking lot, access road and traffic?
From the Lake Michigan shoreline, looking west.
From the shoreline, looking northwest towards the proposed site.
From north of the proposed site, looking southeast, with much of the golf course siting proposed to the west behind the trees.

No comments: