Thursday, August 14, 2014

Opponents Update Lakefront Golf Course, Grab Of State Park Land

Friends of The Black River Forest - - some context, here - - issued a news release today as the DNR considers the developer's request for acreage in Terry Andrae State Park:

Thursday, August 14

For immediate release:


The recent ban on Lake Erie drinking water from phosphorus and manufacturing runoff has spotlighted the efforts of Friends of the Black River Forest to stop the Kohler Company from building its 5th Sheboygan County golf course in the Town of Wilson. "Water is an irreplaceable resource, but this State through its lack of environmental concern is contributing to the destruction of our natural resources," states Mary Faydash, Friends' spokesperson.

The Kohler Company has proposed building a Championship Course along Lake Michigan's shore adjacent to Kohler-Andrae Park on a 247 acre company-owned parcel comprised of dunes, wetlands, and forest. Besides the number of negative environmental impacts, Wilson residents oppose the course because it does not fit into their Town's land use plan or zoning regulations.

Faydash and co-spokesperson, Claudia Bricks, point to several alarming factors regarding the proposed golf course's impact on water. Hika Bay in Cleveland near Whistling Straits is full of the same algae that has poisoned Lake Erie. "While a golf course does not pollute as much as agriculture and manufacturing, research tells us that the fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides used, flow into groundwater threatening wells, streams and lakes, as well as being the cause of serious illnesses upon contact," explains Bricks. "Bulldozing at least 125 acres of forest and tearing up habitat also creates massive erosion adding to pollution."

Wells in the Town of Mosel, the location of Whistling Straits have run dry. Kohler has replaced some of these for residents, but others have to prove to the company that it is to blame.

At the low end, a typical non-championship golf course uses 20-30 million gallons of water a year. In areas of drought, golf course developers are scrambling to buy up senior water rights up river, while those at the end find their rivers and streams drained.

"The Kohler Company has received permits to drill high capacity wells for their generator plants in Sheboygan near Whistling Straits and Hika Bay. These wells pump 70 gallons of water a minute. Residents of White Bear Lake in Minnesota have filed suit against the Minnesota DNR for issuing too many permits for water use which has been proven to be the cause of their lake draining by 6 feet. However, thanks to the Wisconsin Legislature, Wisconsin residents cannot challenge the WDNR if it fails to look at the impact of high capacity wells on the local groundwater. And all over the state people are facing water depletion from nearby industries having received the go ahead from the DNR to drill more and more high capacity wells," explains Faydash. 

The Friends' group is targeting the State for its collusion with developers who fill in wetlands with State approval. "The Wetland Mitigation Program will allow Kohler to fill in the massive areas of wetlands on this property as long as they create some in another location in the state. "Wetlands filter toxins before they run into the groundwater," Bricks says. "With the massive amount of filling in planned, raw unfiltered toxins will flow into the aquifer, and into our Black River and Lake Michigan. The Mitigation Program is a boon to developers and a tool of destruction for our water."

The Kohler Company, despite having its own land for an access, has asked the DNR for 12 acres of Kohler-Andrae Park land to build a two lane road which would cut through State hiking trails and wetlands. 

The DNR in evaluating Kohler's easement request will use the Kohler Company's environmental information. The environmental study to be credible must be independent. That is like putting the fox in charge of the hen house," comments Faydash.

The Friends' members bristle at those who can't wait to have another Kohler Championship Course which would be afforded only by the 1%. Courses pollute and consume water voraciously, regardless of how beautiful this destruction and re-creation of nature appears. It is not our duty to donate our resources for the enjoyment of the 1% and the private profit of the Kohler Company." concludes Faydash. "I saw a wonderful bumper sticker which said, 'if you are not outraged you are not paying attention.' "Wisconsinites need to become outraged."

Friends are appealing to concerned citizens to to sign their petition to the DNR, to donate $10 to support the campaign to stop the golf course. More information is available

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think there could be an Environmental Impact Study required by the Great Lakes Compact since some of the flowage into Lake Michigan would be greatly reduced and perhaps considered diverted. As in the Minnesota lake how much would the water level of Lake Michigan be affected d/t interruption or siphoning off of the river & underground flowage into Lake Michigan? Pollution issues must be addressed as the proposed Golf course is not confined/contained in a local community but adjacent to and affecting an international water way with international protection.