Thursday, August 20, 2015

Government, science and service enhance Wisconsin water

You won't find a more rewarding read in Wisconsin media today, and probably for a long time, than Karen Herzog's page one report in the Journal Sentinel about a system developed by UW-Madison scientists that provides real-time, live-saving information about wave conditions to thousands of sea kayakers out to enjoy the Apostles Islands yearly in the scenic-but-potentially-rough waters of Lake Superior.

Also involved in this effort: Federal and local agencies - - and, of course, citizen activists - - who are working together to maintain the beauty and safety of the islands and their unusual sea caves which draw visitors and commerce to this unique spot in Northern Wisconsin.

Herzog also reported last year that the key UW scientist behind the Lake Superior wave information technologies is also working on a similar system to provide data about dangerous currents along the Lake Michigan coastline in Port Washington, and perhaps Milwaukee.

So when you hear people or pundits disparage "the government," or science or the UW-Madison, remember that it is the public service mission in those very institutions - - which all of us own - - that keep these special parts of our state and the environment we inherited valuable and safe.

And accessible to all - - as is our right - - under the Ninth Article of the Wisconsin Constitution, known as the Public Trust Doctrine, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources:
The public trust doctrine
Wisconsin's Waters Belong to Everyone
Wisconsin lakes and rivers are public resources, owned in common by all Wisconsin citizens under the state's Public Trust Doctrine. Based on the state constitution, this doctrine has been further defined by case law and statute. It declares that all navigable waters are "common highways and forever free", and held in trust by the Department of Natural Resources...
All Wisconsin citizens have the right to boat, fish, hunt, ice skate, and swim on navigable waters, as well as enjoy the natural scenic beauty of navigable waters, and enjoy the quality and quantity of water that supports those uses.
And that is why people must speak out and organize against the abuse of these rights, especially when Wisconsin's chief water stewards fall down on the job, or are manipulated by special interests or ideology to sacrifice the public's rights to water and its benefits.

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