Saturday, December 31, 2016

Despite the scrubbing, climate science remains on DNR pages

The climate change censors at Scott Walker's "chamber of commerce mentality" Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources have been deleting, moving and otherwise dismissing known science, data and links from its agendas and web pages, but the reality of climate change and its scientific basis researched and contributed by so many sources across so many disciplines and sites means there are simply too many important and useful references for the DNR to censor.

Too much water over that bridge, so to speak, as life imitates politics echoes climate changes' extreme weather events in our state:
Case in point about flooding, with this text posted on a DNR page, and if you read to the end, you will see the encouraging news that the State Department of Health Services has a program called Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) which is already in force in some Wisconsin Counties:

Groundwater flooding is rare and little studied in Wisconsin. Given the extent of the damage to agricultural, residential, and commercial properties caused by the 2008 flooding, questions about the future likelihood of groundwater inundation naturally arose. Researchers at the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey and UW-Madison funded by the Wisconsin Groundwater Research and Monitoring Program (WGRMP) responded by developing a series of models that simulated groundwater hydrology in the low-lying areas near Spring Green under a range of climate scenarios through 2100. Findings suggest that years of extremely high water table conditions may still occur but will remain relatively rare in this century (Joachim et al., 2011). 

Higher evapotranspiration is likely to reduce groundwater recharge overall.

The 2008 floods also highlighted the need for improved mitigation, preparation, response, and recovery practices. Capitalizing on momentum, a GCC-sponsored conference, “From Sandbags to Sanity,” brought together policy experts, state and local officials, and nonprofit organizations in April 2009 to discuss the policy approaches that can minimize the risks associated with this type of hydrologic disaster (Moynihan, 2009).

These two responses to the June 2008 floods – investment in research to improve scientific knowledge and enhanced coordination among federal, state, and local actors – exemplify how the GCC carries out its core missions to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of groundwater management.

Other Projects in Other Places

Agricultural management in the Central Sands

In times of drought, the demand for agricultural irrigation increases substantially, especially in the Central Sands region of the state. For immediate relief, the Department of Natural Resources may approve emergency high capacity wells for irrigation or livestock supply, as it did during the 2012 drought. On a long-term basis, a more reliable strategy for farmers and water systems requires understanding water balance dynamics and crop biophysics at higher spatial and temporal resolutions so that process-based models can be used to evaluate the effects of different irrigation strategies and climates on water demand. To this end, a recent study funded by the WGRMP conducted an intense field measurement campaign to refine models and evaluate how climate and land management have impacted groundwater recharge and evapotranspiration in the Wisconsin Central Sands over the past 60 years.

Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE)

The Department of Health Services BRACE program has worked with seven local public health departments, or consortiums of health departments, to facilitate a climate and health community engagement process. Two of the seven local health department pilot projects have chosen to address public health impacts related to groundwater in a changing climate. 

One such consortium of local health departments (Eau Claire Co., Dunn Co., Pepin Co., and Buffalo Co.) is developing better policy regulating nutrient contaminants (e.g., nitrates, phosphorous). Activities will include increased testing and a collaborative group to problem-solve public health interventions. Another local health department pilot project in La Crosse County is working to increase public awareness of drinking water hazards and increase testing among private well owners. This project successfully received funding from the CDC for private well water testing.

Another aspect of the BRACE framework focuses on projecting disease burden related to a changing climate. One projected disease burden the BRACE program is investigating is gastrointestinal illness related to increases in precipitation from a changing climate in Marshfield. 


Bill Sell said...

Thanks, James.

Anonymous said...

We'll see if any political opposition will use this against the entire Republican Party in the next election cycle.

Anonymous said...

Hey, James. Thanks so much for researching and reporting on this. Both the environmental and Orwellian implications of this scrubbing are very disturbing to me, and I want very much to get to the bottom of it. I've written all the directors of the DNR for answers about why it was done and at whose instigation. But do you have any information about that? i.e., specifically who ordered that this change be made? Cathy Stepp? Someone else? Who crafted the replacement language? I'm mainly interested in finding out if this can be traced back to any individual, or lobbying group. Any idea? Any info as to whether similar efforts are being made to change the language in Michigan? Or has it happened in other states? Thanks in advance for any info you have.