Thursday, March 15, 2018

Regional planners have catalogued resources in 'WisConn' territory

People and policy-makers following Foxconn's permit-free permission and plans to bulldoze wetlands, woodlands, lake beds, stream corridors, wildlife habitat, productive farmland

and open space - - full Foxconn archive, here - - on a 3,000-acre Racine County site assisted by $4.5 billion in state and local subsidies - - but without so much as a basic environmental inventory and review - - might want read through the regional planning commission's extensive "Comprehensive Plan" for Racine County to see what that missing environmental inventory and review failed to document.

Sections III 6-14, focusing on wetlands, environmentally significant lands, open space, water resources and other portions are very relevant, given that the Wisconsin DNR is likely to greenlight a diversion of Lake Michigan water to help upend Racine County as we know it.

I had earlier noted the commission's work on flooding in Racine County.

It's a long report, and no doubt there's something there for everyone, but few lines in section III, page12, speaks the volumes which Walker and his dor-driven wetland-fillers would have us overlook:
Because of the many interacting relationships existing between living organisms and their environment, the destruction or deterioration of one important element of the total environment may lead to a chain reaction of deterioration and destruction of other elements. The drainage of wetlands, for example, may destroy fish spawning areas, wildlife habitat, groundwater recharge areas, and natural filtration and floodwater storage areas of interconnecting stream systems. 
The resulting deterioration of surface-water quality may, in turn, lead to a deterioration of the quality of the groundwater which serves as a source of domestic, municipal, and industrial water supply, and upon which low flows of rivers and streams may depend. Similarly, destruction of ground cover may result in soil erosion, stream siltation, more rapid runoff, and increased flooding, as well as the destruction of wildlife habitat. 
Although the effect of any one of these environmental changes may not in and of itself be overwhelming, the combined effects may eventually lead to a serious deterioration of the underlying and sustaining natural resource base and of the overall quality of the environment for life. 
In addition to such environmental impacts, the intrusion of intensive urban land uses into such areas may result in the creation of serious and costly developmental problems, such as failing foundations for pavements and structures, wet basements, excessive operation of sump pumps, excessive clear-water infiltration into sanitary sewerage systems, and poor drainage.
That common sense statement of fact echos another statement of common sense fact announced by the Wisconsin Supreme Court when it upheld the state constitution's 'water belongs to everyone' 9th amendment - - a passage which I've posted many times and have left permanently up on the face page of my blog:
"A little fill here and there may seem to be nothing to become excited about. But one fill, though comparatively inconsequential, may lead to another, and another, and before long a great body may be eaten away until it may no longer exist. Our navigable waters are a precious natural heritage, once gone, they disappear forever," wrote the Wisconsin Supreme Court in its 1960 opinion resolving Hixon v. PSC and buttressing The Public Trust Doctrine.

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