E-Alert:

All Rome property owners:

 

It's been 3 years since we first heard of the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) proposed next door in Saratoga.  Efforts by a strong group of Saratoga citizens and some of you have successfully kept it from moving forward.  But, it appears the day of reckoning approaches.  Sources within the DNR indicate the Environmental Impact Report from the organization seeking to build the CAFO is near completion.  The DNR's review has been ongoing and their Environmental Impact Statement is expected early in 2016, possibly February.  Then begins the public review process and public hearing - that time when all your efforts are needed to push back on this proposed CAFO.  This can be done by you attending hearings in person or you can make your feelings known through other means.

 

Tri-Lakes Management and the Rome Town Board are co-sponsoring an informational meeting for Rome property owners on January 16 at 1 pm at the Rome Town Hall.  Note that this meeting is being held on a Saturday to enable attendance for those of you who don't live here full time.  There will be approximately an hour and a half of presentations from a Dr. of water science, a DNR area director, our state assemblyman, town board member, Tri-Lakes and involved citizens.  Questions are encouraged.  As the DNR permitting process moves forward, this may be your last chance to make a difference in your town's future.

 

Come and learn why this issue is so important to the maintenance of Rome's air quality, water purity and water levels in our wells and lakes and our property values.  Please mark your calendars and plan to attend this Informational Meeting on Sat, Jan 16 at 1 pm at the Rome Town Hall.  Please share this with your fellow property owners.

 

 

 

14 Mile Watershed Joint Committee Report

July 1, 2018

  • Our town chairman, county supervisor, and I met with the Adams County Administrator and District Attorney to determine if there were any issues that would preclude us from establishing a working relationship with former Adams County Conservationist Wally Sedlar. As a result, we will be resuming the programs in which Wally was involved. He will assist us in soil testing, help us determine how we approach testing for septic leaching into our lakes, and he’ll act as our liaison for the nine key element plan which he initiated last fall. There may be other activities to be defined. This is good news, as some of our programs have been dormant since January because of his absence.
  • Plans are underway for a joint meeting between Town of Rome officials and Town of Saratoga officials, along with their respective county board members, to investigate a cooperative approach to drafting ordinances to control nitrates in our water
  • Meetings are continuing with representatives from the Adams County Lake Alliance to gain backing throughout the county for an appeal to our county board for more support for our impaired lakes. Lakes talking points, including socio-economics, are being prepared to be used by each lake to begin communicating with their county representative and town officials. We’ll then take the message to Adams County Land and Water. This background work is in preparation to a formal presentation to the county board.
  • Following a Minnesota report of e coli being found in watersheds, our water testing work group is looking into the cost and procedure for enhanced testing for e coli, especially following major rain events.
  • Similarly, we’ve assisted TriLakes in an open records request to obtain all septic records in our area, including those previously excluded for those installed before 1992. This may lead to expanded testing of systems.
  • Our fertilizer workgroup is preparing a tri-fold to induce our property owners to reduce their use of fertilizer. They are also assisting with an applicator recognition program and a “lake friendly” resident lawn sign program.
  • We’ve just completed our 8th round of monthly water tests in the upstream watershed, through the exit at Lake Arrowhead. We are attempting to revive the citizen lake monitoring program in each of the three lakes to work in concert with our watershed testing. We have identified an intern to assist John Endrizzi with testing and have begun training him.
  • The nine key element plan is being coordinated by Reesa Evans, a former Adams County Lakes Specialist. She was hired by the county as a contractor. The nine key element plan, in a nutshell, evaluates the conditions in our 14 Mile watershed and identifies the steps needed to make improvements. The is to be submitted in September.

Respectfully submitted by Don Ystad

14 Mile Watershed Joint Committee Report

January 11, 2018

  • Based upon approval of an updated fertilizer ordinance by the town board, we will be issuing an article to be distributed to all lake associations with the intention on publication in their newsletters. Additionally, it will be distributed through Concerned Rome Citizens, and the town and TriLakes websites. The article will include an update on the new ordinance and recommended best practices for landowners and applicators.
  • A proposal has been made to fund an intern to observe, communicate and distribute the new ordinance and best practices guide to individual land owners and applicators.
  • The fertilizer committee is working on a communication for applicators for the February timeframe. The intent is to share the ordinance changes and the best practices early in their planning process.
  • We’re in the early stages of planning a landowner workshop patterned after Environmental Day. It should include informational workshops for soil, water, fertilizer, shoreline habitat and septic systems. The intent is to use the municipal building and provide space for vendors, DNR, Adams County Conservation, 14 Mile workgroups and other relative businesses.
  • We further detailed our budget of expenditures for 2018. We’ll share the final the Town of Rome and TriLakes in February.
  • Results from the second round of upstream water testing show nitrates in three of five locations in the Leola Ditch exceeding the state and federal drinking water standard of 10 milligrams per liter. While one can’t draw a conclusion at this early phase, it indicates the value of testing.
  • John Eron, President of the Portage County Farm Bureaus and co-founder of the farmer led Mill Creek Watershed Council was a guest speaker at our last meeting. He shared their experience in addressing the issues with the Mill Creek watershed and provided insight into establishing a relationship with our agricultural neighbors. He also spoke about the use of winter cover crops and no-till as tools to minimize soils erosion and fertilizer runoff. John has agreed to come back and assist us with building relationships with the ag community.
  • The shoreline protection workgroup has identified 14 parties with an interest in taking part in the Healthy Lakes grant. Six are valid projects and interviews will be conducted to determine projects applicable for the grant.
  • PACRS is involved in planning a Healthy Soils –Healthy Water workshop for the March timeframe. They hope to attract 100 farmers from Wood, Marathon and Portage Counties with an interest in progressive farming methods like winter cover crops and no-till. Time and location to be determined.

Respectfully submitted by Carson Heinecke

14 Mile Watershed Joint Committee Report

December 14, 2017

  • Intergovernmental cooperation between the Town of Rome and the original 14 Mile watershed committee, initially formed under Trilakes, has now been implemented. The committee is now called the “14 Mile Joint Rome/TriLakes Watershed Committee”, with 5 members named by the Town, and 5 members named by TriLakes.
  • The second round of testing has been performed upstream and on the lakes. Because of the danger of testing on the lakes after freeze-up, it was determined to hold off testing on the lakes between ice-up and ice-out. Testing upstream at 7 sites will be done year round. Thanks to residents John Endrizzi, Dave Trudeau, and Saratoga neighbor Dave Borski for testing and managing samples regardless of weather.
  • Thanks to the efforts of our county conservationist Wally Sedlar with assistance from DNR’s Scott Provost, we have a DNR funded grant for a 9 Key Element Plan to evaluate our watershed issues and put a plan together to reduce water quality issues and also provide a platform for further grant funding. Some of the delineation work had already been done by the DNR and was just made available to us. There is a lot of work to be done, as our deadline for submittal of the 9 Key Plan to the DNR and EPA is September, 2018. This plan coincides with the Wisconsin River TMDL study done 4 years ago, and includes involvement with Wood County, Waushara County and Portage County. Assemblyman Scott Krug was in attendance as a potential sponsor of funding as we move forward.
  • Three of our members will be attending the Wisconsin Lakes Conference in April to learn about current watershed improvement practices, and to establish contacts with communities and experts helpful to our cause.
  • We are beginning planning for a spring ( late-May?) property owners workshop focusing on practical use of fertilizer in a lakes environment, shoreline habitat structure improvement for lake protection, soils science and the effect of soil nutrients on lake water quality, and various displays of our ongoing work with soil and water testing, among others. The plan is to provide access to experts and information for our property owners.
  • Additionally, we are planning a fertilizer applicator workshop for the February timeframe to share town ordinance changes and recommendations with commercial applicators doing business in Rome.

  • Progress continues with our workgroups:
    • Lake friendly fertilizer program group members submitted a revised proposal to TriLakes and the Town for ordinance changes, and is poised to announce to lake associations once approved.
    • Water turbine program group has identified likely sites for turbine placement in the spring 2018 program
    • Soil test program group is beginning work on identifying areas where additional test concentration is needed, and establishing a better process for confirming participants for the spring 2018 program.
    • Shoreline habitat restoration program group is applying for a Healthy Lakes Grant to fund projects for restructuring of four areas. They are also working with the DNR on a fish stick fish habitat program to improve habitat which will reduce the need to restock fish.
    • Outreach involves establishing contacts with individuals and groups that can help us. We had Scott Krug at our last meeting and plan to have him back, along with Senator Patrick Testin, to talk about programs and grants that can help us. Also, we have a founder of the Mill Creek Watershed Council scheduled to come tell us about their experience in improving their watershed.
    • Funded by TriLakes and the Town, this committee doesn’t actually have or control money, but we have a fiduciary responsibility for properly utilizing the funding provided to us. Consequently, we are detailing a 2018 budget to manage expenditures and provide visibility to those providing the funding. We expect a final version on January 8th.
    • We’ve just sent out our first official quarterly report to all sources we can identify, including the Town, TriLakes, each of the three lakes associations and the Concerned Rome Citizen group, all in the interest of spreading the word to as many property owners as possible. We have requested a tab on the Rome and TriLakes websites as well, to post anything pertinent.

Respectfully submitted by Don Ystad

14 Mile Watershed Joint Committee Fall Report November 21, 2017

Many of you were there when this committee was formed with a motion at the 2016 TriLakes annual meeting, following two years of blue-green algae warnings. Its purpose was to provide assistance to TriLakes in identifying the causes of our lakes’ water quality issues and helping to identify solutions. There have been a few changes since then and the committee is now called the 14 Mile Watershed Joint Committee. The change in name reflects the inclusion of the Town of Rome as a joint supporter of this committee, as well as an expansion of members to include our friends at Petenwell, and all waters within our town. It’s an all-inclusive body dealing with all surface water issues in our town, with guidance and funding provided by the Rome Town Board and TriLakes Board.

We are a working committee with groups established to investigate water quality issues from the start of our watershed upstream to the final emptying into Lake Petenwell, as well as all water resources within Rome. Our objective is to identify issues originating within our own lakes, as well as those caused by upstream sources. So far, our workgroups include the following:

  • Watershed flow and nitrate testing at the start and end of each lake, as well as at key upstream points. Monthly tests are performed for nitrates, phosphorous and dissolved oxygen, all indicators of water quality. Flow monitoring is also performed to link readings with water volume. Event testing is performed after heavy rainfall or discharges to monitor the effect.
  • Soil testing was begun around our lakes this past spring to identify nutrient levels resident within soils around our lake lots and beach clubs. Some nutrients occur naturally, while others are residual fertilizer or septic system output not absorbed by plants and grasses. Tests will be expanded next season
  • Lake Friendly Fertilizer program was begun to establish standards that could be applied around our lakes community to minimize the runoff of excess fertilizer into our lakes. The workgroup took input from applicators to determine the best practices that insure a healthy lawn while also insuring a healthy lake.These recommended practices will be adapted to town ordinances and communicated to applicators and citizens in a series of workshops.
  • Water Turbines to reduce the algae buildup in some bays and coves around our lakes. Experience this summer shows success in moving the algae away from shorelines and also eliminating some growth as it’s moved into deeper water. The program will be structured and expanded to confirm the early observations and help property owners find some relief.
  • Shoreline habitat restoration has been recommended to reduce erosion of soils and nutrients into our lake system and also improve fish habitat, thereby reducing the need to plant fish. Two members have attended workshops and have become certified habitat specialists who will help identify how minor changes can be made to shorelines to reduce erosion and seepage of fertilizers into our lakes. A workshop is planned for next season.
  • Upstream agriculture inclusion is a major part of our focus. We know some of our issues come from upstream and we are taking steps to quantify the issue and build relationships with our neighbors to work with them on solutions.
  • Outreach to political and professional resources is important to understand what programs or expertise is available to help us resolve our water quality issues. Additionally, there are other watershed groups and lakes groups already working on similar issues who may be able to help us.
  • Nine Key Element Plan - through the efforts of our Adams County Conservationist and advisor Wally Sedlar, we received a grant for the study of our watershed. The DNR is funding the grant and collaborating on the steps. It’s a multi-agency public sector endeavor and some of the land use mapping and analysis has been already done. Here are the steps:
    • Identify the causes and sources
    • Estimate pollutant loading into the watershed and the expected load reductions
    • Describe management measures that will achieve load reductions and targeted critical areas
    • Estimate the amounts of technical and financial assistance and the relevant authorities needed to implement the plan
    • Develop an information/education component
    • Develop a project schedule
    • Develop the interim, measurable milestones
    • Identify indicators to measure progress and make adjustments
    • Develop a monitoring component

The Improvement of our 14 Mile watershed is an ambitious undertaking, but very necessary when you consider that three of the four lakes inhabited in Rome are on the state’s impaired list. While we have a great committee of volunteers, this issue will take all of us in Rome to resolve it. There are two members from each of the four lakes on our committee, a non-lake resident representing streams and other water bodies, a DNR advisor, an Adams County Conservationist advisor, and our Rome town board and Trilakes advisors.

Here’s our committee member list. Give them a big pat on the back and thank you when you see them.

  • Joe Greco Arrowhead
  • Ron Foster Arrowhead
  • Carson Heineke Camelot
  • Jerry Jensen Camelot
  • Scott Bordeaux Petenwell
  • Rick Georgeson Petenwell
  • Dave Trudeau Sherwood
  • Jerry Wiessinger Sherwood
  • John Endrizzi Town-wide
  • Scott Provost DNR Water Resources Management Specialist
  • Wally Sedlar Adams County Conservationist
  • Bob Benkowski TriLakes Board advisor
  • Wayne Johnson Rome Town Board advisor

A resident attendee at our last meeting volunteered to assist one of our workgroups.

We encourage that, and we encourage everyone’s attendance at our monthly meetings. We meet the second Monday of each month at the Rome Town Hall at 2:00 PM. Join us there, and if you can’t make it watch for us on the community cable channel. And if you have some skills to share, come help us in this endeavor.

Don Ystad Chairman

14 Mile Watershed Committee Update September 13, 2017

Many of you will recall that this committee was formed following a motion at the 2016 TriLakes annual meeting. Its purpose was to provide assistance to TriLakes in identifying the causes of our lakes water quality issues and helping to identify solutions. With leadership from TriLakes board member Steve Nowicki, the committee was launched late last year with members from each lake group, and with representation from DNR’s Scott Provost, and Adams County Conservationist Wally Sedlar. At the request of incoming Rome Town Chairman Wayne Johnson, Steve added members representing Lake Petenwell, completing the watershed coverage from its start upstream of our lakes system to its end at Lake Petenwell.

Some of our activities this past year included a lunch and learn with upstream farmers to establish a line of communication, a lunch and learn with fertilizer applicators to expand the line of communication, and a property owner’s water quality workshop to discuss our own impact on the watershed. Additionally, we launched a soil test program to determine how much phosphorous is resident within our shoreline properties, and to what extent fertilizers may impact out water quality. We brought in an expert from UW Stevens Point to discuss his observations of upstream nutrients impacting our lakes. And, we secured funding for equipment and testing of flow and nutrient content of our lakes and upstream watershed to better determine the source of the high nitrates and other pollutants. This group, led by John Endrizzi and Scott Provost, will perform tests throughout the water shed on a regular basis, as well as doing event testing driven by heavy rain and other events. Also, we have just formed a couple of workgroups to make recommendations to our town for better regulation of fertilizer application around lakes, and another group working to identify means to reduce shoreline soil erosion and fertilizer runoff. As we investigate upstream sources, we need to also understand our own impact on water quality.

We find ourselves at the point where this group can operate with more autonomy with guidance by both TriLakes and our Rome Town Board. So, while we appreciate Steve Nowicki's efforts in getting us up and running, we feel we can be more effective as a citizen led committee with TriLakes operating as a sponsor and liaison. A motion to that effect was made at the recent TriLakes annual meeting and we took steps at this past Monday’s 14 Mile watershed Committee meeting to put that change into effect. Consequently, I was made Committee Chairman by my fellow participants and I want to thank them all for this vote of confidence.

I want to thank Steve Nowicki for getting us started and I hope we will continue to have his support and guidance. As we move forward, I would invite each of you to join our monthly meetings and be a part of this effort to clean up our lakes. We heard the message loud and clear at the annual meeting and will do our best to keep you well informed about our progress.

Thanks,

Don Ystad

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

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