Connecting the dots helps us see the big picture

You’ve probably done many of those connect-the-dot puzzles. By drawing a line from one numbered dot to the next, you reveal a picture you couldn’t see just by looking at a page of dots. Let’s try one here.

• 1) Well testing results from 100 wells in Kewaunee County in May 2012 revealed a 30% contamination rate from either excess nitrate or e-coli bacteria levels. The percentage was even higher (50%) where karst geology dominates the landscape in the Lincoln township area.

• 2) Large confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are getting even larger. This is happening with only outdated and often unenforced laws and self-regulation standing between the factory farm phenomena and a major environmental calamity.

• 3) A combination of less land application of manure and unusually dry weather this Spring has limited the flow of excess nutrients from runoff or soil infiltration into streams, rivers and lakes and the groundwater. Consequently, until just last week before the recent rainfall, beaches and the lakeshore appeared fairly free of Cladophora algae. However, looking at it now shows the characteristic green waves and accumulating algae.

• 4) More extensive tiling is being done throughout the county. Many of these fields will receive manure applications and any excess drainage will end up in ditches and streams.

• 5) Proposed 2009-10 Senate Bill 632 which aimed to limit nonpoint source water pollution failed to come to the legislature for a vote.

• 6) High-capacity wells pump millions of gallons of groundwater each year further stressing the county’s available water supply.

• 7) Global warming (climate change) is altering the patterns of temperature and rainfall in Northeast Wisconsin affecting crop production, bird and fish migration and groundwater recharge.

• 8) New research shows that wastewater from CAFOs, frequently contains high concentrations of steroid estrogenic hormones. Furthermore, low concentrations of steroid estrogenic hormones, even at levels as low as ng L−1, can adversely affect the reproductive biology of aquatic wildlife.

View the abstract of this study by searching the title below at

Source: Anaerobic Transformation Kinetics and Mechanism of Steroid Estrogenic Hormones in Dairy Lagoon Water | Environ. Sci. Technol. 2012, 46, 5471−5478

Now, what picture is forming in your mind after connecting these dots. Unfortunately, some of the dots aren’t available to put into place so the final image won’t be complete. The nice thing about this puzzle, however, is that we can rearrange or even remove some of the dots to improve the image.



Filed under General Information

5 responses to “Connecting the dots helps us see the big picture

  1. You make it so easy to see and comprehend what the problem is and what it is going to be for everyone living in the area. I think even a Neanderthal can comprehend the “connect the dots” on this one! Great posting today. Mary and Charles B.


  2. Herman H.

    Thank you VERY much for sharing these truths…
    This is all so disturbing…If our regulators can not enforce existing laws to protect the environment and its citizens (many who do not even believe there is a problem), then where do we go from here?
    Question? Is our present political system up to the task of facing future harsh realities? If not (as one very possible scenario) then what?
    Herman H.


  3. concerned Citizen

    You talk about well contamination however you don’t give a starting point. Living in the area I know that the wells in the Lincoln area have always had a higher incidence of contamination, along with the wells in door county. You state 30% in Kewaunee and 50% however you give us no starting point. Testing of the 100 wells was done because they were concerned of contamination, however that does not give you any accuracy in a blind study, to correctly account for accuracy one would have to randomly test 100 wells, that is not what happened.

    Tilling in no way removes nutrients from the soil. Kewaunee Clays have a high CEC which ties up the nutrients with a charge, drainage tile (used and maintained properly) does one thing and one thing only, remove excess water from the soil. In fact by decreasing the amount of time soil is saturated with water you in fact decrees the amount of Nitrogen loss to leaching, and thus reduce Nitrogen loss. Tilling in turn reduces Nitrogen in ground water.

    If you had a working knowledge of the N Cycle you would note that reduced soil water from lack of rain would be and ideal situation for limiting Nitrogen from entering soil and surface water. It gave Microbial activity in the soil time to tie up the Nitrogen and preserve it for use by the plant thus keeping it in the soil where it belongs.

    Tillage before manure application is the most ideal way to insure the nutrients in the manure are kept where they belong. It gives an opportunity for manure soak in and better incorporation of manure to insure it is not lost to Run Off of Denitrification.

    In conclusion before you try “connecting the dots” you better make sure there are dots to connect because all you are doing are misguiding people into believing your own warped ideas on what is really going on.


  4. Another concerned citizen

    The Green Bay Press Gazette did a wonderful job of putting together a nonbiased article on the real reason behind the massive alge bloom this year. Click the link and see what both sides of the story really are.|topnews|img|FRONTPAGE


  5. cora purdy

    water quality and quanity are not the only issues with the large scale farms. The neighbors have higher living costs because of these farms. We are not always able to open the windows in the evening to cool off the house, those evenings we run air-conditioners. We are not always able to hang our wash out to dry so the clothes need to go into the dryer. I have had times that I have hung clothes out before going to work, coming home and having liquid manure being spread around us. My clothes need to be rewashed and the dryer used. Using more electricity has a negative impact environmently and economicly.
    The equipment has gotten bigger and heavier putting more stress on our roads. Their fuel is non-taxed so the heavist users of the roads are not contributing fully to road maintance.
    Our property taxes will be going up, directly caused by large scale farms. Townships in Kewaunee county are being reassessed because the large scale farms are desperate for land, causing an acrea now being worth $6,000.
    Our neighbor is one of the smaller farmers left. He always lets us now when his pit is being emptied. I doubt if the owners of the large scale farms would ever be so considerate of their neighbors.
    God only created one world for all humanity, not just a few gready generations.


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