Bad River Watershed Association

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home NEWS Blog


BRWA Kicks off 2015 Watershed Words Lecture Series


On March 22nd, BRWA hosted Dick Rewalt of the Mason Area Historical Society (MAHS) for his presentation, "Historic Logging on the White River." This program the first of our 2015 Watershed Words Lecture Series.  Around 40 people attended the presentation held at the Delta Town Hall. Dick spoke for an hour and a half about the path and methods of transporting logs down the White River to Mason during the early 1900s. The presentation featured many photographs of the logging infrastructure on the White River, including historic and recent aerial images, as well as a 3D tour of the saw mill in Mason. Some of the original wood cribbing is still in place in the White River. It is possible to visit some of these sites, though the structures are most visible through aerial photography.

The MAHS has been able to piece together substantial information (and some guesses) about how the White River was altered to suit the needs of the logging industry, and how the day-to-day operations took place. This is thanks in part to local residents' stories and donated photographs. People with information or historic photographs of the logging that took place along the White River are welcome and encouraged to share them with the MAHS to help with their ongoing research. Stay tuned for more upcoming Watershed Words presentations!


BRWA Featured in Penzeys Stories and Recipes

Tony Janisch, BRWA Executive Director, was interviewed several months ago by Penzeys Stories and Recipes. The interview highlights the work of BRWA and volunteers, and emphasizes the importance of clean water in all our lives. Check out the article by following the link below!


Raffle Winner Drawn at Book Across the Bay

This year's Book Across the Bay, an event to raise money for community programs, was held on Valentine's Day. The "Book" is open for both competitive and non-competitive skiing, snowshoeing, running, and walking. The Bad River Watershed Association had its display booth in the registration tent this year. We were pleased to see that, in spite of a cold and windy morning, a great number of people came to the event, many from other states.

BRWA held a raffle at the event for a package including a one-night stay at the new Blue Wave facility in Ashland, two equipment rentals from Solstice Outdoors, 2016 Book Across the Bay registration, a $25 gift certificate from the Delta Diner, a winter hat embroidered with the BRWA logo donated by Heart Graphics of Ashland, a Penokee Mountain calendar by Joel Austin, one pound of wild rice from the Bad River/Kakagon Sloughs, and a quart of maple syrup donated by Bobbi Rongstad. Our thanks to everyone who donated toward this awesome raffle package, and to everyone who purchased raffle tickets. BRWA raised $850 from this event. Ana Tochterman was the lucky raffle winner! Congratulations, Ana!


EPA Report on Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters

We would like to share this newly-released EPA fact sheet summarizing research on the connection between streams, wetlands and entire watersheds. The full EPA report can be found online HERE under "Downloads." This report sheds light on the importance of small streams and seemingly isolated wetlands to larger river systems.



The Bad River Watershed Association Expresses Concern that Area Residents have Been Mislead about the Wetlands Provisions in Act 1

The Bad River Watershed Association submitted the following press release to papers in Madison and Milwaukee, and in Iron, Ashland, and Bayfield counties in late December 2014.

Ashland, WI – During candidate debates, media releases, and robo-calls leading up to the November elections, it was erroneously stated that Act 1 (the iron mining law) does not allow for the filling in of area wetlands with mining waste and tailings. In actuality, the authors of the law intended to weaken protection of area wetlands, as is specifically stated in section 295.40(7). Of equal concern is the initial draft of the Iron County metallic mining ordinance within the Iron County Land Use Ordinance. Section 9.4.19(K) 'Metallic Mining or Industrial Planned Unit Development' proposed in committee this week, describes the uses and requirements for the development of a ferrous mine and defaults impacts to wetlands and navigable waters to Wis. Section 295 of Act 1.

The iron mining law known as Act 1, signed by Governor Scott Walker in March of 2013, states in Section 295.40 (7) – ‘that because of the fixed location of ferrous mineral deposits in the state, it is probable that mining those deposits will result in adverse impacts to wetlands and that, therefore, the use of wetlands for bulk sampling and mining activities, including the disposal or storage of mining waste or materials, or the use of other lands for mining activities that would have a significant adverse impact on wetlands, is presumed to be necessary.

Senator Tom Tiffany R-Hazelhurst, one of the authors of the bill, said in a March 2013 interview with the Capitol Times in Madison, “The bill reflects the reality of mining. There are going to be some impacts to the environment above the iron ore body. If the law is challenged and ends up in court, the judge needs to know it was the Legislature’s intent to allow adverse (environmental) impacts. That way, a judge can’t find fault if the environment is impacted.”

The Bad River Watershed Association (BRWA), is concerned that maintaining the exceptional health and function of the Bad River watershed will be jeopardized if adjoining and connected wetlands are filled with mining waste. Our organization testified in numerous hearings prior to the passing of Act 1, which changed existing law related to the mining of ferrous metals in Wisconsin. We asked that existing environmental protections not be exempted from the ferrous mining bill and weakened within the context of ferrous mining. Unfortunately, the majority of the legislators agreed that adverse environmental impacts were acceptable and that mining interests trumped concerns for the health of the Bad River Watershed. The legislation also stated that mining companies could in fact fill in wetlands with mining waste as long as ‘compensatory’ mitigation occurred anywhere else in the state. Our area wetlands are crucial components to the healthy function of watersheds and the Bad River watershed is no exception.

According to the Wisconsin Wetlands Association, "The Upper Bad River Watershed is functioning the way a healthy watershed should function. Wetlands capture the large snowpack and spring precipitation, 'slowing the flow' and providing cool water to downstream creeks and rivers throughout the year. These wetlands also collect sediment and nutrients, releasing clean water. The proposal to bury these wetlands under hundreds of feet of waste rock will most likely have watershed-wide impacts, potentially affecting the health of the lower watershed’s Kakagon-Bad River Sloughs estuary complex and its abundant wild rice beds."

BRWA voiced concerns about the provisions related to the wetlands at the time this legislation was being debated and continues to do so after its passage. We are calling on lawmakers and local policy makers to acknowledge that Act 1, by design has the potential to allow for the filling in of wetlands with mining waste and tailings. This is the reality of those specific provisions within the bill and the public should not be accidentally or purposefully mislead about those realities.


Page 7 of 14

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/customer/www/ on line 129

Threats To Water Poll

Please rank the questions below based on what you believe is the greater threat to water quality in the region. (5 being the highest, 1 being the lowest - use the "+" selector to vote. 5 votes for highest rank, 4 votes for second highest, etc.)

Large-scale agriculture
Failing septic/waste treatment systems
Stream sedimentation, washouts and erosion
Forest management practices
» Go to poll »
15 Votes left
BRWAs Priorities Poll

Please rank the questions below based on how you believe BRWA should prioritize emerging water quality issues in the region. (5 being the highest, 1 being the lowest - use the "+" selector to vote. 5 votes for highest rank, 4 votes for second highest, etc.)

Establish baseline water quality conditions
Outreach and education
Restore problem erosional areas
Work with local authorities to address water quality issues
Protective waterway designations
» Go to poll »
15 Votes left

Current Issues


Follow us on Twitter