On Feb. 29, 2016, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) published a draft revised decision on Fitchburg's Northeast Neighborhood (NEN). It grants a net increase of 79 acres for development, bringing the allowed total to 454 acres. We are not satisfied that this will protect Lake Waubesa and the Waubesa Wetlands. See Latest News below for the link to where you can learn all the details and how you can make a public comment on this draft decision by 5 p.m. on Monday, March 14, 2015. Look under "Latest Events – show all" to find our March 3 newsletter with our analysis and request for comment.

Watch our 20-minute video filmed in 2014 in the Waubesa Wetlands, with wetland scientists Dr. Cal DeWitt, Dr. Joy Zedler, and Tracy Hames.

Waubesa Wetlands in Danger from Downtown Dailies on Vimeo.

SAMPLE TEXT FOR PUBLIC COMMENTS TO DNR (If you use this, please add some words of your own about why you care about wetlands, or other reasons that you are not satisfied with the DNR's draft decision.)

It's the post-development runoff from impervious surfaces and fertilized lawns that poses the greatest danger to Lake Waubesa and its wetlands. Sediment and water containing nitrogen and phosphorus flow downstream and feed invasive plants and algal blooms.

Nitrogen is not regulated by DNR, but it can cause toxic algal blooms such as the one that killed teenager Dane Rogers in Cottage Grove in 2002, after he swam in a golf course pond.

The DNR decision says that it will require the developer to: maintain stormwater stay-on rates at 90% of the pre-development rate; maintain pre-development groundwater recharge rates; and provide at least 80% sediment control as compared to now. But DNR has not provided data on which to base these standards.

When considering building where the impacts could be irreversibly harmful for a Wetland Gem and Lake Waubesa, you need to go beyond "business as usual."

I support standards that are based on five years of pre-development sampling to create a base line plus post-development monitoring for 5 years by an independent entity that controls a fund paid for by the developer, and an enforcement mechanism to pay for restoration if the plans don't work.

Sincerely, [your name]

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