Friends of the Central Sands show dropping water levels

Editor’s note: The following is from Friends of the Central Sands in Coloma, Wis. Among other efforts, the group has been fighting to preserve waterways by fighting against a proposed Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) in Richfield, Wisconsin. Coloma is a village in Waushara County in central Wisconsin.

From Friends of the Central Sands

COLOMA, Wisconsin — Friends of the Central Sands (FOCS) has released two short video advertisements demonstrating why the fight over Wisconsin’s water is so important. These 15-second videos clearly show the threat to the water resources. Titled “No More Fishing” and “No More Picnics,” they demonstrate the threat of groundwater pumping to recreation and other uses of Wisconsin’s waters. These video shorts can be seen by visiting These videos are available for downloading at

A case challenging the issuance of a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) permit for two high-capacity wells for a proposed CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) known as Richfield Dairy was brought by Friends of the Central Sands and others who are concerned with depleting groundwater resources. Richfield Dairy proposes to install two-high capacity wells at a proposed facility near Coloma, Wisconsin, with a total pumping capacity of approximately 525 million gallons per year. The dairy intends to house 4,300 dairy cows initially. In addition, Friends of the Central Sands is challenging the DNR’s issuance of a Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit and its approval of the Plans and Specifications, Nutrient Management Plan for the proposed CAFO. A decision is expected from an agency judge any day.

It has been a long road to get to this point,” said Bob Clarke, with Friends of the Central Sands. “The DNR’s failure to consider the cumulative effects of high-capacity well pumping in the Central Sands region resulted in poor decision-making with respect to the Richfield Dairy.

Clarke added, “As these videos show, time is not on our side as lakes, streams and wetlands are already showing the signs of excessive pumping.”

Earlier, the Court of Appeals reversed a decision of the Dane County Circuit Court, which had partially ruled in favor of the DNR in 2012, and remanded the matter to the DNR to consider the “potential cumulative effects” the dairy’s two high-capacity wells may have on the environment. A copy of the Court’s decision in Family Farm Defenders, Inc. et al. v. Wis. Dept. of Nat. Res. issued Dec. 19, 2013, may be found at

From the Sept. 3-9, 2014, issue

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