Groundwater was the topic of discussion last week in Bayfield County with two presentations, one on Wednesday at the Great Lakes Visitor Center and another on Thursday at the Bayfield County Large-scale Livestock Study Committee meeting in Washburn.

The Bayfield County Large Scale Livestock Study Committee met for a second time on Thursday, the first time being April 9. The main purpose of this meeting was to understand groundwater issues in Bayfield County and how it might be impacted by large livestock operations.

This new committee, which includes nine members and five advisory committee members, formed shortly after the county adopted a 12–18 month Moratorium on Livestock Facilities Licensing on February 28. The moratorium was precipatated by 3,272 concerned citizens who signed a petition encouraging supervisors to adopt a two-year moratorium on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) in Bayfield County. This was in response to concerns they had about the recent license application from Reick’s Family Farm in the Town of Eileen, an agricultural zone in Bayfield County where Reick’s plans to build a CAFO. Because the county has never dealt with CAFOs before, there were no safegaurds or ordinances in place to guard against any potential problems resulting from the interface between large-scale farms and environmental concerns in the area. Thus, the committee was born to learn more about CAFOs, particulary in relationship to water and air quality.

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