Conservation-oriented County Policy

Thanks to an overwhelming vote at the last meeting of the Bayfield County Supervisors, the Human Health Hazards ordinance won approval. The new operations ordinance, the manure storage ordinance appeal process and the human health hazard ordinance help make CAFOs or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations less likely to be constructed in our county or, at the least, safer if they do appear.

BCLF had a hand in the outcomeof that vote and will continue to work to keep our surface and groundwater clean, safe, and healthy. It appears our next effort will be at the state level, where the siting rules were changed recently and need to be held to a higher standard—along with a variety of other clean air & clean water regulations improvements.

See more on CAFOs at

See BCLF’s letter to the board:

October 17. 2016
Dennis M. Pocernich
Chair, Bayfield County Board of Supervisors

Dear Chairman Pocernich

I am a founder and past-president of the Bayfield County Lakes Forum (BCLF), a citizen-volunteer conservation organization that represents twenty-two lake associations and one lake district in our county. The Forum also represents over 3,000 waterfront owners and speaks for all of our county’s 962 lakes and many miles of streams. BCLF strongly supports the Human Health Hazards Ordinance to be considered at the Tuesday October 18th County Board Meeting.

At our October 8th BCLF Annual Meeting, our members voted unanimously to develop and submit a resolution to the Bayfield County Board, the DNR, and our state legislators that voices our support for a conservation-oriented county policy and ordinances such as your proposed Human Health Hazards Ordinance that is designed to protect surface and ground waters. That resolution is forthcoming.

Recent legislative changes in rules protecting our lakes and streams demonstrate that the state legislature and our governor are not abiding by the Wisconsin Public Trust Doctrine, a key part of Wisconsin’s Constitution that declares the waters of Wisconsin belong equally to all our citizens. Some legislators seem to prefer our waters be sold to the highest bidder. Therefore, it falls on the people and especially you, our County Supervisors, to assure that our county waters will be conserved for future generations.

In our October 8th discussion on CAFOs, it was clear that the BCLF is not against agricultural businesses. But logic dictates that there is a reasonable limit to the number of animals that can reside on a farm. Surely, many smaller farms, properly equipped and willing to meet reasonable ag regulations, could meet the needs of the industry for poultry, pork, and beef. This option would also provide more jobs than one large-scale CAFO.

No matter how well planned and constructed, CAFOs present a risk to public health. They also place the future of our tourism-based economy, and our lakes, streams, and ground water at risk for the short-term benefit of a few.

Our Native brothers and sisters have a policy that our leaders should emulate. They speak of protecting Nature not for themselves or their children, but for seven generations. Sacrificing our waters today for the short-term gain of a few is just plain wrong. We urge the Bayfield County Board of Supervisors to take a stand for our generations to come by approving the Human Health Hazards Ordinance. Thank you.

James Brakken, Author & Conservationist
Northwest Wisconsin Waters Consortium President
BCLF Past-president
45255 East Cable Lake Road
Cable, Wisconsin 54821