Thank you to each individual who wrote letters to the editor about the importance of clean water in Wisconsin. Here are a few great letters from the last month!

“Clean Water is Essential”
Sue A. in Westfield, WI
This letter appeared in the Waushara Argus.

To the Editor:

Clean water is essential for our lives–for cooking and drinking, farming, manufacturing, fishing, boating, tourism and so much more. We have the right to use our rivers and lakes for all these purposes through something called the Public Trust Doctrine. But here’s the catch–we do not yet have certainty that our water will be clean. Our right to clean water is not yet protected in Wisconsin.

How do we as residents of Wisconsin ensure clean water for ourselves now, and for our grandchildren’s grandchildren? On April 6, 2021, vote YES to the referendum question “Should the State of Wisconsin establish a right to clean water to protect human health, the environment, and the diverse cultural and natural heritage of Wisconsin?”

Marquette County has been my home for nearly 30 years. I highly appreciate our well water in Westfield, and our access to creeks, rivers and lakes for boating and fishing. Born in Green Bay though, I remember when I was a child and teen in the 1960s and 70s how filthy the bay and the Fox River were. Dead fish, stinking shorelines, unswimmable beaches, floating waste and debris. I also remember the clean-up efforts that followed for decades.

In the early 1990s when my father died, my siblings and I swam in the Fox River together, retelling his stories of how he swam there as a child in the 1920s. I remember feeling so thankful for the many people who had the foresight and dedication to ensure Wisconsin cleaned up the Fox and the Bay, which continues to this day. But the ongoing effort for Wisconsin-wide clean water takes lengthy court cases and laws that can be overturned – essentially tons of additional time and money.

This is why we need this referendum vote. Please vote YES on April 6 for your right to clean water.

Sue Allen, Westfield

“Natural Resources Fuel WI Tourism Economy”
Karen W. in Dalton, WI
This letter appeared in the Marquette County Tribune.

To the Editor:

Last month the Marquette County Board voted to place a referendum on the ballot in April that will allow voters to speak to the importance of protections for clean water in Wisconsin. Passing this referendum will show elected officials and other key stakeholders that clean water has overwhelming support as a top issue among Marquette County voters. The referendum will ask voters to mark “yes “or “no” to this question:

Should the State of Wisconsin establish a right to clean water to protect human health, the environment, and the diverse cultural and natural heritage of Wisconsin?

Too many of Wisconsin’s citizens cannot drink their water, eat the fish they catch, or swim in recreational waters. Our natural water resources fuel Wisconsin’s outdoor tourism economy. In 2018, recreational spending on activities like boating, fishing, biking and camping experienced the largest growth by sector with an increase of 8% to $1.9 billion. In 2019 the $1.9 billion spent at recreational businesses in the state represents 14 cents of each visitor dollar.

Most of the existing protections for water have come through legal court cases that can be overturned. Court cases are costly for citizens and organizations and are not an effective and sustainable way to provide protection for Wisconsin’s water resources.

Citizens raised water quality issues facing the state during the public hearings for the Speaker’s Water Quality Task Force held in 2019. The proposals from the task force fell short of what needs to happen and the Senate never took action on the 13 bills that were proposed. We must demand that our Legislature does better. Decisions on water issues are complex and must reflect justice for the many diverse stakeholders. The people of the state deserve and want actions to protect clean water.

Vote ”yes ” on the Clean Water Now referendum and make your voice heard.

Thank you,
Karen Wollenburg


“Farmers Making Positive Change”
Rachel B. in Stevens Point, WI
This letter appeared in the Stevens Point Journal.

To the Editor:

This letter is in support of the Clean Water referendum on the ballot in Portage County, April 6th. Portage County, like many others across the state, is faced with issues with water quality. These issues include excessive nitrates in our drinking water, as well as a reduction in quality and quantity of surface waters. We as farmers have a tremendous role in making positive changes with regard to our water quality.  There are practices that can be implemented on-farm that can retain our soils and nutrients, mitigating the effects downstream.

Voting YES on this referendum will compel our elected officials to engage in further discussion  with regard to what measures can be done to improve our surface and groundwater. By showing our support for this referendum, we hope to involve the agricultural community in these conversations. Having clean water is of paramount importance for our public health, economics, quality of life, and culture.  These conversations are too important not to have.

Without a robust and diverse agricultural sector and quality water for all to enjoy, Wisconsin and Portage County lose so much of what makes our area wonderful.

Rachel Bouressa
Wisconsin Farmers Union
Farmers for Tomorrow

“It’s Important We Act Now”
Tony W. in Custer, WI
This letter appeared in the Stevens Point Journal.

Dear Editor,

I write in hopes that you and people of Portage County consider the Clean Water Now referendum that will be on Portage County’s ballot on April 6, 2021. I think we all can agree that Wisconsin’s lakes, streams, and drinking water are a magical resource that makes our state unique. Our well water the last 6 years has become nitrate contaminated. It would be great to drink it again!  Some simple practices and sharing of resources can keep our wells safe to drink, lakes healthy with edible fish, and streams free from mudding up!  It’s time we open these issues to a larger audience, so we can share sound ideas to improve water. As an organic farmer, conserving our inputs is important. Farm inputs are expensive and hard work, we want to keep them on the farm not running away. We can always learn more from each other. It’s important we act now and share our need for Clean Water Now. Great change takes time. If we vote YES to have a voice, the table can open up to share knowledge and resources to help Portage County and all that drink downstream to improve the largest ingredient of life!

Tony Whitefeather
Farmer, Whitefeather Organics LLC

About Clean Water Now

The Clean Water Now campaign is a county-level, non-binding referendum to show unity around the pressing need to address critical water issues. It is an opportunity to let Wisconsin’s policy leaders know that having clean water is an issue that voters across the state want them to provide.

The referendum question is simple: Should the State of Wisconsin establish a right to clean water to protect human health, the environment, and the diverse cultural and natural heritage of Wisconsin? The answer is: YES!

Support the Campaign

Explore to learn more about this effort. Then, sign up for Clean Water Now updates.

If you live in Portage, Marquette, or Wood County make sure to vote for clean water on April 6th.

Please reach out to Allison Werner, if you have questions about the Clean Water Now campaign: