2021 - 2022 LEGISLATURE
November 8, 2021 - Introduced by Senators Cowles,
Testin, Ballweg, Bernier,
Petrowski, Pfaff, Ringhand, Roys, Smith and Wimberger, cosponsored by
Representatives Kitchens, Novak, Tranel, Shankland, Krug, Hong, Milroy,
Mursau, Neubauer, Oldenburg, Penterman, Plumer and Tauchen. Referred
to Committee on Agriculture and Tourism.
1An Act to repeal
281.75 (2) (e), 281.75 (9) (a), 281.75 (11) (a) 8. and 281.75 (11) 2
(ae); to renumber and amend
281.75 (5) (f) and 281.75 (9) (b); to amend
(6) (c), 93.59 (2) (a), 93.59 (2) (d), 93.59 (3), 281.68 (1t) (intro.), 281.68 (3) (a) 1., 4
281.75 (7) (c) 7. and 281.75 (11m); and to create
281.68 (1) (ar), 281.70 (1) (am), 5
281.70 (4) (a) 4., 281.75 (2) (g), 281.75 (5) (f) 2., 281.75 (7) (d) and 281.75 (9) (am), 6
(bm), (c) and (d) of the statutes;
relating to: nitrates under the well
7compensation program; eligibility for producer-led watershed, lake, and river
8protection grants; and the annual allocation plan for county conservation
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill expands eligibility for nitrate-contaminated wells under the well
compensation grant program; expands eligibility for producer-led watershed
protection grants, lake protection grants, and river protection grants; and creates a
factor to be considered during preparation of the annual allocation plan for soil and
water resource conservation grants to counties.
Nitrates under the well compensation grant program
The bill makes changes to the well compensation grant program administered
by the Department of Natural Resources. Under the program currently, an
individual owner or renter of a contaminated private well, subject to eligibility
requirements, may apply for a grant from DNR to cover a portion of the costs to treat
the water, reconstruct the well, construct a new well, connect to a public water
supply, or fill and seal the well.
Under current law, a well that is contaminated only by nitrates, and not by any
other substance, is eligible for a grant only if the well is a water supply for livestock,
is used at least three months in each year, provides more than 100 gallons of water
per day for consumption by livestock, and contains nitrates in excess of 40 parts per
million. The bill removes the requirements that a water supply contaminated only
by nitrates be used for livestock, provide more than 100 gallons of water per day, and
contain nitrates in excess of 40 parts per million in order to be eligible for a grant
under the program. Under the bill, a well that is contaminated only by nitrates is
eligible for a grant if the well is used at least three months in each year.
Current law requires DNR to allocate money for payments of claims under the
program according to the order in which claims are received. The bill retains this
requirement but provides that, among claims for contamination only by nitrates,
DNR must allocate payments according to a specified priority ranking based on
levels of nitrate contamination.
Also under current law, a residential well that is contaminated only by bacteria
is not eligible for a grant unless the well is in an area that is contaminated by fecal
bacteria and the contamination is caused by livestock. The bill eliminates this
The bill also requires DNR to award grants under the program only for the
remediation method that is most effective for the health and welfare of the claimant.
Finally, the bill requires DNR to report to the Joint Committee on Finance after the
end of each fiscal year on the number of applicants under the well compensation
program and the number and amount of grants provided during that fiscal year.
Producer-led watershed protection grants
Under current law, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer
Protection administers a program to provide watershed protection grants to
producer-led groups made up of farmers located in one watershed. The bill allows
grants under the program to be awarded to producer-led groups that are made up
of farmers located in adjacent watersheds.
Lake protection grants and river protection grants
Under current law, DNR provides lake protection grants for monitoring and
improving water quality in lakes. Currently, eligible recipients for these grants
include nonprofit conservation organizations, counties and municipalities, qualified
lake associations, town sanitary districts, qualified school districts, public inland
lake protection and rehabilitation districts, and other local governmental units that
are established for the purpose of lake management.
Under current law, DNR provides river protection grants for monitoring and
improving water quality in rivers. Currently, eligible recipients for these grants
include local governmental units, qualified river management organizations, and
nonprofit conservation organizations.
The bill provides that producer-led groups are eligible to receive lake
protection grants and river protection grants provided by DNR. The bill defines
“producer-led group” to mean any group that meets the criteria for a producer-led
watershed protection grant issued by DATCP.
Soil and water resource conservation grants—allocation plan
Under rules promulgated by DATCP, when DATCP prepares its annual
allocation plan for soil and water resource conservation grants to counties, it may
consider a county's demonstrated commitment to implementing the county's
approved land and water resource management plan. Under the bill, if DATCP
considers this factor in preparing the annual allocation plan, it must also take into
account any externalities, such as weather, that may have affected the county's
ability to implement its management plan.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
92.14 (6) (c) of the statutes is amended to read:
(c) When preparing an annual grant allocation plan under par. (b), 3
the department and the department of natural resources shall consider the existence 4
and location of impaired water bodies that the department of natural resources has 5
identified to the federal environmental protection agency under 33 USC 1313
(d) (1) 6
(A) and agricultural enterprise areas designated under s. 91.84, and shall give 7
priority to providing cost-sharing for nutrient management planning projects that 8
are in or near, or that affect, those areas. When preparing an annual grant allocation
9plan, if the department considers a county's demonstrated commitment to
10implementing a land and water resource management plan approved under s. 92.10
11(4) (d), the department shall take into account any externalities, such as weather,
12that may have affected the county's ability to demonstrate commitment to
13implementing the plan.
93.59 (2) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) The producer-led group includes at least 5 agricultural producers 2
each of whom operates an eligible farm, as defined in s. 91.86 (1), in one watershed 3or in adjacent watersheds
. The group may include additional agricultural producers 4
who are not required to be operators of eligible farms.
93.59 (2) (d) of the statutes is amended to read:
(d) The group assists agricultural producers in the watershed or
under par. (a) to voluntarily conduct nonpoint source water pollution 8
93.59 (3) of the statutes is amended to read:
A producer-led group that receives, or on whose behalf a legal entity 11
receives, a grant under this section shall annually file a report with the department 12
describing the activities conducted with the grant and the impact of those activities 13
on water quality in the watershed or watersheds
under sub. (2) (a).
281.68 (1) (ar) of the statutes is created to read:
281.68 (1) (ar) “Producer-led group” means any group that meets the criteria 16
under s. 93.59 (2).
281.68 (1t) (intro.) of the statutes is amended to read:
281.68 (1t) Lake monitoring and protection contracts.
(intro.) The 19
department may award contracts to public
groups or persons for the creation and 20
support of a statewide lake monitoring network. The contracts may include 21
payments for the costs of all of the following:
281.68 (3) (a) 1. of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) 1. Eligible recipients to consist of nonprofit conservation 24
organizations, as defined in s. 23.0955 (1), producer-led groups conducting
25producer-led group projects,
counties, cities, towns, villages, qualified lake
associations, town sanitary districts, qualified school districts, public inland lake 2
protection and rehabilitation districts, and other local governmental units, as 3
defined in s. 66.0131 (1) (a), that are established for the purpose of lake management.
281.70 (1) (am) of the statutes is created to read:
(am) “Producer-led group” means any group that meets the criteria 6
under s. 93.59 (2).
281.70 (4) (a) 4. of the statutes is created to read:
(a) 4. Producer-led groups conducting producer-led group projects.
281.75 (2) (e) of the statutes is repealed.
281.75 (2) (g) of the statutes is created to read:
(g) Submit a report to the joint committee on finance after the end 12
of each fiscal year that includes the number of claims submitted and the number and 13
amount of awards provided under this section during that fiscal year.
281.75 (5) (f) of the statutes is renumbered 281.75 (5) (f) 1. and 15
amended to read:
(f) 1. The Subject to subd. 2., the
department shall allocate money 17
for the payment of claims according to the order in which completed claims are 18
received. The department may conditionally approve a completed claim even if the 19
appropriation under s. 20.370 (6) (cr) is insufficient to pay the claim. The department 20
shall allocate money for the payment of a claim which is conditionally approved as 21
soon as funds become available.
281.75 (5) (f) 2. of the statutes is created to read: