Workshops to focus on road salt impacts, best practices

Contact: Kris Stepenuck, kfstepenuck@wisc.edu, 608-265-3887

Two workshops to be held at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in July will focus on helping homeowners and professional winter maintenance crews understand and minimize the impacts of road, sidewalk and driveway salting on local streams.

Residents in the Black River Falls, Eau Claire and Menomonie areas have been monitoring stream sites in these communities regularly since last fall. Across the state, volunteers have identified numerous streams that are negatively affected by road salting during winter months. High salt concentrations can disturb fish spawning and overall health, and can kill fish in high enough concentrations.

A workshop for homeowners will be held on July 15 at 6:30 PM. On July 16, a workshop for private and public winter maintenance personnel will be offered from 8:30 AM –3:00 PM. Both workshops will be held on the UW-Eau Claire campus in Phillips Hall.

Sponsored by the Great Lakes Regional Water Program, the homeowners’ workshop is free of charge and no pre-registration is required. Pre-registration is required and a registration fee of $25 will be charged for the professional winter maintenance personnel workshop on July 16.

The workshops will provide an overview of the environmental concerns related to road salting and a summary of findings about water quality from the volunteers’ monitoring. Staff members from Fortin Consulting, Inc. based in the Twin Cities and a public works manager will explain how homeowners and winter maintenance professionals can take practical, cost-saving steps to reduce their application rates and carry out best practices to minimize impacts to the environment.

Registration information and more details about the workshop are available at: http://watermonitoring.uwex.edu/level3/UrbanRoadSaltWorkshops.html

The Water Action Volunteers Stream Monitoring Program, a collaboration between UW-Extension and the Dept. of Natural Resources, sponsors the program in partnership with the US Geological Survey. These organizations work in cooperation with many individuals and local partner groups to carry out the monitoring. Local partners on the project helping with the monitoring and workshops include UW-Eau Claire Geology Department, UW-Stout Biology Department, Red Cedar Basin Monitoring Group, and Friends of the Black River.

For more information about the Water Action Volunteers Road Salt Monitoring Project visit: http://watermonitoring.uwex.edu/level3/UrbanRoadSalt.html

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