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GLIN==> Waters of Wisconsin Forum to Lay Groundwork for State Water Policy

Waters of Wisconsin Forum to Lay Groundwork for State Water Policy
The Waters of Wisconsin Forum (October 21-22) will be a working conference
with legs-a gathering of leading water experts and concerned citizens to lay
the groundwork for a comprehensive, long-term policy for the use and
sustainability of Wisconsin's waters. And it will be a place to celebrate,
through art, poetry, and music, the importance and beauty of water in our
lives, to remind ourselves why this precious and endangered resource must be

The challenges and threats Wisconsin's waters face are the stuff of
headlines on a regular basis. Mercury in our fish, arsenic in our drinking
water, polluted runoff in our lakes and streams, the proposed Perrier
bottling plant, cryptosporidium outbreaks in Milwaukee, and PCBs in the Fox
River are but a few topics of public concern. Here's your chance to learn
more about these problems, the "big picture" they are part of<and help move
our state toward possible solutions. The Waters of Wisconsin Forum, to take
place October 21-22 at Monona Terrace in Madison, will offer two days of
discussion, debate, and reflection and the chance to participate in an
effort that the Wisconsin Academy believes could significantly improve the
future of water in Wisconsin. "We hope our work will serve as a catalyst for
change," says Michael Strigel, the Wisconsin Academy's director of programs.
"We're at a decisive moment in how we manage our waters. There is widespread
consensus that we need an integrated, long-term approach in using and
protecting our waters over the next century."

The Forum is the culmination of Waters of Wisconsin (WOW), an Academy-led
statewide initiative on sustainable water use that began two years ago. From
the outset, the initiative was designed to be both inclusive and
comprehensive. The Wisconsin Academy engaged experts from virtually all
areas of water use and management, including agriculture, industry,
conservation, all levels of government and public agencies, education, and
Native American tribes. Citizens participated in five public forums in
different parts of the state, and are welcome, too, to join an e-mail
advisory network on WOW developments.

The initiative focuses on three key areas: gathering information on the
current status and trends of our waters; formulating sustainability
principles to govern water use, protection, and management; and projecting
different scenarios for our water's future, depending on courses of action
we choose today.

One product of Waters of Wisconsin will be a formal report with
recommendations in all three areas of study; a draft of that report will be
a focal point of discussion before and during the Forum. All Forum sessions
are designed to make even the more technical aspects of water science and
policy understandable to a general audience. Arts and culture will be an
integral part of the gathering. On Monday night, Warren Nelson and members
of his Big Top Chautauqua band will perform a special show called "On
Wisconsin Waters." Wisconsin Poet Laureate Ellen Kort has been invited to
read her work, and Madison-based poet Fabu Mogaka is lining up readings,
story-telling, and other arts presentations to open every breakout session.
These selections will offer perspectives on water from the many different
cultural and ethnic groups that are part of our state. Also, the teenage
winners of a "water in poetry" contest run by the Wisconsin Center for
Academically Talented Youth will read their works during a reception Monday
evening. Not directly at the Forum<but close at hand!<is a "water in art"
show in the Wisconsin Academy Gallery, 1922 University Avenue, running
through October. 

Speakers and presenters include leading names in water both state- and
nationwide: Oregon State University philosophy professor Kathleen Dean
Moore, whose writings on nature and philosophy have earned her national
acclaim, will reflect on our human connections water during the Monday
luncheon plenary; Sandra Postel, director of the Global Water Policy
Project, will speak at Tuesday's luncheon plenary; and former U.S. Forest
Service chief and UW-Stevens Point Professor Mike Dombeck will help wrap up
the event during the closing plenary on Tuesday. Invited speakers include
Wisconsin Gov. Scott McCallum, DNR Secretary Darrell Bazzell, DATCP
Secretary Jim Harsdorf, US EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, and
Honorary Chair of the WOW Forum Luna Leopold (son of conservationist Aldo

Breakout sessions include the following topics: Wisconsin's waters and the
future of the global water supply; water, agriculture, and land use;
industrial waters and innovative technologies for sustainability; water and
human health; restoration of Wisconsin's waters; and climate change and
Wisconsin's water future. Cost for the Forum is $110 for two days and $85
for one day (includes lunch, refreshments, and receptions), with discounts
available for early registration. Reduced rates and scholarships are
available. For more information visit www.wisconsinacademy.org or contact
Forum director Amanda Okopski (aokopski@wisc.edu).

Waters of Wisconsin is the debut project of a Wisconsin Academy program
called "The Wisconsin Idea at the Wisconsin Academy," which addresses
pressing issues for the public good. An advisory group of leaders from a
range of sectors and political persuasions<Jim Haney, president of Wisconsin
Manufacturers & Commerce; David Newby, president of the state AFL-CIO; UW
System President Katharine Lyall; former Wisconsin governor Tony Earl; and
chiefs of staff from the governor's office<help identify problems most in
need of an independent, comprehensive, Wisconsin Academy-led investigation.
For these leaders, water rose to the top in terms of urgency.
Wisconsin Academy of Sciences,
Arts, and Letters
1922 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53726
Tel. 608/263-1692
Contact: Joan Fischer, director of communications, ext. 16

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