Implementing Adaptive Management

Implementing Adaptive ManagermentWisconsin is rich in water resources that support our lifestyle and economy. Unfortunately, many of our waterways have been impaired due to excessive phosphorus runoff. Found in lawn and farm fertilizers and cow manure, phosphorus feeds algae, especially dangerous blue-green algae, which hurts water quality and harms aquatic life by raising water temperatures.

The Phosphorus Rules

In 2010, Clean Wisconsin worked diligently to help pass a precedent-setting phosphorus pollution rules package that enables farmers and municipalities to work together to implement strategies that reduce phosphorus pollution.

The cornerstone of these “Phosphorus Rules” is the Adaptive Management Option (AMO), a new strategy to reduce phosphorus-rich surface runoff. The Phosphorus Rules are some of the most innovative water quality rules in the nation, giving phosphorus contributors flexibility to reduce their runoff and discharge in a cost-effective manner.

Adaptive Management Handbook

We believe that AMO will be the most cost-effective and beneficial strategy for controlling phosphorus pollution in Wisconsin’s waters and to help with its adoption, we’ve created a guidebook that provides background information, recommendations and resources for evaluating and implementing the AMO.

Real-World Examples: Adaptive Management Case Studies

As a supplement to the handbook, we’ve compiled case studies about two of the first AMO pilot projects in the state, in the Yahara and Silver Creek watersheds. These case studies describe the decisions and strategies that went into the development of each project. Although both projects are still ongoing, some initial lessons have begun to emerge that can inform other project planning. These case studies provide real-world examples that project planners can consider when developing their own AMO plans.

CASE STUDY: Silver Creek

Thank you to water program intern Kaitlyn Taylor for compiling these case studies.