Local adaptation of new state rules regulating manure spreading on shallow soils got a first reading before the Kewaunee County Board on Tuesday, Aug. 21.

The county Land & Water Conservation Department would be responsible for enforcing the rules, which regulate manure spreading on soil that is 0-20 feet deep to bedrock over fragile Silurian dolomite or karst bedrock. The rules would be adopted as Chapter 39 of the county ordinance book.

“This is a very important milestone for Land & Water and for the county,” County Board Chairman Robert Weidner said as the ordinance was introduced.

The board will review the measure a second time and consider it for passage at its September meeting. Weidner said Kewaunee will be one of the first counties in the state to adapt the rules.

“We actually wanted to be the first, but we didn’t have a meeting last month,” he said. “It’s important progress toward managing some of the water quality problems and practices in the county.”

Davina Bonness, director of the Land & Water Conservation Department, reminded the board that the new state rules were based on the recommendations of the Department of Natural Resources’ Best Management Practices Workgroup comprised of local farmers, officials and other citizens that were developed in a series of meetings from 2015 to 2017.

After the rules took effect July 1 as Administrative Code NR 151, all farms in the county already must follow them except for concentrated animal feeding operations, the largest farms with 1,000 or more animal units, Bonness said. CAFOs are regulated under the terms of their individual state wastewater discharge permits, which run for five years.

“By adapting it at a county level, everyone would have to be following these NR 151 rules,” she said. “Chapter 39 is a positive step toward protecting our vulnerable Groundwater resources.”

Calumet County has already passed NR 151 as a county ordinance, and Brown and Door counties are going through the process of adaptation, Bonness said.