In the midst of ongoing statewide debates about ties between poor water quality and certain ag practices, a recent study from UW-Madison researchers paints a surprisingly static picture.

In a study of 2,913 lakes from 1990 to 2011, researchers found that “despite large environmental change and management efforts over recent decades, water quality of lakes in the Midwest and northeastern U.S. has not overwhelmingly degraded or improved.”

The study defines environmental change as coming from urban expansion, changes in atmospheric climate and “agricultural intensification.”

CAFOs, or concentrated animal feeding operations, pack a large number of animals into smaller areas than traditional dairy farms, upping profitability but also creating much more waste. So much waste is produced that the state requires their operators to create detailed plans for how they will safely handle it.

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