Last November, the state Department of Natural Resources issued a "How can we not help you?" response (PDF) to the city's request for a review of Madison lakes levels. The DNR, among other things, demanded that the city seek a specific desired reduction, after having rejected an earlier request that did so (see "DNR on Lake Levels: Hurry Up and Wait," 11/14/08).
Madison Ald. Michael Schumacher, the author of the city resolution calling for this review, was peeved by this reply, believing that Madison's artificially high lake levels pose a threat of catastrophic flooding. But he says Mayor Dave Cieslewicz put him at ease, saying something to the effect of "We're going to call their bluff."
Cieslewicz is preparing a reply letter to the DNR Secretary Matthew Frank. A draft version provided to Isthmus says the city "would be pleased to initiate this important work" and setting out steps to do so.
But in the draft, the mayor takes issue with the DNR's suggestion that the city overstated its concern about Cherokee Marsh erosion (see "Lake-Level Letter: The Untold Story," 11/27/08), suggesting the city intends to prove its point.
The draft letter also quibbles with the DNR's insistence that the city take the lead in getting a huge number of players to agree on the need for change. It maintains that the local lakes "have been operated higher than prudence would suggest for a number of years," to where even one of the most recalcitrant interest groups, boaters, have been negatively affected.
And if the feared catastrophic flooding (can you say Lake Delton?) does occur, Schumacher says both he and the mayor have made it known which state agency they'll blame.