Senator Tammy Baldwin visits Menomonie to discuss algae bloom concerns

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MENOMONIE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Poor water quality within Wisconsin's lakes is the topic of discussion among local officials and U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin.

Senator Tammy Baldwin tours Lake Menomin

Thursday Senator Baldwin spent the afternoon in Menomonie visiting Lake Menomin to see firsthand the harmful impacts of algae blooms in the state.

"There are people I met with today who remember learning to swim in this lake and they remember all sorts of things about when it was clean," said Senator Baldwin.

Baldwin says Lake Menomin has had severe algae blooms for a long time. She says it has had impact on human and pet health, tourism, recreation activity, and it has driven businesses out of business. Baldwin is meeting with local elected officials, conservationists, and others with concerns to discuss harmful impacts of algae blooms in Wisconsin and how to fix the problem.

"This was a very important piece of what I've been studying. Info I gained today I'll be bringing back to Washington, DC as we take action on funding bills that fund programs that were referenced that are very useful to the effort here,” said Baldwin.

KT Gallagher, Director at the Dunn County Health Department was one of many who attended to voice their concerns and enter in the conversation for solutions. “It was really wonderful to hear what the Senator has to say about healthy environment and how she’s working within the community to make some changes," said Gallagher.

The latest Health Survey among Dunn County residents shows a community wide concern. "Number one was mental health, they saw it as a weakness here but number two was a healthy environment and that's really unusual," said Gallagher.

Senator Baldwin says she’s hopeful that change will soon be on the way. "There are some folks that are determined to be a part of the solution and to bring others in and to great partnerships whether it’s right here in Menomonie or county, state, and federal programs cause we're only going to solve this if we work together," she says.

Blue-green algae blooms usually form during the summer months in Wisconsin. The bacteria is smelly, changes the color of the water and can produce toxins that make people and animals sick.