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Action-Oriented Resources

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« Back to Frac Sand

There are many ways that people can collect data, report and strategize around the frac sand issue. This page will outline some options currently available.

On this page:


Developing a strong strategy around what you can or should do around the frac sand issue will help you identify the best steps moving forward. This section will help you learn about different advocacy strategies best suit the goals of your group.

Workshop to Identify Advocacy Pathways

This workshop is built for community groups facing an environmental concern who need to choose an advocacy strategy. The workshop is designed to help groups identify what advocacy pathways are available, most effective, and that best suit their objectives.


The workshop will help to:

  • identify what brought everyone together and what the major concerns are,
  • discuss what has been done in the past to advocate for the cause,
  • explore what advocacy could be done in the future,
  • identify the best steps moving forward,
  • create a plan to achieve the advocacy strategy.

Start your own Environmental Monitoring Study

This page will help you walk through some of the basic things to keep in mind if you're thinking about starting an environmental monitoring program. The page includes information:

  • Determining the Question at Hand
  • Researcher Resources
  • Geographic Scope
  • Types of Samples
  • Sampling Methods
  • Data Storage
  • Interpreting Data
  • Data Advocacy


Strategize a media campaign

Using professional media to raise awareness about an environmental issue can be a powerful tool in creating an advocacy strategy. Some advantages of using media are that it can help you to educate people about an environmental problem, make an issue personal by putting faces or personal stories to it, reach out to new and more diverse audiences, leverage or increase credibility on the issue, or identify the need for more resources addressing a problem.

The wiki on Strategize a media campaign will help you decide if engaging the media is something you should do at this point in your advocacy process. The page will help you identify:

  • When you should reach out to the media,
  • What you should do before you get media involved,
  • Crafting your media strategy,
  • Who in the media to reach out to,
  • Being mis-represented in the media,
  • Resources for Community Groups

Participating in Public Comment

This page on Public Comment was compiled by many different people who participate in the Public Comment process. Be sure to edit the page and add anything we might have missed! On this page you will find:

  • Information About Public Comment
  • Tips on Public Comment
  • Resources and outlines for making Public Comments


Dust and Particulate Matter Monitoring

Collecting Data on Particulate Matter provides an overview of monitoring options for particulate matter. These are further broken down into four main types of data collection:

  • Visual monitoring includes information on ways people can become certified in observing and reporting visible pollution from emissions sources. This certification is often referred to as "smoke school." (Read this activity for using Method 9!)
  • Filter-based monitoring draws air through filters to collect particles. The Federal Reference Method for particle monitoring is filter-based monitoring. This is also the most expensive method of monitoring.
  • Optical monitoring includes some of the lower cost monitoring tools. While these are great for learning about particle pollution, and can offer 'real time' data, their results are not currently considered conclusive to state and federal regulators.
  • Passive monitoring is aimed at being a low cost version of the current filter based monitoring systems. Public Lab tool development of passive monitoring systems is ongoing. This method provides some of the most promise on correlating low cost tools with federally recognized monitoring data.

Photographic Monitoring

Aerial Photography and Mapping:


One way to advocate around the physical affects of Frac Sand mining is through aerial photo documentation. This technique has been useful for the Buffalo County Defenders in their arguments for zoning, as well as with the Concerned Chippewa Citizen in getting increased exposure to the visible burden frac sands bring to communities and the environment.

Many groups are choosing to use drones to capture images of the mines. Alternative, low cost options for aerial imaging are also available with balloon and kite mapping. Here is a resource about balloon or kite mapping and also a workshop that walks through the process. can help you piece your photos together to create a map. Here is a workshop that walks through using mapknitter.

Photo Documenting Water Pollution and Reporting

There are a lot of resources around Reporting on the Sand Sentinel Project here.


If you encounter a discolored stream, taking a photograph and calling the county Land Conservation Department can be your first step in advocacy. Enforcement of permit compliance occurs where the problem originates (e.g. the discharge point, not the downstream affected area), so the best people to contact are the Land Conservation Department personnel in the county where the polluting site (e.g. mine or farm) is located. A great list of Land Conservation Departments in Wisconsin counties can be found here:, where you can scroll to the “Quick Find” and type in the appropriate county or click “Show All”.

In Wisconsin, it is easier for county officials to respond to mining violations than to agricultural or non-point source pollution exceedances because the funding for enforcement comes from the mining permits. To enforce agricultural and non-point source pollution enforcement, the state/counties are required to provide 70% of the cost of enforcement activity (e.g. building a fence or proper drainage), and since these departments are chronically underfunded, the financial burden becomes a significant obstacle to enforcement. Since counties do not have a cost-share burden with mining permit enforcement, county Land Conservation departments are more apt to respond to mining-related violations.

The most useful photos are ones that clearly document the time, location, and source of the pollution. Be safety conscious and do not trespass on private property. For more information, please refer to the Photographer’s Bill of Rights. Please try to include these elements of good, actionable documentation of surface water turbidity in your photographs: - Date and time-stamps - Identifiable landmark - Views documenting upstream and downstream of the source of turbid waters - Views documenting any confluences, showing the turbid water stream and a non-turbid stream - If there is more than one potential upstream source (e.g. farm and mine), a photo of the stream(s) passing through each land

Be sure to include the following information:

  • Date and time:
  • GPS Location or Driving Directions:
  • Photographers contact information (you may remain anonymous):
  • Responsible Party:
  • Brief Description: