The Note | Spring 2021

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Volume 30 | Issue 1


FOR OUR CONSERVATION COMMUNITY Stay in the loop with the latest updates in county conservation and with what’s happening in WI Land+Water.


Read more about Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes and DATCP Secretary-Designee Randy Romanski’s visit to Schoepp Farms on Page 5.

Inside this issue

Upcoming Events: May 21 Lake Winnebago Area Association Meeting

June 10 Northwest Area Association Meeting

May 27 Southern Area Association Meeting

June 16 Legislative/Administrative Committee Meeting

June 1 Land and Water Conservation Board Meeting

June 23 Great Lakes Commitee Webinar and Meeting

June 2 Southeast Area Association Meeting

June 24 Executive Committee Meeting

June 4 Technical Committee Meeting

More on Page 10

To learn more about supporting locally led conservation, visit us online:

Tell your legislators about your work The JFC is currently developing the budget, so find out how to contact your elected officials.

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Learn more about the NR 151 Rule Changes Find out what you need to know about the rule changes and who will be impacted.

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Wisocnsin Envirothon Goes Virtual for 2021 Envirothon was a success, with several new teams particpating in the threeday virtual event.

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MESSAGE FROM MATT With winter behind us at long last, spring has brought with it the sense of hope and optimism that it always does in these northern latitudes, as the days get longer, the landscape “greens up,” and we stash those heavy coats in the closet. But spring of 2021 feels different, undoubtedly due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that made this past winter darker, longer, and certainly more isolating than any in recent memory. As vaccinations trend upward and social restrictions relax, for the first time in a long while we can be cautiously optimistic—if still very unsure—about what lies ahead, perhaps allowing ourselves to think about returning to life “pre-pandemic” once again, after having been forced to hit life’s pause button for so many months. In this moment, we each have the rare opportunity to be intentional and thoughtful about how we resume our lives on the other side of the pandemic. Do we return to the comfort and familiarity of the status quo? Do we commit ourselves to some new endeavor, or new purpose? There are many questions facing us. At WI Land+Water, our word for the moment is “engage.” It’s admittedly a word we like to use often, but especially throughout this particular publication. Webster’s defines “engage” as “to do and take part in something,” as well as “the state of being in gear.” In my opinion, these could very well be definitions for WI Land+Water. I am very proud of the hard work our talented staff put in, day-in and day-out,

Connect with us online:


toward fulfilling our mission, but the reality is that WI Land+Water as an organization can only be as effective as our members decide to make it. Now, more than ever, there is need and opportunity for our members to engage with WI Land+Water. The opportunities to “take part in something” with an organization that is “in gear” are truly abundant—from participating in a Standards Oversight Council team, to attending a training, to promoting your county’s good work via a success story idea, to engaging in the statewide budget or rulemaking process, to participating in a committee that plans our youth Envirothon, annual conference, or legislative and policy agenda. In addition to the expected turnover of our land conservation committee members due to biennial election cycles, we have also seen significant turnover of our land conservation department staff membership in the last several years. How much turnover? More than 1 in 3 counties have named a new county conservationist in the last three years alone; dozens

and dozens of new LCD staff are still breaking in the saddle in new positions. Taken together, that is a wealth of recently departed institutional knowledge, but also a tremendous opportunity for new people to engage and step into new roles. WI Land+Water’s greatest strength has always been its members—pragmatic, dedicated conservationists from all over the state solving complicated problems, and learning from each other. If you are reading this, I am talking to you! Come engage with us. Commit (or recommit) yourself to our conservation community. This newsletter highlights a menu of meaningful opportunities for you to engage in, and I ask you to challenge yourself to take on one or two. Your participation with our conservation community matters, and we are better for it.


Matt Krueger Execuitve Director


Clean Water Initiative Budget Blueprint: Clean Drinking Water and Resilient Farms by 2030 To address the water quality challenges many Wisconsin families face, we must commit to long-term solutions and bold action. Over the next decade, we need to dedicate significant financial investments to provide clean drinking water for affected residents, and appropriate incentives for farmers to protect water quality. ENSURING CLEAN DRINKING WATER Well contamination: Offer every family that has a nitrate-contaminated well the opportunity to access funds for well replacement or whole home filtration. Investment: $15 million per year for 10 years. Well testing: Provide grants for county-led programs or direct state assistance that prioritizes testing for low-income households and high-risk areas. Investment: $6.5 million per year ongoing.

Several months ago, WI Land+Water announced our participation in a “clean water initiative” comprised of conservation and agricultural groups—specifically Clean Wisconsin, Dairy Business Association, and the Nature Conservancy.

SUPPORTING CURRENT CONSERVATION EFFORTS AND FOSTERING INNOVATION County conservation staff: Increase professional staff capacity to support private landowner management goals, implement conservation standards and improve water quality. Investment: $17.9 million per year ongoing. Farmland preservation: Support and increase Farmland Preservation Program tax credits as laid out in an existing bipartisan bill. Investment: $21.4 million per year ongoing. Nitrate pollution prevention: Expand on the concept of an already proposed on-farm nitrogen optimization pilot program to address nitrate contamination with increased funding and the addition of a pay-for-performance program. Investment: $10 million per year ongoing. Investing in conservation science: Create a hydrogeologist position at the University of Wisconsin Extension focused on developing groundwater mapping resources as proposed in an earlier bill, and have the state continue depth-to-bedrock mapping in southwestern Wisconsin similar to that conducted in the northeastern part of the state. Investment: $550,000 over the biennium. Increasing cover crops: Create a crop insurance premium rebate program to incentivize planting cover crops. Similar programs in other states have fully subscribed within days of their launch. Investment: $500,000 per year ongoing. Addressing climate change: Take a variety of opportunities to address climate change in agriculture. • Create a pilot program to study the feasibility of a carbon market covering the state, including providing grants to farmers and farmer-led groups that participate. Investment: $370,000 over the biennium. • Continue to support farmer-led watershed conservation groups and expand the focus to carbon sequestration in farm practices, and greenhouse gas mitigation. Investment: $2 million over the biennium. • Avoid conversion of natural working lands by expanding the Farmland Preservation Program and creating a state/federal working group to investigate addition of grasslands to use value assessment. • Prioritize managed grazing livestock production systems by creating a statewide grazing education grant program and assist farmers who incorporate regenerative agricultural practices. Investment: $640,000 over the biennium.

Read the Budget Blueprint

We sat down with these groups nearly two years ago to try to find common ground toward clean drinking water and resilient farms. We acknowledged then, and continue to acknowledge now, that we will not always agree on all issues, but there is great value towards trying to make progress in areas where we do agree. To that end, the group recently released a “Budget Blueprint” highlighting shared priorities we hope to see funded in the 2021-23 budget. We are actively meeting with legislators

and Gov. Evers’ office to attempt to move these priorities forward. It would be premature to call our efforts a success, but we have received a positive reception from legislators and the Governor’s office alike. While WI Land+Water is not actively asking our members to advocate on behalf of this blueprint, it is noteworthy that county conservation staffing funding is included as a shared priority here, at a dollar amount ($17.9 million) that matches the actual 2021 county staffing request for DATCP Soil & Water Resource Management Program funding.

Who’s New(s)? This spring, we hired a new communications manager, Kristin Teston, and a new communications intern, Isabelle Paulsen. to the forefront. So, I’ve always known that I wanted to find ways to help people share those stories. I majored in English and am currently finishing my PhD. No surprise here, but I study how the many ways that we tell stories about climate resilience.

Meet Kristin How did you first get interested in conservation work? I’m originally from a rural area in south Mississippi, so I spent most of my childhood outdoors in some form—hunting, fishing, or just playing in the woods. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina passed directly over our house, leaving us without power for nearly two weeks. Our first drive out after the storm passed is one I’ll never forget—the landscapes I knew and loved were completely changed. People’s lives were also completely changed, and the stories I began hearing after Katrina were so impactful. From reporters and documentarians to poetry and personal memoirs, I realized that telling the stories of these events was important and powerful. Not only did they allow individuals and communities to voice their experiences, but it also brought key environmental issues

Share your stories!

What are opportunities are you most excited about with WI Land+Water? I absolutely love meeting and talking with new people, so I’m incredibly excited to be in a position where I can really build relationships with the folks who are doing conservation work. So far everyone that I’ve met has such a passion for their work and it really shows! Wisconsin has such a rich conservation history, and I feel honored to play even a tiny part in telling the stories that will continue to make up that history. How do you enjoy spending time outside of work? As a new Wisconsinite, I love exploring the beautiful state with my fiancé, whose hometown is Kenosha. We often take bikes or kayaks with us, and I’m always looking for hiking recommendations! We also have a shelter pup—a corgi/beagle mix named Maggie who loves adventuring. I also enjoy cooking, especially Cajun food. There’s nothing like a huge pot of gumbo to get you through a cold, snowy week!

Do you have an idea for story? Email and let’s talk!

Meet Isabelle What is your major? I’m a senior at UW-Madison majoring in Anthropology, Environmental Studies, and Classical Humanities, with a minor in Archaeology. How did you first get interested in conservation work? I have been interested in nature since I can remember with gardens and camping trips from my early youth. But when I interned during high school as a naturalist I was able to see the complexity and intricacy of nature. From that I have wanted to work to learn more and protect what parts we can. What do you enjoy when you’re not in school or working? I love to go on walks and hikes as often as possible. Additionally, with down time I love to read and my latest favorite genre has been nature writing and environmentally themed books! When I need to be creative, I also bake often, particularly quick breads and cookies.


State 2021-2023 Biennial Budget Happening Now

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) of the Legislature is currently developing the budget that will ultimately need to be signed by the Governor.

Much has been happening on the policy and legislative front over the past several months. After our advocacy efforts for increased county conservation funding came up short in 2020 (with no help from COVID), we are back in the mix. Governor Evers initially proposed in his budget an annual allocation of

CALL TO ACTION, OR EMAIL! We need your help to ensure the Legislature provides $13.0 million in base funding for county conservation staffing in the budget. If you have not done so already, please contact your legislators in

support of this funding request— especially if they are a JFC member, which includes: Senators Marklein, Stroebel, Kooyenga, Felzkowski, Bernier, Ballweg, Erpenbach, and Johnson; representatives Born, Loudenbeck, Katsma, Zimmerman, J. Rodriguez, Kurtz, Goyke, and Neubauer. We want to avoid any of these legislators saying, “I never heard from my constituents that this was a priority.”

$12.5 million (an increase from the current $9.4 million). Though the Legislature is developing its own budget, we know there is bipartisan support for our program, and are optimistic they will actually increase the allocation to $13.0 million, in fulfillment of the 100/70/50 funding goal defined in Chapter 92.

When contacting legislators: » Consider framing it as “here’s why our work in your district is important,” and follow up by providing your best example(s) of how your existing work meets your local communities’ needs—even better if those examples highlight partnerships with the agricultural community or address drinking water concerns. » Be sure to also highlight, “here’s how we can better address needs in your district, with additional support,” by highlighting other projects or initiatives your county could pursue with more funding. » Now is the time to call on those relationships with any well-connected LCC members or constituents that your county has partnered with; it will get legislators’ attention if farmers or others your county has partnered with make contact with their offices on behalf of our budget request and speak to the great work your department does!



Use this interactive map to explore Assesmbly and State Districts and get your legislators’ contact information.

Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes in the field.


Rem quia voloril

We always talk about the importance of telling policymakers about the good and necessary hos work cerissi of county conservation departments and committees, but there is no better way to do that than to invite them out to see projects firsthand. During Earth Week, Todd Rietman and Kurt Calkins of the Columbia County Land and Water Resource Conservation Department arranged for a visit of Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes and DATCP Secretary-Designee Randy Romanski to Schoepp Farms. Above: Ron Schoepp starts off the tour by explaining his no-till practices. Below: Tara Schoepp prepares to demonstrate moving cattle.

If WI Land+Water can assist, we are always happy to help facilitate visits of policymakers and legislators to come see firsthand the good work of your department! Just let us know how we can help!

Against the backdrop of Lake Wisconsin, owner Ron Schoepp demonstrated how his managed rotational grazing and cover cropping systems work—and protect water quality in the process. Ron made clear in his comments that the technical support and access to funding provided by Todd and other LWCD staff (as well as from the Natural Resources Conservation Service) have been vital to the success of his operation.


SOC NEEDS YOU! STAY INFORMED & GET INVOLVED Participation in SOC can look very different depending on your time and interest. The best way to stay informed is to join a SOC listserv, and then get involved where you can. We have separate email lists for agricultural and urban standards so you receive information more relevant to your work. Emails average once a month and will let you know when to:

The Standards Oversight Council (SOC) oversees an open process to develop uniform, high quality conservation practice technical standards which are the foundation of many federal, state and local conservation programs. As rules and agency programs change and improved science, technology and field experience become available, the technical practice standards need to adapt to meet rule requirements and to better protect natural resources. The SOC process formulates standard-specific work teams to create new standards and update existing standards. In our efforts toward openness and accountability, we publish ongoing notices on the SOC website and via SOC listservs. Some details of what you can expect from SOC news later in 2021:

• Announcement of the Technical Standards Assessment survey in late June. • Announcement of public comment periods - SOC anticipates Broad Review for NRCS CPS 395 Stream Habitat Improvement and Management, CPS 580 Streambank and Shoreline Protection, CPS 582 Open Channel, CPS 584 Channel Bed Stabilization, and DNR 1072 Horizontal Directional Drilling. • Notice of new or updated standards - SOC anticipates publication of a revised WDNR 1008 Permeable Pavement, and others!

SOC Promo Video

1. Comment on draft standards; 2. Apply to participate as a team member; 3. Submit survey input in the biennial Technical Standards Assessment. You can also get informed by browsing our website, where you can: 1. Review details for the current work teams in-progress; 2. Find annual reports, an overview brochure, and the current work plan; and 3. Sign up for the listservs.

Subscribe to the SOC Listserv


SOC Introduction Video

Board of Directors Spotlight What’s your favorite way to engage with nature? I love to hike, especially in the mountains or near water. Nothing heals my soul like hiking to a remote mountain lake or spending the day at the ocean. I also love to camp with my family and travel all over the US and the world. What excites and inspires you about serving on the BOD?

Melissa Luck, Richland County LCC How did you first find yourself drawn to conservation work? I grew up spending as much time as possible outdoors camping, hiking, swimming and canoeing. I learned at an early age the importance of taking care of our natural world and also believe in getting involved to make a difference.

It is inspiring to be surrounded by a group of people that are so dedicated to conversation and full of great ideas of how to improve conservation practices in our state. It is exciting to be a part of a group that is working so hard to make a difference. Why do you think it’s important to be actively engaged in this kind of committee work? I think that the only way we have a chance to save this planet is for everyone to get involved and make changes, no matter how small. I decided to get involved with my local government which led to my appointment to WI Land+Water BOD, and I feel lucky to be involved with an organization doing such great work. scales. From there, the rest is history and I’ve spent the last 16+ years working in environmental education, natural resources, and soil & water conservation. What’s your favorite way to engage with nature? As a family, we enjoy hiking and camping. My kids like “destination” hikes where at the end of the hike we see something cool. They are currently obsessed with old buildings and waterfalls. If we can’t get out to a hike, then exploring area dog parks with my two huskies is high on the adventure list (Dane County has some amazing dog parks!) I’m currently in the process of training my dogs to “gee” and “haw” in the hopes of hooking them up to my son’s ice fishing sled during the winter month and exploring kicksledding, skijouring, kickbiking, or caninecross in the future. “Get a husky” they say. *eyeroll*

Amy Piaget, Dane County LWRD How did you first find yourself drawn to conservation work? Growing up, I was the type of kid who would freak out their mother. I befriended “Wormy” the garter snake that lived in the backyard, tried to bring home a mountain lion to be my barn cat, and had the most well-fed “pet” wolf spiders in the area. The mountains and lakes of the Adirondacks were my playground. Camping, hiking, boating, and fishing were regular weekend adventures as well as checking out logs at the sawmill my father worked at and stacking firewood. Freshman high school biology class in Vermont had me learning all the different breeds of cows while graduating high school in the Northwoods of Wisconsin introduced to me to ruffed grouse hunting, deer season, and the potential of being bit by a musky while swimming. While I started college as a music major, I fell in love with classes about water, soil, and rocks and hated memorizing

What excites and inspires you about serving on the BOD? I feel our BOD should represent our membership and felt we needed more female representation as more women are joining the soil and water conservation field. As a Gen X-er, I hope to be able to help bridge some of the generational gaps we see in our organization between experienced staff with many years under their belt and the new hires that are coming fresh into their careers. There is a lot of knowledge and history on our BOD and I hope to absorb some of that knowledge before all those I consider mentors decide to retire! Why do you think it’s important to be actively engaged in this kind of committee work? I’ve been serving as a member of the Leg/Admin Committee for about five years as County Conservationist and as an agency representative for DNR prior to that. Based on that experience, I was interested in learning more about how the organization works at a higher level. 7

68th Annual Conference A heartfelt thank you to the 425+ conservationists who attended our successful, first ever, virtual conference in March. We kicked off the event with our keynote speaker and soil health expert Jimmy Emmons. We then moved on to hold 25 engaging, educational sessions across four partial days. Our attendees took advantage of the interactive conference platform and networking options by “visiting” sponsors, meeting for morning coffee chats, and voting in the Youth Education poster contest. It was a challenging endeavor, and your support and participation was appreciated. We are looking forward to seeing everyone in person next March!

Speaking of next March… are you interested in helping plan the 2022 Conference, scheduled for March 2-4, 2022 at Chula Vista in Wisconsin Dells? This is a key responsibility of the Professional Improvement Committee (PIC), with assistance from the Technical Committee. The conference needs engaged members, both staff and supervisors, from around the state to help put together a top-notch conference that covers the latest conservation topics. Contact PIC Chair Tony Reali in Calumet County to learn more about the PIC, or visit the PIC webpage.

2021 Conservation Award Winners

Engagement is a key component in judging the prestigious Conservation Employee and Outstanding Supervisor awards. Participation, whether by being a committee member or sharing knowledge at our conference, makes us stronger.

Did you know? 8

Fay Amerson Walworth County

Greg Leonard Eau Claire County

Outstanding Employee, Senior Urban Conservation Technician

Outstanding Employee, County Conservationist

Tracy Arnold Portage County

Dan Nankee Iowa County

Brad Matson Youth Education Award

Outstanding Supervisor

Drew Zelle DATCP

Short Lane Ag

Special Recognition/Friend of Conservation

Conservation Steward

Matt & Craig Oehmichen

The Professional Improvement Committee promotes and judges the conservation awards, as well as helps plan the annual conference. Get engaged and learn more about the PIC!

Thanks to our all of conference sponsors! The Annual Conference wouldn’t be possible without the continued support from our sposors. We want to recognize those who donated $1000: • • • • • • • • • •

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Michael Fields Agricultural Institute Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) North Central Region SARE Organic Valley Petenwell and Castle Rock Stewards (PACRS) Resource Environmental Solutions Silt Sock Inc. Standards Oversight Council Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

64th Annual Poster & Speaking Contest Congratulations to all the students across Wisconsin who participated in this year’s Conservation Awareness Poster and Speaking Contests.

Youth Ed Silent Auction Madeline Fuller (left) won 1st place in the Junior Division of the poster contest. Outagamie County Land Conservation Department’s Adminstrative Assistant Cassie Kohls (right) hands off the ribbon and certificate, which were mailed to all of this year’s winners.

Poster Contest Gallery

View all of the poster contest entries online.

Our Youth Education subcommittee worked hard to put together a virtual event where students submitted their speeches by video to be judged prior to the virtual annual conference. Speeches had to address a relevant, soil and water conservation issue, with emphasis on the impact of the issue in their locality or in Wisconsin. The conservation poster awareness theme this year was “Healthy Forests=Healthy Communities.”

Students also submitted their conservation posters virtually, and posters were voted on by our conference members and attendees using our online conference platform, Socio. To view the winning speeches and posters visit: events/2021-poster-speaking-contest

This year we had to move our Youth Education Silent Auction to a virtual platform. We would like to thank Megan Steckelberg (Adams County) and Karyn Eckert (Taylor County), who both serve on our Youth Education Committee, for organizing and managing our online silent auction. We would also like to thank all the counties for donating so many amazing items.

Auction Highlights 31 counties donated to the Silent Auction

$3,685.00 raised for Youth Education programs

Outagamie County

had the highest total retail value donated.


TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES NON-METALLIC MINE RECLAMATION: FINANCIAL ASSURANCE-PART 2 Wednesday, June 2 (10:00-11:00 a.m.) Register by Monday, May 31 at The second webinar in the series will discuss the following financial assurance areas: • Amount and duration • Determining the amount • Disputes •

Certificate of completion and release

WANT FRESHWATER? THEN STOP OVER-SALTING Wednesday, June 23 (9:00-10:00 a.m.) Register by Monday, June 21 at All the salt that we bring into Wisconsin ends up in our freshwater. Salt dissolves but it doesn’t disappear. Chloride concentrations are on the rise in both surface and groundwater. In response, several communities across the state are taking steps to become Salt Wise Champions and are cutting their salt use by 50%+. Our drinking water and freshwater ecosystems depend on the widespread adoption of these best management practices. Join us to learn more. This webinar is being sponsored by the Great Lakes Committee.

BASIC AG FOR CONSERVATIONISTS Wednesday, July 7, and Thursday July 8 (8:30 a.m.-Noon) - Online Thursday, August 19 (8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.) - Arlington Register at Join us to better understand the basics of agriculture through a multicomponent course taught by experienced local, state, and federal conservationists. This training is intended to provide conservation professionals with the necessary basic skills (communication, outreach) and farming knowledge to implement conservation practices for improved land management. For agenda details, visit our website. For more information, please contact Penny: or (608) 441-2677, ext. 6 10

Complete the SITCOM Training Needs Survey Access to relevant training and information is important to help improve your technical and professional skills on the job.

ing opportunities, including where and how to make training available based upon the specific needs across the state.

To help plan for and develop training to best meet the needs of conservation professionals across the state, the State Interagency Training Committee (SITCOM) will distribute an online training needs survey within the next month. Gathering information about your individual needs, helps prioritize and guide planning for trainings through 2022.

SITCOM and its partners are committed to maintaining and strengthening a statewide team of well-trained conservation professionals that carry on Wisconsin’s rich history of conserving soil and water resources.

To find out more about SITCOM, visit our website.

The survey also helps determine the best strategies to offer train-

Don’t just take our word—take theirs, too! “I have been taking advantage of the trainings provided by SITCOM for the past two years, of which I have started two different jobs in County Conservation departments. The SITCOM trainings were exactly what I needed to learn many of the conservation practices that I use to solve land and water issues.” Haley Lucas, Conservation Tech.

Winnebago County

“I LOVE that so many of the trainings are now virtual! Since I am normally the person left behind to “man the office” I usually don’t get to attend trainings unless they are at the annual conference. Having them virtual, and recorded, makes it so much easier to try and attend topics of interest. It also allows me to attend MORE trainings covering MORE topics.”

Ann Lane, Admin. Assistant Burnett County

“Any trainings about engineering design are applied directly to designing projects for landowners. Cropping information is often part of my discussion with farmers, and my basic knowledge from trainings helps me to promote soil health practices.”

Sheri Denowski, Conservation Eng. Clark County

What is SITCOM? The State Interagency Training Committee is a partnership effort with a mission to maintain and strengthen a statewide team of well-trained conservation professionals that carry on Wisconsin’s rich history of conserving soil and water resources through a coordinated and efficient partnership.

Who benefits from SITCOM? All conservation professionals benefit from the efforts to collaborate and coordinate to offer training opportunities.

Who is SITCOM? SITCOM is comprised of staff from WI Land+Water, DATCP, UW-Madison, Extension, Land Conservation Departments, DNR, NRCS, the five Area Interagency Training Committees (AITCOMs), Professional Improvement Committee, Technical Committee, and the private sector.

How many people get the SITCOM e-newsletter? We send a biweekly e-newsletter about upcoming trainings to more than 1,500 conservation professionals across the state.

Farming for the Future: Ecosystem Market Summer Series Join the Illinois Sustainable Ag Partnership and organizations from Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, and Wisconsin for a free four-part webinar series exploring new management options and financial opportunities for Midwest farmers. The series will provide farmers and their advisors with practical and straightforward information on innovative incentives.

Register Now! JUNE 22 | JUNE 24 | JULY 13 | JULY 15 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM CDT


NR 151 RULE CHANGES In late 2019, the DNR was approved to open up the administrative rule, NR 151 to include a targeted performance standard addressing nitrate contamination in groundwater. Over the last year, DNR and their Technical Advisory Committee of assembled experts and stakeholders (including three county representatives) drafted a rule aimed at reducing nitrate leaching from agricultural fields in targeted areas.

Why do we need a new rule? Nitrate is needed to grow crops and applied to fields through commercial fertilizer and manure across Wisconsin. When rain is heavy and soils are sandy, the plants can miss the opportunity to grab the needed nutrient and seep straight to groundwater. Because nitrogen is readily available, it has long made sense to apply more fertilizer to ensure plants get what they need. Unfortunately, this also makes nitrate

the most widespread drinking water contaminant. Wisconsin communities have struggled to address elevating nitrate levels in both private and public wells in particularly susceptible areas due to high nitrate linked to birth defects, blue baby syndrome, thyroid disease, and certain types of cancer. The purpose of this rule is to help reduce nitrate contamination to meet the federal drinking water and state groundwater standards of 10mg/l by creating targeted agricultural performances standards and prohibitions in most vulnerable areas of the state.

Who is affected by the draft rule? The fields that are included in the targeted area are: 1. On Nitrogen Restricted Soils, as defined in NRCS 590 standard. Soils that are permeable, close to bedrock, wet or close to the water table are more likely to allow nitrate to seep past plant roots and reach groundwater. Restricted soils also include areas within 1,000 feet of a community well. 2. In DNR identified sensitive areas based on groundwater nitrate data. The list of areas is included in the rule and can be found in the mapping viewer. No new areas will be added or removed from the list without another revision of the rule. 3. In municipal wellhead protection areas (land around a well known to be contributing most of the water) with nitrate concentrations meeting or exceeding 5mg/l. This allows communities time to ensure they can deliver clean, safe drinking water to residents.


Explore the map of the affected area here.

What is the draft performance standard? Fields within the targeted area will need to account for all sources of nitrate in the nutrient management plan (commercial fertilizer, manure, irrigation water). To achieve the groundwater standard of 10mg/l, fields will need to limit nitrate loss to under 2.2lb of nitrate/acre/inch of recharge over the crop rotation. The rule does not dictate specific ways to limit losses, but instead a range of approaches to achieve overtime.

What are the draft prohibitions? All prohibitions apply after September 1 and limit application to fields that are not growing crops. Commercial fertilizer: Applies to all fields within the targeted area. Liquid manure: Only applies to fields with highly permeable soils (P soils) and soils close to bedrock (R soils), fields within 1,000 feet to a community well, and within identified Municipal Wellhead Protected Areas. Visit the mapping viewer and click the Liquid Manure Restriction Areas layer on to see affected areas.

What are the exceptions to the prohibitions? If there are crops growing or newly seeded and nitrogen will be used by the plant, manure and fertilizer can be applied after September 1. Rates need to be in accordance with NRCS 590 and included in the nutrient management plan. There’s an additional exception for liquid manure. With approval by DNR to ensure application rates will still achieve the groundwater standard, liquid manure can still be applied at reduced rates in the prohibition areas after September 1.

HOW CAN I PROVIDE COMMENTS? The DNR just wrapped up the public comment period for the Economic Impact Assessment. The draft rule will be open for public comment summer 2021. For more information, visit the DNR NR151 webpage.

Have questions or comments about the draft rule, how it will impact your county, or how you can impact the future of the rule? Contact Christina: christina@ wisconsinlandwater .org


COUNTY CONNECTIONS WITH OUR SCHOOLS IS CRITICAL TO ENGAGING YOUTH IN CONSERVATION With the cancellation of the 2020 Wisconsin Envirothon due to COVID-19, a number of schools and students lost out on the opportunity to participate in the Wisconsin Envirothon. This year the Youth Education Committee worked hard to organize a virtual WI Envirothon using the opportunity to reach schools and students that had never participated before. Our Youth Education Committee is made up of county conservation staff through-out the state who have personal connections and relationships with their local schools. Many of the staff have built these local connections overtime through the conservation programs they promote in the schools. By being in the schools promoting their conservation programs, our county conservation staff are the perfect partner to build those local connections and help us expand our reach to students statewide.

Being able to promote the WI Land+Water Conservation Association Youth Education programs is critical to ensuring that the next generation is educated about conservation challenges, practices and ways to conserve our natural resources. Our county staff are on the front lines and with the virtual Envirothon we saw first-hand the impact our county staff have on reaching students and getting them engaged with conservation education and programs.

Congrats, Slinger High!

Ben McMeeken, Team Captain

(from left to right) Madi Jensen, Julianna Duerst, Hannah Hellesen, Austin Junk

Congratulations to Slinger High School and all the teams that competed in our virtual Envirothon. We would also like to thank our sponsors and supporters of the WI Envirothon. To view the winners of the Wisconsin Envirothon and to see our sponsors please visit us online.


First Timers Take First Place Slinger High School FFA, first-time paticipants in Envirothon, will represent Wisconsin at the NCF-Envirothon after taking first place overall during April’s three day virtual event. During our April three-day virtual Envirothon, the winning team who will represent Wisconsin at the NCF-Envirothon is Slinger High School FFA. This was the first year that Slinger High School has participated in the WI Envirothon and one of the schools that our Youth Education Committee member Stephanie Egner, Washington County reached out to. Stephanie has developed a relationship with the Agriculture & Science teacher/FFA Advisor Katelyn Dei and worked with her in re-organizing the Slinger Area FFA-Food for America Program (3rd grade farm tours). When Slinger High School won, Stephanie shared with our Envirothon Committee that while this was the first time that Slinger High School had competed in the WI

Meet the Slinger High School Envirothon Team Julianna Duerst

Senior - Northland University for natural resources, Girl Scout, competed on Wildlife CDE with FFA and will try out for the Forestry competition

Madi Jensen

Junior - William Woods U (MO), equine science, also participates on the Wildlife CDE with the FFA

Envirothon, their team captain, Ben McMeeken, has been a long-time participant of our Youth Education programs. Ben competed and won the County WI Land+Water Conservation Awareness Poster contest in fourth grade, attended Sand Lake Conservation Camp twice when he was in middle school and has also attended our WI Land+Water Conservation Camp for high schoolers. Building this relationship with the schools is critical to reaching students at a young age and hopefully instilling an interest in conservation or helping them pursue a career in conservation. By looking at the makeup of the Slinger team it certainly seems as if the future of conservation is in the hands of the next generation.

Ben McMeeken, Team Captain

Junior - career plans include Agricultural Education with a strong passion for enviro science/natural resources

Austin Junk

Senior - UWWC for now, then Eau Claire for natural resources and biology, avid fisherman, currently doing a Biology independent study where they test surface waters in the tri county area every 2 weeks

Hannah Hellesen

Junior - avid hunter, currently doing an Ecology and Conservation Management independent study for class

See you at camp NEXT summer! Due to the ongoing concerns with COVID-19 we unfortunately decided to cancel both youth conservation camps for June 2021. We know that students for both Sand Lake Conservation Camp (middle school) and WI Land+Water Conservation Camp (high school) were disappointed. We will miss our campers and hope to see them next summer. 15

Service Recognition Highlights We wanted say thank you for this past year! In recognition of the work of our members, we want to share our gratitude and highlight specific people for their dedication and service. Thank you for 40+ years of service! John Krauss, Pierce County, 46 years Jerry Halverson, Manitowoc County, 42 years

Thank you for 35+ years of service! Dan Masterpole, Chippewa County, 38 years Andy Holschbach, Ozaukee County, 37 years Dave Ferris, Burnett County, 37 years Tony Smith, Manitowoc County, 37 years Gaylord Olson II, Jackson County, 36 years Robert Kaner, Dunn County, 36 years Chris Ertman, Sheboygan County, 35 years

Larry Gruber, Pierce County Pat Kilbey, Marquette County Paul Klose, Marinette County Steve Olson, Dunn County Todd Rietmann, Columbia County Rama Zenz, Brown County

Thank you for 20 years of service! Tim Detzer, Milwaukee County Brent Edlin, Washburn County Steve Keith, Milwaukee County Mike Pero, Ashland County

Nancy Lannert, Jefferson County, 35 years

Thank you for 15 years of service!

Thank you for 30 years of service!

Davina Bonness, Kewaunee County Lisa Burns, Washburn County Seth Ebel, Dane County Erv Lesczynski, Fond du Lac County Kurt Pederson, La Crosse County

John Bohonek, Dodge County Aleta DiRienzo, Marinette County Ken Dolata, Oconto County Theresa Marcusen, Kewaunee County Dan O’Connell , Portage County James Poweleit, Outagamie County Bryce Richardson, Monroe County Lori Ruess, Wood County

Thank you for 25 years of service! Scott Frank, Shawano County

Thank you for 10 years of service! Cathy Higley, Vilas County Mike Mushinski, Brown County Quita Sheehan, Vilas County Nick Standyk, Rusk County Travis Tulowitzky, Bayfield County

The Power of Experience Together that’s 4,970 years of combined conservation experience by LCD staff. That’s 1.29 million work days, which is over 51.7 million work hours.

Who’s the Wisest County LCD? (based on avgerage years of experience) 1. Jackson County - 32.6 years 2. Ozaukee County - 28.2 years 3. Richland County - 26.6 years

Who has the most combined experience? Dane County 226 years

Conservation Observance Day Kevin and Caroline Parr will host Conservation Observance Day on August 13th during a limited-capacity celebration on their farm, Harmony Hills, in Vernon County. After last year’s event was postponed due to COVID-19, we’re looking forward to an in-person Conservation Observance Day later this summer. The event will have limited attendance, but we are exploring ways to bring the experience to you. We’re excited for another opportunity to engage with our members and the community in innovative ways. Stay on the lookout for more information in the coming weeks as we continue to plan for this exciting event!

THE NOTE Volume 30 | Issue 1 16 131 W. Wilson St. #601 Madison, WI 53703 (608)441-2677 F: (608)441-2676

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