The Note | Winter 2021

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Volume 30 | Issue 3

THE NOTE

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

CLEAN FARM FAMILIES BUILD CONNECTIONS

Learn more about how this producer-led group helps others to overcome fear and embrace soil health practices. Read more on page 6.

Upcoming Events: December 20 Public Outreach Committee meeting December 21 Great Lakes Committee meeting January 7 Lake Michigan Area Association meeting January 11 Professional Improvement Committee meeting January 28 Lake Winnebago Area Association meeting February 8 SOC meeting of council representatives

Inside this issue

February 9 West Central Area Association conservation contests and business meeting February 11 Deadline to submit poster and speaking contest winners to WI Land+Water Feburary 14 Legislative/Administrative Committee meeting February 17 Executive Committee meeting

Attend our Carbon Farm Planning Virtual Workshop Get prepared to help producers plan for increased sequestration of carbon on the landscape.

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Registration now open for our 2022 Annual Conference Learn more about registration, conference programming, and our keynote speaker.

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March 2 Board of Directors meeting

Youth Education Committee readies for an exciting 2022

March 2-4 WI Land+Water 69th Annual Conference

Check out these updates for WI Envirothon and our youth conservation camps.

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

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wisconsinlandwater.org

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MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT Dear Colleagues, First, I want to say that it has been a true privilege and honor to serve as the WI Land+Water president for the past eighteen months. Elected in July 2020, I accepted the position with enthusiasm and excitement at the opportunity to influence change at the state level, not truly knowing what this role entailed. I must say I am amazed at what we have accomplished. I want to also acknowledge the dedicated Land Conservation Department (LCD) and Land Conservation Committee (LCC) individuals who volunteer countless hours of service on numerous Land+Water committees and exterior committees to advance our mission to “protect, conserve, and enhance Wisconsin’s natural resources by advocating for and supporting county conservation efforts, for current and future generations.” Thank you for your tireless efforts. Additionally, I’ve been fortunate to work with a talented staff at WI Land+Water. They are true professionals, and I am blessed to have a support system with a clear vision. Over the past year, the Executive Commit-

Connect with us online:

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tee (four officers and two elected members of the board of directors) focused on strategic plan implementation by developing strategic initiatives. I believe WI Land+Water is in a better position to tackle future challenges because of this work. The beneficiaries of these efforts include all LCDs and LCCs across Wisconsin. The following bullets highlight the strategic initiatives in motion: •

Supported development of the Climate Resilience Program that positioned WI Land+Water to be a resource on climate impacts for all LCDs and LCCs now and into the future.

Created a process for LCDs & LCCs to utilize the existing committee framework of WI Land+Water to bring forward local policy issues, better allowing them to be better integrated to our organizational policy and legislative strategy.

Formed an Equity Working Group focused on resource development and training for all county LCD staff and supervisors to address diversity, equity, and inclusion.

wisconsinlandwater.org

Created structure and accountability regarding fiscal policy for the organization while laying the groundwork for the development of a reserve account.

Created a conservation financial security working group to forge a path towards long-term financial security for conservation. Financial security is one element all LCDs face on a biannual basis at the state level while balancing local budgets annually. We will never reach our goals or vision of protecting our natural resources while working under capacity to implement conservation.

As I’ve stated in a few meetings, I don’t want to be the first “virtual” president who serves you only from a screen. I’m hopeful that the 2022 WI Land+Water Conference will occur in March, and the membership family can be together once again. I look forward to 2022 and what we can accomplish together. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours,

@wisconsinlandwater

Bob Micheel WI Land+Water President

@wilandwater


Building Resilient Landscapes Through our new Climate Resilience Program, we are connecting with partners at home and across the country to share resources and knowledge about emerging issues in the effort to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change. WI Land+Water is hosting a virtual workshop with our partners at Carbon Cycle Institute and Colorado State University to prepare land conservation staff in helping producers identify and plan for increased sequestration of carbon on the landscape.

CARBON FARM PLANNING VIRTUAL WORKSHOP

The Carbon Farm Planning Virtual Workshop will consist of self-guided online modules, weekly activities, and live webinars to help you learn more about carbon farming, the tools to account for carbon sequestration, and components of a whole-farm plan.

All links to the platform and live webinars will be sent in the welcome email prior to January 10, 2022.

Introduction to Carbon Farming

Tools for Planning and Reading the Landscape

Develop a Carbon Farm Plan

Module 1

Module 2

Module 3

▶ Self-guided material opens Monday, January 10

▶ Task due Friday, January 21

▶ Task due Friday, January 28

▶ Discussion at live webinar on Tuesday, January 25, 10am-12pm

▶ Discussion at live webinar on Tuesday, February 1, 10am-12pm

▶ Task due Friday, January 14 ▶ Discussion at live webinar on Tuesday, January 18, 10am-12pm

Explore our new Climate Resilience Resource Hub! Visit the Members Hub to find to reports and tools on climate predictions, impacts, and adaptation strategies and better prepare your county for the changes to come. We will continue to add resources most relevant to our conservation members. Let us know if you have a resource or story to share. VISIT THE CLIMATE RESILIENCE RESOURCE HUB

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2022 Annual Conference Our conference provides valuable networking opportunities, timely professional improvement breakout sessions, and a space to be inspired by the passion for conservation around the state.

Meet Our Keynote:

JAY FUHRER

Jay Fuhrer is a soil health specialist, who worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Bismarck, ND from 1980-2020. He has boots-onthe-ground experience over the last 38 years working with cropping systems, grazing systems, cover crops and gardens.

The conference kicks off on Wednesday March 2, at 11:00am with our luncheon buffet, Youth Education speaking contest winners, and soil health expert, Jay Fuhrer. Breakout session topics will include climate resiliency, groundwater, soil health, com-

municating with landowners, four technical roundtables, and much more. For more details about the registration process or hotel information, please visit: wisconsinlandwater.org/conservation/annual-conference CLICK HERE TO

REGISTER NOW

Jay also has an extensive background working with groups and entities such as soil and water conservation districts, national and international no-till organizations, watersheds, farm organizations, urban groups, and more. Recently, Jay spends his time at the Menoken Farm minimizing soil disturbance, adding soil armor, maximizing plant diversity, maintaining living roots in the soil and integrating livestock. Learn more about Jay’s work with Menoken Farm.

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MARCH 2-4, 2022 Chula Vista Resort Wisconsin Dells


2022 State Land & Water Conservation Board Elections Each Area Association is encouraged to nominate someone for the 2022 LWCB election.

Youth Ed Silent Auction

For more details visit wisconsinlandwater.org/members-hub/lwcb.

The 2022 Silent Auction will be a hybrid model. The Silent Auction will be held virtually through the online 32Auction.com app. Auction items should still be brought to the conference for viewing, but bids will be taken online through the app.

WI Land+Water Conservation Awards

A virtual silent auction at an in-person conference allows our bids to be higher and reach audiences outside of the typical membership and hopefully increase the amount of money raised for all our Youth Education programs.

Members elected at the 2022 conference will begin their terms in January 2023. Nominees will be given the opportunity to address the membership at our upcoming conference. If your area wishes to nominate someone, please submit their name and a one-page biography or resume by January 14, 2022.

There is still time to consider nominating a conservation champion who has gone above and beyond!

The nomination process is simple, so please consider taking a few minutes to recognize someone who has demonstrated leadership and commitment to help conserve Wisconsin’s natural resources.

Award categories include: • Outstanding Conservation Employee (three categories) • Outstanding Supervisor • Conservation Steward • Special Recognition/Friend of Conservation • Brad Matson Outstanding Youth Educator Award • Conservation Farm Family of the Year

Silent Auction documents can be found at wisconsinlandwater.org/ conservation/annual-conference or contact Megan Steckelberg at megan. steckelberg@co.adams.wi.us

Nominations are due by Dec. 21, 2021. Learn more at wisconsinlandwater. org/conservation/awards

65th Annual Poster & Speaking Contest

LEARN the latest conservation practices and programs.

NETWORK with your colleagues from across the state.

CONNECT with other passion-

ate conservation professionals.

With COVID continuing to impact schools statewide, the Youth Education Committee is offering up an in-person or virtual format for local and area contests. This allows more flexibility for counties and students to engage in conservation education. Area poster and speaking winner information needs to be to kim@ wisconsinlandwater.org by Friday, February 11, 2022. The 2022 Poster theme is Healthy Soil: Healthy Life.

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“Soils are alive, and once people know that they treat it differently” - Andy Holschbach, Director of Ozaukee County Land & Water Management Department

Seeing is Believing: Showing Soil Health in Ozaukee County Formed in 2016, the Ozaukee County Clean Farm Families (CFF) provides a platform to build farmer-to-farmer connections that allow producers to share ideas, priorities, concerns, and lessons learned about agricultural conservation efforts. For Andy Holschbach, Director of Ozaukee County Land & Water Management Department, soil health is a silver bullet for issues like water quality and sustainable, profitable farming. Many farmers share this idea, including those involved in the Clean Farm Families. Together, the producer-led group and Holshcbach are working to educate others on the principles of soil health. Holshcbach was initially inspired by presentation from the Horse Creek Farmer-Led Watershed Council. After this, he reached out Jim Melichar, a third-generation dairy farmer in Port Washington. In 2016, the Clean Farm Families was officially formed and awarded a $40,000 Producer-Led Watershed Protection Grant from the Department of Agriculture Trade and 6

Consumer Protection. Within the first year, the group conducted multiple workshops, held 20 outreach events, and contacted 400 people. Although more farmers are embracing healthy soil practices, such as no-till, interseeding, and cover crops, there is one barrier that remains for many farmers—fear. “The fact is that most farmers have only 30-40 times in their lifetime to plant a crop,” said Holschbach. “Many farmers are hesitant to take such a risk when the stakes are so high.” But the farmers involved with the Clean Farm Families understand that fear, and are prepared to help others. Farmers trust other farmers, and seeing their practices in action can have a significant impact. CFF Board Member Mike Paulus has

been farming the same land for five generations and learned from his father and grandfather that being a good farmer meant taking care of the soil. Although Paulus joking says he wasn’t a huge fan of school, he’s still learning about land he’s worked for forty years from experts like Ray Archuleta and Gabe Brown. Paulus says it’s important to be patient and keep an open mind. “Archuleta said that the ground would get darker, and I definitely see our ground getting darker.” Paulus says that what you’re looking for is the texture of the soil—a cottage cheese look, but brown. “It’s happening on my farm. I’m proving to myself and others that it can work.” Fellow board member and Paulus’ neighbor, Matt Winker also recognizes that adopting these practices is a


learning process. Sharing his journey with others is one of the most rewarding aspects of working with other producers. “To me, it’s about getting people down the right path right away.” Most of Winker’s farm is visible from the road, which means other farmers are watching what he does, even when things don’t go exactly as planned. But that doesn’t stop him from experimenting to find which practices work best. According to Holschbach, one of Winker’s neighbors mentioned that he was indeed watching Winker and has since started to put in cover crops and expressed interested in trying out interseeding to improve forage for his cattle. Holschbach estimates that there are around half a dozen produc-

ers each year who choose to try some of these conservation practices. Other farmers aren’t the only ones watching the work of the Clean Farm Families. Earlier this year, they worked with NRCS to hold demonstration for the Ozaukee County Board using a rainfall simulator to show the difference in water infiltration rates in healthy soils. Soils that are conventionally tilled can only absorb around a quarter inch of rainfall, resulting in increased runoff. Following the demonstration, the County Board eagerly approved the purchase of a tractor to pull the county-owned interseeder. The tractor and seeder, along with a driver, can be rented for $14 per acre. In addition to helping others see benefits of these practices, they are also working to change the conversa-

CFF Board: (Front Row From Left To Right) Mike Paulus of Paulus Dairy Farm, Joe Roden of Roden Farms, Jim Melichar of Melichar Broad Acres, Bob Roden of Roden Echo Valley, LLC. (Back Row From Left To Right), Brian Vorpagel, Marvin Kolbach of Kolbach Farms LLC, Ken Falk of Farmers’ Implement, Neal Maciejewski, Matt Winker of Redline Dairy Farm, LLC, Dave Brunnquell of Century Acres.

tion around soil health economics. Although many farmers often talk in terms of yield, Holschbach, Paulus, and Winker all agree that it’s important to think about profitability. With fertilizer and fuel prices on the rise, these practices can greatly benefit farmers. A study by the Soil Health Institute showed that using no-till and cover crops can increase profits by roughly $40-$50 per acre. “The best thing that has ever happened to our department is these producer-led groups,” said Holschbach. “Our relationship with the farmers has really changed.” The next event hosted by CFF will be a Winter Workshop led by Gabe Brown. The event will take place Thursday, February 10 from 10am-2:30pm at the Ozaukee County Fairgrounds.

Holshbach and Winker (below) note the numerous worm holes in the soil from his covered field (above).

Winker demonstrates water infiltration for the Ozaukee County Board.

Paulus compares soil from a conventionally tilled field (left) from his own (right).

The interseeder can go in between the corn rows while they are growing to plant fall cover crops.

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Youth Education 2022 Updates

The Youth Education Committee is working to connect students with educational opportunities as we continue to navigate Covid restrictions.

Wisconsin Envirothon April 22, 2022 The next Wisconsin Envirothon is scheduled for April 22, 2022 at Lions Camp in Rosholt, WI. This year, we plan to hold the Current Issue Team Presentations virtually in the days prior to the in-person Envirothon event. The in-person station competition will take place outside and will allow students to experience the hands-on learning for each station.

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT WI ENVIROTHON?

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This hybrid approach will remove the need for overnight lodging, keep the event outdoors, and allow us to host more students and teams. Registration will open in late January or early February.

If you’re wondering how to start a team, how to volunteer, or how to become a sponosor, contact kim@wisconsinlandwater.org


2022 Current Issue for Team Presentations:

Connect at Conservation Camps

WASTE TO RESOURCES

Students will learn the concepts of different waste streams and the impacts of waste generation and disposal on natural resources and society. Students will also learn effective ways to manage waste regeneratively; as well as the social, economic, and political impacts of turning waste products and degraded lands into resources.

BECOME AN ENVIROTHON SPONSOR The Wisconsin Envirothon relies on the generous volunteer and financial support from County Land and Water Conservation Departments, dedicated public agencies such as the WI Department of Public Instruction, enthusiastic schools and many local and national businesses. To learn more about our current sponsors and giving opportunities, visit our Envirothon Sponsors page online.

Find us on Facebook: WILandWaterYouthEd

Upham Woods Middle School Conservation Camp

Discovery Center High School Conservation Camp

June 15-18, 2022

June 20-23, 2022

The YE Committee and WI Land+Water will be partnering with Upham Woods to host the middle school camp. Our goal is to recruit at least 80 middle school students to attend our new conservation camp and develop programs that are fun, educational and engaging so students will return and come away with a mind toward conservation.

We are in the early planning stages for the 2022 High School conservation camp in Manitowish Waters at the Discovery Center. More details will be posted on our website soon.

The middle school camp has been a feeder program into our high school camp and we want to continue to reach as many students as we can at a young age. By having a camp centrally located more students across the state will have the opportunity to attend. We are in the early planning stages and more details will be posted on our website soon. 9


TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES You will receive a confirmation email upon successfully registering. If you do not receive a confirmation or have any questions, please contact Penny@wisconsinlandwater.org

NR 151: A BACKGROUND, HISTORY, & INTENT (ABRIDGED) Thursday, January 6 (10:00 – 11:00 a.m.) Online Register by Tuesday, January 4 at https://conta.cc/3GaFvZY Do you know the history, background, and intent of the standards in Administrative Code NR 151, Wisconsin’s runoff management rule? Chances are, even if you have been around for a while, or are tasked with interpreting or enforcing the rule, you still have some questions. With the passage of time, and the recruitment of many new conservation practitioners, it’s time we remind ourselves collectively how we arrived where we are today. Join us in a one-hour online session, and the first in a series of webinars to re-calibrate our NR 151 lenses.

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT PERMEABLE PAVEMENT? Tuesday, January 18 (9:00 - 10:00 a.m.) Online Register by Friday, January 14, at https://conta.cc/3dlmRCq The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has been evaluating the water quality and quantity benefits of permeable pavements at a site in Madison, Wisconsin since 2014. USGS monitoring efforts have provided valuable insights regarding how permeable pavements perform as a storm water management practice. This information has been used to develop and update Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) permeable pavement technical standard 1008. This webinar will provide a summary of the USGS permeable pavement monitoring results and how this information has been incorporated in DNR permeable pavement technical standard 1008. One Professional Development Hour (PDH) will be offered.

SnapPlus VERSION 3 Wednesday, January 19 – 10:00-11:30 a.m. Online Register by Friday, January 14, at https://conta.cc/3dZXTc6 Join us for a sneak peak of what SnapPlus Version 3 is going to look like. The SnapPlus developers will be walking us through some of the new and updated features. After the presentation there will be time for questions and feedback. If participants are interested they will be able to sign up to try out some of the new features.

Let’s tell your story! The work you do is important! Provide a short overview and a few photos of a project. Our team will reach out to help develop a story we can share with our partners across the state.

SUMBIT NOW

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Kewaunee County receives $27K grant for well testing Funded by the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office for Coastal Management under the Coastal Zone Management Act, Grant # AD219129-022.23”

A priority in Kewaunee County is to protect groundwater, in particular where karst geology and groundwater can be directly linked to activities on the land’s surface. Annual well testing is one way educate landowners and to ensure access to clean drinking water.

Annual well testing programs not only assist the county in determining the percentage of unsafe wells or priority areas, but they also provide landowners with the information and resources regarding their own well water quality. Kewaunee County has offered voluntary testing since 2004, but increased prices have deterred people from testing.

areas of the county underlain by Silurian Dolomite bedrock, characterized by fractures and direct conduits to the groundwater aquifer, which nearly 70% of the county’s citizens rely on for drinking water. Continuing annual well testing is essential to determining if any progress has been made since implementing the new Silurian standard.

In 2018, the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources developed a targeted performance standard to address groundwater quality concerns in

With the funds from the WI Coastal Management Program, Kewaunee County LWCD tested 600 wells. They targeted wells that were less than

20 feet to bedrock and wells that had never been tested. Their office will determine percent contamination rates classified by depth to bedrock in three categories: 0-5’, 5-20’ and over 20,’ similar to a previous study funded by DNR. Gov. Tony Evers presented the check to Kewaunee County on “Imagine a Day Without Water,” a day dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of clean water access.

SOC process encourages connections

The Standards Oversight Council (SOC) process brings together high-quality technical teams and encourages public comments in updating existing technical standards and creating new standards.

The SOC process encourages connections among those with expertise who in turn examine existing research, consider new technologies, propose criteria, and consider input from expert and public review. As a result, the technical standard users, including those in both the private and public sectors, will benefit from better and more up-to-date technical standards, and a more accessible, effective and accountable process for their development and maintenance. We currently have four active SOC teams, for the following standards: NRCS 328 Conservation Crop Rotation - Team meetings recently started to update this standard based upon current cropping systems, trends, and conservation benefits. NRCS 380 Windbreak-Shelterbelt Establishment and Renovation A new project! We recently completed accepting applications for team members and plan to start meeting regularly in early 2022.

WDNR 1011 High Performance Dry Storm Water Basins This team is connecting with researchers to identify criteria and recommendations for the design, installation, and maintenance of dry basins for enhanced pollutant removal. WDNR 1072 Horizontal Directional Drilling – Work is winding down as this team addresses expert review comments and prepares for the upcoming public review of the draft expected in early 2022.

We also expect public review soon on several technical standards being updated through a Modified Process.

We’re always looking for better ways to connect with you. If you’d like to receive news about public comment periods, new publications, and training related to standards, please sign up for our SOC urban or agricultural email lists.

Subscribe Now

COMING SOON Keep an eye out for our upcoming new and improved website!

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Words for the New Year We’re excited to have Curt Meine, author of the biography Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work, join us for a session at the conference. As we look forward to the new year, let’s reflect on Leopold’s words about taking in this snowy season in Sand County Almanac’s opening, January Thaw. “The months of the year, from January to June, are a geometric progression in the abundance of distractions. In January, one may follow a skunk track, or search for bands on the chickadees, or see what young pines the deer have browsed, or what muskrat houses the mink have dug, with only an occasional and mild digression into other doings. January observations can be almost as simple and peaceful as snow; and almost as continuous as cold. There is time not only to see who has done what, but to speculate why.”

Happy Holidays from WI Land+Water! One of our favorite things to do during the chilly winter weather is enjoy our favorite foods, so we wanted to share some of our favorite recipes with you. We hope y’all enjoy them as much as we do!

APPETIZERS

Chris says this savory vegetarian dish is one that you’ll definitely want to make again.

Sausage Balls This easy three ingredient recipe is Kristin’s favorite morning snack.

DRINKS & DESSERTS

SIDES Roasted Roots with Turmeric-Tahini Sauce Kate says this amazing sauce pairs perfectly with any root vegetable.

MAINS Dry-Brined Turkey with Roasted Onions

THE NOTE

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Nut Roast en Croûte

Christina says using the great maple syrup from Sauk County Education Coordinator, Justine Bula’s family farm made this recipe extra special.

Mulled Wine

Penny recommends a warm winter classic for a cozy evening.

RumChata Pudding Shots Kim and her family like to try out different pudding shots, and this one is delicious!

Nantucket Cranberry Pie Though not the exact recipe, Matt’s family loves making this holiday dessert. It is delicious- and, making it supports our state’s biggest fruit export!

wisconsinlandwater.org 131 W. Wilson St. #601 Madison, WI 53703 (608)441-2677 F: (608)441-2676