Rock River Recovery Monthly Newsletter - May 2016


Monthly TMDL Implementation Update



"The world's favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May." - Edwin Way Teale


A river, though, has so many things to say that it is hard to know what it says to each of us. — (Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It)

Do fake plants die if you don't pretend to water them? - Mitch Hedberg


May 3:  Clean Lakes Alliance - Save Our Lakes Breakfast

May 5,6:  WinSLAMM Training Course

May 7:  Madison Compost Bin and Rain Barrel Sale

May 12:  Yahara Lakes 101 - Water Conservation

Mat 12:  WI Wastewater Operator's Association - Southern Region Meeting

May15-19, 2016:  Testing the Waters - Paddle and Probe

June 16:  Healthy Lakes Conference, Oconomowoc

July 16: Oconomowoc River Paddling & Monarchs 

July 30:  Isthmus Paddle and Portage



BEACH Conditions

Clean Lakes Alliance

Clean Water Association

DATCP Land and Water Conservation

Delavan Lake Improvement Association

Kettle Moraine Land Trust

Lake Sinnissippi Improvement District


Midwest Cover Crops Council

Partnership for Ag Resource Management

Rock Koshkonong Lake District

Rock Lake Improvement Association

Rock River Coalition

Rock River Stormwater Group

Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission

Tall Pines Conservancy

UW Discovery Farms

UW Extension

UW Water Sustainability and Climate - Yahara

Watershed Planning

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation

Wisconsin Farmers Union

Wisconsin Land & Water

Yahara Pride Farms

Yahara WINS

Contact us to have your organization listed here.

DNR Logo


Rock River Recovery


Impaired Waters

Water Quality Trading

Adaptive Management

Phosphorus Rule



Project Manager 

Ag Nonpoint





Newsletter Archive

Newsletter Archive

Gov Delivery
Testing the Waters

Testing the Waters:  A Paddle & Probe Adventure

!!!!  Don't Miss It  !!!!

You (Yes, YOU) are cordially invited to participate in this exciting exploration of the Rock River between Mayville and Beloit! We’ll be paddling the Rock River Water Trail, checking water quality, and hosting community educational events and school programs. 

Be sure to check out our REAL-TIME water monitoring website for more information.  During the event, you can track the progress of our paddlers, view real-time water quality data, and learn more about all of the great events and opportunities on our AMAZING ROCK RIVER!

Check out The Website or The Brochure for more information.  Better yet, Register HERE and paddle along!  We'd love to see you there!

Rock River Coalition

Nonpoint Implementation

Our counties held a working meeting on April 22 at UW Extension in Jefferson and made excellent progress addressing TMDL Load Allocations from Agricultural sources (MINUTES).  County staff have been working diligently over the past year to help develop the conservation practices template, pull together information on conservation practices, and develop estimates of soil and P reductions to include in the Implementation Plan.  Other tasks included;

  • Identifying Farmer/Producer Leaders who may be interested in participating in local Farmer-Led Watershed groups,
  • Laying framework and developing plans for Ag/NPS Resource Field Day, and
  • Updating Sector Team goals and preparing for a full Ag Sector Team meeting.

Counties will continue to hold quarterly working meetings, with the next being in July.  We want to thank our County Partners for your diligent efforts and progress you've made.  Your work with empowering and engaging our Farmer/Producer communities is vital to our nonpoint strategy of Local Control, Soil Health, and Water Quality.

Sector Team Updates


Manure Injection


No Till Farmer

No-Till Farmer provides a wealth of online and printed resources, workshops and educational events, and networking opportunities for agricultural producers.  "The Pluses and Minuses of Today's Most Popular Cover Crops" is a useful reference for learning about the some of the most commonly used cover crops.


No Soil Too Wet or Cold for No-Till

From Corn+Soybean Digest, a great article on no-till in our colder Wisconsin climates - with an emphasis on field workability.


Women Could be key to curbing water pollution

Women are either the primary or supporting operators on a quarter of Minnesota farms, and they're especially active in running small farms. 

A team of agricultural scientists from Minnesota think they can engender change by recruiting rural women to do the persuading. They've launched an effort, called the Plum Creek Initiative, to pay women to teach their neighbors about water quality problems, show them how they can reduce pollution on their own farms, test local bodies of water for pollution and even help farmers fill out paperwork to get government grants. Initially, Plum Creek plans to hire 27 women Farmers in one county.


Happy Cows

Did you know that many of the dairies, producers, and farms in the Rock River Basin participate in the national FARM certification program - Farmers Assuring Responsible Management?  FARM is a three part animal health and wellness operations and certification program designed to provide for optimal health and well-being of diary cows.  These are;

  1. Comfortable Bedding
  2. Quality Feed
  3. Veterinary Care

Participants are registered and independently certified on an annual basis to be operating consistent with the latest standards in farm animal care, health and well being.

Why?  Well, most importantly, Farmers simply care about their cows and take their well being very seriously.  Maintaining a healthy herd is also far more cost effective.  Healthy cows produce the highest quality and greater volume of milk, are healthier, and live longer.  We have a lot of happy cows in Wisconsin!



Water Quality Grants

MADISON -- Forty-one projects to restore wetland and waterfront habitat, control aquatic invasive species and implement lake and river management plans are receiving nearly $2.4 in fiscal 2016 surface water grants from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Contact(s): Shelly Thomsen, DNR lakes and rivers team leader, 608-266-0502; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, 608-770-8084


NRCS to Help Farmers Measure Conservation Impacts on Water Quality

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the availability of $2 million to help farmers install edge-of-field stations that monitor water quality as it leaves their fields, providing data to evaluate the success of various conservation efforts. The funding is available to farmers located across key watersheds in nine states and is part of USDA’s ongoing commitment to measure the effectiveness of a wide range of conservation initiatives....FULL STORY


10,500 bluegills stocked in Beaver Dam Lake

The air temperature was brisk Tuesday, but the water temperature in Beaver Dam Lake was just right at 56 degrees.

That nearly matched the water temperature in a tanker truck that delivered 10,500 bluegills for stocking in Beaver Dam Lake. Beaver Dam Lake Improvement Association was responsible for the bluegills being stocked, as well as 24,000 stocked last fall, according to BDLIA president Bill Boettge.  FULL STORY....



Sector Team

The Sector Team has been meeting regularly to update/draft the revised version of the Education and Outreach plan.  Once finalized, this document will be incorporated into the final Rock River Recovery TMDL Implementation Plan.  DNR staff are currently finalizing the DNR portions of the plan, with anticipated completion of the draft in May.

At our April 5 meeting, team members worked on planning the next two quarterly networking forums, July and October.  The July topic will focus on the Rock River Riverfront and Economic Development.  Andy and Joe are taking the lead on identifying speakers, the agenda and venue. 

The October topic will focus on MS4/Stormwater topics.  Team members will be reaching out to our stormwater community partners over the next couple of months to develop the plans. 


DNR Wetland Restoration Grants

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has created a new grant program to fund wetland restoration, enhancement and preservation projects.

The program is open to Wisconsin landowners, nonprofit conservation organizations, Wisconsin tribes and any entity registered with the Department of Financial Institutions.


March 2016 Networking Forum - Local Implementation for Water Quality Restoration

We want to thank everyone who participated in our 2016 Quarterly Networking Forum in Jefferson.  A copy of the agenda and speaker topics is available here.  As promised, all presentations have been posted to the Rock River TMDL website.


Oconomowoc Watershed Protection Project

Join the fun for

the 2nd Annual Watershed Paddle and Protect the Monarchs Workshop.  We are holding the second annual Watershed Paddle on Saturday, July 16th  and a “Protect the Monarchs” Workshop in conjunction with the event. We will paddle around Fowler Lake and meet at the Boat Launch. Please see the attached flyer and distribute to those who may be interested in participating.

Contact:  Mary Moresco (262)569-2192

Storm Pond


Rain Barrels & Compost Bins!

Spring is right around the corner and so is the annual City of Madison Compost Bin and Rain Barrel Sale - Saturday, May 7th. Rain barrels are a great way to conserve water and reduce stormwater runoff to our precious lakes and rivers! Click here for more information on the benefits of harvesting rain water.



Salt Reduction

Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) is announcing two opportunities for facilities interested in reducing their salt use:

  1. Rebates are available for projects that reduce salt to the sewer, such as optimizing a water softener. Rebates are first-come, first-serve in 2016 on MMSD’s chloride reduction website under “Contacts and Resources.”
  2. Salt Wise Soft Water Training - Learn how your organization can save money and time by reducing its salt use at a training event on Thursday, May 5 from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm at the Dane County Land and Water Resources Department office in Madison.   The training, hosted by MMSD, is intended for professionals involved in installing and/or maintaining water softeners at their facilities in MMSD’s service areaThe training is free but space is limited, so RSVP to reserve a spot.


Wisconsin Wastewater Operator's Meeting - Southern District

The Regional Operators’ Meeting of the WWOA – Southern District is May 12.  The meeting will be located at Turner Hall, Watertown, WI.  Click HERE for the agenda.


Multi-Discharger Variance

The Mutli-Discharger Variance is undergoing review with US EPA and the Department is waiting to hear the results.  Updates will be posted to the MDV website.  At this time, the Department does not have an estimated timeline.


May 1: DNR Knowles Nelson Stewardship Program Urban Rivers Grants 

May 10:  USDA Commits $20 Million to Innovative Conservation Projects

May 10:  Regional Conservation Partnership Program Grants

May 16:  DNR Wetland Restoration Grants 


Producer Led Watershed Grant Results

Out of the 15 received Producer Led Watershed Protection Grant proposals, DATCP has awarded 14 of the projects for a total of $242,550 to perform conservation activities in their watersheds. DATCP was impressed with the level of commitment from the farmers and partners in the projects and are excited to see what they accomplish. A press release announcing awards is scheduled to go out in the next week or so.