Rock River Recovery - October Newsletter


Monthly TMDL Implementation Update



“I am so glad I live in a world with Octobers.” - L.M. Montgomery


We're looking for your feedback on the quarterly forums.  Please take a moment to complete our SURVEY


"We swim in the river of chance and coincidence.  Cling to the happy accidents, and let the rest float by" - David Wroblesky



Oct 5, 6, 11:  Farm Business Grant Workshops

Oct 13: Cover Crop Field Day

Oct 13:  Yahara Lakes 101 - Fish of the Yahara

Oct 18:  Farmers for Lake Country - Farm Field Day

Oct 22:  Confluence Citizen Monitoring Conference

Oct 27- Farm Succession Planning Webinar

Nov 2-4:  National Farm Cooperative Conference

Nov 9: Green County Cover Crop Field Day

Nov 10:  Yahara Lakes 101 - Water Quality Monitoring

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Rock River Recovery


What is a TMDL?

Impaired Waters

Water Quality Trading

Adaptive Management

Phosphorus Rule



Project Manager 

Ag Nonpoint





Newsletter Archive

Newsletter Archive

Gov Delivery
Compost Spreading
Lessons from our Farmers: Spreading composted solid manure reduces the volume, improves nutrient availability for plants, builds soil health, and helps protect water quality.


Farmers Protecting Lakes

Innovative farmers throughout our state are exploring a number of ways to build soil health, reduce runoff and protect water quality through local Farmer-Led Initiatives.  The farmers of Yahara Pride Farms held a great field day in August to demonstrate how the practices they have been developing and perfecting have reduced Phosphorus runoff to the Yahara River by over 14,800 lbs in 2015.  The primary areas of their focus are:

  • Cover crops
  • Manure Injection
  • Strip Tillage

In addition, they are working with numerous partners from the Clean Lakes Alliance, Madison Met. (Yahara WINS), industry, universities, and government to lead local agricultural research efforts exploring the advantages of manure composting (photo above) and expanding the farm certification program to cover the entire Yahara Watershed.

Examples of other Farmer Led Initiatives in the state are available from the DATCP Producer-Led Watershed Grant Program.  Specifically within the Rock River Recovery, we also have the Oconomowoc Farmers for Lake County initiative and the Dodge County NPS Producer Task-Force.  Both are working to support innovative agricultural solutions to build soil health, protect water quality, and support their farm businesses.

Streambed Sediment

Streambed Sediment and Water Quality

As DNR Fisheries Biologist Mike Sorge measures phosphorus laden sediment trapped in Dorn Creek, Dane County staff are working to explore how phosphorus trapped in streambeds may be hindering efforts to improve water quality in Madison lakes.  Numerous partners from all across the Yahara Watershed, wastewater treatment facilities, municipalities, farmers, and partner organizations, are diligently working together to reduce the runoff and discharge of sediment and phosphorus to our lakes.  Is this the only thing we can do?  Are there reasons we might not see the improvements we would hope for? 

Collaborative efforts from numerous partners including Dane County, UW Center for Limnology, Clean Lakes Alliance and DNR indicate nutrient rich sediment in streams may continue to be a threat....  Read more 

Sector Team Updates


Manure Injection


Ag Sector Team

The Ag/NPS Sector Team will be meeting Wednesday October 19, at UW Extension Jefferson.  A web conference option will be available for participants who cannot attend in person.

Wisconsin DNR Looks To Expand CAFO Permit Staff

From WPR - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wants to move four full-time staff to regulating concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs.

In their 2017-19 biennial budget request, the DNR proposes increasing staff dedicated to the CAFO program from 17 to 21 by reallocating more


EVAAL Training Webinar

Training materials from the July 2016 EVAAL Hands-On Training Workshop are now available on the Wisconsin DNR's Water Quality Modeling Tools page:

The new additions include the agenda from the training workshop, slides, recording of the workshop and recorded solutions to the hands-on exercises.


DNR Explores Managed Grazing On State Prairies

The Department of Natural Resources is conducting a trial program of managed grazing to support native prairies and grasslands.  Early results are promising - for both the cattle and prairie!  For more information regarding managed grazing in Wisconsin, visit and search keyword "grazing."


Farmland Preservation

DATCP has recently updated and released a new tutorial/webinar on the Farmland Preservation Program, available online HERE.


Wisconsin Land & Water 2015 Report

The 2015 Land and Water Conservation Annual Report will be available from DATCP in October. In addition to sharing several stories from around the state, this year’s report provides information about conservation funding in Wisconsin, progress toward nutrient management planning, and information about tools used to help prioritize and track conservation work.


Farmer/Producer/Ag Business Grants

Are you looking for ways to develop your innovative agricultural business? Check out these workshops designed to help you identify whether grants or other financial options might be right for you.



Yahara Lakes 101 - Fish of the Yahara

Join the Clean Lakes Alliance and DNR's own David Rowe to learn about the fish and aquatic ecosystems in the Yahara River and Madison lakes.

When: Thursday Oct 13, 8-9 a.m.

Where: The Edgewater Hotel, 1001 Wisconsin Pl,   
Madison, WI 53703 + Google Map


Rock River Confluence - A Conference for Volunteer Stream and Lake Monitors

The Rock River Coalition will be hosting the 2016 Biennial Conference for Volunteer Monitors.Topics will include: Horicon Marsh — The Headwaters of the Rock River; DNR biological assessments; Tips for identifying macro-invertebrates; How to Identify and Monitor Aquatic Invasive Species; Where Does the Data Go? Using the DNR Surface Water Data Viewer….and more….

When: Oct 22 - 7:45 Early Morning Bird Walk and 9:15am Conference Registration

Where: DNR Horicon Marsh Education and Visitors Center.  

 Questions? Contact Nancy Sheehan



E&O Sector Team

The E&O Sector Team met in August, meeting minutes are available here.  We reviewed Quarterly Networking Forums from the past two years and decided we needed to revisit the format, content, etc.  Joe Van Rossum has prepared a survey (below) to solicit additional feedback.  As the previous stormwater event was not well attended, and there are already some large events in October/November, the group decided to postpone planning of the October Quarterly Forum.


Your Opinion Counts

The Education & Outreach team has been organizing quarterly networking forums for the past two years. These forums are intended to;

  • encourage feedback from basin partners,
  • share TMDL progress updates from the DNR,
  • provide learning opportunties,
  • and to facilitate networking among stakeholders from across the basin.

The attendance at these events has been declining below what was anticipated. We have prepared the following SURVEY to solicit feedback on the forums and better understand the needs of stakeholders.  The results to guide future outreach efforts.

Please feel free to also provide feedback via email.  Thank you for taking the time to help improve this program,

Joe Van Rossum (UWEX) and Mark Riedel (DNR).

Storm Pond


APWA Annual Conference

The 2016 American Public Works Association Wisconsin chapter fall conference will be held November 2-4, 2016 in Janesville, WI. The conference is being hosted by the City of Janesville Public Works Department and Janesville's Past Wisconsin APWA Presidents.



Salt Reduction Grants

In one year, the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District’s Nine Springs Wastewater Treatment plant receives 80 million pounds of salt from dissolved sodium chloride.  It could cost from $300-million to $2.3-billion to remove the required amount of chloride to protect water quality.  To reduce these costs, MMSD offers an incentive program to reduce salt use in water softeners - this is an excellent way for residents to "do their part" to help restore and protect our waters.


Multi-Discharger Variance (MDV)

The final MDV package was mailed to the EPA on March 30, 2016. Upon EPA approval, the multi-discharge variance package will become an additional phosphorus compliance option for WPDES permit holders facing restrictive phosphorus limitations.  As the department works with EPA towards approval of the multi-discharger variance package, additional status updates will be provided.


December 10 - DNR River Planning Grants: Qualified river management organizations and qualified nonprofit conservation organizations are eligible to apply. Grants are intended to provide assistance in the formation of river management organizations and provide support and guidance to local organizations that are interested in helping to manage and protect rivers, particularly where resources and organization capabilities may be limited.  Maximum amount of grant funding is 75 percent of the total project costs, not to exceed $10,000.