Rock River Recovery - December Newsletter


Monthly TMDL Implementation Update



"Perhaps we were given memory so that we might have roses in December." - James M. Barrie


"May the countryside and the gliding valley streams content me. Lost to fame, let me love river and woodland." — Virgil, Eclogues



Dec 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9:  DATCP Nutrient Management Training

Dec 10: Deadline - WDNR Surface Water Grants

Dec 13:  Yahara Pride Farms Annual Conference

Dec 14:  DATCP Farm Led Watershed Grants Workshop

Dec 14:  Manure Management Webinar

Feb 3 - 5:  Frozen Assets


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Dec 10:  Surface Water Planning Grants

Reminder, Dec. 10th is the application deadline for DNR Lake and River Surface Water Planning Grants.  More information...


Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grants

The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Inc has announced the grant period for Healthy Watershed Consortium is now open and accepting RFP's.  The goal of the Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program is to accelerate protection and enhancement of healthy watersheds.  This doesn’t mean the watershed has to be pristine. It may contain a variety of human land uses, but it should be in relatively good condition.

2017 HWC Request for Proposals

Contact:  Peter Stangel

U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities 

Phone: 404-915-2763


Healthy Watersheds Consortium Website:

Sector Team Updates 

Manure Injection


Ag Sector Team

The Ag Sector Team met October 19th at the DNR Service Center in Fitchburg.  Planning for future meetings was discussed, with particular emphasis on changing focus from planning to efforts to facilitate and document NPS progress.  Jefferson was generally agreed upon as a preferred central location for meetings, and future meetings will broaden audience to include producers, agronomists, and ag industry.  A number of topics were discussed, including;

  • county updates
  • NPS TMDL progress
  • nonpoint tracking, and
  • county roles in Multi-Discharge Variance

Click HERE to view a copy of the meeting minutes.  The next meeting will be scheduled for sometime in early 2017.  Members are asked to please provide suggestions for agenda items, activities, etc.

Producer-Led Watershed Protection Grants Workshop

December 14 - Glacier Resort, Wisconsin Dells

The Producer-Led Watershed Protection Grants Annual Workshop allows for producer-led grant recipients throughout the state to network, share success stories, and learn from each other on what works and what hasn't in their watershed projects. Experts will also discuss how producer-led groups can be most successful regarding research efforts, building partnerships, and exploring new technologies.

All producer-led grant recipients and their collaborators are invited to attend but at least one member from each group is required. Interested partners are also invited to attend.

Click here to register for the workshop.

For more information on the program, visit:

Any questions, please contact Rachel Rushman.

Yahara Pride Farms - Annual Farm Conference

The Yahara Pride Farms annual conference is December 13.  View the detailed agenda here and register online here or by calling 715.983.5668.

Newsletter: Fall 2016 (.pdf)

Manure Management Webinar

The Partnership for Ag Resource Management (PARM) is offering the following webinar on Wednesday Dec 14th at 10 a.m.;

"Manure: Managing This Valuable Asset with Best Practices and Policy for Water Quality in Mind"

Topics will include; 

  • phosphorus content in different manure types,
  • manure sampling,
  • manure management technology.

Better Soils Through No-Till

Productive agriculture depends on healthy soil. Soil guarantees that nutrients are made available in sufficient amounts during a plant’s life cycle and it holds water that is then available to plants. It also provides many critical ecosystem functions that are necessary for life.

In this free publication from Penn State University, you’ll learn how you can protect this valuable resource through no-till. The 20-page report provides detailed information on:

  • Why tillage and erosion are harmful to your soil
  • How to determine your soil quality
  • The importance of cover crops
  • How earthworms benefit your soils
  • How to minimize and alleviate compaction in no-till
  • Pros and cons of manure in no-till



Monitoring Team

The draft monitoring section Rock River TMDL implementation plan is being finalized this month.  Following incorporation of edits/comments, we will be conducting a full meeting of the Monitoring Sector Team and providing opportunity for our partners to review and contribute to the plan.  If you would like to participate, please contact Mike Sorge.

Tile Drainage

Tile drainage is a fairly common practice in certain parts of the Rock River Basin.  There is not a great deal of information on water quality from tile drain outlets in the region and how it may influence receiving waters.  Fortunately, Koepke Farms (located in Dodge County) is a cooperating member of the Discovery Farm's research program and does provide some water quality data from tile drains.  DNR staff are working with partners throughout the region to;

We will be sharing ongoing progress in addressing tile drainage and water quality in future newsletters and forums.



    Education & Outreach Team

    DNR is working with UW Extension to coordinate future E&O activities and support roles for 2017.  While we have not yet identified a new Co-Lead from UW Extension, they will continue to play an important role and help guide and implement Rock River Recovery E&O activities. 

    Based upon the survey results and input from the last meetings and quarterly forum, we will waiting to plan the next forum until after the next E&O team meeting.  We will be scheduling the next E&O team meeting in early 2017.

    Website Updates

    Behind the scenes, we are in the process of updating the Rock River Recovery website.  The current site has been functioning as a temporary landing page during the agency-wide realignment process and as formal agency internet policy is standardized.  All original content, including information from  past sector team and outreach meetings will be included in the new website.  The new website will have two main components;

    • Main landing page - this page will be a traditional "static" webpage, provide an introduction the Rock River TMDL and Recovery, and links to dynamic pages,
    • Dynamic pages will be used to share current information, as well as provide links to archived content.  Staff will be able to update the dynamic pages on a regular basis to share news and information in a timely manner.

    Storm Pond


    NEW Permit Requirement:  MS4 Permit Evaluations

    Per US EPA instruction, the DNR will be conducting program evaluations of its MS4 permittees with an evaluation target that may approach 20% annually.  EPA is encouraging DNR to strive for this annual target.  DNR internal guidance was developed over the last year to help facilitate this process. 



    Wastewater Sector Team

    The Wastewater Sector Team conducted numerous meetings across the Rock River basin in 2013-2015 to facilitate roll-out of the TMDL and assist communities with permit compliance and TMDL related questions.  In 2015 and 2016, the Team shifted its focus to drafting permits and assisting communities with new adaptive management and water quality trading projects.  In 2017, the Wastewater Sector Team will offer regional TMDL coordination workshops in areas where communities express an interest to explore partnering with the agricultural community to implement Am and WQT projects.  If you would like to have a workshop in your area, please contact your wastewater engineer, or Amy Garbe - the sector team lead. 

    Multi-Discharger Variance (MDV)

    There are no status updates to report for the 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 tool 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.