Rock River Recovery - March Newsletter


Monthly TMDL Implementation Update



"One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of March thaw, is the Spring." - Aldo Leopold



Mar 2:  Yahara Pride Farms Annual Conference

Mar 7, 8:  Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance Annual Conference

Mar 8, 9:  Raising Dairy Heifers Workshop

Mar 9:  Yahara Lakes 101 - Rock River Recovery

Mar 21:  WWOA - Biosolids Symposium

Mar 23:  Discovery Farms SE WI Farmer Meeting

Mar 29, 30:  Farm Finances for Women in Agriculture

Apr 15:  Nutrient Management Planning Grants Deadline

Apr 29:  Volunteer Stream Monitor Training - Waunakee

May 3:  Clean Lakes Alliance - Save Our Lakes Breakfast

May 6:  Volunteer Stream Monitor Training - Cambridge


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Farmer Workshop
Tony Peirick of the Dodge County Farmer-to-Farmer Initiative speaking with farmers at the on-farm portion of the soil health workshop. Thank you to Condon Farms for hosting.

Dodge County Farmer-Led Soil Health Initiative

Following up on the soil health workshop in February (described below), Dodge County farmers are working together to form a Farmer Led Soil Health initiative.  The purpose of the initiative is for farmers to test and develop agricultural practices that build soil health while preserving or improving yields, profit margins, and protecting water quality.  Interested farmers are participating in a meeting in mid March to kick-off their efforts.  If you are a farmer in Dodge County and would like to participate or learn more, please contact Tony Peirick for more information.

Tony Peirick - Farmer, Watertown


tel:  920-390-0583


Soil Health Workshop

Soil Health Workshop

The Dodge County Nonpoint Source Taskforce hosted three events on February 8th and 9th as part of a countywide effort to improve soil health and improve water quality.

The Healthy Soil-Healthy Water Workshop had about 250 participants, around 100 attended the evening Save Our Lakes meeting, and about 64 farmers participated in the second day Follow-Up at the Farm Shop event.  The Dodge County Daily Citizen prepared a very nice write-up of the event.

The producer panels, as well as keynote speakers Ray Archuleta, Justin Morris, and Jim Harbach, brought practical applications as well as examples of how farmers are improving soil health through no-till and cover crops.  The lunch and breaks were enjoyed by participants and were a networking opportunity for attendees and sponsors.

Sector Team Updates

Manure Injection


February ENews Update: Producer-Led Watershed Protection Grants

The February news update includes a recap of the Producer-Led Workshop, cover crop advice from Dane County UW-Extension and information about Discovery Farm’s new Farmer Network. 

Raising Dairy Heifers Workshop

Market volatility has been and continues to be a common theme in the dairy sector. Raising Quality Dairy Heifers will provide answers to building and implementing effective management strategies in raising heifers. Dairy farmers, custom heifer raisers, veterinarians, nutritionists and anyone with a concern with raising heifers should attend.

Learn and understand current research for creating heifer efficiencies on your farm from well-known dairy professors and researchers.  Topics to include: reproduction, hoof health, culling decisions, overcrowding, and feeding.

Request for Applications due April 15, 2017 for 2018 Nutrient Management Farmer Education Grants

Nutrient Management Farmer Education Grants cover costs for entities to conduct farmer nutrient management training courses that enable farmers to become qualified to write their own nutrient management plans for their farms. Producer-led groups that meet the qualifications in the Request for Applications are also eligible to apply for this funding.

Cover Crops and Nutrient Retention

The recent issue of No-Till Farmer included an article about a new on-farm study to look at the effectiveness of cover crops for retaining nitrogen.  Trey Hill talks about the cover crop test plot Harborview Farms is working on with University of Maryland soil scientist Ray Weil to study the amount of nutrients the cover crops can hold onto and when those nutrients will be released.

Nutrient Losses to Tile Drains

UW Discovery Farms has prepared a new reference comparing nutrient losses to tile drains and surface runoff. Their new tile two-pager compares tile and surface nutrient losses and identifies management strategies to control losses from tile lines. Check out the facts and figures.



Beaver and trout management Meetings

Department of Natural Resources staff will hold public meetings in March to improve understanding of the benefits free-flowing cold-water systems provide trout, create awareness of the positive and negative impacts of beaver, and discuss efforts to achieve balance in beaver management.

DNR staff will provide an overview of the beaver management plan, background on cold water trout management as it relates to beaver management, and beaver control plans by county at each meeting.  The public is encouraged to attend and provide feedback at the meetings. 

Volunteer Stream Monitoring

The Rock River Coalition is hosting two training opportunities for volunteer stream monitoring.  See below for more information;

Apr 29:  Volunteer Stream Monitor Training - Waunakee

May 6:  Volunteer Stream Monitor Training - Cambridge 



Janesville Sustainability Fair

On Saturday, March 11th, your family can dive in and discover the latest about water in the Janesville area! Learn more about regional efforts to understand and improve water quality, with topics covering groundwater, stream monitoring, and much more.  For more information;

Storm Pond


Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance Conference

The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance is holding their 18th annual conference in Green Lake, WI on March 7-8.

Venue:  Heidel House

Conference Agenda

The conference will address numerous topics of interest relating to TMDL Implementation and Stormwater, including trading, adaptive management, and MS4 compliance.  Specific to urban stormwater, topics include;

Urban Stormwater

  • Pervious Pavement
  • Communication Strategies: Using Social Media
  • WDOT Stormwater Management: HWY 441
  • All Eyes of You: Ethical Considerations in Stormwater



Multi-Discharger Variance

WDNR was notified February 6th that USEPA has approved the statewide Multi-Discharger Variance (MDV) for phosphorus.  DNR is in the process of working on a plan for MDV implementation and roll-out. For more information, visit the MDV Website.

The MDV extends the timeline for complying with low-level phosphorus limits. In exchange, point sources commit to step-wise reductions of phosphorus within their effluent as well as helping to address nonpoint sources of phosphorus from farm fields, cities or natural areas to implement projects designed to improve water quality. The MDV is similar to an individual variance. However, multiple point sources can be covered under the MDV, whereas an individual variance only applies to a single facility.

We have a number of educational resources available online to help communities learn about the MDV, including;

Wisconsin Wastewater Operators' Association Biosolids Symposium

The Symposium provides information on current issues related to biosolids and septage management, enabling municipal officials, plant operators, contractors, and consultants to respond proactively to new challenges. The Symposium has a tradition of providing a forum for discussion and information exchange by assembling speakers who are recognized experts in their respective fields.

WWOA 2017 Biosolids Symposium

Steven's Point, WI

Tuesday March 21, 2017

Confererence Brochure & Registration

Online Registration