Rock River Recovery - July Newsletter


Monthly TMDL Implementation Update



"The Summer looks out from her brazen tower, through the flashing bars of July." - Francis Thompson


The River Rat

"And you really live by the river? What a jolly life!" "By it and with it and on it and in it," said the Rat. "It's brother and sister to me, and aunts, and company, and food and drink, and (naturally) washing. It's my world, and I don't want any other. What it hasn't got is not worth having, and what it doesn't know is not worth knowing. Lord! the times we've had together!" - Kenneth Grahame, Wind in the Willows


July 6:  Ag in the Classroom Free Training

July 12:  In Her Boots: Grass-Fed Beef & Dairy in a Diversified System

July 13, 14:  County Conservationists Meeting

July 18-20:  Tractor and Farm Safety Camp

July 22:  Clean Lakes Alliance Fund Raiser - TBD

July 22:  Oconomowoc 3rd Annual River Paddle

July 29:  Clean Lakes Alliance Shoreline Swim

July 29:  Clean Lakes Alliance Loop-the-Lake Bike Ride

July 29:  Back to the Beach Sand Castle Building Contest

July 30 - Aug 2:  Soil and Water Conservation Society Annual Conference

Aug 16: Managing Nitrogen for Maximum Returns

Aug 19:  Lake Country Ride-to-the-Barns Bicycle Tour

Aug 22, 23:  North American Manure Expo

Aug 24:  Fond du Lac County Soil Health Field Day

Nov 30:  NASECA Stormwater & Construction Training

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Horicon Marsh
Horicon Marsh, one of the largest marshlands in the world, is an example of a very large effort to restore a complex flowage wetland.


DNR Wetland Mitigation Program Funding Wetland Restoration

Wetland Plant

The Wisconsin Wetland Conservation Trust (WWCT) is a wetland mitigation in-lieu fee (ILF) program administered by the Wisconsin DNR.   Customers who impact wetlands may be required to buy wetland mitigation credits from the WWCT to offset their impacts.  The WWCT then awards the funds generated from credit sales to applicants to implement wetland restoration projects.  The Program targets projects that restore, enhance, and preserve wetland resources throughout Wisconsin, including the Rock River basin.   

The WWCT anticipates annually issuing an RFP soliciting potential projects, but exact timing and in what watersheds will depend on current funding available.  For more information, please see the WWCT website or contact Josh Brown, ILF Program Coordinator, at 608-266-1902 or   .

Sector Team Updates


Manure Injection


Sector Team Meeting

The next Ag Sector Team will be meeting July 18, from 9-12, at the UW Extension Office in January.  While this meeting is open to the public, it is a working meeting with focused tasks and limited opportunities for discussion.  Click HERE to view the agenda.

Wisconsin Hosts the 2017 North American Manure Expo: August 22 & 23

If you are interested in the latest equipment and technology for professional manure management, plan to attend the 2017 North American Manure Expo on August 22 and 23, 2017. Wisconsin hosts the Expo this year and it will be held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arlington Agricultural Research Station. Read more HERE.

Late and Prevented Planting Coverage and Replant Provisions for Wisconsin Farmers

This was another difficult planting season for many farmers in the region.  Excessive rainfall caused widespread damage to seeded crops, or prevented planting all together.  Many farmers have been forced to replant entire fields.  This publication from UW Extension provides information for farmers and explains alternatives.

Cover Crop Success Story

Fond du Lac County:  Frost Seeding Clover? It Works!

Neil Drummy, a Wisconsin row crop farmer, owns and operates land in Dodge, Fond du Lac and Columbia Counties. Neil is consciously a good steward of the land in the conservation decisions he makes, while also looking for ways to increase yields without causing undo harm to the land he operates. With the help of NRCS, Neil frost seeded 24 acres of crimson clover into existing wheat.  Read the full article here.

Demonstration Farm Network Coming to Kewaunee, Door Counties  

The USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture have entered an agreement to launch a new demonstration farm network in Kewaunee and Door counties. The project is being put together in cooperation with Peninsula Pride Farms, which is a farmer-led sustainability group.  Read more...

Animal Agriculture Education Project

The Animal Agriculture Education Project includes multimedia features such as videos and virtual tours of farms and discusses topics including advances in technologies and production systems, measures to protect water quality, and issues involved in on-farm decision-making about manure management.



Sector Team

WDNR staff are finalizing the first draft of the Monitoring Section for the Rock River Recovery Implementation Plan.  Once this is complete, a Monitoring Sector Team meeting will be scheduled to present the draft to our basin partners and provide an opportunity for input and feedback.  If you would like to be part of the Monitoring Sector Team, please contact Mike Sorge.

Muskie Mike

Large River Sites

WDNR will be conducting the Large River Index of Biotic Integrity Fish sampling on the Rock River at 15 Locations.  We will be sampling from 15 locations on the Rock River from Beloit to Horicon.  We will also be looking at one site each on the Crawfish River, Bark River, and the Yahara River. 

Large River Macroinvertebrate samples will also be collected at four locations on the Rock River.  These samplers will be deployed in July and collected six weeks later in August.  Freshwater mussel surveys will be conducted at four locations on the Rock River as well.  This will be a comprehensive look at the biological communities at these four locations surveying the fish, macroinvertebrates, and mussels.



Webpage (beta)

The main Rock River Recovery webpage serves as the entry point to the more detailed "dynamic web pages" that we will use to provide regular updates and reporting on progress in TMDL Implementation.

While we have already completed numerous updates to the "dynamic web pages", more work will continue through the year as we pull in information, finalize the Implementation Plan, and gather information from project partners throughout our Rock River Basin community.  Some highlights of the new dynamic pages include;

In development of the new  "dynamic web pages" portal a great deal of programming work was required to build linkages across databases, web servers, and GIS systems.  While there are still a few bugs to work through, we felt this "beta" version should be open for public trial.  Please provide any feedback to Mark Riedel.

Storm Pond


Proposed Technical Standard: Evaluation for Stormwater Infiltration - Technical Standard 1002

The proposed “Evaluation for Stormwater Infiltration - Technical Standard 1002” has been updated. The technical standard revises the procedures, updates the submittal requirements, and clarifies methods that can be used to design infiltration systems in compliance with NR 151, Wis. Adm. Code. 

The draft technical standard concerning storm water is now available for review and comment on the Proposed DNR Program Guidance Web page. "Evaluation for Stormwater Infiltration - Technical Standard 1002” is open for comment until July 5, 2017. 

The Department is soliciting comments from the public on this draft technical standard. Once the 21 day notice period is complete, all comments will be considered by the Department. After considering all public comments, revisions may be made to the guidance document and final guidance will be made available to internal and external stakeholders. Comments related to this draft guidance document should be sent to:

New Publication Helps Communities Evaluate Local Codes to Facilitate Green Infrastructure

Green infrastructure can be discouraged or even prohibited by outdated, poorly worded or ambiguous codes and ordinances. Cooperation among county and municipal staff in zoning, land use, urban forestry, stormwater and engineering are key to evaluating barriers to green infrastructure in our communities. A team led by UW-Greenbay Seagrant has developed a workbook that will help communities review, revise and prioritize their local codes and ordinances to promote and advance green infrastructure implementation. Download the entire workbook or one of its main sections below.



Statewide Phosphorus Multi-discharger Variance (MDV)

Updated resources are online to assist communities and permittees exploring the MDV.  While WDNR staff continue to receive numerous general and "hypothetical" inquiries on the MDV, we have also received a number of formal applications for the MDV.


For communities that wish to explore their eligibility, we encourage you to check out the "online eligibility questionnaire" to easily determine if you qualify for the MDV.

Partnering with Counties

During the 2017 County Conservationist's meeting, Andrew Craig, WDNR, will be presenting updates on the MDV and discussing the options for counties exploring if they want to participate in this program.  Andrew will discuss county eligibility, obligations, logistics, program logistics, and other considerations during his presentation.



USDA Announces More than $22 Million in Conservation Innovation

Madison, Wis. – June 8, 2017 The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) today announced that the agency will award more than $22.6 million to drive public and private sector innovation in resource conservation.  The agency is investing in 33 projects nationwide through its competitive Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, which helps develop the tools, technologies, and strategies to support next-generation conservation efforts on working lands and develop market-based solutions to resource challenges. Public and private grantees - including non-governmental organizations, American Indian tribes, academic institutions and local government entities - will leverage the federal investment by at least matching it.