Rock River Recovery - August Newsletter


Monthly TMDL Implementation Update



"Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun." - Kent Nerburn


“August is dust here. Drought
stuns the road,
but juice gathers in the berries.”  - Robert Hass


Aug 2:  Dodge County Farmer Initiative Cover Crop Workshop 

Aug 7:  NR151 Rule Comment Period Closes

Aug 16: Managing Nitrogen for Maximum Returns

Aug 17:  UW Discovery Farms Field Day

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

Oct 20:  EQIP Sign-Up Deadline

Nov 30:  NASECA Stormwater & Construction Training

Feb 27:  Wisconsin Cover Crops Conference

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Newsletter Archive

Newsletter Archive

Gov Delivery
WI Nutrient Reduction Strategy Report

Wisconsin Nutrient Reduction Strategy 2015-2016 Report Released

Wisconsin’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy is a broad overview of nutrient management activities for both point sources and nonpoint sources in Wisconsin. This strategy documents ongoing activities whether they are implemented by federal, state or local agencies. It identifies areas where further progress is needed.

The Wisconsin Nutrient Reduction Strategy Implementation Progress Report, covering activities in 2015-16 is now final and on the Wisconsin DNR website:

Rock River TMDL WPDES Permits

Rock River WPDES Permits

Wastewater staff are pleased to provide this update on TMDL based wastewater  permits (WPDES) in the Rock River basin.  There are currently 77 individual WPDES permits in the basin.  Of these, approximately 95% have had permits reissued with effluent limits consistent with the TMDL.  Sixty percent of facilities are in the 3rd or 4th year of their permits, meaning they are already in the process of facility planning, optimization, and if elected as an option, pursuing either water quality trading or adaptive management to reduce watershed TSS and Phosphorus loading.  

Sector Team Updates


Manure Injection


Sector Team

The Ag Sector Team met July 18 in Jefferson.  We will be scheduling the next meeting for sometime in early November.  If you would like to be included in this, please contact Dale Gasser, Ag Sector Team lead.  You can view the July meeting agenda and draft minutes, below;

Dodge County Farmer Initiative Cover Crop Workshop

Dodge County Farmers for Healthy Soils and Healthy Waters, along with Dodge County Conservation and UW Extension are excited to announce their 1st Annual Cover Crop Field Day.  Event Information;

Date:  August 2nd, 2017,  10:00am - 2:00pm

Cost:   Free, but pre-registration required for free lunch.

Contact:  Dodge County UW-Extension: 920-386-3790

  • Hear from local farmers using cover crops,
  • Learn how cover crops can benefit your soil and farm,
  • View planting equipment, calibration, and cover crop types.

UW Discovery Farms Soils, Water and Data Field Day

Join UW Discovery Farms and the Rebouts on Thursday, August 17 to:

  • Dive in to the soil biology and physical properties of a soil pit with Soil Scientist Francisco Arriaga
  • Talk Big Data and UAVs (commonly known as drones) with Brian Luck, professor of Biological Systems Engineering at UW-Madsion
  • Check out one of UW Discovery Farms' newest monitoring sites
  • Connect with Practical Farmers of Iowa and hear about their small grains project over a free lunch

Lunch is included. RSVP by August 10 to Savannah Williams at 715.983.5668.

2018 EQIP - Apply by October 20, 2017

Farmers and forest landowners will want to plan ahead and sign up early for USDA conservation funding. Angela Biggs, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist in Wisconsin, announced farmers and forest landowners interested in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) need to apply by October 20, 2017, for funding in 2018. Applications are being taken at all USDA Service Centers in Wisconsin.

Columbia County EQIP Grazing Success Story

Carole and Dave Pine run a sheep grazing operation on their 35-acre farm in south central Wisconsin. With the help of NRCS EQIP, they set up a successful rotational grazing operation that has been beneficial to the health of their animals and their land.  Read more (934 KB pdf)

Building Soil Health

North Dakota State University Extension Service Soil Health program has developed a number of tools to facilitate communicating about the importance of soil health.  One of these is their online Building Soil Health Handbook.

Wisconsin Cover Crops Conference

This conference will be geared toward helping Wisconsin farmers more successfully use cover crops on their farms.
 There will be something for everyone, from farmer’s that have never tried cover crops to veteran cover croppers.  Many of the presenters will be Wisconsin grain and livestock farmers speaking from experience about what has worked and hasn’t worked in their Wisconsin cropping systems.

Holiday Inn,  Steven’s Point
February 27, 2018 9am – 4pm



Sector Team

The draft of the Monitoring Section for the Rock River Recovery Implementation Plan is largely complete and undergoing final agency review.  Following this, the draft plan will be presented to the monitoring team and basin partners to receive comments and feedback.  A Monitoring Sector Team meeting will be scheduled this autumn and announced via this newsletter and by email to sector team members.  If you would like to be part of the Monitoring Sector Team, please contact Mike Sorge



Rock River Recovery Implementation Website

We are continuing to update the structure and content of the Rock River Recovery TMDL Implementation website.  This site is built on "dynamic webpages" that provide greater functionality for timely updates, data sharing/mining from SWIMS, and transparency and reporting of progress updates. 

An important feature of the new website are content areas ("tabs") dedicated to TMDL Implementation and each of the sector teams.  As the website is still undergoing development, it is in "beta" mode and we are happy to receive feedback and comments/suggestions.  Please provide them via email to Mark Riedel, TMDL Project Manager

Rock River Recovery Websites;


Ride to the Barns

Tall Pines Conservancy is hosting their largest event of the year - and you won't want to miss out on all the fun!  Tour numerous barns around Hartford, on either a 30 mile or 60+ mile loop.  Enjoy delicious, locally grown food at every rest stop created by Chef Earl Gesling of The Natural Way - Mayville.

Click HERE for more information and to register

Storm Pond


Proposed “Compost for Storm Water Management S100” Standard

The proposed “Compost for Storm Water Management S100” standard has been updated. This standard is being revised to more closely match s. NR 502.12(16), Wis. Adm. Code, provide certification, and broaden statewide availability for compost for storm water management.

The draft standard concerning storm water is now available for review and comment on the Proposed DNR Program Guidance Web page. “Compost for Storm Water Management S100” standard is open for comment until August 17, 2017. 

The Department is soliciting comments from the public on this draft 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 standard document and the final standard will be made available to internal and external stakeholders. Comments related to this draft standard document should be sent to:



Permit Compliance Options and Sector Team Activities

With the Rock River TMDL published in late 2011 and new permits starting to incorporate TMDL consistent limits in 2012, we now have a number of WPDES permitted facilities that are getting into years 3 and 4 of their permit cycle.  In addition, many communities and counties have questions about Water Quality Trading (WQT), Adaptive Management (AM), and the Multi-Discharge Variance (MDV).

Our staff are happy to participate in community meetings to further explore options and facilitate partnership opportunities.  We recently met with numerous partners in Dodge County to discuss WQT, AM and the MDV and partnering with counties and farmers to develop watershed projects to reduce Phosphorus loading.  Additionally, we are participating in the Ag Sector Team meetings with our nonpoint source community to further include all stakeholders in these discussions.  Contact your local compliance staff or Amy Garbe if you would like to organize a community meeting in your area.

Permits Backlog

Permits Backlog

There has been ongoing interest in the reissuance of WPDES permits and the permits "backlog".  Within the Rock River basin, over 90% of wastewater permits have been reissued with new WQBEL effluent limits consistent with the Rock River TMDL.  Statewide, the permits backlog has been greatly reduced as vacant positions have been filled and staff have put in extra time (figure at right).