Rock River Recovery TMDL Implementation - October Newsletter


Monthly TMDL Implementation Update



"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall." - F. Scott Fitzgerald



"She is water, powerful enough to drown you, soft enough to cleanse you, deep enough to save you." - Adiran Michael



Oct 4:  Regenerative Farming Field Day 

Oct 12:  Clean Lakes Alliance Yahara Lakes 101

Oct 17:  Oconomowoc Field Technology Day

Oct 17-20:  Wisconsin Wastewater Operators Annual Conference

Oct 18:  Dodge County Farmer-Led Soil Health Cover Crops Field Day

Oct 20:  EQIP Sign-Up Deadline

Nov 8, 9:  UW Extension Pest Management Workshops

Nov 18:  Rock River Ag Sector Team Meeting

Nov 30:  NASECA Stormwater & Construction Training

Dec 13:  Producer-Led Watershed Grants Workshop

Feb 7, 8:  Hold the date - Dodge County Soil Health Workshop & Farm Day

Feb 27:  Wisconsin Cover Crops Conference

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Gov Delivery
Leaf Free Streets
Urban stormwater can contain phosphorus rich “leaf tea” and contribute to toxic algae blooms, low oxygen levels and green murky waters.


Leaf-Free Streets for Clean Waters

The Madison Area Municipal Stormwater Partnership (MAMSWaP) recently launched a new campaign to help Keep Streets Leaf-free this fall. The Leaf-free Streets for Clean Waters campaign builds on the results of several pilot studies including a leaf management study led by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Dane County that indicates more than 50% of the annual amount of phosphorus in urban stormwater can come from leaves left in the street.

"When it rains, stormwater flows through leaf piles in streets creating a “leaf tea” that is rich in dissolved phosphorus. This "leaf tea" travels through storm sewers making its way to our lakes, rivers and streams. Too much phosphorus can lead to toxic algae blooms, low oxygen levels and green murky waters."

Leaf Free Streets Brochure

MAMSWaP is partnering with municipalities and water-related groups across Dane County to encourage residents in urban areas with large street or terrace trees to take action and remove street leaves before the rain. They developed a Leaf-free Streets Toolkit to help partners spread the word. The toolkit includes:

  1. a web site with information on the impact of leaves on our waters and actions residents can take,
  2. a Leaf-free Streets Template Article to customize and use in newsletters,
  3. flyers and door hangers to distribute to residents and
  4. links to sign up for Leaf-free Streets Rain Alerts (text or email) reminding residents when it's time to remove street leaves.

Visit for more information or contact Christal Campbell.

Sector Team Updates


Manure Injection


Ag Sector Team

The Rock River Ag Sector Team is meeting Wednesday November 8 to follow up on tasks identified in our July meeting.  See below for meeting details.  Please note the change in location to the Jefferson County courthouse.

Dodge County Farmers Host Cover Crops Field Day

The Dodge County Farmers for Healthy Soil-Healthy Water will host their first field tour of three local farms using cover crops, on Wednesday, October 18th, 2017. The tour will visit three sites around Dodge County. Buses for the tour will leave from the Dodge County Fairgrounds, located on Highway 33 east of Beaver Dam, WI.

Learn from local producers who are working with a variety of cover crops including;

  • frost-seeded red clover into winter wheat,
  • inter-seeding a cover crop mix into corn,
  • cover crop mix demonstration plots,
  • plus two stops on the tour will have soil pits.

For more details, view the full agenda and news release.  The field day is free and open to everyone, but pre-registration is required for a tour seat. Call to pre-register by Oct 12;

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

Dane County: Century Farm Restores Woodlands, Savanna and Trout Stream

Helmenstine Hillside Vue Farm, located in the Driftless area of western Dane County, has been in the family for over 100 years. Jerome and his wife, Jackie, worked with NRCS and FSA to restore a stream, improve wildlife habitat and restore woodlands. Read more about the USDA partnership that brought back habitat for woodpeckers, nighthawks, kestrels, bats and more.

FREE Soybean Nematode Testing 

The WI Soybean Marketing Board (WSMB) sponsors free nematode testing to help producers stay ahead of the most important nematode pest of soybean, the soybean cyst nematode (SCN).  The soil test report indicates the number of eggs in the sample and is useful for selecting the right variety for the next soybean crop.  The soil test report will indicate which pest nematodes are present and at what quantities and their damage potential to soybean and corn based on the numbers recovered.  

For more information on SCN testing and management practices or to request a free soil sample test kits please contact: Jillene Fisch at 608-262-1390.

Cover Crop Grants

The National Wildlife Federation is accepting applications for farmers and conservation professionals, i.e. “champions”, to conduct outreach to promote cover crops and provide region-specific information and farming knowledge to farmers and crop advisors.  Selected applicants will receive financial support for time, travel, and presentation materials, a training on messaging and presentation tools, and access to an elite network of other cover crop champions. Due to our funder’s priorities in the Mississippi River Basin, applicants are only sought from the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Tractor Rollbar Rebates Available

Need a tractor rollbar? Contact the ROPS hotline, 1-877-ROPSR4U (1-877-767-7748), or go to and click on Wisconsin. The program reimburses up to 70 percent (maximum of $865) toward the total cost of purchasing, shipping and installing individual ROPS.

A ROPS is an operator compartment structure (usually cab or rollbar) intended to protect farmers from injuries caused by overturns or rollovers. More than half the tractors in Wisconsin do not have this protection.  A ROPS, when used with a seatbelt, is 99 percent effective in preventing injury or death in the event of an overturn.  Read the full release.



Impaired Waters List

The 2016 Impaired Waters List was approved by EPA on August 29, 2017.  A copy of the EPA approval documents and a comprehensive alphabetical 2016 Impaired Water List are available on our Impaired Waters website.

The impaired waters list is a management tool to identify waters that need restoration and to track their restoration status.  Waters are removed from the list when new data indicates that water quality standards are attained. Ten impairment listings were removed in the 2016 list update;

  • Four beaches were delisted for E. coli impairment of recreational use,
  • two lakes were delisted for mercury impairment of contaminated fish tissue,
  • two river segments were delisted for sediment/total suspended solids,
  • one river segment was delisted for total phosphorus,
  • and one river segment was delisted for chloride.

The rationale to delist these waters was supported by additional data and information compiled by WDNR Water Quality staff. 

WDNR Biologists are actively working on the 2018 list and will have a draft ready for public comment this fall.



Volunteer to Help Your Lakes

Clean Lakes Alliance coordinates watershed volunteer days for area business and organizations, offering rewarding and meaningful opportunities to engage directly with our lakes. Renew the Blue Volunteer Days provide an opportunity for individuals to contribute to work to clean up our lakes while becoming informed and engaged in issues that affect them. In recent years, Clean Lakes Alliance has partnered with parks and friend groups and local businesses and associations to restore shorelines. Volunteers clear invasive plants and trees, plant native seeds, remove algae from waters, and clean up trash along the lakeshore. Here’s what was accomplished together in 2016:

  • 449 participants
  • 1100 hours of volunteer service dedicated to lakeshore improvements
  • Numerous truckloads of invasive brush removed from our lakeside parks
  • 13 cleanup/restoration projects completed in the Yahara River watershed

Each year, CLA creates a schedule of available projects, locations, and dates within the community to better allow participating groups to select where, when, and what type of project they’d like to complete. Please contact Clean Lakes Alliance’s Watershed Engagement Manager Issis Macias to learn more about volunteering in 2018.

Storm Pond


Registration NOW Open for Effective Winter Maintenance Workshops: Saving Time, Budget and Our Waters

The WI Salt Wise partners are hosting several trainings for professionals who make winter maintenance decisions, hire staff, remove snow, apply road salt or maintain snow removal equipment. Learn how using the right amount of salt can save time, budget and our waters. Trainings will include:

  • best management practices to keep paved areas safe,
  • benefits of using a liquid salt system,
  • how to determine the right amount of salt to use,
  • and case studies from local applicators.

Visit Ripple Effects for more information or to register.  All trainings meet the requirement for the NEW Voluntary Winter Maintenance Certification Program (coordinated by the City of Madison and Dane County).  

  1. Effective Winter Maintenance Workshop for Managers (Roadways) – 10/25 PM
  2. Effective Winter Maintenance Workshop for Field Staff (Roadways) – 10/25 AM
  3. Effective Winter Maintenance Workshop (Parking lots, driveways, sidewalks and trails) – 10/26 PM

Urban Water Quality Grant Program

Since 2005, Dane County has made cost-sharing funds available to municipalities via the Urban Water Quality Grant Program.  Urban Water Quality Grants have helped fund projects totaling almost $10 million that are estimated to have removed more than a half million pounds of debris since that time and more than 2000 pounds of phosphorus annually. One pound of phosphorus removed from the county’s watersheds prevents 500 pounds of algae growth in area lakes.

2017 Program Information:

Municipalities that maintain one of the county’s top ten stormwater outfalls into the lakes (see list below) are eligible for an enhanced cost-sharing rate of 75% of the total cost of the project (no cap). Other projects that treat urban runoff will be eligible for cost-sharing up to 50% of the total cost (not to exceed $100,000). Projects that are funded will provide efficient cost-effective treatment of urban runoff. In order to be considered for funding, practices must be constructed and fully functional by the end of 2018. Contact WRE staff with any questions.

Application Materials:

2017 UWQG Program Anoucement and Details (pdf)

UWQG Application (doc)

Top Ten Outfall List (pdf)



MMSD Salt 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. Every day, that’s more salt than this pile! These dissolved particles pass through our wastewater treatment plant to local streams, exposing freshwater animals and plants to danger.


Salt Reduction Rebate - 2017

These rebates are intended for commercial/industrial facilities and water treatment companies working with them to implement projects that reduce salt or chloride in their facilities.  

1. Overview
2. Application
3. Report Forms

Announcement - 2017 Rebates and Training

Road Salt Reduction Grant - Winter 2017/18

These grants are intended for winter maintenance professionals working to be leaders in water quality protection through use of best practices to reduce road salt use. 

RFP, Application & Report Form (doc)

RFP, Application & Report Form (pdf)

Upcoming Training Opportunities