County project cited in state conservation report

A civic-minded farmer’s conservation efforts, washouts from a 2016 deluge in northern Wisconsin, and an unlikely alliance between farmers and lakeside homeowners highlight efforts to protect Wisconsin’s land and waters, detailed in the 2017 Land and Water Conservation Annual Report.

Land and water conservation staff in the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection presented the report to the Land and Water Conservation Board at its June meeting in Madison. It is available online at the DATCP website.

Conservation efforts in Wisconsin depend on county land conservation departments and landowners working with DATCP, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. Often private non-profit environmental groups are also part of the cooperative effort.

All told, conservation spending in Wisconsin in 2017 totaled more than $87 million. Of that, about $18 million was state funds, mostly distributed to county land and water conservation departments, and about $59 million came from federal funds. Local governments kicked in more than $8 million, and almost $2 million came from private organizations and other sources.

The annual report is required by Wisconsin law. The report used to be mostly lists of conservation practices installed and dollars spent, but in recent years, it is used as an opportunity to shine a spotlight on success stories in the conservation world.

Counties featured in this year’s report include:

Sheboygan County – The Elkhart Lake community, worried about toxic algae blooms, formed a collaboration among the lake improvement association, county planning and conservation, and Sheboygan River Basin Partnership to investigate where the phosphorus originated that was feeding those blooms. The result was installation of a new technology – a phosphorus reducing iron filtration bed on the edge of land volunteered by a farmer.


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