Wisconsin Conservation Success Stories
Seasonal High Tunnel Project serves an an
introduction to NRCS for a Jefferson County farmer
grows vegetables for his local farmer's market. After hearing about the
seasonal high tunnel pilot project from his brother in Rhode Island, he
contacted his local NRCS office. His high tunnel is now complete, and he is
able to extend his growing season. This project served as an introduction to
NRCS and Cheu is anxious to learn more about conservation practices and ways
he can protect his soil.
Read more... (164k,pdf)
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI)
focuses on watersheds along Lake Michigan
Dave and Heather Lettow always look to improve their
dairy operation. GLRI helps address resource concerns on their farm which
lies within the Milwaukee River Watershed. The owners say "We never would
have been able to do it without the assistance of NRCS"
Water Quality is a top
priority at the Four Star Dairy
The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) allows Roger
Erickson to tailor conservation improvements to his farm that meet his
resource concerns. NRCS District Conservationist, Jane Reigel works closely
with the Four Star Dairy addressing water quality concerns on the farm.
Growing Conservation - There
is more than a grazing plan on Larry Wilkinson's Farm
Brian Pillsbury, NRCS Grazing Lands Specialist
developed the first grazing plan for Larry Wilkinson in 2000. This year
Larry is enrolled in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and is in
the process of transitioning his dairy operation to certified organic.
Wetlands Reserve Program - A
little bit of paradise
A farm in Waterloo, purchased in 1964, was the dream
come true for an immigrant couple from Prussia. Seigfried and Elsbeth Fuchs
started dairy farming here and did so until 2008, when Seigfried passed.
His wish was to return the land back to a natural state. The Wetlands
Reserve Program restored 85 acres on the property and now there is a “little
bit of paradise.”
Nhiacha Enterprises - Finding
out about NRCS
Nhiacha Yang, a Hmong farmer from the Green Bay area,
wasn’t quite sure what to think about getting advice from NRCS. John
Malvitz, District Conservationist in Brown County helped him understand what
type of assistance NRCS offered. An Environmental Quality Incentives
Program (EQIP) contract was granted for several improvements. His operation
is within an area that is targeted by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
(GLRI) for water quality improvements.
Land Stewardship in Kickapoo Valley Reserve - NRCS partners with the
Ho-Chunk Nation on tribal lands
When it comes to land stewardship, who knows better than the Ho-Chunk
Nation? And when it comes to “Helping People Help the Land” by putting
conservation on the ground, that’s the Natural Resources Conservation
Service (NRCS). NRCS programs have improved, restored and enhanced several
parcels of land owned by the Ho-Chunk Nation in the Reserve. The area is
rich in prehistoric archeological sites with artifacts dating back to the
Paleo-Indian Tradition (10,000 BC), a very significant area to the Ho-Chunk
Nation. The areas are now beautifully restored prairies and a stretch of a
productive trout stream is now stabilized, thanks to the working partnership
between the Ho-Chunk Nation and NRCS.
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative - Rotational grazing enhances buffalo
herd on the Oneida Nation Farms
The Oneida Tribe of Indians
of Wisconsin have been grazing buffalo on the Oneida Nation Farms (ONF)
since 1996. ONF is located in the Lower Fox River Watershed, in a watershed
targeted for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).
With only 150 acres of pasture and the herd size reaching 140, changes were
needed in both the infrastructure and the grazing management system. Tony
Bush, NRCS Tribal Liaison to the Oneida, developed a conservation plan and
prescribed rotational grazing plan
for the farm. GLRI
Environmental Quality Incentives
Program (EQIP) funds helped the farm expand the
pasture acres to 214 utilizing the new grazing plan.
Dennis VanVreede, ONF farm
supervisor says, “Thanks to NRCS and GLRI funding, we have been able to
expand our buffalo grazing operation allowing us to supply more healthy meat
to the Oneida people and at the same time improve forage quality.”
Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed
Initiative (MRBI) - Family farm helps to improve water quality in the
Delavan Lake Watershed
The Kettle Moraine Land
Trust organized the Delavan Lake Watershed Initiative Network with local
partners to improve water quality in the area. Through NRCS, the Land Trust
also successfully applied for the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds
Initiative (MRBI) for funds to help local farmers implement conservation
practices that improve the quality of water draining to the Mississippi
River and the Gulf of Mexico.
Protecting Wild Rice Beds in the Bad River Slough
Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa used the Environmental Quality
Incentives Program to tackle an invasion of narrow leaf cattail in the wild
rice production grounds of the Bad River sloughs. They physically removed
small pockets of narrow leaf cattail and reseeded rice into the newly
established bedding areas. This is a difficult technique due to the volume
of vegetation harvested during the removal process. Small sites were more
successful with rice planting following the removal. Since larger beds are
too big for hand removal, they are being monitored for possible
chemical treatment in the future.
Hmong Vegetables Grow on Trellises
Bitter Melon, and Chinese Red Noodle Bean are popular vegetables for the
Hmong. To produce well, they need to grow on trellises. The
Wausau NRCS staff designed and constructed two permanent trellises as an
demonstration project in conjunction with The Peoples Garden initiative.
Over 55 lbs. of produce was donated to The Neighbors Place food pantry from
One trellis was constructed on a farm where many Hmong have community
gardens, to showcase the sturdy design which stands up well with heavy
produce and inclement weather.
WHIP Project Restores Sacred Burial Mounds for Ho-Chunk Nation
The Kingsley Bend Indian Mounds were preserved in a highway wayside,
identified with a historical marker, since 1971. Although the mounds
themselves were preserved, the native oak savannah habitat has long been
overgrown with brush, pine and invasive species. The Ho-Chunk Indian Nation
assumed ownership of the sacred site from the Wisconsin Dept. of
Transportation, and is restoring it as an interpretive educational site.
Through the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, t brush and non-native
trees will be removed, and prairie grasses planted to restore the oak
The site contains 22 mounds, including 2 bear mounds, a bird mound, panther
mound, 12 conical mounds, and 5 liner mounds. The mound group is
representative of those built by the Effigy Mound Culture between 700-1000
A.D. There was usually only a single burial in a mound, but some mounds a
dozen or more burials have been found. The 40 acre site sits on a bluff
overlooking the Wisconsin River just east of the Wisconsin Dells in Columbia
CSP Works for Woodland Owners
“CSP is important for rewarding landowners who have already done a lot of
work but could do a little bit more.” says Bill Horvath, a forestland owner
in Shawano County, and Conservation Security Program contract holder.
Bill has 86 acres of land, including 27 acres he’s restored to wetlands and
nine acres he’s restored to prairie. “CSP is all about rewarding landowners
that are already doing conservation,” he says. “Everything you’ve done in
the past helps you score.” As a hunter, Bill is mainly interested in the
wildlife benefits offered through CSP. He will be adding six species of
shrubs for wildlife habitat as well as installing boxes for Wood Ducks and
Big Trout Return to Big Springs .... Fast!
There is a new, beautiful stretch of first-class trout stream in
southwest Wisconsin, swimming with large brown and small brook trout.
Through the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, 10,500 feet of streambank
was restored, and 135 in-stream habitat structures were built and installed
on the Big Spring Branch of the Blue River, part of the Lower Wisconsin
River Watershed. This project provided the link to connect other restoration
work done by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, US Fish and
Wildlife Service and Trout Unlimited. The trout returned within a few
months after construction, as shown during a fish shocking demonstration
(photo). A remarkable catch!
||For more information, contact
Renae Anderson, at Wisconsin
NRCS State Office
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