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Conservation Showcase

conservation showcase


Wisconsin Conservation Success Stories

Reed Fitton

EQIP- Grazing and the Honey Bee Pollinator Effort

The Living Land Remembers, Treat it with Care: Beginning Farmer Revives Legendary Land

Reed Fitton, of Gays Mills, Wisconsin, is a beginning farmer who has the opportunity to rent and farm a legendary piece of property known as the Ben Logan Farm. Reed strives to work the land by adhering to Logan’s principles in the 1975 book, The Land Remembers.

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Nettekoven family on their farm

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

Hard Work Pays Off: Nettekoven Farm Produces Healthy, Nutrient-Rich Food, While Preserving Land for Future Generations

Some people are born to farm. Others grow to love it. Greg Nettekoven was born into a farm family; and he and his wife, Karon, have grown to love farming. Greg is a second generation farmer who grew up working on his family's 760 acres of tillable land.

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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. 

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Tennessen's standing in front of cows in pasture

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

Managed Grazing Suits Beginning Farmers

Carlos and Kathy Tennessen are beginning farmers, just getting started with managed grazing. They learned about grazing operations from Adam Abel, NRCS Soil Conservationist, who helped them with management techniques to succeed with grazing.

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Hoelzel brothers in farm field

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

Dairying in the Fox River Watershed

Outagamie farmers Paul and Ken Hoelzel milk 360 cows and farm 800 acres. Their farm is not far from the Fox River.  They are focusing on manure management to reduce runoff from their farm.

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George Van Wychen and son Nick

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

Got Soil?  Make it healthy! The Van Wychens show us how it's done.

George Van Wychen has been farming since 1977, and planting cover crops for 15 years. Learn more about this farm in the Lower Fox River Watershed. Their farm is part of the Phosphorus Reduction Initiative and serves as one of four demonstration farms in northeastern Wisconsin.

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photo of Dan Brick

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

From Concrete to the Hypothetical

Dan Brick is fully aware of the water quality issues in his area. He is researching and gathering data on nutrients and cover crops and their effect on reducing phosphorus in runoff.

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Restored streambank

Driftless Area Conservation Landscape Initiative

Bear Creek Streambank Restoration in Sauk County: Pool, Riffle, Run... Pool, Riffle, Run: The Rhythm for Restoring Streams

Much of Bear Creek had severely eroded banks and sediment covered the stream bottom, preventing spawning of game fish. Now it's a jewel of a restoration that runs 4.5 miles through a scenic valley in southwest Wisconsin, and the trout are back.

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Heather and Helyna make their daily trip to the pasture

Conservation Stewardship Program

Fresh Grass Every Day on the Flashinski Farm

Heather and Mark Flashinski operate Farm Sweet Farm, a beautiful grass farm in Chippewa County, WI. Rotational grazing is the foundation of their conservation planning.

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Calvin Sebranek and Todd Cockroft review conservation plans

Conservation Stewardship Program

Keeping Watch over the Valley

Calvin Sebranek is a good steward of his land. He goes the extra mile to make sure the natural resources on his farm are protected.

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farmer receives recognition sign from NRCS

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

Cover Crops Build Better Soil

Scott Thenius of Tinedale Cropping explains how cover crops are a new staple of the Tinedale Operation in the Lower Fox Watershed.

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farmer receives GLRI sign

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

From Planning to Pasture

With help from NRCS, some highly erodible lands on Terry Groth's Farm 45 near Jackson Wisconsin, is now beautiful pastures for his rotational grazing system.

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John Malvitz presents GLRI to Marv and Patty Biese

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

Plum Pride Dairy

Marv and Patty Biese really do have a sense of pride about their farm. Protecting the valuable resources on their farm is an important part of their farm plan. NRCS has worked with them to install several conservation practices that will help reduce nutrient loading into Plum Creek, which is part of the targeted areas of the Initiative.

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Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Seasonal High Tunnel Project Serves an Intro to NRCS for Jefferson County Farmer

Cheu Vang 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.

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Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

Focus 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"

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Conservation Stewardship Program

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.

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Conservation Stewardship Program

Growing Conservation: 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.

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Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

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. 

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Environmental Quality Incentives Program

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). 

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Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
Rotational Grazing Enhances Buffalo Herd on 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).  

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Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative
Family Farm Helps to Improve Water Quality in 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).

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wild rice bed

Environmental Quality Incentives Program

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.

People's Garden Initiative

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 outreach demonstration project in conjunction with The Peoples Garden initiative.  Over 55 lbs. of produce was donated to The Neighbors Place food pantry from the trellises.
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.

Special Initiative

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 savannah. 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 County.

Conservation Stewardship Program

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 Bluebirds.

Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program 

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!