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News Release

Lake Mendota Watershed Selected for USDA Healthy Watershed Initiative

Renae Anderson, Public Affairs Specialist
(608) 662-4422 ext 227

Madison, Wis–– The Sixmile Creek Watershed now joins two adjacent watersheds, the Pheasant Branch and the Waunakee Marsh, as the focus of intense conservation efforts in Dane County as part of the federal Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative. These three highly agricultural watersheds are located northwest of Lake Mendota. Through a cooperative agreement between the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Dane County, financial and technical assistance is available to farmers to begin using conservation practices that result in the reduction of nutrients and sediment flowing into Lake Mendota.

“This Healthy Watershed Initiative helps farmers voluntarily implement conservation and management practices that avoid, control, and trap nutrient runoff from farm land," said Pat Leavenworth, State Conservationist for NRCS in Wisconsin. "Reducing nutrients and sediment is the key to improving water quality in Lake Mendota, and ultimately the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico."

“Dane County’s farm families have always been excellent stewards of the land, and have been among our strongest partners in the ongoing effort to clean up our lakes,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Together we are implementing common sense solutions that are making a big impact in the health of our lakes.”

Farmers in this watershed may apply for financial assistance from the USDA-NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Eligible conservation practices include nutrient management planning, grassed waterways, buffer strips, crop residue management and other practices that trap sediment and reduce nutrient runoff. Applications must be submitted to NRCS by July 16, 2012 to be considered for funding in 2012. Up to $1.3 million will be available for conservation in the Sixmile Creek watershed over the next four years.

For more information, visit, or contact Dane County Land and Water Resources Department at 608-224-3730.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice or TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Contact:   Eric Allness, 608-662-4422 x 246
                 Pat Sutter, Dane County Land and Water Resources Department, 608-224-3740

For more on MRBI

Map of Dane County MRBI Project (pdf 254 kb)