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News Release

Partnership Efforts Divert Phosphorus from Big Green Lake Waters

Madison, Wis. ‒ February 9, 2017 ‒ The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Green Lake Association (GLA) have a long standing partnership to benefit and promote the conservation of Green Lake, Wisconsin’s deepest natural inland lake, and the surrounding watershed. Since 2012, farmers and landowners have had the opportunity to partner through the NRCS National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) to fix some of the resources concerns in the watershed. Green Lake NRCS District Conservationist, Caleb Zahn, was recently recognized for his efforts to help landowners put conservation on the ground in the watershed.

NRCS is currently accepting applications for farmers and landowners in the Big Green Lake watershed to take actions to reduce the runoff of sediment, nutrients, and pathogens into waterways where water quality is a critical concern. “This is the watersheds sixth year participating in the National Water Quality Initiative; we’ve seen success over the years in putting conservation practices on the ground to fix resource concerns. Producers have until March 3, 2017 to apply and be considered for 2017 program funding in the watershed,” said Zahn.

Green Lake’s outlet is the Puchyan River, which drains into the Fox River and ultimately, into Lake Michigan at Green Bay. Numerous studies and projects have been completed regarding the Big Green Lake watershed. These projects have made a positive impact in helping to keep the watershed clean and healthy. Zahn and other key federal, state, and local partners were recognized at a Green Lake Association meeting on January 26, 2017 for their efforts. Through the partnership, $1.8 million was put directly into the watershed through agriculture best management practices, including $1.1 million through EQIP. From cover crops to retention ponds, 129 practices are scheduled or already installed in the watershed through the participation and partnership of 54 local landowners.

These efforts resulted in 6,260 lbs of phosphorus being diverted from Green Lake. “Because of our efforts, over 3.1 million lbs of algae did not grow in Green Lake,” said Executive Director Stephanie Prellwitz, Green Lake Association. “Partnerships like this are key; landowners and farmers in the area want to do the right thing; we still have work to do and we’re here to help them make conservation-minded decision for their operations and the entire watershed,” said Zahn.

Other project partners include the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Green Lake Sanitary District, Green Lake County Land Conservation Department, Fond du Lac County Land and Water Conservation Department and participating producers. To find out more about current programs available in the watershed, visit www.wi.nrcs.usda.gov or the Green Lake USDA Service Center, W1740 North Street, Suite 100, Green Lake, WI 54941, (920) 294-6140.

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