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Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in Wisconsin

NRCS, along with 11 other Federal agencies, are supporting and participating in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is the largest investment in the Great Lakes in two decades. A task force of 11 federal agencies developed an action plan to implement the initiative. The action plan addresses urgent issues such as cleaning up Great Lakes Areas of Concern, preventing and controlling invasive species, reducing nutrient runoff that contributes to harmful or nuisance algal blooms, and restoring habitat to protect native species. View the 20162017 GLRI Report for more information and successes.

NRCS is helping landowners and land users to plan and implement activities to improve and protect the natural resources in locally identified watersheds within the eight GLRI states:  Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.   

Through GLRI, NRCS offers financial assistance to agricultural producers for implementing practices that improve water quality in selected watersheds. Financial assistance will come through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and will focus on reducing nutrient and sediment delivery to surface water as well as controlling invasive species and improving wildlife habitat.

The program provides payments to help implement designated conservation activities. Specified EQIP practices will be eligible for funding through GLRI. Socially disadvantaged farmers, limited resource farmers, and beginning farmers may qualify for higher program payments. Read local farmers success stories participating in GLRI.

Apply Now: EQIP Application Form and Appendix (454 KB PDF)

Sign-Up Information 

Nearshore Health 

Invasive Species

Wildlife Habitat

GLRI Demonstration Farms

Lower Fox Demonstration Farms Network

The Lower Fox Demonstration Farms Network (“Fox Demo Farms”) is an off-site project designed to showcase and demonstrate leading edge conservation practices that improve Great Lakes water quality by reducing phosphorus and sediment from entering Green Bay and Lake Michigan. The partnership was the first of its kind in the Great Lakes region and within the Fox River Basin. Partners include farmers, their crop consultants, Brown and Outagamie County Land and Water Conservation Departments, the NRCS, University of Wisconsin–Extension and the Great Lakes Commission.

Door-Kewaunee Watershed Demonstration Farm Network

Northeastern Wisconsin’s Door-Kewaunee Watershed is home to a network of farms demonstrating the best conservation practices to protect the Great Lakes. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and the NRCS are tackling this effort in cooperation with Peninsula Pride Farms, a farmer-led organization. Groundwater and surface water quality are top priorities for the farmers of this network, who contend with shallow, fractured bedrock that can provide a direct path for contaminants to groundwater.

Ozaukee Demonstration Farm Network

Ozaukee County is home to a network of Demonstration Farms that are trying and demonstrating the best conservation practices to protect the Great Lakes by reducing phosphorus and sediment from entering Lake Michigan through Sauk Creek, Sucker Creek and the Milwaukee River. Ozaukee County Land and Water Management and the NRCS are tackling this effort in cooperation with Clean Farm Families, a farmer-led conservation organization. Major focuses are improving soil health and condition, encouraging innovative land management that reduces costs and increases profits and improving the conservation systems used to reduce non-point source pollution. Network farmers are working to keep ground and surface water clean to protect local streams and rivers feeding the Great Lakes.

Upper Fox-Wolf Demonstration Farm Network

Waupaca County is home to a network of farms demonstrating conservation practices to protect the Great Lakes. Waupaca County Land and Water Conservation and the NRCS are tackling this effort in partnership with Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette, Outagamie, Portage, Shawano, and Winnebago counties and the Green Lake Association. This large partnership is testing the effectiveness of current conservation systems used to reduce non-point source pollution. The network will demonstrate to farmers and the public that the right combination of traditional conservation practices and other new, innovative technologies functioning on the landscape can produce viable and sustainable economic and environmental benefits. 

Between the Lakes Demonstration Farm Network

Northeastern Wisconsin’s Manitowoc-Sheboygan Watershed is home to a network of farms demonstrating the best conservation practices to protect water sources that flow into the Great Lakes. Calumet County Land and Water Conservation and the NRCS are tackling this effort in partnership with Fond du Lac, Sheboygan and Manitowoc counties. These farmers are demonstrating conservation practices and systems used to reduce non-point source pollution. The network highlights implementing traditional conservation practices that protect water quality, while also trying and highlighting new technologies on participating farms.

Green Bay West Shore Demonstration Farm Network

The NRCS and Oconto County Land & Water Conservation Department, in partnership with Marinette and Shawano counties, have entered an agreement to launch a new network, the Green Bay West Shore Demonstration Farm Network. This is the sixth Demonstration Farm Network in Wisconsin that NRCS has collaborated with conservation partners to establish. The new partnership will support a network of farms demonstrating the best conservation practices to reduce phosphorus and sediment into local water sources that flow into the Great Lakes. The network will demonstrate proven traditional and new, innovative conservation practices on farms that are both viable and sustainable for farm owners and the environment.

Useful Links and Resources

Past Signups and Reports

For additional information, contact David Gundlach, Water Quality Initiatives Coordinator, david.gundlach@usda.gov, (608) 662-4422.