CRAWFORD COUNTY - Each month, the Crawford County Land Conservation Committee gathers for their monthly meeting. The meeting is broken down into two segments – the Land Use Committee, and the Soil and Water Concerns Committee. Their last meetings took place on Tuesday, April 13.
Seneca Township plat
A major agenda item for the Land Use Committee was discussion of a Town of Seneca Assessor’s Plat. For some properties in Seneca Township, the old monuments that were used to establish property lines are no longer in existence, such as old school houses. Work on highways has also helped to muddy the issue. With some properties, it is unclear if a landowner’s house is actually located on the property, as described in their deed.
Committee Chairman Dave Olson asked Crawford County Real Property Lister Gigi Collins “how had this gone on so long?”
“The monuments used as the basis for the original surveys are no longer there in many cases,” Collins responded. “We just can’t sort it out, but now we can use GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping, and we have monuments on section quarters, so we’ll start there.”
Olson asked how many landowners are involved, and Collins responded that there are seven.
For this reason, the Land Use Committee voted to hire a land surveyor to work with old property descriptions and landowners to make an Assessors Plat, which will be a first draft of potential revised property boundaries and property legal descriptions. The committee voted to hire River Valley Land Survey, owned by Richard and Dan Marks, to complete the work.
Reached after the meeting, Richard Marks clarified what the four steps in the process will be:
1. Go out to the land and have a discussion with the landowners about what their understanding of the property boundaries are.
2. Draw the plat, which will then be filed with the Town Clerk and Crawford County.
3. Landowners will be invited to come and look at the plat in Prairie du Chien. They will have one month to look at the plat, and if they agree with it, then they will sign it.
4. If all landowners agree, the plat will be filed with the county Register of Deeds, and the property boundaries will be established legally.
Marks estimated that the work on the project should be completed by the fall of 2021.
Soil and Water Concerns
In the Soil and Water Concerns portion of the committee’s agenda, a variety of topics were discussed.
County Conservationist Dave Troester told committee members that he and committee chairman Dave Olson had travelled to Madison to present the county’s Five Year Land and Water Work Plan to the state Land and Water Board.
“It went well and our five year work plan has been approved,” Troester said. “The board was very interested in our aerial cover crop program and the Driftless Area Water Study (DAWS).”
Troester also reported that he is working on getting the county’s Aquatic Invasive Species work set up for the summer. This will involve hiring a summer intern. He said that he had gone on a few farm visits in the last month with County Forester Christine Walroth, done some Farmland Preservation Program inspections, and worked with Vernon County Conservationist Ben Wojahn on laying out some contour strips in Utica Township.
Troester reported that the County Tree Sale had gone well, and that trees would be distributed the week of April 26. He said that Conservation Specialist Travis Bunting would drive up to the nursery in Cadott to get the trees, thus saving the county the shipping costs.
Troester also reported that his department had handed out 70 well water sampling bottles for the Driftless Area Water Study sampling coming up on Monday, April 19. He said that his staff is working on finding landowners for the other 30 samples that are in the budget. He said that a member of Crawford Stewardship Project had volunteered to drive the samples from Crawford, Richland and Vernon counties, and the Tainter Creek Watershed, up to the lab in Stevens Point.
Committee member Kim Moret asked Troester if there had been any news regarding the new hog facility proposed by AV Roth in Marietta Township.
“There has been no news regarding that,” Troester replied.
Moret asked if Troester’s team was keeping track of the numbers of animal units at dairies in the county.
“We are not tracking that closely, but we should do a survey,” Troester said. “Right now, we are estimating numbers based off producer’s nutrient management plans.”
The committee voted to select award winners for the Wildlife Conservation, Water Quality, Conservation Leadership, Conservation Legacy, Forestry, and Farm Family of the Year award winners. The winners will be announced at a ceremony held at the Crawford County Fair. Troester said that students from the shop class at the Prairie du Chien high school have agreed to make the Leopold benches that are given to each award winner.
Troester also discussed, and the committee approved, the Land Conservation Committee 2020 Annual Report. A highlight from the report was that 157 sanitary sewer permits had been issued by his department, which included 128 replacements. Troester said that this number was double the number from previous years, and said that funding from the Wisconsin Fund had been a big factor in this achievement.
“It’s been three years since the county adopted the POWTS (Private Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems) Ordinance, and we are at the halfway mark with the 4,800 systems we have in the county,” Troester said. “Now what we have to do is to get verification from the pumper that systems have been pumped on schedule, and compliance with the ordinance has been verified.”
Troester said that this would be a large workload for his team this year as they worked to “get people into the program.”
Karyl Fritsche, Crawford County District Conservationist with USDA-NRCS, reported that her team is currently finishing up CSP renewal contracts. She said that the total amount will be in the $1 million range. She reported that her office is now open at 50 percent capacity, by appointment only.
County Forester Christime Walroth reported that she is starting to get out into the field more for meetings with landowners. She is checking on completed cost share projects with six landowners, and has sent out letters inviting landowners in Utica Township to schedule a walk-through with her.
The UW-Extension staff are currently scheduled to return to their offices by July 1.
Crawford County Farm Services Agency representative Bob Standorf reported that the FSA office is also open at 50 percent capacity, by appointment only. Standorf reported that interest rates on loans are starting to go up, but not by much. He reported that the CFAP II (Coronavirus Food Assistance Program) sign up has been reopened, and that his office had approved an extra 100 applications for the ARC/PLC (Agriculture Risk Coverage/Price Loss Coverage) program.Standorf had some good news to share that the Crawford County 2021 Dairy Breakfast would be held on June 5, at the Steger Farm. He said that the event will have a ‘drive through’ format.