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Nagel to lead sanitation and zoning effort
In Crawford County

CRAWFORD COUNTY - For a department sometimes staggering under a monumental workload to bring Crawford County septic systems into compliance with state law, the news couldn’t have been better at the May 9 meeting of the Crawford County Land Conservation Committee (LCC). At that meeting, committee members learned that longtime department employee Becky Nagel has been promoted to the position of Sanitation and Zoning Technician.

Since the Crawford County Land Conservation Department (LCD) kicked off the compliance initiative in 2017, the department has had two employees fill that role – Jake Shedivy and Jon Mayer. In the interim, while Nagel pursues certifications, Mayer will continue to review applications remotely, and Vernon County Zoning Administrator Matt Albright and Technician Angela Reed will assist with site inspections.

“There will be a transition time as I’m currently juggling two loads until we hire someone to replace me in the administrative role,” Nagel told the committee. “I have gone out on some site visits with Jon, am taking soils training this week, and am signed up for my Soils and POWTS certification tests.”

Crawford County Land Conservation Director Dave Troester told the committee that things are moving along with the initiative, even with the staffing transition. He said that there was a court date for septic system owners that have not responded to communications from his department, with another scheduled for the following week.

“Last Monday, we had 20 individuals with court dates, with some of them receiving their second citations,” Troester said. “We will begin issuing third citations soon, but in the recent court date we also had quite a few see their citations dismissed because they’ve been in contact with us and are working on it.”

Troester also said that following recent historic flooding on the Mississippi River, his department has been receiving a lot of calls about shoreland and floodplain zoning issues.

“I know that Emergency Management is working on assessing damages to determine what kind of flood recovery the county and municipalities will qualify for,” committee chair Supervisor Dave Olson said.

Soil and Water

In the Soil and Water Concerns portion of the agenda, Troester reported that with the end-of-year Nutrient Management Plan deadline of May 1, there are still a few that he hasn’t received.

“The number of acres in the county operating under nutrient management plans has really increased since Farmland Preservation Zoning was approved in Freeman Township,” Troester observed.

Troester said that his department has recently wrapped up the 2023 tree sale, with sales similar to 2022 sales. He said he had also recently attended a meeting of the County Deer Advisory Council, where the decision was made to keep the deer seasons the same as last year with the goal of maintaining the current deer herd numbers.

“We need to reduce the deer herd,” Dave Olson commented.

“Yeah, the public input was mixed, with some people saying that they haven’t even seen a deer in the last few years, and others saying they can’t drive down the road safely or raise crops because the deer herd is out of control,” Troester responded.

Dam repairs

Troester reported that the county has received a permit from Wisconsin DNR to make needed repairs to the county’s only PL-566 flood control dam on Johnstown Road in Utica Township. He said the next step will be to let bids for the project.

In other work, Troester said Conservation Specialist Travis Bunting is wrapping up last year’s projects and doing designs for 2023 projects.

In other business

In other business, the committee:

• heard that the LCD had already received seven applications to fill the administrative assistant position

• heard that Troester has finalized the county’s 2024 Clean Sweep grant, and is planning the 2023 event for Friday, October 20

• heard from USDA-NRCS Resource Conservationist Karyl Fritsche that her team is working on CRP contracts, doing highly erodible land reviews and CRP spot checks, and that there is an EQIP sign up deadline coming up on May 19

• heard from committee farmer representative Chad Sime that the State of Wisconsin has asked the county to review its FSA districts and to hold an election.