CRAWFORD AND VERNON COUNTY - The Monday, Feb. 12 meeting of the Tainter Creek Watershed Council was somewhat sparsely attended. Berent and Luther Foiland, Bruce Ristow, and Brian McCulloh discussed the DATCP Producer Led Watershed grant funds that had been received, and plans to spend the funds on education events and cover crop installation.
At their prior meeting, the group had agreed on an education event to occur on June 2, which is a ‘Free Fishing Day.’ Ristow reported that he is working with Duke Welter of Trout Unlimited/Driftless Area Restoration Effort (TUDARE) on organizing the event in a fashion similar to one put on by Welter and TUDARE last year which drew almost 150 participants. The event will take place at Ristow’s farm in Crawford County, along County Highway B.
“We’re going to have a water shocking event where participants can get a good look at all the different kinds of fish in the creek, and we can take a count,” Ristow said. “In addition, we’ll have water quality sampling and talk about the work that TUDARE is doing on the creek between my place and Star Valley next year.”
Josh Engel, who is spearheading the committee for education events, was not able to attend the meeting. The group plans to continue discussion of other education events at their March meeting.
“I think the cover crop education topic is getting plenty of attention in this area,” McCulloh said. “So we probably need to put our thinking caps on to come up with other education ideas.”
Cover crop installation
The group has been granted approximately $7,000 for cover crop installation from the DATCP grant. The estimate is that the per acre installation cost is estimated to be about $15.00, which means that the funds can be used to help with installation of between 450-500 acres of cover crops in the Tainter Creek Watershed. The estimate is that the funding will allow 15-25 producers who farm in the watershed to install cover crops on their land.
Producers from the watershed who are interested in installing cover crops are encouraged to contact Berent Froiland, 608-391-0570, firstname.lastname@example.org, before the March meeting of the group, or plan to attend that meeting.
Berent Froiland was happy to report that the group had received some exposure at a recent Coulee Region Trout Unlimited Symposium that had taken place in LaCrosse the previous week.
In a presentation made at the symposium, it was explained that the Wisconsin Legislature has two bills, one in the Senate and one in the Assembly, that if passed could result in increased funding for producer-led watershed groups. SB 796, introduced by Senator Rob Cowles, and AB 946, introduced by Representatives Joel Kitchens, would increase funding available for 2018 and 2019 by $500,000. If the bill passes, the Watershed Council learned, it would likely result in an increase in funding approved for current grants.
The group also learned that an article would appear in the Madison-based publication Agriview. The story can be viewed online at http://www.agupdate.com/agriview/news/crop/farmers-aim-to-preserve-tainter-creek-watershed/article_6378b18a-4bb3-5a20-99e7-d2104bbf62d8.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook.
The next meeting of the Tainter Creek Watershed Council will take place on Monday, Mar. 12, 1 p.m., at the Franklin Town Hall in Liberty Pole.