The close of our 69th Annual Conference has left WI Land+Water full of appreciation and gratitude for our conservation community. We are grateful for the more than 300 conservationists who took the time out of their busy schedules to engage with us. We are grateful for our sponsors whose support was absolutely vital to our having a successful event. We are grateful to our committee members who so capably moderated and facilitated conference sessions. And we are grateful for and inspired by our more than 30 presenters for sharing their knowledge and insights.
Thank you, to all of you. We can't wait to see you in 2023!
70th Annual Conference
March 1-3, 2023
Chula Vista Resort
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Congrats to our 2022 Conservation Award Winners!
Outstanding Conservation Employee, Technician/Agronomist/Planner
Outstanding Conservation Employee, Administrative/Clerical
Brad Matson Youth Education Award for Outstanding Youth Educator
Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance
Special Recognition/Friend of Conservation
Jay Fuhrer, a soil health specialist with 38 years of boots-on-the-ground experience, delivered our 2022 keynote address. Jay has an extensive background working with groups and entities such as soil and water conservation districts, national and international no-till organizations, watersheds, farm organizations, urban groups, and more. Recently, Jay spends his time at the Menoken Farm minimizing soil disturbance, adding soil armor, maximizing plant diversity, maintaining living roots in the soil and integrating livestock.Learn More about Menoken Farm
Conference Agenda & Session Descriptions
10:00-11:00 am | Welcome & Keynote Fostering Life with Soil Health Expert Jay Fuhrer
Jay Fuhrer is a soil health specialist, who worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Bismarck, N.D. from 1980-2020. He has boots-on-the-ground experience over the last 38 years working with cropping systems, grazing systems, cover crops, and gardens. Jay also has an extensive background collaborating with groups and entities such as soil and water conservation districts, national and international no-till organizations, watersheds, farm organizations, urban groups, and more. Recently, Jay spends his time as Lead Educator at the Menoken Farm minimizing soil disturbance, adding soil armor, maximizing plant diversity, maintaining living roots in the soil, and integrating livestock.
11:15-Noon | Soil Health Expert Jay Fuhrer – Armor Up!
Learn more from Jay in this technical session. 0.5 Soil & Water Management CEU
12:25-1:15 pm | Land and Water Conservation Board Candidate Speeches
Hear from nominees for the LWCB election.
1:20-2:15 pm | Climate Resiliency in Wisconsin: How Counties are Responding
The Monroe County - Climate Change Task Force (CCTF) was launched in 2019 after a series of devastating floods. Led by the county land conservation department, the Monroe County - CCTF is taking a proactive approach to climate change by installing Weather Monitoring Stations, assessing crossings (bridges/culverts), helping landowners relocate out of the floodplain, and identifying land use changes to limit the impacts of extreme weather in Monroe County. Presenter: Bob Micheel, Monroe County Land Conservation Department Director.
Climate Action in Dane County. In 2020 Dane County issued an ambitious countywide Climate Action Plan and now the priority is on implementing the plan, which means reducing GHG emissions and increasing natural carbon sequestration. Attend to learn more about these efforts, including how Dane County is leveraging its existing land and water quality initiatives to support climate priorities. Presenter: Kathy Kuntz, CC-P, is the Director of the Dane County Office of Energy & Climate Change in Madison. Kathy has almost 30 years of experience implementing programs focused on resource efficiency and climate action.
1 Sustainability CEU
2:30-3:00 pm | Beyond the Field Edge: Forest Management and Water Quality
Join Tony Johnson, Natural Resources Educator-Forestry, UW-Madison Division of Extension, and hear about ways to integrate forestry into whole farm planning and management, as well as resources to help landowners. 0.5 Soil & Water Management CEU
3:15-4:30 pm | Technical Roundtable #1: Manure Storage Abandonment Procedures
Travis Buckley, DATCP, will discuss the current manure storage abandonment procedures and go through recommendations from counties with experience with this. Manure Composting. Buckley will also lead a discussion on current manure composting methods. 1.0 Nutrient Management CEU | 1 Engineering Professional Development Hour (PDH)
8:00-8:45 am | Multi Discharge Variance Funding. How’s It Working?
MDV funding has been around for a few years and has been an important money stream for counties to implement BMPs. How’s it working in Wisconsin? This two-part presentation is from both a county’s and the WDNR’s perspectives. Fond du Lac County was an early recipient of MDV monies, and they’ll discuss how they were able to use their monies in their county. They’ll also share their experience with fluctuating annual amounts. WDNR will provide an update from the statewide perspective, including a summary of program accomplishments and insights into the future of MDV funding. Presenters: Paul Tollard, Fond du Lac County; Matthew Claucherty and Andrew Craig, WDNR. 0.5 Soil & Water Management CEU
9:00-10am | Hydrological Restoration 101: A Primer for Land Conservation Committee Members.
This interactive session will help participants better understand opportunities to repair hydrology to solve problems in their communities. Following short presentations on hydrology fundamentals and how loss of storage, infiltration, connectivity, and flow contribute to water related concerns, presenters will lead a series of exercises to help participants think about how and why to elevate consideration of hydrologic condition in county plans and policies. The session will wrap up with examples of Wisconsin-based efforts to restore hydrology to reduce flooding, conserve groundwater, and improve stream health, and details on efforts to improve integration of hydrologic assessment and restoration in state sponsored programs. To get the most out of this session, review the wetland and stream restoration content of your Land and Water Resource Management plan in advance and have a copy of your plan on-hand. The session is hosted and facilitated by Erin O'Brien, Wisconsin Wetlands Association, and was developed in collaboration with DATCP Conservation Engineering Section staff. 1.0 Soil & Water Management CEU
10:15-11:30 am | Technical Roundtable #2: Natural Flood Management Utilizing “Slow the Flow” Practices to Promote Floodplain Connectivity and Maximize Wetland Storage.
This roundtable will discuss the ongoing project in Ashland County which will utilize wetlands and stream connectivity to decrease the flow volumes during severe storm events. We will discuss planning options to date and provide insight into the project showcasing our planning idea and the obstacles that we had to work through. Presenters: Stacy Dehne, DATCP, and Kyle Magyera Wisconsin Wetlands Association. 1.0 Soil & Water Management CEU | 1 Engineering Professional Development Hour (PDH)
Noon-1:00 pm | Groundwater Session: Four Counties, Three Studies
New findings and lessons from Kewaunee research and the Southwest WI Groundwater and Geology Study (SWIGG). Presenters: Mark Borchardt and Tucker Burch, USDA Agricultural Research Service; and Joel Stokdyk, USGS. 1.0 Soil & Water Management CEU
1:15-2:00 pm | Mapping Your Environment with LiDAR
Processing and analyzing LiDAR is difficult but developing countywide environmental LiDAR layers can help land managers quickly locate and mitigate risks, perform preliminary design, plan efficient site visits, and much more. Access to culvert inventories, EHD, countywide hydro-enforced DEMs, closed depressions, modeling accumulated flow paths and catchments, or assessing risk of erosion, can put your data to work to save time and money. Dive into the use case for these Lidar derived products. Presenters: Adam Derringer, GISP, and Bruce Riesterer, Ayers Associates. 0.5 Professional Development CEU
2:15-3:30 pm | Wisconsin’s Changing Climate, Impacts, and Adaptation Strategies
In recent years, extreme weather linked to climate change has been battering communities more and more across the globe. Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) has been doing its part to address these challenges at home in Wisconsin. WICCI is a nationally recognized collaboration of scientists and stakeholders working together to help Wisconsin policymakers and citizens understand the impacts of climate change.
WICCI is set to launch its new comprehensive assessment report on climate change in Wisconsin, focusing on science, impacts and solutions. In this session, WICCI members will describe how Wisconsin’s climate has changed and is likely to change in the future, along with an overview of climate impacts and adaptation strategies across Wisconsin’s people, land, water, and the built environment. Presenter: Dr. Steve Vavrus, Co-Director of WICCI and Senior Scientist, Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research, UW-Madison.
1.0 Sustainability CEU
3:45-4:30 pm | Wisconsin Soil Health 101
Learn the basics on the principles of soil health, resource concerns, soil health practices, assessing soil health, and success stories with examples of economic benefits. Presenter: Andy Paolucci, USDA-NRCS. 0.5 Soil & Water Management CEU
8:00-8:45 am | Invasive Species and County Funding Updates
This session will cover general identification of high priority and newer invasives, as well as some of the more common aquatic and terrestrial invasives. We will discuss the importance of early detection monitoring and a successful eradication story Additionally, there will be an overview of the new Lake Monitoring and Protection Network noncompetitive AIS funding available for each county. Presenter: Chris Hamerla, Golden Sands RC&D. 0.5 Professional Development CEU
9:00-9:45 am | From Fields to Features: Telling the Stories of Conservation
Zach Laughlin, Fond du Lac County LWCD’s Outreach and Education Coordinator, will show how social media is a free and easy tool to promote projects, and provide tips on what type of equipment is most useful for taking photos and videos in the field. WI Land+Water’s Communications Manager, Kristin Teston, will then talk about how to connect with the Public Outreach Committee, and highlight the resources and tools available on WI Land+Water’s website. 0.5 Professional Development CEU
10:00-10:45 am | Floodplain Management Workshop
Hear the latest on federal, state and local roles; understanding the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs); Letters of Map Change (LOMC): LOMA, LOMR, LOMR-F, CLOMA, CLOMR, CLOMR-F; Hydrologic and Hydraulic Analyses; Zone AE and Zone A Development Scenarios; and Floodplain Management. Presenter: Brian Cunningham, WDNR. 0.5 Soil & Water Management CEU
11:00-Noon | County Presentations
First, Marie Raboin and Chelsea Zegler, Dane County LWCD, will present on some of the work their producer-led watershed group is doing in the cover crop world, including interseeding, planting green, alternative forage systems or grazing cover crops. Next, Jeremy Freund, Outagamie County LCD, recently received final monitoring data for their Ag Runoff Treatment Systems (ARTS). Based on the data, they installed a phosphorus removal filter to further treat the dissolved P part of the runoff. He’ll share the setup, project, and lessons learned from the ARTS. Douglas County LWCD (Ashley Vande Voort) will then share information about a groundwater testing and education program created in 2017 to address an overall lack of groundwater quality data in partnership with UW-Stevens Point Center for Watershed Science and Education. Learn about the goals, implementation, accomplishments, and challenges of the project over the past four years. 1.0 Soil & Water Management CEU
1:00-1:45 pm | Outside the Box: Creative ways to leverage partnerships, funding, and resources to further conservation efforts
First, Greg Baneck, Outagamie County, shows that in this day and age, it unfortunately isn’t a one size fits all approach to fund their local programs… it takes a host of funding sources to make it work. As they say… you don’t necessarily want to see how the sausage is made! Next, Kyle Minks, Dane County LWRD, will share how Dane County worked collaboratively with six different organizations and agencies to secure a $1.8 million Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) award from USDA-NRCS to improve soil health and water quality. He’ll share lessons learned on successfully working with partners to secure funding and implement the project. Then, Jim Arch, Clark Co. LCD, and Greg Leonard, Eau Claire Co. LCD present on the Eau Claire River Watershed Coalition and their creative ways to get watershed-wide grants and projects going, including working with West Central Wisconsin Regional Planning to write grants that apply across county lines, as well as a county assisting in grant writing to help another county obtain a grant that time and workload would prevent them from getting by themselves. 0.5 Professional Development CEU
1:45-2:15 pm | Business meeting registration
2:15-3:45 pm | Annual Business Meeting
Catch up with colleagues throughout the conference through the Wonder room, an easy to use networking tool. Use this link anytime during the conference and schedule to connect with friends and colleagues in a fun virtual setting!
Support Youth Education
Healthy Soils, Health Life
View the names and winning artwork of the top-place winners on our 2022 Contest Results page!
Watch the Winning Speeches!
See the names our top placing orators and watch the first place speeches!
Bids are for the kids!
The funds from the silent auction support our Youth Education programs.
Thank you to our members for their dedication and service! Scroll through the PDF to read through our members' milestones.