Any activities and projects supported by Dodge County Alliance for Healthy Soil & Healthy Water fall under one or more of the Alliance’s Strategic Priorities (see “What We Do” section of website). To achieve these strategies the Alliance will partner with government agencies, non-profit groups, private industry professionals and other key stakeholders.
Beginning in early 2019, the Alliance was briefed on the use of slag for run-off and phosphorus reduction. Blast furnace slag is a byproduct of the iron making process. Slag has the ability to absorb phosphorus in both dissolved and particulate forms. With support from FLILPARD, FLPO and Charlie Hammer and Nancy Kavazanjian, the Alliance moved forward to do a project to evaluate the effectiveness of slag for phosphorus removal in agricultural runoff. Arizona State University and Kunkel Engineering also partnered in this project. The project had to undergo several design changes and had some unusually wet weather that has caused delays in the project. As of fall 2020, the construction is completed and functioning.
“Love Your Lake”
The care and maintenance of lake properties plays an important part in improving and protecting the water quality in our lakes and rivers. To assist in this effort, the Alliance established a committee in the Fall of 2020 that will collect, develop and disseminate information regarding management of yards, gardens and shorelines in a responsible and sustainable manner. This will include articles to be used by lake districts and associations for their publications and websites as well as links to DNR and UW Ext sources while publicizing and promoting the DNR Healthy Lakes program. The plans include the development of a summary document to be distributed to new lake front property owners as well as educational programs and presentations.
Pontoon Rides for Farmers
The Alliance, working with the lake districts and associations, offers each year Pontoon Rides for Farmers. Farm families in Dodge County are invited for an afternoon pontoon ride on one of the lakes in Dodge County. Most are surprised to learn that over 8,000 people (or about 10 percent of county residents) live on one of the lakes or rivers and the total property value is over $600 million or 11% of total county value. In addition, the recreational and sporting activities including fishing bring great value to the county’s residents. Attendees are shown rain gardens, shoreline native plantings and other projects lake property owners are doing to prevent run-off into their lakes. They are briefed on the pollution challenges facing the lakes and the projects and activities to meet these challenges. The rides are followed by refreshments and a chance for farm and lake families to get to know one another.
Fox Lake Watershed’s Cover Crop Incentive Program
The Fox Lake Inland Protection & Rehabilitation District, in partnership with the Fox Lake Preservation Organization, announces that their Cover Crop Incentive Program has eight Fox Lake watershed producers participating. The two Fox Lake organizations have budgeted $26,000 which will be distributed to the area farmers who have committed to cover cropping practices. The Fox Lake Cover Crop Incentive program was designed by an area farmer and agronomist.
The goal of the program was to make it simple for area farmers to participate. Depending on the location of the farmland, a base payment could be $30 per acre or $15 per acre to plant cover crops. Additional conservation farming methods are reimbursed $5 per acre. Such methods include no till or strip till planting, planting green, having a current Nutrient Management Plan (NMP), and first time participants.
ABOUT THE FOX LAKE WATERSHED: The Fox Lake watershed is approximately 35,600 acres in size, draining areas of Dodge, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, and Columbia Counties. The watershed is comprised of rolling hills and plains interspersed with wetlands. 70% of the watershed is in agricultural land use.