Southwest Badger Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council, Inc.
August 2013

If These Trees Could Talk

Southwest Badger has the opportunity to partner on a new, very exciting study.  UW-Platteville has started a project named "Establishing the Long-Term Range of Variability in Drought Conditions for Southwest Wisconsin."  The project will involve taking cores from many old, open-grown oak trees throughout the Driftless Area.  The tree-ring growth patterns will be analyzed to gain insight about past environmental conditions. The two-year project, which began in June, is partially funded by a grant from the U.S. Geological Survey.  A more complete description of the project can be found at:


Southwest Badger's role may include:

  • Connecting UW-Platteville with landowners
  • Coring trees
  • Assisting in the analysis
  • Outreach and presentations

Donate for Oaks

We are requesting local citizens, interested parties, and friends of Southwest Badger who are concerned with oaks and oak management to donate money to fund our portion of costs of the project until we find a more reliable source of funding. 


If you are interested in oaks on the landscape, please consider being generous and giving to our organization so we can participate and expand the project and make it as successful as it can be.  This is top rate research being done in Southwest Wisconsin.  Any gift is appreciated and tax deductible.  Please consider forwarding this email to others who love oaks and encourage them to donate and sign up to receive this newsletter.


Make a Donation

Donate for Oaks Project


Donate for Southwest Badger

On that note, please consider donating to Southwest Badger's endowment.  Projects are exciting and fun to be a part of, but the day-to-day operation of Southwest Badger allows those projects to happen.  Moreover, the long-term future of our organization looks very bright if we can establish base funding and add desired projects as they appear.  Our organization has a very good reputation of accomplishing work, and we have been relatively successful continuing normal operations after the RC&D program nation-wide was cut by the federal government. 


What the lack of federal monies has shown us is that to survive we will require local support.  This is a neat opportunity for us since we have always been driven to make local conditions (both economically and ecologically) better, and our ties to local governments and citizens have never been stronger.  If you read our mission and support it, and think we have the skills to accomplish the goals we have set, please find the generosity in your heart to include Southwest Badger in your will or make a donation while you are living.



 Donate for Southwest Badger

Thank you!

About Us
Southwest Badger is a community development organization serving Crawford, Grant, Green, Iowa, LaCrosse, Lafayette, Richland, Sauk and Vernon counties. Our mission is to implement natural resource conservation, managed growth, and sustainable rural economic development in our area. We are a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization based out of Platteville, Wisconsin.
In This Issue
If These Trees Could Talk
"Like" Us on Facebook
Forest Stewardship with Patrick Dayton
Aquatic Invasive Species with Don Barrette
Fond Farewell to Sam Blake
Miscanthus Update with Mike Lieurance
Grazing with Dennis Rooney

Protect Your Trees
Don't let deer, rodents, or severe weather ruin your reforestation efforts. Use tree shelters to give your trees a fighting chance.
Protect Your Trees, Leave a Legacy
For additional information or to order, email us at
or call (608) 348-7110.

Southwest Badger is your conservation partner - all sales fund resource conservation in southwest Wisconsin.

"Like" Us on Facebook
Cara Carper, Executive Director

Want to stay connected to Southwest Badger activities?  The Badger Report is a quarterly newsletter, but if you would like to see what Southwest Badger is doing day-to-day, check out our Facebook page. 


We update our Facebook page weekly.  You don't need a Facebook account to look at the page, but if you do have a Facebook page, please "like" our page to receive regular updates.


Our Facebook page is also a great resource for youth who are interested in a career "outdoors" or teachers who organize Career Days.  Please suggest Southwest Badger's Facebook page.  They'll see our staff in action! 

Like us on Facebook





Check out Southwest Badger and "LIKE" our page on Facebook.

Sign up for a Facebook account if you want to like
Southwest Badger RC&D Council and connect with other friends. Or you can simply view the Page.

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Forest Stewardship
Patrick Dayton, Forester/Project Coordinator

Through July of this year I have worked with 35 landowners, wrote 281 acres of forest management Patrick August 2013 plans, marked 138 acres of timber and 56 acres of timber stand improvement work.  I continue to pick the cooler days of summer to get out and inventory Hixon Forest in La Crosse, and a number of kid's education days are planned for next month. 


Cooperative Weed Management Area

A new project just started by Southwest Badger was to form and coordinate a Cooperative Weed Management Area in southwest Wisconsin.  A cooperative weed management area is a coalition of landowners and professionals who collaborate on effective invasive plant management on a regional scale.  Exotic invasive plants can cause significant problems to the ecology and economy of an area.  As their name indicates, they are not from the local area and they considerably displace native vegetation.  Many exotic invasive species were brought here intentionally for aesthetic or agricultural reasons and then escaped cultivation into natural areas and are now serious problems.  Species such as garlic mustard, buckthorn, honeysuckle (non-native varieties), Japanese barberry, multiflora rose, autumn olive, and other invasive plants have become common invaders of our local landscapes.  Along with these, new invasive species are regularly threatening to establish themselves in our area. 


This project will concentrate on outreach, inventory, management plans, and control of plants on private lands.  Wisconsin DNR (funders), Vernon County, the Kickapoo Woods Cooperative, and individual landowners have already decided to be partners on the project.  More partnerships will be pursued, especially with our local county Land Conservation Departments to make this project as robust as possible. 


If a landowner wants assistance on their property dealing with invasive species, this is a project that is relevant.  If landowners or professionals want to guide regional efforts to fighting invasive species, then this is a fitting group to join.   Please contact me if you are interested either in having me visit your property to discuss exotic invasive species or if you are interested in leadership responsibility. 


Southwest Wisconsin Aquatic Invasive Species Planning Initiative
Don Barrette, Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator

Well it's that time of the year again. As we transition from summer to fall, I wanted to take some time to look at all we accomplished in the

Tanner and a field of Purple Loosestrife in La Crosse County

Driftless Area during the summer season.  It was a busy year for me and our summer intern, Tanner Ruechel. Tanner is a senior at UW Platteville, pursuing a degree in Biology with an emphasis in Genetics.


As I look back it is hard to believe we accomplished all the goals we set out to do. Of course, having great staff such as Tanner for our intern was paramount in that accomplishment. 


During the summer, Tanner and I completed our sampling requirements for our DNR Aquatic Invasive Species grants.  We have successfully completed the sampling of nine counties and over 120 rivers, streams and lakes throughout the Driftless Area. Tanner attended the Trout Festival at Coon Valley where he displayed pictures of aquatic invasive species and discussed aquatic invasives prevention methods with shoreline anglers. 


In the early part of the spring, I attended the Earth Day and the Lakes Fair in Sauk County.  The primary purpose was to continue our outreach efforts at various local events.  

Clean Boats Clean Waters at Yellowstone Lake State Park by Don and Tanner

Tanner and I participated in many Clean Boats Clean Waters activities at area lakes such as

Blackhawk, Yellowstone, Devils Lake, Mirror Lake, Cox Hollow Lake, Twin Valley Lake and several locations on the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers. Here we were able to inspect boats for aquatic invasive species as they entered or left the boat landings.  This work included discussions with boaters about the necessary prevention steps needed to keep our waters free from aquatic invasive species.



We did not end where the water ended but also took our message to the streets. In 2013 we attended the Lafayette, Crawford and Sauk County fairs. We will also attend the Richland and Vernon County fairs later this year all in an effort to reach the public about our fight against invasive species.  You can see pictures of Tanner and me in action on the Southwest Badger Facebook page.


We recently completed the draft of a Southwest Wisconsin Aquatic Invasive Species Strategic Plan. The plan is currently under review by our partners and will soon be available as a guide in the fight against invasives in the region.


I would be remiss if I did not mention one of our proudest moments and give a thank you to Richland County Conservationist Cathy Cooper for making our job easier as we fight established and newly

Spraying Japanese Knotweed in Richland County

introduced invasives in Richland County.  Cathy Cooper and her staff received a Rapid Response grant to control Japanese Knotweed on Willow Creek.  All of our hard work (planning, meetings, cutting, and surveying) came to fruition when Applied Ecological Services begin herbicide application on many infested areas in August.  We expect the herbicide application will allow us to begin to see a reduction in population size and growth of the Japanese Knotweed currently residing on Willow Creek.  We all expect to continue this process for many years and look forward to more results in reducing aquatic invasive species on Willow Creek and other sites throughout the Driftless Area.


I hope you enjoyed the review and the pictures of our 2013 summer aquatic invasive species efforts.  I will continue to share updates through Facebook, local media outlets or via email. Have a great Labor Day Weekend and thank you for your continued support. 


Fond Farewell to Sam Blake, Field Forester
Driftless Forest Network/My Wisconsin Woods

Cara's Note:  Sam Blake recently left Southwest Badger to further his career as a DNR Forestry Technician.  We will certainly miss him.


Our Stewardship Forester Patrick Dayton will be taking over the My Wisconsin Woods program responsibilities through June 2013.


A few words from Sam about his new position:  I am a few weeks into my new position at the Wisconsin DNR as one of the Augusta Forestry Technicians. A lot of my time will be concentrated toward wildland fire in Eau Claire, Clark, and Jackson Counties. The remainder of my time will be spent working in the Eau Claire and Clark County forests. This will include timber sale establishment and site preparation with the bulldozer I will be operating. I will miss being able to work with private landowners on a day to day basis like I did at Southwest Badger. I was able to meet some wonderful people and work for a great organization. I enjoyed all the position had to offer and what I was able to take away from it, and now I look forward to learning more about Wisconsin's fire program and exploring new woods.


Miscanthus Demonstration Project
Mike Lieurance, Biomass Specialist

Southwest Badger is in its fourth and final year of the miscanthus grass and hybrid switchgrass
demonstration project. Crop year 2012 was very dry so the miscanthus grass only averaged about 5 1/2 feet in height. The switchgrass did very well and was harvested for hay.


We had a contract with DTE power plant at Cassville to burn the miscanthus grass in their power plant this spring. However, because of the late wet spring the 2012 crop could not be chopped this spring. Field conditions did not permit the chopper to get into the field. The 2012 crop was brushed hogged at a height of 12 inches and blown back on the ground.


The picture of the miscanthus grass next to the pickup truck was taken on July 24th, 2013 and had an average height of 6-7 feet.

Grazing Initiative
Dennis Rooney, Grazing Specialist

I attended a Pasture Walk at Tom Coleman's in Vernon County August 1st, sponsored by Vernon County Land & Water Conservation and co-sponsored by the Kickapoo Grazing Initiative. One of the topics discussed was Managed Grazing of grass-fed beef.


Grass-fed beef:

  • Helps build soil organic matter and fertility and protects it from erosion.
  • Uses far less pesticides and reduces fertilizer cost.
  • Shows increased returns to the producer.
  • Produces healthier meat - lower in total fat, calories and cholesterol.
  • Results in increased carbon sequestration and reduction of greenhouse gases.
  • Mimics nature.
  • Increases and protects habitat for wildlife, including critically declining grassland birds and sensitive species like trout.

The grass-fed beef market is growing at 20 percent per year.  The average price for grass-fed beef is $20 to $25 per hundred pounds more than that for conventional grain fed beef. With proper forage management, it is possible to realize strong daily gains at less feed cost than corn-based finishing.


Help Southwest Badger Promote Conservation!
Donate Now!
Help support natural resource conservation and economic development in southwest Wisconsin.
Donations to Southwest Badger are welcome at any time. 
You can donate online by clicking the button below


or mail your contribution to: Southwest Badger, PO Box 753, Platteville, WI 53818
All gifts are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. 
We appreciate your support!