Southwest Badger Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council, Inc.
February 2014

Southwest Badger Receives Grant to Help Communities Threatened by Emerald Ash Borer!

Southwest Badger received a $25,000 DNR Urban Forestry Grant for "Community-Wide Awareness and Action to Deal with the Threat of Emerald Ash Borer."


This grant provides funding for an inventory of ash trees in 10-15 communities in La Crosse, Sauk and Iowa Counties. This project is an effort to explain the significant and impending tree work that will be needed in small communities and an attempt to get communities to take prioritized action in facing the Emerald Ash Borer.


Southwest Badger will contract with interested communities in the three counties and work closely with their staff, elected officials and interested community members to educate them about Emerald Ash Borer and develop the process of creating an ash tree inventory.  Communities will be chosen on a first-come, first-served basis, until funding is gone.


Southwest Badger's forester will inventory and rank all municipal ash trees using a simplified version of International Society of Arborists risk assessment sheet. The main focus for communities will be the identification of the 50 best ash trees and the 50 worst ash trees. Individual trees will be identified with specific locations. The list will be a priority catalog of ash trees that should be removed or possibly treated. 


Municipal staff will be asked to accompany the forester to learn how trees are assessed. This will provide a number of benefits: municipal staff would be able to do their own rough assessments in the future as well as better explain to community members the methods and procedures in place to deal with the worst trees first.  We will also work with community leaders and citizens to consider new ordinances and advocacy groups, such as a community tree board.


This project will provide communities with the tools to determine which ash trees need to be removed, and in which order. As understanding of Emerald Ash Borer increases, support for funding will increase, adding to the number of trees removed and/or treated, and new trees planted.  It will spark awareness of the threat of Emerald Ash Borer throughout southwest Wisconsin and improve the understanding of Best Management Practices in dealing with Emerald Ash Borer. It will build community partnerships and significantly increase community support and buy-in by residents and elected officials, including consideration of new ordinances and new advocacy groups (such as new tree boards or volunteer citizen groups). It will encourage communities to invest in their urban forest canopy as part of a long-term plan for a community's quality of life.


For more information, or to sign up for the program, contact Southwest Badger Forester Patrick Dayton.


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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
Grant to Assist Communities with Emerald Ash Borer Funded
LIKE us on Facebook
Grazing Broker Hired! Meet Laura Paine
Forest Stewardship with Patrick Dayton
What is Your Woods Worth? Forestry Economic Calculator
Aquatic Invasive Species with Don Barrette
Grazing with Dennis Rooney
Women Caring for the Land Workshops

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.

Grazing Broker Hired!
Meet Laura Paine

 Southwest Badger is pleased to announce the hiring of Laura Paine for a new Grazing Broker position.  Her primary responsibility will be to connect landowners with grassland acres to livestock producers who

Southwest Badger Grazing Broker Laura Paine at her new office in Dodgeville.

want to lease grassland acres for grazing. Paine began Grazing Broker work on February 17th.  Her home office is in the Iowa County Land Conservation office in Dodgeville. 


 Paine brings together all the skills necessary to pioneer this new position.  Most recently, Paine was the Grazing and Organic Agriculture Specialist at DATCP where she provided statewide educational programming on grazing and organic farming, and market development for grass-based and organic products.


Over the past 20 years, Paine has been involved in many grazing research, education, and technical assistance projects. "I believe that the innovative approach of the Grazing Broker project can succeed where traditional education and cost-share efforts have lagged recently," said Paine.  "The program has huge potential to make strides in conservation of grasslands and to bolster the livestock sector in a region where agriculture is a key element of the local economy."


Specifically, the Grazing Broker will identify existing grasslands that have the potential for grazing.  She will then act as a broker to bring grassland owners and grazing producers together and establish grazing rental contracts.  She will work with the landowner and grazier to develop grazing management plans. The Grazing Broker will accomplish this by networking with area landowners and grazing organizations to promote grazing and grass-based agriculture throughout the community. Efforts will focus on established graziers and landowners with expiring CRP acres.


"Southwest Wisconsin has a long history of well-managed, pasture-based beef and dairy farms. By working with the existing graziers in the area, we hope to connect grassland owners with those in need of this valuable resource," said Paine. "These relationships will support both the producers and the landowners in an economically viable way that will also support local communities."


Funding for the Grazing Broker program was provided by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Walton Family Foundation.

Laura Paine can be reached at (608)732-1202 or  
Forest Stewardship
Patrick Dayton, Forester/Project Coordinator

 It was the time after the recession had hit our country and the federal government was looking for ways to stop us from going into a depression.  The government was going to spend money, now called the stimulus, and they were looking for projects to fund that would stimulate/sustain the economy and get work done that would benefit the country in the long-term.  Projects that were 'shovel ready' and that 'created a lot of jobs' were most likely to be funded.  This perplexed me since it seemed like the more money an organization asked for, the more likely it would be funded.  That was the opposite of how most other grants we had applied for operated. I didn't understand it until the proverbial light bulb turned on - one person's cost can be another person's income.


In working with Paul Bader of the Kickapoo Woods Cooperative over the years, I learned the steps of production the timber industry needs to take to get trees to a point where wood can be sold as a finished product to customers.  All of these steps appeared to me as costs of production, but after my light bulb turned on, I realized they could be viewed as jobs created by the workings of forestry.  Knowing that conservation for the environment's sake will only be accomplished to a limited extent and that human beings have always protected and cared for things that have direct value to them; it is obvious to foresters that a sustainable supply of timber coming from the forest is necessary for the long-term and wide scale protection of forest land. 


Foresters have concentrated on advocating the sustainability of forestry but have shied away from a discussion on economics, due to lengthy span between scheduled harvests and the relatively small amount that landowners get paid for standing trees.  However, if we look over an entire region, such as southwest Wisconsin, and at all the steps along the chain of production of forestry/wood production, the economics of forestry look good.  It is with that perspective that the Forest Economic Calculator was created - calculator has been available to users for the last month, and we have already received positive feedback. Since the input values can be changed, the calculator should have application over time and throughout the nation. 


Many landowners I work with do not like to focus on the economic value of trees, which is perfectly fine.  This tool is there to promote the protection of forests to those people who don't easily see the intrinsic value of trees and forests.


P.S. There have been numerous recent reports from loggers that timber prices are on the uptick.


What is Your Woods Worth?
Forestry Economic Calculator

 Many people appreciate the aesthetic and recreational values of forests but do not have an understanding of the importance of forests in building and sustaining the economy of southwest Wisconsin.  Often when people compare the value of their woodlands to other land uses, the economics of forests don't add up.


Southwest Badger Forester Patrick Dayton created a Forestry Economic Calculator and added it to the Southwest Badger website to show the economic value of sustainable forest management.  The calculator can be found at


"Money generated from harvesting timber does not start and stop with the money a logger pays a landowner for the trees," said Dayton.  "That is only one small portion of economic activity that sustainable forestry generates.  There are many people along the chain of production who add value to the product and receive an income for their efforts."


The Forestry Economic Calculator gives a more complete illustration of the steps from woods to woodwork that take place in southwest Wisconsin.  The calculator does not measure economic multipliers.  It counts only steps in the process that add value to the actual process of wood production.


When asked who would use the calculator, Dayton suggested, "The calculator could be used by landowners to show how much their individual timber harvest benefited not only themselves, but the region.  It may be even more useful to regional leaders to demonstrate the significance of sustainable forestry in their area.  The calculator could also be used by the forest industry to explain the value of what they do and to measure their cost of production."


Dayton points out the calculator will help landowners recognize that if they actively manage their woods, they will contribute more to the local economy and reap more of the individual benefits as well.  "The first step in improving your woods is to have a good plan," added Dayton.  "Your local forester can help."


The Forestry Economic Calculator was constructed by Southwest Badger with the help of the Kickapoo Woods Cooperative and individuals from the forest industry. 


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

 To quote an old Beatles' song, "It's been a long and lonely winter," but I wouldn't say it has been quiet. You are probably wondering what I have been up to or maybe you have been so busy keeping warm and

Don identifies New Zealand Mudsnails found in Black Earth Creek

shoveling snow that what I have been doing is not all that important.  The good news is that we are in late February and there cannot possibly be any snow left in the sky to rain down upon us.  This also means that as we approach spring, the field season is about to gear up. But I digress. What you really want to know is have I gotten anything done in all of this winter madness. 


The short answer is yes. I have been incredibly busy and it looks to continue into the fall. In 2013 we completed the regional Aquatic Invasive Species Strategic Plan and are moving forward to implement it. We are also entering the end to our second grant award which means a completion of the grant report (essentially an accounting of deliverables and work done under those grant funds) and writing a new grant as to fund future aquatic invasive species projects and my position as the regional coordinator. If awarded, the new grant will allow Southwest Badger to retain my position as coordinator as well as to hire one additional coordinator to our very large 9 county area. 


Southwest Badger was recently awarded two grants to help facilitate Clean Boats Clean Waters activities (watercraft inspections and educational outreach) at two boat launches in the region. The locations covered under the two grants are Governor Dodge and Yellowstone Lake.  We have secured assistance from the local Kiwanis Club and Lake Association to help with our efforts in preventing aquatic invasive species transfers.


Unfortunately, aquatic invasive species news has also been bittersweet. Recently, it was discovered that the New Zealand Mudsnail is indeed in Wisconsin and has established itself in the Black Earth Creek watershed - an ideal fishing destinations for thousands of trout anglers.  This organism has been identified as having come from other popular trout streams in Colorado and most likely was transported on equipment used in that state and then in Black Earth Creek.  This tiny critter has been responsible for serious ecological issues in coldwater fisheries in other states and is very difficult to control once established.  In the last three months I have attended many meetings discussing preventative measures and educational goals regarding New Zealand Mudsnail. 


There have also been other aquatic invasives discoveries such as Japanese Hops in two southwestern counties that previously did not have Japanese Hops.  In response of these new discoveries, we are assisting the affected counties with expertise and control techniques. We are hopeful that by using information gained in other invasive plant projects such as the Japanese Knotweed Project in Richland Center on Willow Creek, our partners can adopt methods that will allow them to effectively deal with these new infestations.


There has been so much ongoing that it is hard for me to list it all in such a short newsletter. But fear not.  I am available by phone and email. If you have questions about the work we are doing or if you would like to be involved, give me a call. Or just send me an email. Either way we would love to hear from you. I can be reached at 608-219-7842 or 608-348-7114. My email address is .


Thanks again until next time always remember to inspect your equipment for invasive species, remove any present, drain all water from your vessel, and never move any living aquatic organism or water from one water body to another.


Grazing Initiative
Dennis Rooney, Grazing Specialist

Frost Seeding


Now is the time to be thinking of improving your pasture. Freezing and thawing of soil in February and early March is a great time to provide seed-to-soil contact, allowing germination of seed. There is a little more risk of the seed not germinating than a traditional seeding, but the cost and time is a lot less. The secret is to have exposed soil. Pastures that have thin stands and exposed soil are good candidates for frost seeding. Medium red clover is the cheapest seed and works well. Other clovers will also work.


Some steps to improve germination include mixing fertilizer with the seed, as the fertilizer will scratch the seed coat and improve germination. If the ground can withstand heavy equipment, seed can be mixed with fertilizer at a bulk plant. Keep in mind that when you apply this mixture with a "spinning seeder," fertilizer will travel twice as far as the seed, so you will want to cut the application rate in half and overlap by half when applying the fertilizer and seed. A heavy, round seed like clover has a better chance of making soil contact than a light, flatter seed.


Clovers, seeded in the right conditions, will germinate most years. Grasses are more "hit or miss," germinating about half of the time.  The advantage of frost-seeding a legume like red clover is that legumes "fix" nitrogen typically in excess of their own needs, providing added fertility to other plants, and improving stands.


Once legumes become established in a stand of grass and compose 30% to 50% of the stand, there is no need to provide additional nitrogen, which reduces fertility costs. Birdsfoot trefoil is a persistent perennial that can be frost-seeded also, but is slow to establish. Some have had success mixing it with red clover. When seeding a legume that has not been grown in a pasture for years, it's important to include the proper inoculants with the seed to ensure that the bacteria responsible for fixing the nitrogen will be present. 


The more you can suppress the existing stand (grazing, herbicides, etc.), the better the odds of a successful establishment. Frost seeding is a low-cost seeding method that can allow farmers to renovate pastures by increasing the legume content and moving some improved genetics into the mix. The end result can be a low-cost, more-productive, higher-yielding stand that requires less nitrogen fertilizer. Note clovers normally need to be reseeded every three to four years at four to six pounds per acre.


I worked with 22 landowners amounting to 1,807 acres of pasture in 2013. I consulted on their pasture/infrastructure needs, its potential for grazing, what livestock enterprise or enterprises would work best, consulted on their EQIP projects, stocking rates, resource concerns, got information and wrote profiles/grazing plans.       


Southwest Badger Brings 
Women Caring for the Land 
Workshops to Southwest Wisconsin

Women who own or manage farmland in Wisconsin are invited to a free workshop in April to support female landowners in learning about conservation practices and building local connections.  Women Caring For the Land, an innovative program facilitated by the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) and the Women, Food & Agriculture Network (WFAN) brings together women landowners in an informal, discussion-based learning format that that enables these land owners to meet with female conservation professionals to discuss their goals for improving air, water and soil quality on the land they own and to engage in different activities that teach conservation principles.


These workshops are free for women to attend and include an informational morning session followed by lunch and a bus tour of area conservation practices in action. The workshop runs 8:30 am from 3:00 pm and includes an informational morning session followed by lunch (provided) and a bus tour of area conservation practices in action.


The same material will be offered at each workshop; please attend which one is closest to you and fits your schedule.   Pre-registration is required and space is limited.


Tues. April 22 (Dodgeville, WI)

HHS/UW Extension building (behind the old courthouse); 303 W. Chapel Street


Wed. April 23  (Viroqua, WI)

Viroqua Area Medical Office Building/Room A; 407 S. Main Street


Thurs. April 24  (Monroe, WI)

Green County - UW Extension, 2841 6th Street


To register and for more information, see:

Registration deadline is April 16.  The regional host is Southwest Badger Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Council and other partners include USDA Farm Service Agency Wisconsin, Driftless Area Land Conservancy, Kickapoo Grazing Initiative, Mississippi Valley Conservancy, Valley Stewardship Network, Wisconsin Farmers Union and others.


Topics for discussion range from managing soil and water conservation to government cost-share programs to how to talk with tenants about changing management practices.  A specialized curriculum has been developed for this program, outlining activities that bring issues such as diversity and soil erosion to life.  After a facilitated morning conservation discussion and lunch, participants go on a guided tour of area farmland to see these principles and practices in action.  


"Women Caring of the Land builds on more than a decade of work with women farmland owners in Iowa," explains Lisa Kivirst, coordinator of the MOSES Rural Women's Project and the Wisconsin partner in this project.  "Through the various pilots WFAN organized, we've learned that this group of women consistently demonstrates strong conservation values in surveys and interviews.  However, many of them are inheriting farmland from partners or fathers and have not participated in management decisions in the past.  These workshops provide a crucial link between these women and the resources they need to achieve their conservation goals."


"We have had wonderful feedback from participants," adds Leigh Adcock, Executive Director of WFAN. "Many of them just need to network with other women landowners to give them the information and confidence they need to improve soil and water conservation on their farms.  Over 60 percent of meeting participants take at least one conservation action on their farmland within one year of attending the meeting."


These workshops also showcase the inspiring stories of local female landowners like Bonnie Wideman, women who have successfully incorporated conservation practices on their land through utilizing various state and federal resources.   Wideman runs Pine Knob Organic Farm, a grass-fed beef and sheep operation outside Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin.


"Perhaps the most significant change I've made since taking over management of the farm after my husband's death eight years ago is going to rotational grazing, something he wanted to do but we didn't have the infrastructure at the time," explains Wideman.   "Encouraged by grazing specialists and with EQIP funding to help pay for projects over the years, I was able to put in fence and water lines to enable grazing in over 30 different paddocks."   


Wideman's current project is finding a way to handle all the water that comes onto her property from certain directions so that it doesn't erode the field road and run through livestock lots. "My local NRCS staff are being incredibly helpful in coming up with a plan and submitting it for funding. It is so gratifying when agency folks are able to understand how important conservation projects like this are to the landowner."


"Women Caring for the Land provides a needed connection between women landowners and the array of land conservation resources and programs we have available here in Wisconsin," explains Cara Carper, Executive Director of Southwest Badger Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Council, a host partner in the 2014 Wisconsin workshops. "Southwest Badger RC&D is looking forward to bringing these landowners together and providing the start for new relationships and network support for the future."


For more information on the Wisconsin workshops and more on Women Caring for the Land see: 


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