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

Southwest Badger Receives Grant for Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention!


For the past two years, Southwest Badger has been working to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species by monitoring and documenting populations, and increasing awareness through outreach and education activities. We were pleased to receive funding from DNR for continued aquatic invasive species work.


As more is learned about the distribution of aquatic invasive species in southwest Wisconsin, we have learned focused attention is needed on areas that have not yet been sampled and the people who spread aquatic invasive species.


A new approach for Southwest Badger will be the coordination of Rapid Response grants for our County partners.  In the past, we have helped county Land Conservation Departments apply for Rapid Response grants. In some cases, however, the drawn-out county approval process is not "rapid."  In reaction, our county partners have asked Southwest Badger to apply for, and coordinate their Rapid Response grants.


This project includes funding for community-focused, educational outreach efforts on aquatic invasive species and prevention methods.  Over the next year we will:

  • Document locations of new aquatic invasive species populations in southwest Wisconsin
  • Target aquatic invasive species plant infestations in the nine county project area with Rapid Response grants
  • Work to develop and maintain an aquatic invasive species curriculum in area schools
  • Implement Clean Boats, Clean Waters activities
  • Deliver a professional level monitoring report and map about the presence or absence of aquatic invasive species in southwest Wisconsin.
  • Participate in media campaign using a "Protect WI Waters/It's the Law"
  • Implement the Bait Dealer Initiative utilizing the Bait Dealer Toolkit
  • Participate in the Landing Blitz -July 4th weekend
  • Assist with installation of aquatic invasive species signs at boat landings
  • Establish enforcement partnerships with local law enforcement

 If you have questions, please contact us. We're excited to continue our aquatic invasive species prevention efforts.


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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 for Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention
LIKE us on Facebook
Contract Grazing with Laura Paine
Forest Stewardship with Patrick Dayton
June is Invasive Species Awareness Month with Don Barrette
Grazing Stream Banks with Dennis Rooney
Women Caring for the Land Workshops

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Contract Grazing:  Good for Landowners, Producers and the Land
Laura Paine, Grazing Broker


Contract grazing is a means of getting more livestock and soil-conserving grasslands on the landscape. Contract Grazing (also known as Custom Grazing) is a partnership in which one person owns the land and another owns the livestock. Although uncommon in Wisconsin, this In fact, contract grazing can involve as many as three separate entities carrying out three distinct roles: a land owner, a livestock owner, and a grazier (the grazing manager) who provides the grazing management expertise and oversees the grazing activities.


For non-farming landowners who rent some or all of their land for agriculture, well- managed pastures offer both rental income and environmental benefits, such as reduced potential for soil erosion and nutrient runoff from agricultural areas for improved water quality, high quality grassland wildlife habitat, and many others. Renting or leasing to a contract grazier qualifies land owners to maintain agricultural use value tax benefits while achieving conservation goals.   


For livestock producers, contract grazing may be an effective way of adding pasture acres to increase forage production, as drought insurance, or to expand the operation to bring on the next generation. Since contract grazing can be done without owning land, it can also be a good way for beginning farmers to start a grazing operation. 


How to Get Started

The Grazing Broker project was established to facilitate contract grazing. We are building a database of landowners and producers so that we can 'play match-maker,' bringing together likeminded people and helping them get started.


For landowners, the first step is a farm visit in which Laura will help you identify your goals for your land, assess the capacity of the land for producing pasture and hay, developing a grazing plan that meets your  goals, and provide resources and information including programs that cost-share fencing and watering facilities. Even if cost-sharing is unavailable, many livestock producers are willing to invest in fencing and watering if they are given a longer lease, such as 3 to 5 years.


For producers, Laura will work with you to identify grassland acreages that meet your needs within a reasonable distance of your home farm and help set up an effective grazing rotation for the property.  We have several examples of landowners who have taken on some of the management responsibility once they've had livestock on their land for a while.


Throughout the process, Laura works with the landowner and livestock producer to facilitate strong, mutually beneficial partnerships.  For more information or to schedule a visit, contact Laura at 608-732-1202 or


Forest Stewardship
Patrick Dayton, Forester/Project Coordinator


The forest flowers are blooming in the woods and the precipitation has turned from snow to rain.  These next few weeks for me will be filled with woods walks with landowners in the Driftless Forest Network (DFN) project.  Unfortunately that project did not receive further funding for another period, but partners are hoping the network of forestry professionals stays in place.  It has been great meeting with landowners, who were deemed "unengaged' in the Driftless Forest Network project, 
Add a description
Patrick's photo shows two survey markers in the middle of different sections.  They should align perfectly, but in the field things rarely do.
and I found that they had varying degrees of engagement and knowledge of their forests.  Overall, the fact they took the time to request a walk-through with a forester (Zak, Sam, me, or others) proved they have interest in their woods; and I hope they will continue on the virtuous and prosperous path to properly manage and steward their woods.   

It was also very enjoyable working with the partners of the Driftless Forest Network - most notably Aldo Leopold Foundation, American Forest Foundation, and the Wisconsin DNR.  All of their professionalism and eagerness to assist forest landowners in management opportunities is motivating.  Our cooperative weed management area along with the urban forestry project will be the majority of my work load in the near future.


June is Invasive Species Awareness Month
Don Barrette, Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator


It's good to have better weather and things are also heating up here at Southwest Badger

The photo shows Don gathering Purple Loosestrife "nurse plants" at Yellowstone Lake State Park. The plants will be used to raise beetles as bio-controls to combat Purple Loosestrife. 

with our Aquatic Invasive Species program. To date we have completed two Aquatic Invasive Species grants which included monitoring of over 100 sites throughout the nine county region. We have documented aquatic invasive species discoveries in all nine counties. I have also given aquatic invasives presentations at area elementary, middle and high schools and have been very active at regional universities by giving guest lectures to facilitate aquatic invasives education in biology departments.  This spring we hosted two public information meetings to discuss the Southwest Wisconsin Aquatic Invasive Species Strategic Plan. 


I continue to work on plant removal projects with partners in Richland, Vernon, Crawford and Grant counties.  We are now busy preparing for the start of the 2014 spring season.  We continue to make a difference in increased awareness and education throughout the region.  We will continue to offer assistance to our partners in monitoring, grant writing, aquatic invasive species identification and prevention workshops and project design and implementation.


Much of what we need to do cannot be accomplished without help from our committed partners so I would like to express my sincere thanks to the individuals that have made my job a little easier the last three years. 


I can be reached at or 608-348-7114 if you would like to discuss aquatic invasive species strategies or if you have any concerns about a specific plant/animal you may have discovered.


Remember that June is Invasive Species Awareness Month.  We all share the responsibility for preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.

To help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species when using our water resources, please follow these simple steps:

Trout Anglers

  • Before entering and when leaving any water body, make sure all equipment is clean and free of plants and animals
  • Remove all foreign substances including mud from boots and equipment
  • Drain all water from boots and equipment
  • Never move or transport live aquatic organisms (fish, frogs, crayfish, turtles, bugs)
  • Replace felt soled boots with hard rubber


  • Inspect boats, trailers and equipment before launching and leaving
  • Remove all attached aquatic plants and animals
  • Drain all water from boats, vehicles and equipment
  • Never move water, plants or live fish away from a water body. Limited exceptions apply. Visit and search for "Bait Laws"

 Our lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams are unique and fragile resources. Please be responsible and help protect them from outside invaders. 


Using Managed Grazing to Stabilize Driftless Area Stream Banks
Dennis Rooney, Grazing Specialist


The landscape of the Driftless Area includes parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. It is called "the Driftless" due to a lack of glacial drift - the silt, clay and rocky material left behind when the glaciers retreated. The glaciers of the most recent ice age avoided the region, resulting in a landscape of deep river valleys, steep and rocky hills and silt deposits on top of highly-fractured Karst limestone.


The Driftless Area Restoration Effort, spearheaded by Trout Unlimited, is an effort to restore and protect streams and watersheds in the Driftless Area. The goal is to identify a regional strategy for linking conservation with stream corridor and headwaters restoration to improve water quality and fish habitat and populations. Trout Unlimited and partner groups including the Wisconsin DNR, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and county conservation agencies, are already working together in a handful of watersheds to begin showcase projects, including using managed grazing for stream bank improvement.


With these projects they hope to encourage more restoration efforts across the entire Driftless Area. These watersheds represent some of the best opportunities for substantially improving watershed conditions and stream and fishery health. With time and managed intensive grazing the stream banks should improve through vegetation protection.


Since January 1st through April 30th I have worked with 22 land owners consulting on their pastures infrastructure needs, their potential for grazing and what grasses and legumes exist. I also provided education on which livestock enterprise or enterprises would work best, consulted on their EQIP projects, stocking rates, resource concerns, and writing grazing plans.


Women Caring for the Land a Great Success
for Southwest Wisconsin


Women Caring for the Land in Dodgeville

Eighty three southwest Wisconsin women who own or manage farmland in Wisconsin attended Women Caring For the Land, an innovative program hosted by Southwest Badger and facilitated by the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) and the Women, Food & Agriculture Network (WFAN).


Women Caring for the Land brought together women landowners in an informal, discussion-based learning format that that enabled them to meet with female conservation professionals to discuss their goals for improving air, water and soil quality 

Women Caring for the Land at Christine Mueller's farm near Monroe 

on the land they own and to engage in different activities that teach conservation principles.


They were held in Dodgeville, Viroqua and Monroe in April.


Other partners included USDA Farm Service Agency, Driftless Area Land Conservancy, Kickapoo Grazing Initiative, Mississippi Valley Conservancy, Valley Stewardship Network, Wisconsin Farmers Union and others.


Topics for discussion ranged from managing soil and water conservation to government cost-share programs to how to talk with tenants about changing management practices.  After the facilitated morning conservation discussion and lunch, participants went on a guided tour of area farmland to see these principles and practices in action.  


Women Caring for the Land tour Bonnie Wideman's farm near Soldiers Grove.

"We have had wonderful feedback from participants," said 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."


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.


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

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