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

Help Us Fight the Invasives Battle!
Join the WMA Steering Committee

Are you WILD about invasives?  Does multiflora rose really get your goat?  Do you fear the burn of wild parsnip?  Do Japanese Hops drive you to drink?  If so, we need your help.


Thanks to a couple of small grants from DNR, Southwest Badger will be organizing a Weed Management Area in Southwest Badger's coverage area, including Crawford, Grant, Green, Iowa, La Crosse, Lafayette, Richland, Sauk and Vernon counties.


We will build a strong network of partners by bringing together a Steering Committee of very motivated partners to do initial planning for review and approval by a broader group of stakeholders.


We will work with the Steering Committee to develop goals for the group to:

  • Identify, locate, and catalog aggressive invasive plant species;
  • Use a recording and mapping system for use by citizens, agencies and others;
  • Develop a volunteer base to help survey and control invasive plant species;
  • Develop a communication system among all land management organizations, agencies and private land owners to coordinate efforts in weed management control and prevention;
  • Determine how best to communicate with others outside of the committee, such as websites and newsletters;
  • Enlist the help of volunteers and provide training; and
  • Identify additional funding sources and ensure action is taken to apply for additional funding.

If you or someone you know is interested in being part of Weed Management Area planning, please contact Southwest Badger Forester Patrick Dayton at (608) 637-5479 or


A Word from Our Sponsor
Serenity Bluff Cabin


If you enjoy the beauty of the driftless area of Wisconsin, come and check out the latest cabin rental business, Serenity Bluff Cabin.
The cabin sits on top of a bluff offering a beautiful view looking south over the class A trout fishing stream. Along with fishing you can enjoy bow hunting, turkey hunting, hiking, horseback riding or just simply relaxing at an authentic Amish built cabin. While sitting on either of the completely private decks you can watch the eagles soar by and listen to the many different sounds of birds and the creek below. If any of this piques your interest, please check our website. 
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
Help Us Fight the Invasives Battle!
Grazing Broker: Our First Big Success!
Get Ahead of Emerald Ash Borer
Ash Tree Inventory Work Begins
Welcome Back Brian Graham
Summer Aquatic Invasives Update
2014 Honey Bee Initiative
We'll Miss Beth/Welcome Danielle
Green Lands Blue Waters Conference
Sponsorship Opportunities

Protect Your Trees

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Protect Your Trees, Leave a Legacy
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Southwest Badger is your conservation partner - all sales fund resource conservation in southwest Wisconsin.

Grazing Broker:  Our First Big Success!
Laura Paine, Grazing Broker


Nothing captures the essence of the Grazing Broker project better than the recently established partnership between the Andersons and the Muellers. David Anderson (white tee-shirt in photo) is a landowner whose goal is to use managed grazing to attract grassland birds to his property near Highland. Matt (next to David) and Mike Mueller are conservation-minded beef producers from the Livingston area looking for pastures to rent. Both attended our Grazing Broker 2013-2014 winter workshops.


Through a combination of NRCS funding, out-of-pocket investment, and 'sweat-equity,' David has turned a 45 acre pine plantation into a managed grazing system.  The pine trees were planted as part of a Conservation Reserve Program contract that the previous landowner had. David wanted to restore the hilltop to its historic vegetation: grassland. So, he worked with a company to do a biomass harvest to remove the trees, which were chipped and delivered to the Cassville power plant to be burned.


Following the harvest, David assessed the vegetation that remained. There was quite a bit of grass and clover and he interseeded more in the bare spots. This spring, he had fencing and a watering system installed using EQIP funds. After some delays getting infrastructure in place, and some storm-caused power outages, it was finally ready for cattle on July 2nd.


David met his renter, Mike Mueller at one of our workshops this past winter. Mike and his family have a large beef operation near Livingston where they raise Normande and Short Horn cattle.


The 30 Normande-Short Horn-cross heifers stepped off the trailer into tall, rank grass and wild parsnips that took off after the pine trees were removed. Undeterred, they explored a little and then went to work grazing. Once this first rotation cycle is completed and the pastures are clipped, the parsnip will be under control (cattle eat them!) and it should be great grazing from here on out.


David has already enjoyed the fruits of his labor. His new pasture has attracted a variety of grassland birds, including bobolinks, meadowlarks, dickcissels, and savanna sparrows. To improve the habitat further, he created a 'nesting refuge' within the pasture system, where he leaves some paddocks undisturbed during the peak of the nesting season (May and June).  These paddocks are then brought back into the rotation later in the season once the birds are done nesting.


This is an example of how the grazing broker process works. Participants attend our workshops to learn about their options and meet others with similar interests. As broker, I help guide the formation of partnerships, provide lease templates, facilitate negotiations, and provide mentoring and advice. In this case, David wanted to manage the cattle himself and I've helped him learn the nuts-and-bolts of managing a grazing system, setting up temporary fencing and the logistics of rotating the cattle.


If you're a landowner considering using grazing as a tool to manage your grasslands or a livestock producers looking for more pasture or hay ground for your livestock, we can help you find a good partner. For more information about the program, contact Laura Paine at 608-732-1202 or
Get Ahead of Emerald Ash Borer:
Help Available to Communities to Identify Ash Trees


Southwest Badger can help communities take a proactive approach against the invasion of emerald ash borer. Thanks to a grant from DNR, Southwest Badger staff are available to inventory community ash trees. 


"Municipalities have limited staff and funding to address the danger of the emerald ash borer invasion," said Southwest Badger Forester Patrick Dayton. "They're aware of the threat of emerald ash borer, but do not have the time or expertise to identify all the ash trees or develop a plan of action to deal with the trees."


Patrick will be working with communities to locate and rate community-owned ash trees in parks and right-of-ways to produce a practical plan of work. The ranking will help determine which trees should be removed first and which ones should be removed last or possibly treated with an insecticide to protect them. The inventory will not include privately owned trees. 


"When emerald ash borers kills a tree, the tree becomes very brittle and a dangerous safety hazard. Because it can cost 40 percent more money to remove a dead tree, it is important for communities to prioritize which trees need to be removed immediately before they deteriorate too much," added Dayton.


Southwest Badger received a grant to provide a tree risk survey of ash trees in a limited number of communities in southwest Wisconsin. Interested communities should contact Southwest Badger to apply. Southwest Badger will work closely with staff, elected officials and interested community members to educate them about emerald ash borer and develop the process of creating a tree risk survey. The main focus will be the identification of the 50 best ash trees and the 50 worst ash trees. Communities will be chosen on a first-come, first-served basis, until funding is gone.


The hope is that even when emerald ash borer invades, the urban forest will be healthy enough to continue to provide the benefits of trees, including water retention, heat reduction, clean air, increased property values and visual attractiveness.


"Although emerald ash borer has not been found in all communities yet, the work of removing and/or treating ash trees and planting new trees will be much more costly if a community waits until the bug is found and all ash trees are infected," added Dayton.  "We encourage communities to work with us to invest in their urban forest as part of a long-term plan for the community's quality of life."


The emerald ash borer is a beetle native to northern Asia that was first found in the United States in Michigan in 2002. It is thought it was brought to our country on shipping crates or pallets through the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence shipping route. All counties in southwest Wisconsin are currently under quarantine due to the invasion. All native ash trees will be affected by the emerald ash borer whether the trees are healthy or not. 


For more information and to apply, contact Patrick Dayton at (608) 637-5479 or

Ash Tree Inventory Work Begins
Patrick Dayton, Stewardship Forester


I have begun working fully on our urban forestry project this summer and things are going well.  We have two cities (Lancaster and Darlington) that are interested in having their ash trees evaluated and one city (Viroqua) that wants to have an informative meeting about emerald ash borer for their residents.  This has been nice summer work for me - a break from the woods. We have been complimented by city officials and the Wisconsin DNR for initiating this project.  I want to take this opportunity to let you all know my appreciation for the competent and capable city officials I have worked with during this project. I am thankful for the multiple public work directors and other city employees who are talented, hard-working people that we are proud to work with in Wisconsin. 


Welcome Back Brian Graham!


Brian Graham is rejoining Southwest Badger staff to assist with the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) urban ash tree assessment project.  Brian last worked with us on a part-time basis on the Implementation of a Model EAB Infestation Management Response Plan project that focused on work and outreach to forest landowners.  Patrick will be responsible for making arrangements and agreements with different municipalities for the urban ash project and then Brian will assist in evaluating and assessing the ash trees.  This will help speed up the process and hopefully allow us to service more cities and villages.  Brian is a professional arborist who has years of experience climbing, pruning, and removing trees.  He assisted Patrick in developing an evaluation form that will be used for the project.  Welcome back Brian!


Summer Aquatic Invasives Update
Don Barrette, Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator


Wow, I cannot believe it is August already. Unfortunately with every new season come new discoveries of aquatic invasive species.


So far this summer I have completed sampling/monitoring for aquatic invasive species in half of the nine counties, and the news is not good.


Japanese Hops in Crawford County

In 2013 we had a few new discoveries of Japanese Hops, but in 2014 we discovered Japanese Hops in at least 3 more locations in Crawford County and 5 more in Lafayette County. This news has prompted the DNR to take a second look at strategies for dealing with Japanese Hops in the region. 


Phragmites also has major impacts as an invasive plant throughout the state.  Fortunately it is not widespread in the western part of the state, but a small population was discovered in Richland County.  Southwest Badger is currently working on a rapid response grant to deal with this new invasive to our region. 


Phragmites in Richland County

We are also making headway on educating water user groups. Currently there are three Clean Boats Clean Waters grants in the region to facilitate education and awareness of aquatic invasives at Yellowstone Lake, Governor Dodge (Cox Hollow Lake) and Blackhawk Lake. So far we have completed over 500 hours of watercraft inspections at the various lakes. That's a lot of individuals who have now heard how to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. We are confident this work and commitment will eventually translate into reduced populations of aquatic invasive species. 


Our commitment to reducing aquatic invasives has also seen inroads on the Purple Loosestrife battlefield. Two teachers have been raising Purple Loosestrife beetles in their school classrooms and recently released them into the wild so they can do what they do best: Eat Purple Loosestrife!


It has been a busy summer but it has also been a very rewarding summer.  In the terms of reducing aquatic invasive species through education, awareness and commitment, I believe Southwest Badger and our partners are making a difference. We thank everyone for their efforts to help us succeed in our goals.


2014 Honey Bee Initiative
Dennis Rooney, Grazing Specialist


USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service is providing close to $3 million in technical and financial assistance for interested landowners to help improve the health of bees, which play an important role in crop production. The funding is a focused investment to improve pollinator health.


Because of this funding I worked with six clients who applied for Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funding though the new Honey Bee Initiative program to improve honey bee health in Wisconsin and the Midwest. Of these six clients, three were funded. I evaluated their pastures, soils and resource needs; laid out paddocks; measured and mapped their watering needs, seeding, fencing, stream crossings, brush management and stocking rates on their pastures and fields; and wrote them managed rotational grazing plans.


Beekeepers in Wisconsin are losing unprecedented numbers of honey bee hives each year, Wisconsin honey bee pollination is estimated to support more than $15 billion worth of agricultural production, and more than 130 fruits and vegetables rely on bee pollination. Not only do bees pollinate the crops that produce our food supply, but they are an important part of the rural ecosystem.


Funding is provided through EQIP to promote conservation practices that will provide honey bees with nutritious pollen and nectar while providing benefits to the environment. Recent studies have shown that beekeepers are losing approximately 30 percent of their honey bee colonies each year, up from historical norms of ten to fifteen percent overwintering losses experienced prior to 2006.


NRCS is helping farmers and landowners implement conservation practices that will provide safe and diverse food sources for honey bees. For example, appropriate cover crops and pasture management can reduce erosion, increase the health of the soil, inhibit invasive species, and provide quality forage and habitat for honey bees and other pollinators, as well as habitat for other wildlife.


Midwestern states Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin were chosen because from June to September the region is the resting ground for over 65 percent of the commercially managed honey bees in the country. It is a critical time when bees require abundant and diverse forage across broad landscapes to build up hive strength for the winter.


Since 2006, when heightened numbers of honey bee colony losses were first reported, significant progress has been made in our understanding of the factors that are associated with Colony Collapse Disorder and the overall health of honey bees. The USDA is actively pursuing solutions to the multiple problems affecting honey bee health. 


Fond Farewell to Beth Ballweg


You may have heard our bookkeeper, Beth Ballweg, is leaving Southwest Badger for a new position.  Beth has been a tremendous asset to Southwest Badger and will be greatly missed by all of us.


Here's more from Beth:

"Thank you everyone for all the help you have given me over the last few years.  I've had a wonderful time working with you.  I recently took an assistant position at the Platteville High School library.  I am really excited as I have always loved books and sharing what I've read.  I will be leaving Southwest Badger at the end of the week, but will keep in touch.  Thank you again!"


Welcome Danielle Hentrich


Although we are all sad to lose Beth, we are happy to announce that we have hired Danielle Hentrich as Southwest Badger's bookkeeper.  Please join us in welcoming Danielle!


Here is a brief introduction from Danielle:

"My name is Danielle Hentrich and I am from Lancaster, WI.  I graduated from Lancaster High School and I am currently attending UW - Platteville.  I am enrolled in my senior year majoring in Business Finance with an Accounting minor.  I just finished my summer internship at the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board working in the finance department as a financial assistant.  It was a great experience and was a very positive influence in furthering my college education.  I am very excited to take this position with Southwest Badger and learning more about the organization.  I feel this is a great opportunity to express my knowledge in finance and accounting and to be a part of this successful organization.  I plan to graduate in May 2015 with my bachelor's degree and intend to stay in the area.  In my free time I enjoy playing golf with my family and coaching gymnastics."   


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Save the Date
Green Lands Blue Waters Conference


Green Lands Blue Waters is teaming with the Agricultural Watershed Institute to bring you a conference on Continuous Living Cover farming to be held onNovember 19-20, 2014, in Decatur, Illinois.

The preliminary program includes a workshop on perennial crops used for bioenergy and a session on Continuous Living Cover farming for watershed management. Look for details on these and other sessions, keynote speakers, and an evening of entertainment in the conference agenda that we will circulate in a few weeks. 

Questions about the event? Contact Steve John at the Agriculture Watershed Institute or Richard Warner at Green Lands Blue Waters.


Opportunities to Sponsor our Newsletter

You probably noticed the advertisement for Serenity Bluff Cabin.  This is a new opportunity for the Southwest Badger e-newsletter.  If you are interested in sponsoring the newsletter through an advertisement, please contact Cara Carper at (608) 348-7110 or  The e-newsletter currently goes out to an ever-growing list of nearly 450 conservation-minded subscribers.


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!