Anyone who impacts or enjoys local waters—in other terms, everyone—is invited to the annual Red Cedar Watershed Conference in Menomonie on Thursday, March 14.
The conference is from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. at UW-Stout Memorial Student Center in Menomonie.
The eighth annual conference seeks to promote solutions to excessive runoff going into lakes and streams. The runoff, carrying pollutants as well as valuable nutrient rich soil reduces water quality and causes blue-green algae blooms.
“This is for policy makers, recreators, farmers and many others. We’ve got to all sit down and figure things out,” said Rod Olson, a conference organizer from Rice Lake.
Keynote presenters include:
• Farmers and educators of Fox Demo Farms, effort designed to identify and implement conservation practices that reduce phosphorus and sediment loading into the Fox River and Green Bay.
• David R. Montgomery, professor of geomorphology, Department of Earth & Space Sciences, at the University of Washington. His presentation is Growing A Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life.
• Gina LaLiberte, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and Amanda Koch, Wisconsin Division of Public Health. Their presentation is Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Blooms in Wisconsin: Tracking Initiatives and Efforts to Assess and Manage Public Health Impacts.
Other presenters are affiliated with such organizations as Pheasants Forever, Dunn County Natural Resources Conservation Service, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Purdue University and UW-Stout.
Water and soil conservationists generally advocate for use of cover crops and vegetation-dense buffer zones to reduce soil erosion and runoff. “We have to get back to caring for our soil to feed the world and look out for our children’s future,” said Olson. “This is hard-won soil. This is expensive soil. Protecting it is good for farms and for people who use our lakes.”