Yahara Watershed partners bring in $1.6 million federal grant

MADISON, Wis. (January 2015)
The US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service awarded $1.6 million to Dane County Land & Water Resources Department. The grant was awarded through a new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Clean Lakes Alliance is a partner on the project. Other partners include Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District, Sand County Foundation, UW-Madison, and Yahara WINs.

Clean Lakes Alliance policy director Elizabeth Katt-Reinders and Rural Program Manager Rachel Fossum worked with Dane County and partners to craft the proposal. The proposal aims to build capacity for a watershed-wide approach to reducing phosphorus and reaching water quality goals.

Proposal highlights

Highlights of the proposal include the pairing of traditional agricultural conservation practices with new practices and technologies. This will reduce phosphorus and sediment runoff to lakes, rivers, and streams. The proposal also includes innovative approaches to engaging and supporting farmers throughout the watershed.

Roofed feedlots, zero tillage, harvestable buffers, in-stream legacy sediment removal, and a regional community manure processing and storage site will all play a role in this collaborative effort to clean up the lakes and meet water quality standards.

Harvestable buffer strip. The Natural Resource Conservation Service grant will help fund projects like this.
Harvestable buffer strip – these buffers will play a role in cleaning up the lakes by increasing infiltration and decreasing runoff from agricultural lands.

Partners for healthy lakes

Partners are providing cash and in-kind matches to the $1.6 million from Natural Resource Conservation Service. Katt-Reinders explains that the project allows partners to play to their strengths and leverage each other’s resources. This will, “Accomplish more together than any of us could accomplish by working alone. We’re all in this together to make sure that Dane County farms remain economically strong while operating in a way that helps clean up the lakes and reach our water quality goals.”

Thank you Natural Resource Conservation Service

The grant process was highly competitive, with 600 proposals submitted nationally, and only 100 awarded across the U.S. The diversity of the public-private partnerships in the Dane County grant, as well as the established relationships and past successes among partners were integral to the proposal’s success.

Read about Clean Lakes Grants.

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