On June 25, 2016 members, friends, farmers, and conservationists gathered to learn about soil and water conservation practices in Mill Creek watershed. Visitors saw heritage tractors and equipment prepare the soil and plant conservation buffer strips along waterways leading to Mill Creek. They also learned about cover crops and cover cropping techniques.
The event was hosted by: Farmers of Mill Creek Watershed Council. Tillage and planting demonstrations and heritage equipment display were provided by: Rudolph Old Tractor Club, Glacier Ridge Tractor Club, Sherry Tired Iron, and Rosholt Area Threshermen, Inc. Collaborators: UW-Extension, Portage County; Portage County Land and Water Conservation Division; and Wood County Land and Water Conservation Department.
Farmers of Mill Creek Watershed Council came together because they care about the soil, water, and farmers. Their ultimate goal is to be stewards of environmental sustainability and to demonstrate that farmers are conservation leaders who care about land and water and are doing everything they can to take care of it.
Practices on land influence life in streams. In its lower reaches Mill Creek naturally widens and warms, but shows signs of eroding sediment. (MilesPaddled.com)
Twenty thousand dollars from the State of Wisconsin’s new Producer Led Watershed Protection Grants program is making it possible for Mill Creek area farmers to perform local cover crop research in partnership with Portage County UW-Extension. Effects of cover crops on soil moisture and temperature are being investigated, as well as use of agricultural drains to improve water management.
In 2016 the group is offering incentives to local farmers to plant cover crops, and they continue to share practices with neighbors in educational field days.
Wisconsin’s new grant program is gives financial support to farmers willing to lead conservation efforts in their own watersheds. Groups are eligible for up to $20,000 each year.
Access Mill Creek for paddling near Linwood, Wisconsin. (MilesPaddled.com)
Erosion, fewer native fish, and the listing of Mill Creek on the Environmental Protection Agency’s 303(d) list of impaired waters have raised concerns among landowners in this watershed near Stevens Point, Wisc. To show they care about soil, water, farmers, and local communities, and to reverse negative environmental trends, Farmers Of Mill Creek Watershed Council was formed.
The Council is directed by farmers, and is voluntary and non-regulatory. Its goals are:
• Further educate local farmers and neighbors on phosphorus best management practices, to improve water quality of Mill Creek in Portage and Wood Counties;
• Adopt more environmentally friendly farming practices to ensure clean water and healthy soils for future generations, while maintaining or improving profitability;
• Demonstrate that farmers are conservation leaders—they care about land and water and are doing all possible to be good stewards of land and water in Mill Creek watershed.