Watershed conference speakers March 9 include USDA official

UW-Stout professors also discussing Red Cedar River issues at annual event

March 1, 2017

UW-Stout, foreground, is near Lake Menomin, which is seen in the background.

The sixth annual Red Cedar Watershed Conference will feature speakers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Oregon State University and University of Wisconsin-Stout.

The conference, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Thursday, March 9, will be held at UW-Stout’s Memorial Student Center. Learn more and register at the conference website.

The conference brings together professionals, educators, activists and residents from around the region to discuss ways to improve water quality within the Red Cedar River watershed, which includes about 40,000 acres of open water and 4,900 miles of waterways in northwestern and west-central Wisconsin.

Speakers examine issues related to point- and nonpoint-source pollution in watersheds. Blue-green algae blooms caused by an excess of phosphorous have compromised water quality throughout the Red Cedar River watershed, including lakes Menomin and Tainter in Dunn County.

Jimmy R. BramblettThey keynote speakers are:

  • Jimmy R. Bramblett, USDA deputy chief for science and technology, Natural Resources Conservation Service, presenting “Healthy Soils, Clean Water.”
  • Kathleen Dean Moore, distinguished professor of philosophy emerita, Oregon State, presenting “I Dreamed the Earth was Healed and Whole Again.”
  • UW-Stout associate professors Chris Ferguson, economics; Tina Lee, anthropology; and Nels Paulson, sociology, presenting “Why the Red Cedar Watershed Will Not Fail: Practical Lessons from the LAKES Project.”

For the last three summers, UW-Stout has hosted the LAKES REU — research experience for undergraduates. Students from around the U.S. have conducted research on the Red Cedar River watershed as part of a National Science Foundation grant.

Breakout session speakers are:

  • Bill Davison, a local food system educator with the University of Illinois-Extension, presenting, “Good Soil, Clean Water — Connecting Conservation to the Marketplace.”
  • Michael J. “Mic” Isham, chair of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians and chair of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission Board of Commissioners, presenting, “The Red Cedar: What it Meant and Still Means to the Ojibwa People.”
  • Jamie Patton, UW-Extension, presenting “Soil Health as a Management System.”
  • Buzz Sorge, Wisconsin DNR, presenting “Red Cedar Watershed — Our Pathway to Clean Water.”
  • Dave Styer, owner of Alfalawn Farm in Dunn County, and Joe Tomandl III, a state farmer and executive director of the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, presenting “Exploring Two Paths for the Future of Dairy Farming and its Environmental Impacts.”
  • Terry VanDerPol, a western Minnesota farmer and land stewardship director, presenting, “How to Develop Conservation Leases for Nonfarmer Landowners.”

UW-Stout and the Dunn County Land and Water Conservation Division are the conference’s major sponsors.

The event is being hosted by the Tainter Menomin Lake Improvement Association and coordinated by UW-Stout’s Professional Education Programs and Services.



Top: UW-Stout, foreground, is near Lake Menomin. The university’s Memorial Student Center will be the site of the Red Cedar Watershed Conference on Thursday, March 9.

Bottom: Jimmy R. Bramblett