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Keynote speakers will address land, water and people, the three main focus areas of the Red Cedar Watershed Conference to be held Thursday, March 13, at University of Wisconsin-Stout.
The third annual daylong event will be at the Memorial Student Center. Early registration ends Saturday, March 1. For more information or to register, go to the website.
The conference, which features close to 20 speakers from around the country, examines point- and nonpoint-source pollution in watersheds. Blue-green algae blooms caused by an excess of phosphorous have compromised water quality, especially in lakes Menomin and Tainter.
The opening keynote, addressing land issues, will be at 8:40 a.m. by Jim VandenBrook, executive director of Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association. He will discuss how county land conservation departments and committees work with farmers, shoreline owners and others to reduce phosphorous and sediment runoff.
The midday keynote, addressing water issues, will be at 12:45 p.m. by Chad Ingels, extension watershed management specialist at Iowa State University, and Jeff Pape, crop farmer in northeastern Iowa and Hewitt Creek watershed chairman. They will discuss developing and implementing cost-effective, performance-based incentives in northeastern Iowa watersheds. Their process has been used as a model for new projects in northwestern Wisconsin.
A breakout session and panel discussion of local farmers will follow the midday keynote. Registration and fees will be covered for Dunn County Farm Bureau members by calling 715-962-3809. Any other farmer can register for free by contacting the Wisconsin Farmers Union at 715-723-5561.
The closing keynote, regarding people, will be at 3 p.m. by Hans Paerl, the Kenan Professor of Marine and Environmental Sciences at the University of North Carolina's Institute of Marine Sciences. He will discuss managing harmful blue-green algae as in a time of significant human impact on waterways and during a time of climate change. He has conducted studies in the U.S., Scandinavia and China.
Other speakers include officials from Trout Unlimited, City of Menomonie, Wisconsin Lakes, Dunn County, UW-Extension, Green Lands Blue Waters Initiative, Restorative Lake Sciences and UW-Stout.
The UW-Stout speakers will be Associate Professor Amanda Little, biology, and Assistant Professor Nels Paulson, applied social science. Little will discuss the Red Cedar River watershed wetlands and why some are more efficient than others at removing phosphorous. Paulson will discuss the issue of building sustainable communities.
Another presentation will feature photos of the watershed from the origin of the Red Cedar River on Big Chetac Lake in Sawyer County to where it empties into the Mississippi River. Rod Olson, president of Desair Lake Restoration, northwest of Rice Lake, kayaked the length of the river last year while taking pictures and water samples. Olson won the 2013 Wisconsin Lakes Citizen Stewardship Award.
Major sponsors of the conference are Xcel Energy, Tainter Menomin Lake Improvement Association, Tractor Central, Ayres Associates and Fairmount Minerals. A grant from the Community Foundation of Dunn County also helped make the conference possible.
UW-Stout's Professional Education Programs and Services is coordinating the conference.