Red Cedar Watershed Conference Sessions & Presenters

Red Cedar Session and Presenter Information
In this Section
Red Cedar Watershed Conference 2019 Keynote David R. Montgomery

LAND Keynote: Growing A Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life

David R. Montgomery, Professor of Geomorphology, Department of Earth & Space Sciences
University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

LAND Keynote Description
Growing A Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life

Soil may be the least sexy resource upon which civilization depends, yet soil erosion and degradation have plagued societies in the past and pose challenges for feeding the future.  Growing a Revolution relates visits to farmers around the world at the heart of a brewing soil health revolution that cuts through standard debates about conventional and organic farming.  On farms in both the industrialized and developing improving soil health through the adoption of three transformational farming practices—ditching the plow or minimizing soil disturbance, planting cover crops, and growing diverse crop rotations—offered a profitable way to rebuild the fertility of the soil and thereby reduce dependence on fossil fuels and agrochemicals.  Combining ancient wisdom with modern science, these regenerative practices can be good for farmers and the environment, translating into farms that use less water, generate less pollution, lower carbon emissions—and stash carbon underground.

David R. Montgomery Biography

David R. Montgomery is a MacArthur Fellow and professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington. He is an internationally recognized geologist who studies landscape evolution and the effects of geological processes on ecological systems and human societies. An author of award-winning popular-science books, he has been featured in documentary films, network and cable news, and on a wide variety of TV and radio programs, including NOVA, PBS NewsHour, Fox and Friends, and All Things Considered.

Red Cedar Watershed Conference 2019 Keynote Whitney Prestby

WATER Keynote: Fox Demo Farms: Building a Success Story in Northeast Wisconsin

Whitney Prestby, Natural Resource Educator, UW-Extension
Barry Bubolz, Area GLRI Coordinator, Natural Resources Conservation Service
Dan Brick, Owner and operator, Brickstead Dairy
Dan Diederich, Owner and operator, Diederich Farm LLC.

WATER Keynote Description
Fox Demo Farms: Building a Success Story in Northeast Wisconsin

The Fox Demo Farms project is a collaborative effort designed to identify and implement conservation practices that reduce phosphorus and sediment loading into the Fox River and bay of Green Bay. It is a unique partnership that brings producers, local, state, and federal agencies together to help reach the Total Maximum Daily Loading (TMDL) targets. With soil health at the forefront of our message, the Fox Demo Farms project has been working towards solutions that benefit local waterways, as well as the farmer’s bottom-line. The producers have been eager to try new practices, such as “planting into green,” using a ZRX roller/crimper to plant into a thick stand of living cover crop or using interseeding technologies to establish cover crops during the corn’s growing season. We have designed and implemented a comprehensive outreach plan to communicate the positive changes happening throughout the watershed. This multi-pronged approach utilizes a wide range of social science strategies to engage with farmers, both middle and late adopters, as well as the non-agricultural community. We are striving to create opportunities for people to learn from each other, so that we can develop lasting solutions that benefit our shared water resources.

Water Presenter Biographies

Whitney Prestby:
Whitney Prestby is a Natural Resource Educator in the Lower Fox River Watershed. She works closely with the Fox Demo Farms Network, which is a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative project designed to demonstrate leading edge conservation practices to improve Great Lakes’ water quality. Whitney received her Master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where she researched behavior change strategies employed by non-governmental organizations that focused on climate change issues at the local level.

Barry Bubolz:
Biography Forthcoming

Dan Brick:
Dan Brick is a fifth-generation owner and producer of Brickstead Dairy in Greenleaf, WI. The family farm was established in 1848 and has been in the family ever since. In 1996, Dan became a partner with his father, Gene. In the years since, the dairy farm has expanded from 20 cows when Gene inherited the land, to the current population of 900 cows. While the operational size of Brickstead Dairy has changed over the years, conservation remains to be at the heart of this family business and the pulse that keeps the farm running.

Dan Diederich:
Biography Forthcoming

Red Cedar Watershed Conference 2019 Keynote Speaker Paul Robbins

PEOPLE Keynote: Managing Water Now: Individual Behaviors, Structural Barriers, and the Inevitability Of Change

Paul Robbins, Director, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin

PEOPLE Keynote Description
Managing Water Now: Individual Behaviors, Structural Barriers, and the Inevitability Of Change

Addressing complex problems like water quality in Wisconsin’s rivers and lakes, while attending to the realities of people’s lives and livelihoods, has always been a challenge. Now, however, the problem is all the more acute, since the number of stakeholders has proliferated, the realities of farm and urban economics have become harsher, and rainfall and temperatures in the region have hit new, and unprecedented levels. Can we depend on individual action and responsibility to bring about widespread change? What structural barriers are there that keep citizens and policy-makers from making different decisions? Is just providing more information enough? This session will present some case materials to address these questions. Using the case of consumer landscape chemical use, the presentation will explore the power of individuals to make a difference in improving water quality, while also explaining why individual action is sometimes not enough. The presentation will conclude with implications of these realities for managing water quality more generally, in diverse urban/rural communities.

Paul Robbins Biography

Paul Robbins is the director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Robbins has years of experience as a researcher and educator, specializing in human interactions with nature and the politics of natural resource management. 

With writing focused on diverse interdisciplinary audiences and the broader public, he is author of the foundational textbook Political Ecology: A Critical Introduction. His award-winning book Lawn People: How Grasses, Weeds, and Chemicals Make Us Who We Are is widely recognized as one of the most accessible books on the environmental politics of daily life.

A UW-Madison alumnus with a bachelor's degree in anthropology, Paul Robbins also holds a master's degree and doctorate in geography, both from Clark University. He was raised in Denver, Colorado.

2019 Breakout Presentations

Morning Session Block
10:15 am – 11:15 am

Afternoon Session Block
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

LAND: Fox Demo Farms Farmers
Fox Demo Farms Farmers

This session will include a dialogue and panel discussion with individuals involved with the Fox Demo Farms.

Whitney Prestby, Natural Resource Educator, UW-Extension
Barry Bubolz, Area GLRI Coordinator, Natural Resources Conservation Service
Dan Brick, Owner and operator, Brickstead Dairy
Dan Diederich, Owner and operator, Diederich Farm LLC.

Memorial Student Center, Great Hall, 10:15 am – 11:15 am

LAND: Partnering to Implement Whole-Farm Conservation
Partnering to Implement Whole-Farm Conservation

Session Description: Best management practices for soil conservation are often presented to landowners in an a-la-carte manner to address site-specific resource concerns. However, some farmers are eager to take things the whole nine yards and implement whole-farm scale conservation. Partners from various agencies often come together to help a farmer make this happen. In this presentation, representatives from Pheasants Forever, USDA-NRCS, and Dunn County Land and Water Conservation will discuss how they work together to help landowners look at the big picture

Scott Stipetich, Farm Bill Biologist, Pheasants Forever
Ka Ying Vang, Soil Conservationist, Natural Resources Conservation Service
Lindsay Olson, Water Quality Specialist, Dunn County Land & Water Conservation Division

Memorial Student Center, Ballrooms, 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

WATER: Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Blooms in Wisconsin...
Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Blooms in Wisconsin: Tracking Initiatives and Efforts to Assess and Manage Public Health Impacts

Cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (HABs) are a growing concern locally, nationally, and globally due to their impacts on human and animal health, the economy, and ecosystem function. Global increases in HAB occurrence, frequency, and duration are linked to eutrophication and elevated temperature, lengthened growing seasons, and intensified runoff events due to a changing climate.

We will review past impacts of HABs in Wisconsin and in the Red Cedar River watershed and introduce new statewide efforts to track the occurrence of HABs, with a focus on how the public can help. We will discuss initiatives for public health surveillance of the effects of HAB toxins on human and animal health. We will review new federal swimming advisory levels for 2 cyanobacterial toxins, their implications for water recreation in Wisconsin, and show you how to determine safe levels of cyanobacteria in Wisconsin’s waters.

Gina LaLiberte, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Amanda Koch, Wisconsin Division of Public Health

Memorial Student Center, Cedar/Maplewood, 10:15 am – 11:15 am

WATER: Flooding is Our Future: Managing Conservation...
Flooding is Our Future: Managing Conservation in an Era of Extreme Weather Events

Wisconsin is facing what seems to be a "new normal" in our weather - a regular cycle of extreme heavy rain and flood events that cause major damage to our farmlands, roadways and even our small towns. This workshop will take a broad look at how these weather events are impacting our traditional conservation strategies and practices. We will discuss specific strategies and big picture questions: How are out current conservation practices holding up? Are new approaches or expanded programs needed? Can voluntary adoption of conservation practices adequately protect our resources? How can we best look at the big picture together?

Brian Leffelholz, Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program Manager/Land Use & Conservation Specialist/GIS Analyst, Bureau of Land and Water Resources
Carrie Olson, Land Conservationist, Land Conservation and Resource Management Department, Buffalo County, Wisconsin

Memorial Student Center, Great Hall, 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

PEOPLE: Lessons We've Learned from the River: Five Years...
Lessons We've Learned from the River: Five Years of UW-Stout LAKES REU Student Research Projects in the Red Cedar Watershed

Over the past five years, with support from the National Science Foundation, UW-Stout has hosted an innovative research project which has engaged students from around the country in a hands-on study of the complex environmental, social and economic issues in the Red Cedar watershed. Each summer, the LAKES Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) hosts a new group of eight students to collaborate in designing and reporting on research topics that help us understand the value of our watershed resources and how we can protect them. These research studies provide a wealth of information about the scope of our problem and potential pathways for solutions.

This workshop will provide a visual and narrative review of some key lessons learned from these student research projects and share some thoughts about how we can move forward most effectively.

Tina Lee, Associate Professor & Program Director, Social Science, College of Arts, Communication, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Stout

Memorial Student Center, Ballrooms, 10:15 am – 11:15 am

PEOPLE: Building a Watershed Community for Improving Quality
Building a Watershed Community for Improving Quality of Life

Many community-led watershed management efforts across the upper Midwest are searching for the right approach to respond to threats to local water quality. In recent years there has been a move toward activities prioritizing relationship building strategies that demonstrate their success by expanding their organization’s social network to engage a broader coalition of community support. This talk will expand on multiple examples from across Wisconsin that are utilizing these new approaches focusing on three topics: (1) defining place-based conservation, (2) suggesting steps for beginning the process of building community capacity for watershed management, and (3) discussing potential ways to measure the success of these new approaches to watershed governance

Dr. Aaron Thompson, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture, Purdue University

Memorial Student Center, Cedar/Maplewood, 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm