Below are the programs offered by the Green County Land and Water Conservation Department. Additional programs are offers by the State of Wisconsin and at a Federal Level.
Tree planter, sprayer rental, and tree sales
The LWCD owns two tree planters that landowners may rent for a nominal fee for the planting of trees and shrubs in Green County. The LWCD also owns a dozen tree spuds that are loaned out for hand planting of trees and shrubs. A tank sprayer and a backpack sprayer are available for grass and weed control when establishing tree and wildlife plantings. Tree orders for planting trees in mid to late April are taken in November and December of the previous year. There are normally about ten hardwood species, two conifers, and three wildlife shrubs to select from.
Groundwater Awareness Week
Staff along with members of UW-Extension do presentations on groundwater awareness to fourth and fifth graders All schools in Green County are invited to participate in this program. This is typically held in March.
Youth Conservation Days
Youth conservation days are held at Honey Creek Park in Monroe on the first Friday of May and the first Friday of October and is offered to every fifth grade student in the county to attend. Students learn about soil, forestry, water invertebrates, fish management, prairies, water cycle, soil and water conservation, aquatic invasives, fishing and casting, and wildlife management.
Cover Crop Field Demonstrations
Cover crop field demonstrations are held in both the spring and fall. The spring event shows landowners how the different cover crops overwinter. Some of the crops winterkill and some do not. The fall event shows the different varieties of cover crops. Cover crops add diversity to the rotation, provide shade and residue to protect soil, add a living root for soil microbes to feed from which builds organic matter, and increases crop production.
Livestock Siting Ordinance
This ordinance was adopted by the County Board in November 2006. This ordinance regulates farms with 500 or more animal units or farms that expand animal units by 20% or more. There are five farms that have gone through the process and received a permit. See Section 9-5 of the Green County Code for the entire ordinance.
Invasive Species Control
Purple loosestrife, an aquatic invasive species is found on the edges of Lake Montesian and just north of Juda. Our department has been trying to control it with a natural enemy; an insect called Galerucella. There has been an extensive study to prove these insects are not a threat to other plants. Roots of already infested plants were dug and repotted in pots gathered near Yellowstone Lake. The emerging potted plants were transported to our parking lot and were netted and set in two kiddie swimming pools full of water and left to grow. The DNR supplied more beetles to enhance the impact. Once grown the plants were moved to Lake Montesian and Juda and placed adjacent to healthy plants. Later in the season we noted that there was some damage to the unpotted existing plants, but did not kill them. We plan to continue this program to eradicate the purple loosestrife.
Our department has also found about five patches of phragmites. We reached out to Southwest Badger RC&D. They received a grant from the DNR and hired Applied Ecological Services to attempt to eradicate the patches of phragmites. We are in the process of writing our own grant to eradicate phragmites patches. If you are aware of some in the county, contact Todd Jenson 608-325-4195 ext 119 to make sure it’s on our list to control.
Private Water Systems Ordinance
This ordinance requires the owner of a private water well that has not been used for three or more years, to properly abandon it. The Land and Water Conservation office has developed a tracking system and has records of nearly 1300 wells that have been properly abandoned to date. Every fall, landowners who have old, unused wells that are discovered, are sent a letter offering cost-sharing to fill in the well. After three years and three letters, if the landowner has still not done anything to remedy the situation, the matter is then turned over to Corporation Counsel. They make sure the matter is addressed. This is probably the most cost effective and beneficial practice we have for water quality. In 2008 the County Board adopted a change to the ordinance to include new wells. This would ensure the proper placement of these wells. New wells are located by GPS and inspected by staff. See Section 9-3 of the Green County Code for the entire ordinance.
Land Judging Contest
Green County has hosted an annual land judging contest for over 50 years. The contest is set for high school students. The contest is co-hosted by Rufer and Son Excavating, who dig and fill in the pits at their expense, and the Monroe Moose Lodge, who provide lunch for all participants after completion of the contest. The students review four soil pits and evaluate soil properties, estimate slope, rank land classes, and recommend conservation practices in the contest. Green County also hosts the Southwest Wisconsin land judging contest every three years. Lafayette, Grant, and Green Counties rotate in hosting this event.
Manure Storage Ordinance
The purpose of this ordinance is to regulate the location, design, construction, installation, operation, alteration and use of animal manure storage facilities, as well as abandonment and the application of manure from these facilities in order to prevent water pollution and thereby protect the health of Green County residents and transients; prevent the spread of disease; and promote the prosperity and general welfare of the citizens of Green County. It is also intended to provide for the administration and enforcement of this Chapter and to provide penalties for its violation. There are two types of storage facilities regulated, earthen and fabricated. An earthen animal manure storage facility is a facility above or below grade, excavated, or constructed of earth berms or dikes, or utilizing pits, depressions or ponds to contain animal manure and associated liquids for storage which may be lined with earth, nonstructural concrete, or a flexible membrane material for a period of thirty (30) or more days or that has the capacity to store 5,000 cubic feet or more of animal manure. A fabricated animal manure storage facility is a concrete, steel, or otherwise fabricated storage of animal manure with one or more walls to contain manure and associated liquids for a period of thirty (30) or more days or that has the capacity to store 5,000 cubic feet or more of animal manure. Any person who designs, constructs, installs, reconstructs, enlarges, abandons or alters an animal manure storage facility; or who employs another person to do the same, on land subject to this Chapter, shall be subject to the provisions of this Chapter. See Section 9-4 of the Green County Code for the entire ordinance.
Youth Poster Contest
The Conservation Poster contest is open to kindergarten through twelfth grade students. The 1st place poster in each category goes on to the Southern Area contest. Posters are evaluated on the following criteria:
Past Poster Contest themes have included:
•Healthy Soils are Full of Life
•Dig Deeper: Life in the Soil
•Soil to Spoon
•Conservation Habits=Healthy Habitats
•Water Is Life
Students compete at county and area competitions with the winning posters moving on to compete at the State Competition in March at the WI Land+Water’s Annual conference. The first-place posters from the state competition represent Wisconsin at the National Association of Conservation Districts annual meeting.