Southwest Badger Resource Conservation and Development

Southwest Badger Partners with Pecatonica Pride - Producer Led Watershed Initiative

Pecatonica Pride, a Producer-Led Watershed initiative will bring together the WI Farmers Union, Farm Bureau, Lafayette Co. LCD, Southwestern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission and many other partners to address tributaries draining to the Lower East Branch of the Pecatonica River.These resources are upstream of Blanchardville and Argyle, sister communities and contribute to the impaired East Pecatonica River. Both communities are grappling with their municipal phosphorus loads and the degradation of habitat and recreational opportunities on the river. The project will create a team that brings together farmers, landowners and community groups for the purpose of improving the Pecatonica River, and restoring it to all its designated uses.

Through Pecatonica Pride, citizens and landowners will become aware of the myriad of urban and rural sources that contribute to water quality degradation. Together, through hands-on demonstrations, they will learn how to sample their land and water resources and assess their own success as a result of implementing best practices. Additionally, residents will be provided discounts on well water testing, and cost share will be made available for landowners wanting to implement recommended practices.   

Tell Us How We're Doing...

Please take the survey by clicking on this link Southwest Badger Assessment Survey to inform Southwest Badger RC&D Council directors and staff how we are doing and what new directions, if any, you think we should consider. 

You may not be familiar with all of the projects we are involved in or that have done in the past, but each of them has a common theme; to implement conservation practices that also enhance the local economy and quality of life. 

Stewardship Forester Sparks Landowners to Plant More Oak
By Brandon Bleuer, Stewardship Forester

With support from the Aldo Leopold Foundation, My Wisconsin Woods project, Southwest Badger's Stewardship Forester, Brandon Bleuer was able to spark a renewed interest by landowners in managing their forest lands. The overall goal of this project was to provide landowners with a "test drive" of oak management in hopes that they will be inspired to continue managing the rest of their property, and add more Oak Trees to the landscape. 

The project allowed for one on one contact with landowners, which helped determine what passions drive their management decisions and what makes them "tick". Richard Zalewski stated: "I thought I had a good understanding of how to manage my woods, until Brandon came out and opened my eyes to multiple forest management options. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Brandon mark out my 'Acre of Oak' project and he was a wealth of information." 

Most landowners stated that they will extend this work into the future. The project also sparked interest in other programs such as EQIP funding through the USDA. Several landowners gained a renewed interest in planting Oak trees even though they have had failure planting Oaks in the past.  Rebecca Clancy commented: "One of the best takeaways from working with Brandon is that I feel much more comfortable and knowledgeable about taking charge of my forests. The kids and I spend long afternoons thinning undesirable and invasive trees. We are really getting to know and steward our forests."

Working to Prevent  the Spread of 
New Zealand Mudsnails 
By Emma Antolos and Don Barrette, Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinators

The pesky New Zealand Mudsnail has arrived in Wisconsin and is threatening our freshwater ecosystems. Native to New Zealand, this aquatic invasive species can severely alter food webs by out-competing native insects that are used by trout and other fish for nutrients. In 2013, it was discovered in Wisconsin in Black Earth Creek. It was likely introduced to the Great Lakes through ballast water and/or the transport of live fish/eggs from infested waters.  
The WDNR and Southwest Badger RC&D for the last several years have been partnering to monitor for the New Zealand Mud and to educate citizens about the negative impact they could have in the Southwest region of 
Wisconsin. The only other populations in the region are in Lake Superior's Duluth-Superior Harbor and Lake Michigan's Waukegan Harbor. These populations have not been observed to be expanding. The extent of New Zealand Mudsnail invasion in Southweast Wisconsin is currently unknown, but the department will continue monitoring to define the distribution of New Zealand Mudsnail in Wisconsin.(WDNR) Specifically 
Photo credit: U.S. Geological Survey

target groups  associated with the spread (trout fishing, waterfowl hunting). These unassuming brown and black snails grow to be 3-6 mm-roughly 1/8 inch. Due to their size, they can easily be transported through felt-soled waders or fishing gear. They can latch onto pretty much anything from floating leaves to anglers (larval stage organisms can live in felt bottom type waders for up to 2 months)--even to dogs! They have a "trap door" that they can use to close their shells which helps prevent from drying out and biocide treatments.  They can also survive in a wide range of habitats-freshwater to brackish water and in depths up to 60 feet.
It is unknown how the mudsnail will affect the Black Earth Creek fishery as this is the first inland invasion not only in Wisconsin, but in the Midwest. Research from other invasion sites, however, suggests that Wisconsin streams could realize negative impacts. The New Zealand Mudsnails will likely compete directly with many native grazers and could reduce the abundance of this important food source. 
About Us
Southwest Badger Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council, Inc. is a conservation and community development organization serving Crawford, Grant, Green, Iowa, LaCrosse, Lafayette, Richland, Sauk and Vernon counties. Our mission is to implement natural resource conservation, managed growth, and sustainable rural economic development. 
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Upcoming Events
Click on a title below to learn more:

Sinsinawa Mound Collaborative Farm Information Session, December 3 @ 2:00 p.m. & December 6 @ 7:00 p.m.

Producer-Led Watershed Protection Workshop, December 14 @ 9:00 a.m. WI Dells. 

Southwest Badger RC&D Annual Meeting, January 13 @ 10:00 a.m. Richland Center, WI.

Don't let deer, rodents, or severe weather ruin your reforestation efforts. Use tree shelters to give your trees a fighting chance.
Protect Your Trees, Leave a Legacy
For additional information or to order, email us at
or call (608) 348-7110.

Southwest Badger RC&D is your conservation partner - all sales fund resource conservation in southwest Wisconsin.

Got Land?

If you have land you'd like to rent for grazing,  contact SW Badger Grazing Broker, 
Robert Bauer at (608) 

For additional information,  email Robert at  robert.

Southwest Badger RC&D is your conservation partner .

The average age of American farmers is 60 years young

Among principal operators, 6 percent are under 35 years old, 61 percent are 35 to 64 years, and 33 percent are 65 and older. The older age groups all increased in number. In 2012, U.S. farmers were older and more diverse than in 2007, the last time the agriculture census was conducted. The total number of farmers declined, with the percentage decline more for women than men. More minorities operated farms in 2012, and the number of beginning farmers declined. USDA Census of Agriculture 2012. 
photo from

Southwest Badger's Mentorship Program is seeking funding to help increase the number of small farmers, small farms, and increase local food production which in turn will improve the health of our communities. 

Vote for your favorite Beginning Farmer video by December 15!
Southwest Badger is proud to announce four nominees for the 2017 Beginning Farmer of the Year award from Routes to Farm (  Angelic Organics Learning Center  and  Upper Midwest CRAFT  launched the Beginning Farmer of the Year award in 2013 to celebrate individuals who are entering sustainable farming. 

The contestant with the most votes will be selected as a Finalist to represent Southwest Badger at the  Good Food Festival in Chicago,  March 17, 2017, where Beginning Farmer of the Year will be selected.

Finalists will receive honorable mention, a $100 honorarium, and a free pass to the Good Food Festival. Beginning Farmer of the Year will receive a $1,000 honorarium, award at the public ceremony, a free pass to the Good Food Festival, and partial travel support to the event.

Watch the videos and vote on Southwest Badger's website by December 15th!
Help Southwest Badger Promote Conservation!
Donate Now!
Help support natural resource conservation and economic development in southwest Wisconsin.

Donations to Southwest Badger RC&D Council are welcome at any time.

You can donate online by clicking the button below


or mail your contribution to: Southwest Badger RC&D, PO Box 753, Platteville, WI 53818

All gifts are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

We Appreciate Your Support!