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Red Cedar River Watershed Conference

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The annual Red Cedar River Watershed Conference was virtual in 2021 due to issues with the Covid pandemic. It was a successful event and was held as part of Wisconsin Water Week.  However, we are eager and hopeful to be back in person in 2022.  The scheduled date for the 2022 Conference is Thursday, March 10th, at UW-Stout. You can check here for updates as the conference date approaches.


(2020) Red Cedar Basin Assessment for Water Quality Improvement Project Completed

A project funded by the Army Corps of Engineers, Wisconsin DNR, as well as matching funding from many of the stakeholders in the Red Cedar River Water Quality Partnership was completed in 2020.  Monitoring done by Bill James of UW-Stout showed that, compared to monitoring done for the Total Maximum Daily Load project in the 1990s, there was a drop in the amount of phosphorus moving through the Red Cedar River system.  In the 1990s, about 506,000 lbs of phosphorus was estimated to be entering Lake Tainter on an annual basis from the watershed above.  Monitoring done over the last five years indicates that amount is currently at approximately 427,000 lbs per year, meaning there has been a reduction of about 79,000 lbs over that time period.  Using this data and other parameters, Jim Noren of the US Army Corps of Engineers created a model for Tainter and Menomin Lakes that shows that, if the amount of soluble reactive phosphorus (which is the type of phosphorus more readily available to algae) can be reduced by 50%, that will produce a corresponding reduction of also about 50% in the amount of chlorophyll (a measure of algae present) in the lakes.  Recommendations from the project include working to further reduce soil erosion in the watershed, and also to decrease the amount of phosphorus applied to land (mostly as manure).  The project also involved work from UW-Stout looking at economic impacts of clean water in the Red Cedar River Basin, and other socio-economic data of interest.  The final report for all work done for this project can be found here, and you can go to the “Maps and Publications” page for the detailed reports of the various parts of the project (under “Research”).

(January 2016) Red Cedar River Water Quality Partnership Watershed Plan approved by WDNR and US EPA

The Red Cedar River Water Quality Partnership submitted a comprehensive watershed plan to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the US Environmental Protection Agency for approval in August of 2015. The Plan, A River Runs Through Us: A Water Quality Strategy for the Land and Waters of the Red Cedar River Basin, was approved by both the Wisconsin DNR and the US EPA in January 2016.  The ten-year plan is now the guide to address water quality issues in the Basin, focusing on the problems of phosphorus pollution and the subsequent algal blooms that it causes. The Plan meets WDNR and EPA guidelines for such plans, making the Basin eligible for certain grant funds that would otherwise be more difficult to acquire.

For more information on the process of developing the Plan, see minutes from the Partnership’s meetings on the “Maps and Publications” page.