For Immediate Release:
Wilson and Annis Creek Initiative Seeks to Improve Water Quality and Fish Habitat
Written by Dunn County Land & Water Conservation Division Staff
December 3, 2015
Wilson and Annis Creeks lie in western Dunn and eastern St. Croix Counties and are classified as class II trout streams, with some tributaries being class I. After their confluence, the two waterways flow together into Lake Menomin just above the dam before joining the waters of the Red Cedar River. Sadly over 11 miles of Wilson Creek and 3.4 miles of Coon Creek, a tributary to Annis, have been 303(d) listed for reasons of excess sedimentation, phosphorus, and other pollutants. A 303(d) listing means that these streams are impaired and the water quality does not meet the minimum standards set by the EPA. Another 3.4 miles of Wilson creek is proposed to be added to the list in 2016. The impairments to the creeks have caused elevated water temperature, degraded habitat, and degraded biological community.
There is some good news, however. Small changes to land management and use can have a big impact on water quality and fish habitat. To encourage this to happen, the Dunn County Land and Water Conservation Division (LWCD) and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) recently submitted two separate grant applications to create a community-based initiative and fund the installation of best management practices on land in these watersheds. If successful, the grants will allow NRCS and LWCD to offer financial incentives to landowners who would like to voluntarily install “best management practices” to address resource concerns on their land. The practices supported by these grants may include grassed waterways, stream bank restoration, cover crops establishment, manure storage structures, and much more.
Voluntary sign-up for funding could begin as early as January for the NRCS funding, and August for the LWCD funding. If a landowner is interested in making improvements to their land, a conservation planner would be happy to come out and do a site walkover to identify areas that may be resource concerns. There is no obligation and landowners can choose to implement some, all, or none of the suggested practices.
Through this project we will be creating a partnership of citizens from the community that will foster land stewardship through the adoption of land and water conservation. These actions will improve soil and water health and fish habitat in an effort to remove these waters from the impaired waters list.
For more information, contact:
John Sippl, District Conservationist, NRCS: (715) 232-2614 ext. 3
Chris Gaetzke, Conservation Planner, Dunn County LWCD: (715) 231-6540