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  • Engineered Farm Fields to Protect Water and Soil

    The South Kinnickinnic Farmer-Led Watershed Council consists of farmers and agricultural landowners who are interested in seeing farmers in the neighborhood continue to grow crops profitably while also minimizing soil and nutrient loss from their fields. In the KinniKeeper Newsletter, we shared a few details on how that can look with in-field agronomic practices that protect soil. This article will explain a couple of other measures farmers with erosion troubles can add to their fields. These engineered practices are a big investment but can make a big difference in erosion. However, these structures need to be engineered based on the slope of the field and the needs and are often formed in partnership with agencies and excavators who can provide technical assistance.   Grassed waterways are very common throughout Pierce County, WI. With our steep slopes, farmers in the county have long realized the importance of slowing down water as it runs down the hills within fields. The best way to slow down rainwater is often by adding a grassy zone where the water is likely to flow. The roots and blades hold onto the soil so it doesn’t get washed out as rainwater funnels through, and also slow the water down as it travels to reduce its capacity to pick up more debris as it travels. This gives the soil a better chance to infiltrate the water instead of diverting it quickly to nearby ditches and ultimately rivers and lakes. Results from Wisconsin Discovery Farms studies have shown that adding grassed waterways, even in no-till fields, can reduce sediment loss by 99%! Because of their importance, the South Kinni Farmer-Led Council provides an incentive payment per foot to farmers or landowners installing waterways onto their fields. (see graph at bottom of page)   One other engineered practice you’re likely to see farmers in the watershed investing in is what we refer to as dams or grade stabilization structures. These earthen structures are often created where large gullies have formed and are creating huge washouts in tree lines just off the field. The site is re-graded and designed to slow down the water to allow it to infiltrate naturally with stabilized outlets when the dam overflows in heavy rain events. In 2022, Pierce County Land Conservation Department celebrated the installation of their 1000th dam. These dams reduce surface runoff by 67% on average. Although these projects do have some cost-share options, they represent a significant cost to build (as well as time!). We are so thankful that farmers in our area understand the importance of setting land aside and investing in their soil and water quality. If you’d like more information on the South Kinnickinnic Farmer-Led Watershed Council or want to learn about applying any of these practices on your farm, you can find us online: https://farmerledwatershed.org/south-kinnickinnic-watershed/ or by following us on facebook.com/farmerledwatershed . If you want to ask a question directly regarding farmland conservation or the South Kinni Farmer-Led Watershed Council, you can contact Tara Greiman-Daun at tdaun@wisconsinfarmersunion.com at 715-492-0329 Figure 1: Source UW Madison Extension Division of Agriculture Water Quality. See full article: https://agwater.extension.wisc.edu/articles/grassed-waterways-are-fundamental-in-reducing-erosion-and-impacting-water-quality/?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTAAAR3qproYMQ1Qa6gbiUbOMu-U2HHQRTHi0_qXljAKQMztjNa4sOnzJc3TDcA_aem_ISJC9U6mfGYdqeABt-CRwA

  • Nature Preserve - July Updates

    Headwater Preserve KRLT has contracted a logger to harvest the pine plantation at the Headwaters Nature Preserve. The plan is to restore the area back to prairie oak savanna. The project will be funded by a Natural Resource Conservation Service – Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) grant we received. June was a busy month as the loggers completed the cutting and stacking of the wood. Site cleanup has begun with the stacking of slash that will be burned this winter. Site prep for planting prairie seed will begin next year. The Headwaters Preserve's restoration project is part of the WDNR Western Prairie Habitat Restoration Area . The goal is to permanently protect and restore 20,000 acres of grassland, wetlands, and oak savannas. Invasive Species Control June is an important time to control invasive plants on the KRLT preserves.  We have been actively removing Tansy and Wild Parsnip this month at Kelly Creek, Drewiske Preserve, and the Community Forest.  Hand pulling or cutting the root below the soil surface is effective during June when the plant begins to flower but before it begins to develop seeds.  Removed mature plants during June usually requires two years of control to bring invasives under control.  Caution is required when controlling wild parsnip because plant juices can react with sunlight to cause chemical burns on your skin. I did controls on cloudy or rainy days, wore rubber gloves, long sleeves and a mosquito net or face shield to protect my face. Conservation Easements During June, I met with three different landowners to discuss whether a conservation easement on their land would be appropriate.  While several landowners are considering their options at this time, the Land Trust has decided to move forward with a 60-acre conservation easement in the South Fork of the Kinnickinnic River Watershed.  The process includes evaluating the benefits on the property, conducting legal land surveys to describe conservation zones and drafting a conservation easement with landowner and Land Trust approval. Click here for more information about conservation easements. June Prairie Blooms June is a very interesting time to visit Kelly Creek as various prairie plants begin to bloom.  Something new is blooming every week and will continue through the summer months. Marty Engel Land Stewardship Manager marty@kinniriver.org

  • Kinni Explorers - Summer Phenology Hike

    What is Phenology? Studying the change in nature during each season. Seeing the color of the leaves change in the fall, hearing the spring frogs croaking, and watching for the migrating birds to come back in the warmer months are all great examples of phenology! Join Explorer Jane and Explorer Molly on a summer phenology hike at Kelly Creek Nature Preserve ! What do you think we will find? Now it’s your turn, explorers ! Get outside and take a walk or hike and pay attention to what you are seeing and hearing in nature. Write it down: Click below to download and print your own summer phenology report or take a notebook or piece of paper with you and write about it. Need some help? Ask a parent or guardian to document your adventure! Share it with us! With a parent or guardian's help, send us a picture of your phenology findings by emailing it to molly@kinniriver.org or jane@kinniriver.org Remember to Keep Exploring!

  • Kinni Explorers - Bug Adventure

    Where do bugs live? Bugs come in all shapes and sizes, and so do their homes! Some live in logs, under rocks, or in the dirt. Join Explorer Jane and Explorer Molly on a bug hike at Kelly Creek Nature Preserve ! What do you think we will find? Now it’s your turn, explorers ! Make your own bug hotel in your backyard and see who checks in. Will the bugs be BIG or small? Fly or crawl? We can't wait to see what you discover! Bug hotel blueprints: Click below to download and print blueprints to build your very own bug hotel! Need some help? Ask a parent or guardian to help you with your 5-star bug hotel! Bonus activity: We need your help, explorers! The bugs in the coloring sheet below have lost their color. Can you add back their missing color? Share it with us! With a parent or guardian's help, send us a picture of your bug hotel by emailing it to molly@kinniriver.org or jane@kinniriver.org Remember to Keep Exploring!

  • Nature's Bounty: A Summer's Guide to Foraging by the Kinni

    Enjoy these delicious recipes that you can make during the spring and early summer months.  When foraging, always make sure that you are 100% sure that you are identifying and using the correct plant. Also, if you have a health condition, make sure to research the plant before consuming it to ensure there are no conflicting side effects. Make sure that the places you are foraging are free of pesticides and chemicals. If you are foraging outside of your backyard, be sure to follow local and state foraging regulations on different sites. The Wisconsin DNR website has more information about foraging, including best practices, and you can find it by clicking here !  The Kinnickinnic River Land Trust allows foraging at its nature preserves for personal consumption.

  • Watershed Update: Stay Tuned!

    Stay tuned for this new blog about what is happening in the Kinnickinnic River Watershed and other communities within the beautiful state of Wisconsin. This blog will be written by Tara Greiman-Daun Director of Conservation and Stewardship for the Wisconsin Farmers Union.

  • Birding with Mark

    There is nothing like spring birding!  A long winter of anticipation ended.  In the spring with migration at its height in May the possibilities for sightings are endless.  But birding is a verb not a noun.  It’s the process, the activity of birding that is so much fun.  You never know what you may see or hear. Warblers are my latest passion.  Moving about in the trees and under the brush, never quite holding still long enough for that good clear look.  even the chance at a photograph,can be a supreme challenge.  But, is it ever worth the effort.  The color variations.  The hope of seeing a rarity.  All adds to the thrill. Not only warblers but vireos, flycatchers, sparrows, orioles, rose breasted grosbeak, tanangers, bluebirds all a possibility for that first sighting.  I have found it is not only the sighting but also the listening for these varied species.  Sound is quite often more important than sight when the leaves start to sprout out and become an obstacle to seeing.  Luckily there are phone apps that can help with this such as Cornell Labs -  Merlin Bird ID.  Get out there and enjoy this wonderful resource prominently on display at our KRLT Nature Preserves such as Kelly Creek. For directions to this and other KRLT Nature Preserves click on the Visit The Kinni section of the website. Mark Ritzinger Board Treasurer

  • Keeping Current Newsletter

    Looking for information and stories from our e-newsletter Keeping Current? You’ve come to the right spot! We look forward to sharing additional details and information about articles from the monthly e-newsletter!

  • Outdoors for All

    Thank you again for attending the Outdoors for All: A Community Conversation about Nature, Health, and Equity in October of 2023. It was a helpful experience for the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust (KRLT) and provided us with important insight into what all of you are experiencing. We listened and have been hard at work taking several steps to help overcome some of those barriers you identified about accessing open spaces. It’s the start in the right direction, but we need to continue this conversation as we walk down this long path together.  Here are several initiatives we’re taking on in 2024 based on your comments. Kinni Explorers - an Outdoor Discovery Program for families. Families have many challenges with time, money, and other concerns. We heard it expressed many times at the event. KRLT is working with community partners to create equal opportunities for families (single parent, multigenerational, guardianship, nuclear) to experience the outdoors to help improve their mental and physical well-being. Our goal is to create a welcoming environment at our preserves for all, regardless of abilities, race, class, gender, and age, to help families learn together in the outdoors. The Hudson Hospital Foundation is helping fund our pilot program over the next year. KRLT staff members Molly Barritt-Luebke and Jane Taylor will be working with 35 families representing many demographics to pilot the program. If interested in participating, please contact Molly Barritt-Luebke at molly@kinniriver.org Link to Kinni Explorers web page Universal Access Trail On October 18, River Maria Urke shared her challenges accessing nature due to her progression of Multiple Sclerosis. We also heard from many others about the need to feel welcomed at sites, the need for places to rest in the shade, and many other challenges. KRLT will be using our Kelly Creek Preserve as a community model for a Universal Access Trail design.  We continue to seek out funding to start conceptual designs through an inclusionary community design process to help plan the accessible trails and experiences at Kelly Creek Preserve. If you know of any possible funding sources, please let me know at steve@knniriver.org River Maria Urke - Spotlight Video Link: Universal Access Trails and Shared Use Paths - American Trails UW – River Falls Social Work Dept Intern In the fall of 2024, we have a great opportunity to work with a UW-River Falls intern from the Social Work Dept. Her focus will be to follow up with senior residents on accessing green spaces throughout the region. Our goal is to create pilot programs the first year to then expand from what we’ve learned the following year. If you know of senior living groups or individuals who would like to work with us, please let me know at steve@kinniriver.org Researching Affordable Housing & Conservation Land Trust Partnerships Affordable housing is a critical need locally as well as nationally. I started researching projects where community land trusts have partnered with conservation land trusts to address affordable housing as well as conservation initiatives. One example: Hudson Valley Alliance for Housing and Conservation in New York - RPA | Hudson Valley Alliance for Housing and Conservation. Please contact me at steve@kinnirvier.org if you know of housing initiatives we could learn from, we would like to be a part of this conversation. Improving Our Communication After Outdoors for All, we realized the importance of keeping everyone updated on projects and the need to continue the conversation. We received grants from the River Falls Community Foundation  and St. Croix Electric Cooperative to update our website. We increased our social media presence and print material. Plus, KRLT Social Media Coordinator has partnered with Dr. Kevyn Juneau from UW-River Falls to start a podcast in June 2024 on topics revolving around the Kinni River, KRLT, and of course the Outdoors for All initiative. Topics we all can relate to locally, but also having global connections. There have been conversations about possibly hosting a second event, in Minnesota to reach a larger audience, but we are still at the preliminary stages of discussing this. Please, stay in touch. We’d love to hear your stories about overcoming your own personal barriers to exploring the outdoors. Or if you have other thoughts on individuals, communities, or organizations we should reach out to. Feel free to call me at 715-301-0724 or email at steve@kinniriver.org. Again, thank you for sharing your voices on October 18th. It has given us a direction we hope to fulfill to make sure access to the outdoors is available to all. None of this is possible without your voice. But we also need financial support. Please consider a gift to continue this conversation. Click here to make a donation. Steve Leonard Executive Director

  • Nature Preserves + Conservation

    Curious about what’s happening at the KRLT Nature Preserves? Each month, KRLT Land Stewardship Manager, Marty Engel will give a boots on the ground update about restoration projects, trail work, and updates on new conservation initiatives. Check out the Visit Our Nature Preserves tab to learn more about places to visit along the Kinnickinnic River!

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