Featured Speakers -
Welcome Presentation - Ben Johnson, Southeast Fox River Partnership
End of Session Breakout Presentation - Tom Slawski, Southeast Fox River Partnership
A Wealth of Nature: Parks and Natural Areas in SE Wisconsin. Eddee Daniel - Preserve Our Parks
Eddee Daniel will share his latest project, called "A Wealth of Nature: Parks and Natural Areas in SE Wisconsin." Working with Preserve Our Parks, a non-profit dedicated to preservation and promotion of parks and open space in the Milwaukee area, Eddee has been traveling throughout the six-county region of SE Wisconsin—which includes portions of the Fox River watershed—documenting the abundance of nature and recreational opportunities that can be found here. He has created a series of components to promote the project, including a website, display, and Powerpoint presentations. A book is in the works as well. Eddee will describe the project and share a sample Powerpoint presentation.
Eddee Daniel is a Milwaukee-based photographer and writer whose practice explores the intersection of nature and human culture. Author of "Urban Wilderness: Exploring a Metropolitan Watershed,” as well as many self-published photographic books. Artist residencies include Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley and Harbor District. Founding member of the Coalition of Photographic Arts. Currently serves on the boards of Preserve Our Parks and Friends of the Hank Aaron Trail. He writes a column called Urban Wilderness for Milwaukee Magazine. Curator and regular contributor to the blog The Natural Realm. His personal website is eddeedaniel.com.
presentation .pdf here
The Effects of Soil Health and How To Get Started -
Cody Nelson - Soil RX INC
There are many benefits to increasing the Soil Health on local farms. We will go over how Soil Health practices will increase water infiltration, help to hold nutrients in place and cycle nutrients allowing farmers to utilize reduced fertilizer rates, and how increased soil health can aid in minimizing erosion, therefore not only helping to increase farm profits but also to help to provide clean water throughout the local lakes and streams.
Cody Nelson is the Founder of Soil RX Incorporated. Soil RX is a company focused on helping farmers to incorporate soil health principles on their own farms while also increasing profits and tracking the value of regenerative agriculture. He comes from the west central region of Minnesota where he has not only utilized cover crops and other soil health principles on his own farm but he has also helped several other farms began their quest for healthier soil. Cody has over 10 years of experience with the use of cover crops and reduced tillage practices. He and his wife (Mel) and three kids also own and operate Bar N Cattle Company where they practice regenerative agricultural practices on their row crop and cow/calf operation.
presentation .pdf here
The Wisconsin Bumble Bee Brigade:
A New Way to Help Native Pollinators -
Eva Lewandowski - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Wisconsin has 20 native bumble bee species, over half of which need conservation assistance. You can help these important pollinators by volunteering with the Wisconsin Bumble Bee Brigade, the DNR’s newest citizen-based monitoring project. Volunteers photograph and count bumble bees, so that we can create accurate range maps, identify key habitat, assess conservation threats, and track the status of bee populations over time. During our 2018 pilot season, volunteers in the Southeast Fox River Basin observed 9 species, and we hope to increase that number when the project officially begins this spring. Learn what you can do to help study and protect bumble bees.
Eva Lewandowski is the Citizen-based Monitoring Coordinator at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. In addition to her work for the DNR, has published research on citizen science outcomes, is a member of the national Citizen Science Day Task Force, and is President of the Participatory and Citizen Science Working Group for the Society for Conservation Biology. Originally from Walworth County, she earned a PhD in Conservation Biology from the University of Minnesota.
The RainReady Approach - Non-Structural Solutions to Urban Flooding -
Dawn Walker - Center for Neighborhood Technology
As climate change impacts rainfall frequency, communities are grappling to address intensified flooding in urban and rural areas. In the Midwest and Northeast particularly, climatologists predict an increase in total annual rainfall, and more intense and frequent downpours (National Climate Assessment, 2014). The National Centers for Environmental Information reported losses from inland flooding not associated with major disasters exceeded $1 billion in 2016.
Dawn directs CNT’s RainReady Community Program, which engages communities and stakeholders in implementing stormwater management solutions. Dawn has over eight years of integrated water resource planning. Previously, Dawn worked as a water resources planner at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning overseeing its wastewater planning program. She’s authored several watersheds plans and oversaw outreach efforts to implement plan recommendations. She is a Trustee on the Illinois Section AWWA Committee and chars its Young Professionals Committee. Dawn holds bachelor’s Degree in environmental science from Dominican University.
Urban and rural flooding occurs when there is a lack of drainage in an area and rain overwhelms drainage systems and waterways and makes its way into streets, roadways, backyards, basements, businesses and other properties. Communities typically employ strategies that prioritize large-scale and centralized grey and green infrastructure projects that can be effective but may not lead to improved community resiliency necessary in a time of climate change.
The Center for Neighborhood Technology’s RainReady Program has developed an approach to support urban and rural communities in dealing with flooding issues in a distributed manner, at the home and community scale with the aim of producing more resilient outcomes. RainReady solutions are evidence-based, affordable, and shaped by the community. CNT Staff will discuss its approach to urban flooding, highlighting its RainReady Program, and provide examples of stormwater management strategies to address flooding in both urban and rural communities.
Pollutant Load Characterization & Streambank Erosion Prioritization Project
Fox River Watershed, Southeastern Wisconsin
Dale Buser - Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission
The basic goal of this project is to quantify the distribution, location, and extent of existing nonpoint source pollutant loads in Southeastern Wisconsin’s Fox River watershed. This information will help focus future load reduction efforts on the types of problems and the locations that provide greatest resource benefit. As part of this study, an on-the-water survey completed
during 2013 and 2017 evaluated streambank erosion severity (e.g., bank height, bank length, slope, soil composition, pounds phosphorus per year) along the main-stem of the lower Fox River from the Wisconsin-Illinois state line to the City of Waukesha encompassing Kenosha, Racine, and Waukesha Counties (about 64 linear miles). Site prioritization criteria for streambank protection and water quality improvement were ranked by several dimensions including infrastructure protection, channel position and geomorphic change, loading rates, and
professional hydrologist and is Principal Specialist in SEWRPC’s Natural Resources Planning and Management Division. Dale’s work focuses on lake and stream health and watershed protection/restoration planning. With nearly four decades of diverse water resource engineering/science experience, Dale can consider a wide spectrum of relevant and sometimes disparate factors when analyzing issues and suggesting solutions. These factors include water and sediment quality, hydrology, hydrogeology, aquatic ecology, limnology and aquatic plants, fishery issues, geomorphology, infrastructure engineering, financing, and stakeholder outreach. He has particular passion for holistic studies that transcend political and social boundaries and habitat types and that lend solid and efficient solutions to widespread problems that simultaneously benefit Southeastern Wisconsin’s human and non-human residents.
vegetation type and integrity. This presentation will also present preliminary results of historical mapping and aerial photograph interpretation used to evaluate changes in mainstem channel width and location over the past 180 years. This project also included video camera coverage of both streambanks and used side-scan sonar to map water depths within the channel (see video). This project, funded by the Southeastern Wisconsin Fox River Commission (SEWFRC), can be used to identify priority projects by subwatershed (40 HUC 12 subwatersheds comprise this part of the Fox River basin), floodway and floodplain, county, municipality, and/or instream reach levels.
Dale has lived on the banks of the Milwaukee River since he was born. He has been in, on, and observing, and studying rivers ever since. Dale is a licensed professional engineer and
Update on Fox River Water Trail and Unveiling of the Web Portal
WI-IL Water Trail Core Development Team
In 2002, the WDNR State of the Basin report identified a lack of public recreational opportunities and environmental awareness/education in the Fox River Watershed. Currently, few communities on this River have systems or programs in place to maintain safe waterside trails, advocate for their use, and educate the public about their value as outdoor amenities. With this challenge in mind, a bi-state coalition known as the The Core Development Team was born out of the 2015 Fox River Summit.
At the 2018 Fox River Summit, the Huron River Council's Elizabeth Riggs inspired the audience with her presentation describing how the Huron River Trail has been an economic driver by encouraging community development, all while promoting stewardship. Following the 2018 Summit, the
River Trail Partners
Southeast Fox River Partnership applied for a WDNR Surface Water's Grant, seeking assistance for the initial stages of trail development. It was a busy year, as members of CDT made trips up and down the Fox River, collecting access site information and crafting trip itineraries. The SFRP also hired Map Hero to create a web portal and downloadable map series for the trail. The Core Development Team will provide a brief update at the 2019 Summit and will continue it's conversation about the next stages for the trail during the end of day breakout sessions.
Development of a Research Framework to Aid in Mussel Management and Conservation in the Fox River Watershed
Todd Levine, Carroll University and Lisie Kitchel, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
We will present a research framework to develop a mussel conservation assessment for the Fox River watershed to identify critical habitat needs, assess risks, and standardize protocols to monitor and detect trends in mussel assemblages and threats. We intend this research framework to be consistent with the National Strategy for the Conservation of Native Freshwater Mollusks (see Bouska et. al. 2018 for a good summary). Freshwater mussels remain one of the most imperiled groups of aquatic organisms in this river system and there is an overall poor understanding of habitat needs and risks to inform and improve the effectiveness of mussel conservation efforts. Our group is so far comprised of Carroll University and UW-Whitewater faculty and students, WDNR staff, and SEWRPC staff. One of our first tasks is to begin assembling relevant publications and collection data to develop better sampling location maps and critical habitats on this system (e.g., Chiavacci et. al. 2018). We also plan to show potential sampling locations for summer 2019 including sign-up sheets to help with this effort.
presentation coming soon
BMP Emergency Maintenance:
Overcoming Cost and Weather Challenges
Keith Gray - Integrated Lakes Management, Inc.
Illinois State Route 59 runs through North Barrington, Illinois, and dissects two large wetland complexes that had not been managed for decades. As a result, a monoculture of dense cattail grew over time, impeding stormwater flow and causing
Keith Gray is the President of ILM Environments, which provides ecological expertise to holistically care for ponds, lakes, streams, wetlands, woodlands and prairies with specialized experience helping clients achieve their water quality goals. Prior to ILM, Keith co-founded Environmental Monitoring and Technologies, Inc, helping clients such as: General Foods, Ford, Motorola, Waste Management, Nestle, Proctor & Gamble, and BP (formerly Amoco) achieve and maintain environmental compliance. It was in working with Caterpillar on their NPDES/Stormwater Runoff Associated with Industrial Activity Permit application that Keith developed processes to more accurately sample and measure stormwater flows. He is a current or past board member of Illinois Lake Management Association, Midwest Ecological Contractors Assn., Mettawa Open Lands Assn., ‘Conserve Lake County’, and the Upper Des Plaines River Ecosystem Partnership.
flooding. Standing water caused road damage and safety issues that required urgent attention. Traditional approaches to the problem were not only costly but also weather dependent, demanding frozen conditions before any work could begin. Project stakeholders and ILM Environments put their heads together to develop creative solutions to the flooding issues using specialized equipment that allowed work to start immediately. Even better, their innovative approach saved the client more than 60% compared to traditional methods!
The Evolution of Watershed Science
Lindsay Birt - Huff & Huff, INC.
highlight the use of Story Map and ArcGIS online. A Story Map was developed for Hickory Creek Watershed Planning Group to highlight projects and activities (Bio-Blitz, green infrastructure, and streambank stabilization projects) within the Hickory Creek Watershed. The website links together various elements, including web content linked to QR code on educational signage installed throughout the watershed for people to connect via mobile devices. An ArcGIS online map was developed for Three Rivers Manufacturers’ Association (a consortium of industries and municipalities along the Lower Des Plaines River) to evaluate chloride concentrations in the Lower Des Plaines Watershed in Will County, Illinois in preparation for seeking a watershed-scale chloride variance. The geospatial tool integrated Esri file geodatabase and hosted feature layers using ArcGIS online.
Dr. Lindsay Birt, Assistant Project Manager at Huff & Huff, Inc. a subsidiary of GZA, has extensive experience in water quality monitoring and modeling, storm water management, sustainable design and performance
There are several challenges to gathering, organizing, integrating, and sharing data (e.g. hydrologic, water quality, habitat, and social) for watershed planning and management. This presentation will discuss how the latest geospatial platforms can be integrated in watershed science to enhance decision making and support collaborative partnerships. Two case studies will
assessments, and watershed management. Dr. Birt completed a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from Purdue University with an emphasis in Environmental & Natural Resources Engineering. She holds a M.S. and B.S. in Biological and Agricultural Engineering from Texas A&M University. Lindsay can be reached at or 630.684.4407.
Statewide Riverine AIS Education, Prevention and Planning
Natalie Dutack, Watershed Groups Manager,
River Alliance of Wisconsin
Natalie is the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) and Watershed Groups Manager at River Alliance of Wisconsin. With a background in restoration ecology and grant administration, she has spent over a decade wrangling invasive species and facilitating environmental outreach programs in northern Illinois and Wisconsin. She currently manages AIS education and outreach initiatives across the state, coordinating the monitoring programs Snapshot Day and Project RED. Natalie works to support local groups, communities, and volunteers by creating monitoring opportunities, assisting with capacity building, and providing technical assistance. Her passion for conservation was born on the lakes and trails of Vilas County and she is thrilled to be serving as a steward for Wisconsin’s rivers and waters.
Natalie will be sharing River Alliance of Wisconsin's statewide aquatic invasives species work, which has helped educate and mobilize volunteers across the state to prevent the spread and protect Wisconsin's waters. The complexities of managing aquatic invasive species in riverine systems require strong partnerships and an adaptive management strategy to ensure programming is relevant, educational, and effective for volunteers and land managers. She will cover the plans, improvements, and additions to their AIS monitoring programs and the focus of their recently awarded Surface Water grant from WI DNR.