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The 10th Annual
Thursday, March 17th, 2022
Summit Keynote Speakers  
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Chloride in groundwater;

a rising concern

John Jansen, P.G., P.Gp., Ph.D.

Senior Geophysicist/ Hydrogeologist

Collier Geophysics

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Chloride levels in groundwater are rising and are reaching problematic levels of concern in many areas.  Though there are many causes, road salt is the major factor in many aquifers in Wisconsin and the northern tier states.  This presentation will discuss the magnitude of the problem and the limits in the current level of monitoring.  The long term consequences will be discussed with potential opportunities to reduce the impacts.

John has a B.S. in Geology and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Geological Sciences with an emphasis in hydrogeology and geophysics, all from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  He is a Senior Geophysicist and Hydrogeologist for Collier Geophysics.  John works on a wide variety of ground water projects around the country specializing in high capacity wells, aquifer recharge, and groundwater resource management.  He received the NGWA Keith A Anderson Award in 2012 for service to NGWA and the groundwater industry and was the NGWA McEllhiney Distinguished Lecturer in Water Well Technology in 2013.  John was an invited speaker at the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers at their annual convention in Barcelona in 2018, the Keynote speaker at the Symposium on Geophysics to Environmental and Engineering Problems in 2013, and a guest lecturer on managed aquifer recharge and groundwater geophysics for the Geoscience University of China in Beijing in 2018.

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Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Secretary Preston Cole     


Appointed by Gov. Tony Evers in 2019, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary Preston Cole directs statewide programs for environmental protection, natural resource management, outdoor recreation and law enforcement with an emphasis on diversity and service excellence. Secretary Cole supports traditional conservation activities and environmental protection as well as connecting nontraditional audiences with opportunities to get outdoors. As a member of Gov. Tony Evers Climate Change Taskforce, Secretary Cole helped develop multi-faceted recommendations that combat climate change's adverse effects in Wisconsin. In 2019, Secretary Cole was inducted into the Milwaukee Business Journal Hall of Fame and recently named one of “Wisconsin’s 51 most Influential Black Leaders” by the news outlet Madison365.

Prior to his appointment to the DNR, Secretary Cole was a member of the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board (NRB) from 2007-2019. The NRB sets policy for the DNR and exercises authority and responsibility in accordance with state laws. Cole was first appointed by Gov. Jim Doyle and then re-appointed by Gov. Scott Walker. Secretary Cole was also selected NRB chair from 2013-2016 during which time he spearheaded livestreaming the board meetings.

Before becoming DNR Secretary, Secretary Cole was the Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services Commissioner where he led the department dedicated to protecting the value of investments in neighborhoods and commercial properties, supporting community goals of building safe and healthy neighborhoods, and increasing investment and economic vitality throughout the City. As a career-long public servant, Secretary Cole previously worked as Operations Chief for the Milwaukee Department of Public Works, Forester for the City of Milwaukee, Parks Superintendent for the City of St. Louis and Resource Forester for the Missouri Department of Conservation. Secretary Cole is the first African‐American forester to graduate from the University of Missouri after its reorganization in the 1970s. Secretary Cole credits participating in his local Future Farmers of America chapter during high school for sparking a life-long interest in forestry.

Featured Speakers

US Army Corps of Engineers Ecosystem Restoration Programs & Partnership Opportunities

Frank Veraldi, Restoration Ecologist

US Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District


This presentation will provide information on US Army Corps’ Authorities that support non-Federal ecosystem restoration planning, design and implementation. Elements covered include types of projects and examples, qualifying partners, cost sharing requirements, time frames, and project initiation. The presentation will also give a brief update on the Section 519 Fox River Connectivity & Habitat Study.

Frank received his Bachelor’s in Ecology, Ethology, and Evolution (EEE) from University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana in 1998, with a focus on ichthyology. That same year he began working for the USACE, Chicago District as an Invasive Species Technician. In 2000 Frank took on the role of restoration ecologist for the planning, design and implementation of ecosystem restoration projects. In 2016, Frank was selected as the USACE Lakes & Rivers Division Regional Technical Specialist for Ecosystem Restoration, where he supports the Great Lakes and Ohio River Corps Districts in their mission to implement ecosystem restoration programs.

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Wetland and Riparian/Floodplain Restoration Techniques

Peter Ziegler –Project Director

Wisconsin Waterfowl Association (WWA)

Wetland restoration continues to be an ever evolving field.  Activities are improved upon all the time furthering the beneficial processes which wetlands provide our society and wildlife.  Seeing how these techniques are applied in the field pre post and during construction is important to understanding how to plan for a wetland restoration.

Peter is Director of Habitat for Wisconsin Waterfowl Association (WWA) and owner of Habitat Restoration Partners.  Peter has over 20 years working in the habitat restoration field across the upper Midwest.  Peter completes property analysis, technical work, permitting and cost share associated with habitat restoration projects across the state for private landowners, non-profits, governmental agencies and commercial businesses.  He has designed restoration plans for small to large wetlands, stream realignments, and associated floodplain wetlands.  He has completed a wide diversity of restoration activities from long term site management being completed in stages over years to shorter term projects completed within a year or less.  He provides cost estimates, timelines, and long-term management guidelines for property owners/managers for grassland, wetland and woodland restorations.

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It's Our Fox River Day

Gary Swick, Friends of the Fox River

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To effectively protect and restore a watershed, you must act on a watershed scale. Become part of the largest Fox River celebration, Its Our Fox River Day (IOFRD) on Saturday September 17th.

IOFRD is designed to be a unifying watershed-wide event to provide awareness and action in celebration of the Fox River. You pick the location, and the activity and Friends of the Fox River will assist in preparation, promotion and recognition. Born as a clean-up, it has morphed into a diverse celebration. What can you offer the Fox this year?

Gary Swick used his BS in Natural Resource Mgt. from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and a MSEd in Outdoor Teacher Education as the foundation for developing a field-based High School Environmental Science suite of eight courses. Under his direction, students planted over 50,000 trees, restored acres of natural areas, generated files of research, and accomplished many other acts of environmental stewardship that have become local history. Many of those students are now professionals in the environmental field.

In addition, he also invested 10 years at Northern Illinois University as an instructor, and 18 summers as a raft guide on the Snake River in Wyoming. Gary serves as the President of the Friends of the Fox River and is a board member on several other non-profit conservation groups. He is an avid outdoor recreationist.

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Fabulous Fox! Water Trail Updates

Karen Ann Miller, AICP

Executive Planner, Kane County, Illinois

Development and Community Services Department

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Designation of the Fabulous Fox! Water Trail into the National Park Service Water Trails System provides a variety of benefits to the watershed and is the goal of the team of stakeholders working to develop the Water Trail.  Learn from one of the leaders of this initiative what has been accomplished and what needs to be done to complete application for designation by November 1st of this year.  Find out what you can contribute to this fun and important project!


Karen Ann Miller has been a Planner with the Kane County Development Department for over twenty years.  She has had a wide range of responsibilities from local and regional planning to organizing a variety of County functions. Recent projects include the Fabulous Fox! Water Trail, the Oak Ecosystem Recovery Plan as part of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative, the Greenest Region Compact, the Kane County 2040 Plan and Kane County Planning Cooperative, and the Kane County 2040 Green Infrastructure Plan.  Karen also provides planning technical assistance and education to local governments and organizations in Kane County. Karen is the past President of the Fox River Ecosystem Partnership and serves on numerous committees within Kane County Government and organizations throughout the region including the Fox Valley Sustainability Network and the Chicago Region Trees Initiative.  She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, a commissioner for the Brookfield Plan Commission and active in the Brookfield Historical Society. Master of Urban Planning and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, Northern Illinois University

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Soil Heath: A Means to Increase

Farm Profits and Improve Water Quality

Matt Winker - Redline Dairy, Clean Farm Families Board Member, Ozaukee Co. Demonstration Farm Network -  one of 4 Demonstration Farms.

Andy Holschbach – Director,  

Ozaukee Co. Land & Water Management Department. 

Collaborator, Clean Farm Families


Matt and his wife, Sarah,  own Redline Dairy in the Town of Belgium in Ozaukee County.  They milk 100 cows and farm 450 acre.  Wanting to cut down significantly on expenses, Matt switched to no-till planting in 2013 and started dabbling with cover crops in 2015 with all acres  having cover crops in 2018 and beyond. Soil erosion, fertilizer and chemical inputs have been reduced drastically.  “It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s been profitable.” 


Andy Holschbach, Director of the Ozaukee County Land & Water Management Department served 36 years working with agricultural producers promoting implementation of soil and water conservation practices.  Andy has lifelong connections to farming as he grew up on a dairy farm in Manitowoc County.  Andy believes strongly in Farmer-led watershed protection groups and appreciates their ability to promote soil health and improve water quality.  “Soils are alive, and once people know that they treat it differently.”


Mussel Management and Conservation Opportunities in the Fox (Illinois) River Watershed-Status Update

Jesse Weinzinger, Wisconsin Mussel Monitoring Program, WDNR


The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has partnered with the INHS , FWS, Carroll University, SEWRPC, and local volunteers to address enigmatic mussel declines throughout the Fox River watershed, including mitigation efforts to protect Rainbow mussel (Villosa iris), a state endangered species in Illinois and Wisconsin. In this presentation, Jesse will highlight the primary actions of this project, share preliminary results from 2021 summer surveys, and share opportunities for interested volunteers to contribute to the project in 2022.



Jesse Weinzinger is a Conservation Biologist for the Wisconsin DNR. His work serves to assist partners of the Wisconsin Mussel Monitoring Program to build projects, programs, and tools for native freshwater mussel conservation. Recent work has been focused on mussel reintroduction in watersheds of the Saint Croix, Chippewa, Wolf, and Fox River.


Community Assets,

it Takes a Village

Andy LaFond

Director of Community Services

Village of Thiensville Wisconsin

Flood mitigation, park renovations, fish passage, recreation, community programming, and redevelopment at the confluence of the Milwaukee River and Pigeon Creek in the Village of Thiensville, Wisconsin. Thiensville, like many other Historic communities was established at a confluence for the resources and natural beauty it provided. Confluences can come with modern day environmental and economic challenges. A presentation on how a diverse group of stakeholders and partners came together in the heart of a village.

Andy has been with the Village of Thiensville for 25 years. As the Director of Community Services, he is responsible for coordination and supervision of the engineering, planning, and building inspection departments. He is also responsible for all aspects of the day-to-day operations of the Public Works Department and Sewer Utility. Andy coordinates the Village website, social media and print media presence. He is the staff liaison for the Historic Preservation Commission and Planning Commission.  Andy is a board member of the Thiensville Business Association, co-chair of the Thiensville Village Park Re-Imagined committee and a contributing writer for the Mequon Thiensville Today Magazine.

 Partnering University Resources with Area Lake Associations

Stephen Levas

Asst Professor of Environmental Science



This presentation will focus on some of the resources UW-Whitewater and other universities have to offer local organizations and explore assistance in local habitat restoration. Current and future projects will be discussed to help facilitate future discussion and partnerships between local organizations and universities.


Stephen received his Bachelor’s in Science of Earth Systems from Cornell University and his PhD in Geology from The Ohio State University with an emphasis on aquatic biogeochemistry. Stephen’s current research interests center on anthropogenic impacts on local waterways and on undergraduate training. Currently, his research focuses on using invasive species to track anthropogenic impacts in aquatic systems. He is also working with local Lake Associations to help answer specific water chemistry such as phosphorus driven eutrophication.

 Echo Lake Dam

Aldermanic Representative Steve Rauch

Peter Riggs, Director of Public Works

City of Burlington

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Goals and progress on the SEWFRC’s Ecological Funding Implementation Plan

Gregg Breese

Regulatory Manager, RES


SEWFRC & RES are pursuing a sustainable strategy to find, implement and construct projects that will make incremental improvements to the water quality, habitat and stewardship of the Fox River basin.  This will be done through the pursuit of specific grants, contracts, and opportunities to partner with landowners, farmers, agencies, and municipalities.   This will begin to identify partners who can offer potential matching resources and funds to help implement the full potential of this partnership.

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Outdoor Recreation – An Economic Driver for Wisconsin

David Spiegelberg,  Regional Tourism Specialist

Travel Wisconsin

Cassie Mordini, Community Development

& Communications Specialist

Wisconsin Office of Outdoor Recreation


Fishing, biking, paddling, hunting, skiing, snowmobiling, camping, and many other outdoor activities are part of everyday life for many Wisconsin residents and visitors. Many of us often take Wisconsin’s abundant outdoor recreational opportunities for granted. Have you ever considered the role of outdoor recreation as an economic driver for the state? We will take a closer look at how many manufacturers of outdoor recreational products call Wisconsin home. How many jobs are supported by the industry, and how many tourism dollars are generated by outdoor recreational travel in Wisconsin each year.   

David Spiegelberg is a Regional Tourism Specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. David came to the Department in 1994 from the National Park Service where he coordinated an international volunteer program in Yosemite National Park in California. David currently works as a liaison between the Department and the tourism industry in eastern Wisconsin. He assists industry partners with all aspects of Travel Wisconsin’s marketing services and programs, and specializes in the field of silent sports, skiing and snowboarding, golf, and bicycle tourism. David also coordinates the Department’s international marketing activities through the Great Lakes USA marketing consortium. When not at work, you’ll find David on his mountain bike, in his kayak or wandering somewhere in Wisconsin’s woods. He proudly calls himself an “outdoor junkie” which often leads to some interesting and exciting work assignments - e.g. – winter surfing in Sheboygan! David is a sixth-generation Wisconsinite who was raised in the small hamlet of Wilmot in western Kenosha County. He now calls the Lake Geneva area home and is fortunate to have the entire east coast of Wisconsin as his work territory and playground.

Cassie Mordini is the Community Development & Communications Specialist with the Wisconsin Office of Outdoor Recreation. Created by the Department of Tourism, the Office is charged with supporting and uplifting Wisconsin’s diverse outdoor recreation industry for the benefit of all. Cassie manages the Office’s industry communications and supports program and resource development as well as stakeholder outreach. Her professional background in relationship building, communications and marketing for environmental nonprofits paired with her experience as a longtime REI sales specialist is a testament to her passion for the outdoors. She feels truly privileged to channel her experiences and passion into her work strengthening the outdoor industry. A Wisconsin native who grew up building forts in the woods and spending summer weekends on the river, Cassie has a deep appreciation for the natural wonders of the state and endeavors to show it all to her two kids, with husband and dog in tow. When asked what her favorite activity is, she’ll tell you, “Anything outside.”

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