After 15 years of data collection, it became clear that the streams and rivers in the Kickapoo and neighboring watersheds contain excess sediment and nutrients. This situation threatens much of what people value about our area, including health, economy, and recreation. Run-off into our streams and rivers is detrimental to trout and wildlife and it is known to cause toxic algal blooms. The presence of excessive sediment and nutrients in our waters also indicates the potential for farmland degradation and a decreasing recreational economy – two of the things our communities most rely upon.
With these insights, Valley Stewardship Network’s activities and programming focus on these areas:
Water Quality Research
Today, in addition to baseline water quality monitoring, VSN’s water quality research is increasingly applied to understand and support land stewardship practices. We are now measuring water quality benefits from land use improvements.
VSN offers assistance and access to the many programs available that support good stewardship by farmers, landowners, and all who enjoy our area. We play a central organizing role by serving as a hub of access and collaboration with other conservation agencies and organizations in our area. This includes our shared offices at Conservation Connections on Viroqua’s Main Street.
Youth and Community Outreach & Education
We offer workshops and training to help all community members and visitors learn what’s unique about the Kickapoo and surrounding watersheds in our area. Our goal in doing this is to give participants knowledge and tools to enjoy and care for natural treasures and to support the health of our communities.
Our staff, volunteers, and board members work to provide year-round access to the information and services that help people to make the best decisions about caring for land and water.