Calendar

Learning to Live without the Dams

What’s the Role of Land Cover and Land Management?

Wednesday, August 22, 2023 – 6:30 pm

 

West Fork Watershed residents are invited to an informational meeting hosted by Valley Stewardship Network (VSN) and the UW-Madison Grassland 2.0 program to discuss landowner conservation practice options in response to a proposal that was put forth by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to decommission all of the PL 566 dams in the Coon Creek and West Fork watersheds (except Jersey Valley). 

The meeting is at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, August 23, 2023, at the West Fork Sports Club, S3649 County Rd S, Viroqua, WI 54665. 

Information provided will include details of the planned dam decommissioning project and practical land management solutions that landowners can implement to reduce flooding in the absence of dams. Randy Jackson and Eric Booth from UW-Madison’s Department of Plant & Agroecosystem Sciences will provide an overview of 2 to 3 watershed scenarios exploring how land cover (the type of vegetation) and land use (the way the vegetation is managed) affect flooding with and without the dams, water quality, biodiversity, and farm-level profitability in the West Fork watershed. Data from each management scenario will use FloodScape, SmartScape, GrazeScape, and Heifer Compass planning and modeling tools. The scenarios they will explore have emerged from the Collaborative Landscape Design process of Rich Picture Development in the Ridge & Valley community. They will also invite participation in helping to refine the scenarios. VSN serves as the Ridge and Valley Learning Hub for UW-Madison’s Grassland 2.0 Program to promote community-driven solutions for land management. 

For interested landowners, technical assistance and information regarding funding opportunities for flood resiliency conservation practices will be available through VSN. 

For more information, please contact Beth Summers, Executive Director, Valley Stewardship Network, 608-637-3615, or email beth@valleystewardshipnetwork.org.

August 2023 Programs in Collaboration with McIntosh Memorial Library

Youth Program – Wednesday, August 2, 2023 – 1:00 pm

Adult Program – Tuesday, August 22, 2023 – 6:00 pm

We will be coordinating with the McIntosh Memorial Library in Viroqua throughout the summer to bring a variety of adult and youth programs to the community.  

In August, our youth program Mapping our Town will be at 1:00 pm on the 2nd.  Meet in Eckhardt Park!  Our GIS and Habitat Specialist Ben Johnston will lead the children through a mapping exercise in the park to explore the relationship between mapping and landmarks and their conection to their surroundings.  A scavenger hunt will follow.

For our adult program at 6:00 pm on the 22nd Heidi Keuler, Fish Habitat Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, use a stream table to lead hands-on learning about how rivers work and how we in our communities can impact them both positively and negatively. Participants will learn basic stream terminology, how they function in the watershed by interacting with groundwater, and what we can do to protect them and the fish and wildlife that live there. 

For more information about these programs visit the McIntosh Memoria Library at mcintoshmemoriallibrary.org, email us at info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org, or call us at 608-637-3615.

 

July 2023 Programs in Collaboration with McIntosh Memorial Library

Youth Program – Wednesday, July 19, 2023 – 1:00 pm

Adult Program – Thursday, July 20, 2023 – 6:00 pm

We will be coordinating with the McIntosh Memorial Library in Viroqua throughout the summer to bring a variety of adult and youth programs to the community.  

In July, our youth program Creeping Critters will be at 1:00 pm on the 19th.  Our staff member Frank Spilker will lead the children into an investigation of the fascinating insects that inhabit local streams and ponds.  He will discuss life cycles and bring critters for children to identify and study.

For our adult program at 6:00 pm on the 20th, we’ll use the EnviroScape Ecological Restoration model to communicate how water interacts with our local landscape with a splash!  Participants will make it rain on the model and observe how water moves throughout the watershed.  Then, they will construct solutions to problems and make it rain again to see how we can help safeguard our environment.

For more information about these programs visit the McIntosh Memoria Library at mcintoshmemoriallibrary.org, email us at info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org, or call us at 608-637-3615.

 

June Programs in Collaboration with McIntosh Memorial Library

June 29, 2023

Youth Program – Thursday, June 29, 2023 – 3:45 pm

Adult Program – Thursday, June 29, 2023 – 6:00 pm

We will be coordinating with the McIntosh Memorial Library in Viroqua throughout the summer to bring a variety of adult and youth programs to the community.  

Our first youth program will be at 3:45 pm.  We’ll use the EnviroScape Ecological Restoration model to communicate how water interacts with our local landscape with a splash!  Participants will make it rain on the model and observe how water moves throughout the watershed.  Then, they will construct solutions to problems and make it rain again to see how we can help safeguard our environment.

For our adult program at 6:00 pm, we will discuss “My Double Life: Memoirs of a Naturalist” by Frances Hamerstrom.  Contact the library to obtain a copy.  After a childhood traveling the world with a wealthy family, Frances moves to central Wisconsin in the 1930s and goes on to lead an entire generation of conservationists.  She became the only woman ever to receive a graduate degree from famed ecologist Aldo Leopold.  Come join the conversation!

For more information about these programs visit the McIntosh Memoria Library at mcintoshmemoriallibrary.org, email us at info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org, or call us at 608-637-3615.

 

Water Action Volunteer (WAV) Training – 2 Dates

Wednesday, May 3, 2023 – 6:00 pm

Sunday, May 7, 2023 – 11:00 am

Learn more about your local stream and watershed! Contribute to understanding the water quality in local watersheds and the state of WI. Join the Water Action Volunteer (WAV) program!

Water quality has been at the heart of Valley Stewardship Network’s (VSN’s) mission to protect our land and waters through research, education, and community empowerment. Through the assistance of members of the community volunteering their time through the WAV program, we’ve been able to put together many years of stream quality data that give us a baseline for comparison of future water sampling in the area. All this information is coordinated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources throughout Wisconsin.

NEW TRAINING ADDED:  Wednesday, May 3rd, at 6:00 pm, at Sidie Hollow, Viroqua.  Meet at the parking area at the end of CTH XX.

Our second training session is Sunday, May 7th, at 11:00 am, at 803 Water St., Wilton, WI.

Please contact our WAV Coordinator Ben Johnston at ben@valleystewardshipnetwork.org if you plan on attending. We will provide you with a full set of sampling equipment.  Ben’s cell phone number is:  608-435-6114.

Please dress appropriately for being out of doors for the training.

If you would have any questions, please email us at info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org or call 608-637-3615.

 

Coon Creek Conservation Day

Saturday, May 6, 2023 – 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Make Running Water Walk

Coon Creek Community Watershed Council presents a day of Conservation, Farming, and Fishing at Coon Valley Veterans Memorial Park, Roosevelt Street, Coon Valley, WI.  There will be food, entertainment, events, and kids’ activities focused on the Coon Creek watershed and the conservation ideas, practices, and actions taking place in the watershed.

EVENTS

  • Hog roast and baked potatoes
  • Fishers & Farmers rain simulator
  • Sand tables
  • Kids’ fishing poles
  • Coon Creek Watershed History
  • Booths
  • Spunky Bumpkins – LIVE!

ORGANIZATIONS

  • Wisconsin Land and Water
  • Savanna Institute
  • Greener Pastures and Grassland 2.0 UW-Madison
  • B & E’s Trees
  • Seed Savers

Find a list of all participating organizations and vendors at cooncreekwatershed.org.

For additional information, please call Valley Stewardship Network at 608-637-3615 or email info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org.

 

Ridges and Rivers Book Festival – Book Garden

Saturday, April 29, 2023 – 9:30 am – 10:30 am

Ridges & Rivers Book Festival’s Book Garden
On Saturday, April 29th, 2023, as part of the first-ever Ridges & Rivers Book Festival, Valley Stewardship Network will host a Book Garden at its office at 110 S. Main St., Viroqua, for an hour-long reading featuring six regional writers reading for 10 minutes each. Readers will share from their own work in a variety of genres around a loose theme of Sense of Place.  Stop in to listen to the wonderful works of driftless writers while enjoying food & drink and afterward perusing the offerings of Main Street shops.
For additional Festival info, visit Ridges and Rivers Book Festival. 

For additional information, please call Valley Stewardship Network at 608-637-3615 or email info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org.

 

The Hill Country Watershed Alliance hosts – Spring Cover Crop Bingo!

Saturday and Sunday, April 22 and 23, 2023

Here’s How it Works

The attached map shows where each cover crop field is located in one of our local watersheds.  You travel to each map location and write the number of the field location on your map (the field number is indicated on a sign at each field).  The bingo sheet description will explain what is in that field and how it was planted.

Once you have your map completed, you can return your map at the following locations or submit it electronically:
Drop-off locations:

  1. Chaseburg Co-Op, 113 Cactus Dr, Chaseburg
  2. Vernon County Land & Water Conservation Dept. (LWCD), 220 Airport Road, Viroqua
  3. Wehling Farms Country Store, S764 Jore Road, Westby

Electronic submission:
Info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org

All submissions are due by Friday, April 28th.

For additional information, please call Valley Stewardship Network at 608-637-3615 or email info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org.

 

Conservation on Tap Presentation Series

2022-2023 Season

First Tuesday of Every Month – November-April 7:00 p.m. at The Historic Fortney in Viroqua

NOTE:   The April 4 presentation will be at Tangled Hickory!!

November 1, 2022, Jason Freund, “Climate Change, Flooding, and Stream Manipulation In the Driftless Area” – Jason will talk a bit about what we have seen from climate change in the Driftless Area and about flood events, particularly the damage from the August 2018 flood event. He’ll also discuss our native plant communities, the history of human disturbances, and how we can reconnect streams and their floodplains to minimize the effects of flooding.  Link to video

December 6, 2022, Peter Allen, “Becoming Keystone: Reintegrate to Regenerate” – Indigenous cultures worldwide have embraced their role as keystone species, creating healthy ecosystems as the basis for their sustenance and livelihoods. In our times, it is critical that we remember how to take responsibility for our role as keystone, reintegrating into Nature to restore biologically diverse, ecologically functional, and agriculturally productive ecosystems. Becoming keystone requires both engaging in specific activities that impact the land and an entire paradigm shift on how we think about and understand ourselves and our relations.

January 31, 2023, RESCHEDULED! Nancy Wedwick and Bob Micheel plan to offer background information on watershed councils, their work in particular and also that in collaboration with their sister watershed councils, within the context of the historical legacy of conservation leadership in the Coon Creek Watershed.  Link to video

February 7, 2023, Teri Allendorf, “Community Conservation:  From Wisconsin to the World” – Teri Allendorf will describe Community Conservation‘s projects around the world with local communities to protect biodiversity, including endangered species such as yellow-tailed woolly monkeys in Peru, orangutans in Malaysia, chimpanzees in Cameroon, and tigers in Nepal, among many others.  Link to video

March 7, 2023, David Bruce and Erik Hagen, “Agroforestry and Perennial Cropping Systems: Catalyzing widespread adoption through Demonstration, Research and Education” – Through research, demonstration, and education, we at the Savanna Institute work to create a community of practice and help farmers and landowners learn about and adopt the practices into their current farming practices. With the USDA’s new Climate Smart program, we have several exciting new projects in the works. And you’ll be especially interested to hear about what we are doing here in Vernon County, as well as at our cluster of demonstration farms in the Spring Green area. 

April 4, 2023, Craig Thompson, “From Catbirds to Cuckoos – The Importance of North America’s Driftless Area for Global Bird Conservation” – The Driftless Area harbors the largest expanse of forest between the Ozarks and Canada’s vast boreal biome. The region’s oak woodlands support an important population of migratory birds, many considered conservation priorities. The Driftless also provides critically important stopover habitat for millions of birds during spring and fall migration.  This presentation will examine features that contribute to the region’s importance for birds, provide a glimpse into ongoing bird conservation efforts, and highlight actions Driftless residents can take to lend our feathered friends a helping hand.

For additional information, please call Valley Stewardship Network at 608-637-3615 or email info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org.

 

Annual Meeting

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

The meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. at The Historic Fortney at 100 N. Main St., in Viroqua, WI

This year we are returning to an in-person Annual Meeting but are including a Zoom portion as well so we can include people who may not want to make the trip.  As an enticement for those who do choose to join us in-person, we are offering tasty appetizers and drinks. Join us Tuesday, January 17, at 7:00 pm, at The Historic Fortney, 100 N. Main St., Viroqua.  We’ll share our successes from 2022 and talk about our plans for 2023!

Doors open at 6:30 pm for socializing.  Presentation starts at 7:00 pm.

To register and/or receive a Zoom link, please email info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org or call 608-637-3615.

 

Prairie STRIPS Presentation

Tour of several on-farm STRIPS

September 8, 2021 – 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Valley Stewardship Network is hosting a Prairie STRIP (Science-Based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips) presentation on Wednesday, September 8, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  Host Dave van Dyke has planted several prairie STRIPS on his property over 5 years.  He will take the group on a tour of a few of his STRIPS at various locations on his farm, which will demonstrate different stages of growth.  Dave will also discuss the seed mixes he used, the planting of the STRIPS, and what it takes to maintain them over time.  Valley Stewardship Network has helped Dave design and install his prairie STRIPS, as well as those of many others around the area, and will have representatives on hand to answer questions as well as talk about other native planting techniques.  There will be light refreshments.  

Dave van Dyke’s address is S5385 Hansen Lane, Viroqua.  From Viroqua, go west on Hwy. 56 about 10 miles.  Turn left on County Rd. N.  After 8/10th of a mile, turn left onto a gravel road – Hansen Lane (it will look like a driveway, but is really a road).  Follow the road to the end and park.

For additional information, please call Valley Stewardship Network at 608-637-3615 or email info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org.

 

Visit us at Deep Rooted’s Tasty Tomato Festival

Tomato tasting, food and drink, vendors, live music, and more

September 5, 2021 – 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Valley Stewardship Network will have a booth at the event where we will be selling our watershed T-shirts and beer glasses as well as providing information about our work and services.

For tickets and event information visit Deep Rooted Events

 

Get to Know Us

In-Person Events

Viroqua Farmers Market

July 24 and August 14 – from 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Visit us at the Viroqua Farmers Market at 220 S. Main St. in Viroqua

Viroqua Sidewalk Sale

July 31  – from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Drop by our office at 110 S. Main St. in Viroqua

We’ll have our watershed T-shirts, beer glasses, and stickers for sale.  

Enter a drawing to win Doug Tallamy’s book Nature’s Best Hope!

 

Presentation

Wetlands, Watershed, and Cold Water Resources

March 16, 7:00 p.m., on Zoom

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83809443760?pwd=VTlrQUJSdkNrMGp4KzFMMFhqZ2R4QT09

In this presentation by Tracy Hames, Executive Director of Wisconsin Wetlands Association, you’ll learn about what wetlands are and how they help manage the water that flows through our watersheds.  Historically viewed as wastelands, wetland loss was rampant in Wisconsin for many decades.  The legacy of wetland loss has contributed to many of our current natural resource and societal problems, such as increased flooding, decreased water quality, and accelerated loss of fish and wildlife habitat.  Hames will present wetlands from a new perspective, showing how we can use them as solutions to the water-related issues we face, especially flooding. 

 

September 26, 2020

Viroqua Farmers Market – 8:00 am – 12:00 pm

New Watershed T-shirts, glasses, and bumper stickers for sale

Come find out what watershed you are in and learn about our activities in local watersheds.

On Rock St., Viroqua, WI, between Jefferson and Terhune (behind the library)

August 22, 2020

Viroqua Farmers Market – 8:00 am – 12:00 pm

New Watershed T-shirts, glasses, and bumper stickers for sale

Come find out what watershed you are in and learn about our activities in local watersheds.

On Rock St., Viroqua, WI, between Jefferson and Terhune (behind the library)

April 8, 2020 - CANCELED

Conservation on Tap – 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Taking Stock of Tweety – The State of Our Birds

Craig Thompson, WI-DNR

Rooted Spoon, 219 Main St., Viroqua, WI

March 11, 2020

Conservation on Tap – 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Driftless Prairie, Savanna, and Woodlands – A Journey of Discovery

Armund D. Bartz, Driftless Area Ecologist – Natural Heritage Conservation, WI-DNR

Rooted Spoon, 219 Main St., Viroqua, WI