LWQIA's Mathias-Lesczynski Water Quality Award Winner 2022
This year's award of $1000.00 was presented to Schultz Legacy Farms of Van Dyne.
The Lake Winnebago Quality Improvement Association is a non-profit organization striving to improve the water quality of Lake Winnebago, for the betterment of the lake's natural habitat as well as for public recreational use.
Our association takes action on lake quality issues through education, communication, and social fund raising meetings for members and guests, and promotes cooperation among governmental units, interested organizations, and the public.
This year's award of $1000.00 was presented to Schultz Legacy Farms of Van Dyne.
A healthy soil means healthy plants and healthy plants means healthy humans. It is critical for our survival to maintain healthy soils.
Plowing healthy soils releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere contributing to global warming and increasing soil erosion. Plant biodiversity is critical to maintaining a healthy soil and healthy soil microorganisms.
Composting is a means of carbon capture and something we can do at home with a little planning.
Visit https://kissthegroundmovie.com/ to see the video. The website affords options for viewing it, including streaming on Netflix or renting for $1 from Vimeo.
The Pipe Creek Watershed in the northeast portion of Fond du Lac County has seen a significant amount of phosphorous runoff into Lake Winnebago over the last couple of years. Dairy farms account for 71% of the land usage in the watershed. This project, funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, is challenging two farmers, Chad Tasch and Dave Simon, to implement continuous no-till, cover crops, and low disturbance manure injection on 225 acres each for three years. These practices best reduce the risk of runoff and erosion, but they are new to this area and require experimentation and economic risk to accomplish the desired environmental outcomes. This project is done in collaboration with the Fond du Lac Land and Water Conservation Department, Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance, and Outagamie Land Conservation Department.
The LAKE WINNEBAGO QUALITY IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION (LWQIA) presented the 2020 Mathias/Lesczynski Conservation Award at Breakfast on the Farm at LaClare Goat Farm on June 27. The award is named after long time employee of the Fond du Lac County Land Conservation department Lynn Mathias and ARCS conservationist Erv Lesczynski for their work with Fond du Lac County farmers to prevent soil erosion. The 2020 award was presented to Dale and Denise Theel of Greendale Farms of Fond du Lac. The award is for $1000.00.
Dale worked with his father for years before taking over ownership of the farm on his father's retirement in 1983. Currently he and Denise operate 650 acres of no-till corn, soybeans and winter wheat. When assuming management of the farm Dale realized the savings of soil and time they would make by no-till planting and by the early 1990's their operation was 100% no-till. Dale admits that the early years were a time of experiment and trust as there were few other farmers to ask questions of for guidance.
As part of their efforts to improve their land, the Theels started planting cover crops about 10 years ago and planting into the growing crop (known as planting green) about 7 years ago.
Over the years Dale has been involved in the community by serving as a Town Board member for the Town of Empire, serving on the USDA Farm Service Agency County Committee and now serving as the at-large member of the FDL County Land Conservation Committee, which he currently chairs. Dale has worked to start the FDL County Farmers for Healthy Soil and is a member of Between the Lakes farmers group helping to teach others from his experiences.
It was with pleasure that LWQIA presented the Mathias/Lesczynksi award to the Theels for their dedication to the improvement of our land and water.
Congratulations to Dale and Denise Theel!
Josh Hiemstra was a 2020 recipient of the Mathias/Lesczynski Water Quality Award. He did an interview on how he is using cover crops and soil health to add financial returns to his farm. See the full article here.
Lake Winnebago Quality Improvement Association took part in a non-traditional AG Showcase amid the coronavirus pandemic. As an alternative to the traditional event, the Agri-Business Council decided to still educate the consumer through a bag full of educational materials, flyers, coupons, brochures, packaged food samples and agri-business swag.
LWQIA offered its own fish tale in the form of a handy informational piece that describes our organization and the work that we do throughout the community, especially honoring farmers that take extra measures to reduce nutrient runoff with the Mathias-Lesczynski Water Quality Award, all nicely wrapped around a box of Swedish Fish.
The 250 sampler bags were sold for $20 each. Monies raised through the promotion help to support agriculture education throughout Fond du Lac County. The council is looking to host the Ag Showcase on March 5, 2022.
Robert and Josh Hiemstra of Brandon were the recipients of the annual Mathias/Lesczynski Water Quality Award for 2020. The Hiemstra’s have been growing cover crops on their family’s dairy farm for over a decade.
Cover crops are gaining popularity among farmers and landowners thanks to the many benefits that can be achieved. These include reduced nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies improving water quality, increased soil organic matter, improved soil health, reduced soil erosion and expanded grazing and forage acres.
The Mathias/Lesczynski Water Quality Award recognizes farm management practices that help protect surface water from runoff of sediments, nutrients and chemicals into rivers, streams and especially Lake Winnebago.
In the accompanying video, the Hiemstras show us how they utilize cover-crops to extend their forage inventory and improve soil health and fertility.
Maintain Lakeside West Native Garden Display. We currently are in contact with the city for additional signage.
Maintain Fish line Receptacles at various boat launches throughout Fond du Lac County. One receptacle was hit by a lawnmower. Larry will check about adding a post to reattach it.
Created and posted on our website the “Lake Friendly Lawn Care” brochure.
Participated in the city’s kick-off of the “Adopt-A-Storm Drain” initiative that was held at the library.
Helped sponsor and set up an informative table at the Winnebago Park meeting on water quality on the east shore of Lake Winnebago. 122 were in attendance.
Supplied letter in support of the Pipe Creek watershed grants application.
LWQIA Board member, Alan Weir, continues to be a member of the Steering Team of the Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance. County representatives, area non-profits, and community members work together on the Steering Team to set the strategic direction for project initiatives and to ensure progress in efforts such as lake management planning in the Winnebago System.
Participated in public educational events. Unfortunately, because of COVID-19 the majority of the activities had been canceled. We did have a booth at the Agricultural Showcase on March 4 and promoted Adopt-A-Storm Drain.
Awarded a farm with the Mathias-Lesczynski Water Quality Award. We are still working on the new recipient’s acceptance of the award. A plaque was created with past winners. Because of COVID-19, we have not been able to officially hang the plaque or have any photo opportunities.
Support and assist in sponsoring field days for the Fond du Lac County Demonstration Farm Network, of which three farms in the county are partnering.
Members of LWQIA toured the Fond du Lac Wastewater Treatment & Resource Recovery Facility (WTRRF) and were able to see the ANAMMOX® process, a cost-effective and sustainable way of removing ammonium from effluents and ammonia from waste gas.
LWQIA is helping to promote the City of Fond du Lac's new "Adopt a Storm Drain" program. The program will help reduce harmful runoff into Lake Winnebago.
Design by Renee George
The Winnebago Waterways program is seeking comments on drafts for the master plan being developed for the Lake Winnebago system. The working drafts that are nearing their final stage are now available for the public to access, review, and comment online. The webpage will be updated with new documents as they become available.
Please help us share the webpage widely. The more public awareness we can build the better.
One of the Lake Winnebago Clean Waters Project's efforts is the creation of a native plant demonstration garden in Fond du Lac's Lakeside Park West. For information on the garden and to volunteer to help, visit www.lakesidewestgarden.com.
For information on a variety of actions to help stop polluted runoff, visit http://www.lakewinnebagocleanwatersproject.org.
In the fall of 2013, the Lake Winnebago Quality Improvement Association of Fond du Lac County (LWQIA) initiated a Fond du Lac area-wide campaign to reduce harmful runoff into Lake Winnebago.
View the Clean Waters Project page for more information.
People fishing on Lake Winnebago now have an easy way to dispose of old or unwanted fishing line. Ten fish line receptacles have been placed around the southern end of the lake in an effort to keep the lake clean and safe for wildlife and people using it.
Chris Anderson designed the receptacles from PVC pipe donated by JF Ahern as part of his Eagle Scout project. Fellow scouts from Troop 705 of North Fond du Lac helped with the construction and installation. The project was sponsored by the Lake Winnebago Quality Improvement Association.
Fishing line, or monofilament, is typically non-degradable and lasts about 600 years. Abandoned fishing line injures or kills fish, birds and other wildlife.
Collection bins are located at the following launch sites:
All Board meetings are at 7 PM on the first Wednesday of each month in the EOC (Emergency Operating Center) in the basement of the Fond du Lac City/County Building. The public is invited to attend.
View past articles.