Sessions & Presenters

Red Cedar Session and Presenter Information
In this Section

Red Cedar Watershed Conference
Thursday, March 9, 2023
8:30 am - 4:00 pm 

Jim Boulter
Red Cedar Watershed Conference Keynote Jim Boulter

UPDATE - 2023 Opening Keynote 

8:45-9:45 am

Wisconsin’s Changing Climate and Agriculture’s Role

Dr. Jim Boulter, professor of chemistry and environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in the department of Public Health and Environmental Studies.

Opening Keynote Description

It is becoming increasingly apparent that Wisconsin is undergoing changes, with average temperatures rising, extreme heat events increasing, precipitation patterns varying – including both periods of drought and flood, and extreme weather events becoming more common. What’s more, our scientific understanding of these phenomena informs us to anticipate increased alterations in the coming years. These shifts are being experienced in many ways across the region, and this presentation will address just a small subset of them, including impacts on agriculture, surface water quality, and human health. The agricultural sector plays a crucial, sometimes complex role in surface water quality across the region, both impacting and affected by eutrophication. In the same way, agriculture is also affected by these changes in growing conditions such as temperature and precipitation shifts but also serves as a source of net carbon emissions due to soil and livestock emissions and fossil fuel combustion. At the same time, this creates an opportunity for the agricultural sector to play a significant role in addressing the problem. So the presentation will conclude by examining agricultural practices and policies to mitigate climate change impacts on the region.

Jim Boulter Biography

Dr. James Boulter is a professor of chemistry and environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in the department of Public Health and Environmental Studies. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Pacific Lutheran University in chemistry with an emphasis in environmental studies. He completed his Ph.D. in analytical chemistry with an emphasis in atmospheric science at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He joined the UW-Eau Claire Department of Chemistry faculty in 2004 and was appointed as the inaugural director of the Watershed Institute for Collaborative Environmental Studies from 2011-2017. He teaches classes across a broad range of topics including general, analytical, and environmental chemistry, radiation, air pollution, climate change, and sustainability. His recent research activities are split between laboratory studies of atmospheric particulate matter related to climate and human health and public surveys in the US and China focused on perceptions of and responses to climate change. He is a member of the Wisconsin Institute for Climate Change Impacts, in the human health working group.

icon
Red Cedar Watershed Conference Keynote Rick Clark

2023 Afternoon Keynote

12:05-1:05 pm

Farm Green for the Future

Rick Clark, owner and operator of Clark Land & Cattle and Farm Green Consulting

Afternoon Keynote Description

Rick will be discussing his journey with regenerative organic as well as talking about weed suppression, crop rotations, understanding the principles of soil health, and making the connection between healthy soil and healthy humans.

Rick Clark Biography

Rick Clark is a 5th generation farmer from Williamsport, IN. The main goal on the farm is to build soil health and achieve balance with Mother Nature. Rick has developed and is constantly improving a systematic approach to regenerative farming. He is most proud of incorporating regenerative farming practices with all acres being certified organic. He calls it regenerative organic stewardship with no tillage. He will suppress weeds and build soil health with cover crops and no tillage. Rick also cares deeply about human health, as it is another important driver behind the organic no till style of farming. Rick is building a system that will be viable and profitable for generations to come.

icon
Red Cedar Watershed Conference Keynote Chad Pregracke

2023 Final Keynote

2:45-3:45 pm

From the Bottom Up

Chad Pregracke, Founder and president, Living Lands & Waters

Final Keynote Description

Chad Pregracke, 2013 CNN Hero of the Year, is living proof that one person can make a difference. As the founder of America’s only “industrial strength” river clean-up organization, Chad Pregracke tells a compelling, uplifting, and inspiring story about growing up on the river and how his river experiences led to his unique vision to clean up the Mississippi River and start an internationally recognized not-for-profit, Living Lands & Waters.

During his presentation, Chad will take the audience out on one of the world’s greatest rivers –a journey filled with endless challenges and gripping adventures. His delivery is motivating, captivating, genuine and refreshingly spontaneous. Chad’s story will show you that one person can truly make a difference!

Chad Pregracke Biography

Chad Pregracke is the internationally named 2013 CNN Hero of the Year, founder and president of Living Lands & Waters; a nonprofit river cleanup organization, author and professional public speaker. He is proof one person can make a difference.

Best known for starting out as a young man in East Moline, Illinois wanting a cleaner waterway, Chad has become the champion for the Mississippi River. Growing up on its banks, he worked as a commercial shell diver during his early years, experiencing the river from the bottom up. Sometimes spending 10 hours a day in the depths and current of the pitch black waters, he crawled nearly 150 miles of the river bottom over six years. Chad saw its beauty and was frustrated by the neglect. At the age of 17, he decided to clean it up. Twenty-three years later, Chad and his Living Lands & Waters crew have organized and led over 1200 community cleanups on 23 rivers in 21 states and removed over 11 million pounds of garbage. Chad had an idea that evolved into a movement that has helped to restore one of America’s greatest icons, the Mississippi River.

Chad has been recognized by former President, George W. Bush as a national “Point of Light.” He received a standing ovation at the Kennedy Center from all four living former U.S. Presidents for his inspirational message on dreaming big, taking action, persevering, leading and collaborating. He has been the keynote speaker for college graduations, business conferences and events, classrooms, nonprofit organizations and more. Named “America’s Hardest Working Person” by Mitchum, Chad’s enthusiasm, sense of humor and passion amplifies his story and entertains audiences. Ultimately, his message inspires people to believe they can make a difference.

Chad currently lives and works with his wife Tammy dividing their time between life on the Teamwork barge and their home in East Moline, IL.

2023 Breakout Presentations

Morning Session Block
10:15 - 11:05 AM

Conservation Agriculture: What Is It, and Why Aren't All Far
Conservation Agriculture: What Is It, and Why Aren't All Farmers Doing It?

The Hay River Farmer-Led Watershed Council works to promote conservation practices on local farm fields. In 2022 they held field days, surveyed large-scale farmers on their actions and opinions on conservation, and provided incentive funds for practices that improve surface water quality. They also conducted the Soil Your Undies competition to get soil health top-of-mind for more folks. Tara will talk about what we learned in 2022, what farmer attitudes towards conservation appear to be, and where we're headed for 2023 with Farmer-Led Councils. 

Tara Daun

Presenter: Tara Daun
Farmer-Led Watershed Council Coordinator, Wisconsin Farmers Union

Tara Daun is the Farmer-Led Watershed Council Coordinator for Wisconsin Farmers Union. In this role, Daun works directly with 4 farmer-led councils located in Dunn, Pierce, Polk and St. Croix counties to increase farmer engagement, build council capacity, expand participation in incentive programs, coordinate water testing and programming, and foster conservation in the Red Cedar and St. Croix watersheds. She previously worked with the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, assisting farmers through application and contract processes to provide them with financial assistance for conservation practices.

These councils consist of farmers working alongside county staff to increase farmer awareness of water quality issues and adoption of conservation practices. Through the councils’ work, educational networking events are held on farms to showcase conservation practices such as no-till, strip tillage, cover crops, and grassed waterways with test plots and on-the-ground work.

“My hope is that we can increase soil health, farmer profitability, and water quality all at the same time. That takes farmers learning from other farmers to perfect practices that can reduce inputs and time spent on the tractor while maintaining profits and protecting the soil and water.”

www.Farmerledwatershed.org

Facebook.com/farmerledwatershed

Brook Trout Reserves:  Adaptation Strategies in the Face of
Brook Trout Reserves:  Adaptation Strategies in the Face of Climate Change

Wisconsin’s native Brook Trout are an integral part of our natural legacy, our culture, and our identity.  Brook trout are also very sensitive to changes in water temperature.  Climate and stream models project a decline of 68% of the stream habitat for Brook Trout with, only 6,832 miles suitable for Brook Trout by the mid-century. Dealing with climate change will require the best available science and meaningful participation of public and private stakeholders.  WDNR has proposed to establish and manage brook trout reserves in Wisconsin.  Brook Trout Reserves are a selection of some of the places in Wisconsin where brook trout have the best chance of enduring the effects of climate change and other environmental perturbations.  These 54 nominated reserves are selected to support biologically, environmentally, and climatologically resilient self-sustaining brook trout populations for quality fishing opportunities or conservation of genetic diversity.  The designation of reserves enables the WDNR and its partners to focus their specific tools to ensure that brook trout remain viable in the state.

Paul Cunningham

Presenter: Paul Cunningham
Fish Ecologist, WI DNR

Paul Cunningham has a BS from UW Stevens Point and a Master of Science from the Ohio State University. Paul spent five years conducting fisheries research for the Minnesota DNR and since 1992 has been with Wisconsin DNR’s Bureau of Fisheries Management. He has spent much of his career working on habitat protection initiatives. As the statewide Fisheries Ecologist, he serves as a technical consultant for fisheries lake restoration, community ecology, and biomanipulation of fish communities. Paul also leads the DNR’s Brook Trout Reserves Program.

Kasey Yallaly

Presenter: Kasey Yallaly
Fish Biologist, WI DNR

Kasey began her career in natural resources at Southeast Missouri State University in 2011 where she graduated with a degree in Wildlife Conservation and Management while working for the Missouri Department of Conservation for 3 years as a forestry research technician and fisheries technician on large rivers. From there she worked for Idaho Department of Fish and Game for 3 years on coldwater and warmwater fisheries. She then attended Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and graduated with her Master’s degree in Fisheries Management in 2018. Kasey has been working as the Fisheries Biologist for the Wisconsin DNR out of the Baldwin office since 2018 where she manages fisheries resources in Pierce, St. Croix and western Dunn counties.

Monroe County Climate Change Task Force
Monroe County Climate Change Task Force

Monroe County has a history of flooding and intense rain events that have ravaged the southern portions of the county, since 2007.  In response to the destruction of infrastructure, private property, and agriculture, this led to the development of the Monroe County - Climate Change Task Force (CCTF) in 2019.  Hear from a county in western Wisconsin taking the initiative on climate change in Wisconsin. Bob Micheel will share how Monroe County not only passed a proactive resolution recognizing climate change while supporting the efforts of the newly created Climate Change Task Force. The CCTF will seek federal, state, and local assistance (technical & financial) to implement their 10 goals to address the symptoms of climate change while implementing mitigation practices to reduce the counties impact.

Bob Micheel

Presenter: Bob Micheel
Director, 
Monroe County Land Conservation Department (LCD)

Bob is the Monroe County Land Conservation Department (LCD)–Director, where he previously served as a Soil & Water Conservationist with the LCD in Sparta, Wisconsin, since 1989. Has a B.S. Degree in Resource Management and Soil Science from UWSP. He has served on many federal, state and local committees influencing conservation policy. Over the course of 30 plus years in Monroe County he’s responsible for the stream restoration program which included the Amish Community; phosphorous trading program with municipalities, created the first Land Use Planner position in Monroe County along with the Climate Change Task Force, and serves as the Wisconsin Land & Water - President. He grew up in a small community called the Arches, in Winona County MN.

 

Afternoon Session Block
1:40 - 2:30 PM

It Takes All Kinds: Ongoing multidisciplinary water research
It Takes All Kinds: Ongoing multidisciplinary water research and action at UW-Stout

Restoring impaired waterbodies is a slow process that requires creative problem solving by many groups of people. In this session, Nicole Hayes (UW-Stout Biology Department) and Tina Lee (UW-Stout Social Science Department) will discuss ongoing research and opportunities in restoring the Red Cedar Watershed. To start, we will review nutrient trends in the Red Cedar River watershed with a focus on the Red Cedar River, Hay River, and lakes Tainter and Menomin and discuss the eutrophication status of both lakes. Then we will share updates about ongoing and future water activities at UW-Stout such as the LAKES Research Experience for Undergraduates program and monitoring supported by the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin. We will discuss the establishment of both the Center for Rural Opportunities and Prosperity (CROPS) at Stout and a Red Cedar Learning Hub. New data about the health of the watershed, ongoing efforts at protecting and improving it, and new initiatives that aim to support the local economy and especially farmers will be shared.

Photo of Nicole Hayes

Presenter: Nicole Hayes
Professor, UW-Stout

Nicole Hayes is an assistant professor of biology at UW-Stout. She has a PhD in Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology from Miami University and joined the faculty at UW Stout in 2020. She has conducted extensive research about nutrient dynamics and cyanobacteria in lakes and reservoirs and was recently funded by the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin (along with Keith Gilland) to coordinate a long-term monitoring program of Lakes Menomin and Tainter.

Photo of Tina Lee

Presenter: Tina Lee
Professor, UW-Stout

Tina Lee is a professor of anthropology at UW-Stout and co-director (with Arthur Kneeland) of the Linking Applied Knowledge in Environmental Sustainability Research Experience for Undergraduates (LAKES REU) program. She is an applied anthropologist who has been involved in social science research about the watershed and in the LAKES program since 2014.

Teaching Climate Change to Non-Scientists
Teaching Climate Change to Non-Scientists

The presentation will begin with the nature of the sun’s light energy as it arrives at the top of the atmosphere, what happens in the atmosphere and how the remaining light energy is absorbed by the earth’s surface, depending on color.  The absorbed light energy converts to heat and radiates into the atmosphere to be absorbed by certain gases known as greenhouse gases.  These gases reradiate the heat back into the atmosphere warming the air near the surface making plant and animal life possible, providing energy for the water cycle and weather, making the earth the hospitable place for life as we know it.

DaleHanson

Presenter: Dale Hanson

Dale Hanson served for 28 years as the Director of the Soil and Water Conservation Department for Barron County.  After retiring he earned a Masters Degree in Environmental Science from U.W. Stevens Point.  The focus of his masters project was climate change.   He then taught Environmental Science and Soils courses at U.W. River Falls for 3 years.  Currently he is transforming a 30 acre farm south of Cameron for maximum carbon sequestration and minimum greenhouse gas emission.  Dale hopes to continue more climate change education in the future.  

The Benefits of Farming Green
The Benefits of Farming Green

Rick will be discussing his journey with regenerative organic as well as talking about weed suppression, crop rotations, understanding the principles of soil health, and making the connection between healthy soil and healthy humans.

Rick Clark

Presenter: Rick Clark
Owner and operator of Clark Land & Cattle and Farm Green Consulting

Rick Clark is a 5th generation farmer from Williamsport, IN. The main goal on the farm is to build soil health and achieve balance with Mother Nature. Rick has developed and is constantly improving a systematic approach to regenerative farming. He is most proud of incorporating regenerative farming practices with all acres being certified organic. He calls it regenerative organic stewardship with no tillage. He will suppress weeds and build soil health with cover crops and no tillage. Rick also cares deeply about human health, as it is another important driver behind the organic no till style of farming. Rick is building a system that will be viable and profitable for generations to come.