Every year, we complete pillar projects aimed at improving water quality in Big Green Lake. This work is important, but the GLA also recognizes that this is just the beginning of addressing the lake's problems. We will need to scale up our efforts even more in the face of environmental and human inputs that threaten its water quality.
The projects are divided into three categories known as our pillar projects. They are:
PILLAR PROJECT: CLEAN STREAMS
Stream and wetland restoration to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering Green Lake.
$80,000 per mile of restored stream
Eight streams, also known as tributaries, flow into Big Green Lake. Some of these tributaries are classified as exceptional waters while others are listed on the impaired waters list.
1. Assembly Creek, 0.2 miles long
2. Dakin Creek, 6.2 miles long
Restored: 3,600 feet
3. Hill Creek, 1.8 miles long
Restored: 9,740 feet
4. Roy Creek, 7.2 miles long
Restored: 9,689 feet
5. Silver Creek, 34 miles long
Restored: 842 feet
6. Spring Creek, 2.5 miles long
Restored: 3,600 feet
7. Wuerches Creek, 4.4 miles long
Restored: 892 feet
8. White Creek, 1.1 miles long
Restored: 520 feet
PILLAR PROJECT: GREEN ACRES
Since over 65% of our drainage area is agricultural, we have to think beyond our lake and think about the 107 square miles that drain into Big Green. Project Green Acres focuses on building a community of farmers who are economically and environmentally sustainable. This includes:
Scholarships: Since the average age of a farmer in Green Lake is 65 years old, we must invest in educating the next generation of farmers. As part of our Agricultural Stewards Scholarship program, we send farmers to workshops to learn about practices that are good for the land and good for Green Lake.
Demonstration Farm: We helped launch the watershed's first-ever demonstration farm at Pollack-Vu Dairy. Through his participation in the demo farm network, Chris Pollack has:
implemented no-till practices; grazed cover crops; utilized a roller crimper to roll rye after plantingvsoybeans into the cover crop; had temporary temperature sensors installed in a no-till field and a conventionally-tilled field; and collected some Haney soil health tests. It's an important informational resource for other farmers in our watershed.
Annual Event: Each year, we host a Land & Lake Family Field Day. This day helps display the economic and environmental impact of implementing best management practices.
Equipment: In 2021, the GLA purchased a no-till drill with a prairie seed attachment. The equipment is being modified to allow it to interseed cover crops, in addition to other uses. Since access to the appropriate equipment to interseed cover crops was a limiting factor to implementation for farmers, we are pleased to provide this equipment to farmers in the watershed to reduce agricultural sources of phosphorus loading to Green Lake.