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Elk Creek Watershed Outreach & Education

Elk CreekElk Creek Barn

Video of a buffer strip along Elk Creek to reduce erosion & sediment load into the stream

River Country RC&D received funding in 2011 & 2012 from the Driftless Area Initiative and the Natural Resources Conservation Service to conduct education and outreach in the watershed to encourage conservation implementation in the Elk Creek Watershed.

The Elk Creek Watershed is a 72,000 acre watershed in West Central Wisconsin that flows into Bugle Lake, which is an impoundment in Independence, Wisconsin. Bugle Lake acts as a catch basin and indicates the amount of soil loss from the watershed. Bugle Lake has been filling in at an alarming rate and a project to dredge the lake has been initiated.

The Elk Creek Conservation Outreach and Education project will work to stabilize the stream banks and reduce sediment loss from fields, thus decreasing the amount of sediment in the waterway and prolonging the lifespan of the lake restoration. The project will also improve water quality and wildlife habitat throughout the watershed.

The overall goal of the Elk Creek Conservation Outreach and Education program was to increase the health of the Elk Creek Watershed and to link farm management decisions to environmental outcomes. The Elk Creek Conservation Outreach and Education program used farmer and other stakeholder input to develop performance based incentives to increase conservation implementation in the watershed thus conserving natural resources, enhancing the Elk Creek Watershed, and reducing the watershed’s sediment contribution to the Trempealeau and Mississippi Rivers.

The Elk Creek Conservation Outreach and Education project used input from local landowners and conservation groups to design a performance based incentive program to address barriers to conservation implementation and hoped to create a sustainable culture of conservation. The landowners had a say in the design and direction of the program and were able to provide feedback throughout the process. The performance based incentive program is used to create a sustainable change by allowing the landowners to achieve specified environmental performance targets in any way they choose. The program also provides an incentive for the landowners to choose the most cost effective actions to meet the performance targets.

2011 Stakeholders Report

2011 Biomass Feasibility Study

Effects of Erosion of Corn Yields


Conservation Practices Available:

Natural Resources Conservation Service Programs

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

Wisconsin Department Natural Resources

Managed Forest Law (MFL)

Wisconsin Forest Landowner Grant Program (WFLGP)

Wisconsin Fish and Wildlife Service

Partnerships for Fish and Wildlife


If you are interested in becoming involved, please contact Mary C. Anderson