Dodge County farmers were offered a different perspective on the region’s water resources Aug. 31 during a tour of Beaver Dam Lake.
The Dodge County Alliance Healthy Soil–Healthy Water group aims to build stronger ties between conservation groups and those involved in agriculture and invited farmers to get out on the water.
“We hope that they will understand what we are doing and we’ll understand what they are doing,” said Beaver Dam Lake Improvement Association President Bill Boettge.
He said he was surprised to learn many of the farmers in the Alliance had never been on the lake. More than 90 farmers signed up for the 30-minute lake tour on a pontoon boat that launched from The Springs Pub and Grill.
The Alliance formed a year ago and is made up of farmers, lake property owners and advisers from Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, UW-Extension and the Dodge County Land and Water Conservation Department.
“We are building something that is not only beneficial for the lake and the farmers but is a good organization,” Boettge said.
Bringing farmers out on to the lake will allow them to see the lake’s low clarity due to high phosphorus levels and other aspects that could be improved. Boettge said he and others can educate people on the efforts the group is doing to clean up the lake and how farmers can play a role as well.
Lake Improvement group member Bill Foley said that one aim of the tour is to raise awareness and develop programs to decrease the nutrients deposited into the lake in the future. Limiting the amount of fertilizer farmers use should decrease the amount of erosion and run-off into Beaver Dam Lake.
Foley said the lake is in stable condition, but added there is a lot of phosphorous, sediment and excess carp that should be addressed. He said the Association is attempting to identify carp spawning grounds and eliminate them — in addition to harvesting them from the lake.
Foley said that the estimated 34 inches of rain that has fallen this summer has helped the lake’s condition.
The group will meet again from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Sept. 11 at The Watermark, 209 S. Center St. for a town hall style meeting with the Beaver Dam Lake Improvement Association and UW-Madison Water Resources Management students. The group also plans to meet Oct. 18 for a Fall Field Day. No location or time has been set yet. Boettge said time around farmers would teach lake owners a few things like what no-till farming is and why farmers use cover crops.