Protecting the Waters:
The Issue of Phosphorous

Causes and sources
Problem extent
Efforts and progress
Looking to the future

Rain to Rivers Program

UWEX Natural Resources Education


News & Events

(August 2015) Red Cedar River Water Quality Partnership Submits Watershed Plan to WDNR and US EPA

The Red Cedar River Water Quality Partnership submitted a comprehensive watershed plan to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the US Environmental Protection Agency for approval in August of 2015. The Plan, titled "A River Runs Through Us: A Water Quality Strategy for the Land and Waters of the Red Cedar River Basin", is a ten-year plan to address water quality issues in the Basin, focusing on the problems of phosphorus pollution and the subsequent algal blooms that it causes. The Plan should meet WDNR and EPA guidelines for such plans, making the Basin eligible for certain grant funds that would otherwise be more difficult to acquire. The Plan will be the guiding document used by the Partnership for work focused on improving water quality in the Basin.

Review of the plan by WDNR and US EPA should take place in early 2016, and once approved, the Plan will be made public; at which time it will also be published here on the "Maps and Publications" page.

For more information on the process of developing the Plan, see minutes from the Partnership's meetings on the "Maps and Publications" page.


(March 2015) Red Cedar River Watershed Conference

For the fourth year in a row, people came together to discuss the Red Cedar River Watershed on March 12, 2015 at UW-Stout in Menomonie. Nearly 300 people attended the all day event, the highest attendance figure in the history of the conference. Solving water quality issues in the Red Cedar Watershed will require everyone to do their part, and the conference offers a great chance to build community and forge partnerships to better understand the issues and each other's lives and roles, as well as find common ground in working toward solutions.

Go to the "Maps and Publications" page for downloadable presentations from the conference.


(January 2013) Farmer-Led Council Project Coordinator Hired

In early 2013, Julia Olmstead was hired as a University of Wisconsin Extension emoployee based at UW-River Falls, to help organize farmer-led councils in both the Red Cedar River and St. Croix River Watersheds. Julia will be working with county land conservation staff in the region to help farmers organize into councils whose roles will be to discuss what they can do for water quality while helping their own operation, how they wish to proceed, what kind of approaches they will use, and how they will measure success.

Julia can be contacted at 715-531-8869, or by e-mail at

Older News Items

Final TMDL Approved by US EPA

The Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for Tainter Lake and Lake Menomin was submitted to EPA by the WDNR for approval in May 2012. Final approval of the TMDL was received from EPA in September 2012. The document can be found here.


Coordinator Hired for Improvement Efforts

In early 2011, Karl Hakanson was hired by River Country Resource Conservation and Development under a grant from WDNR, to act as a coordinator for efforts in the Red Cedar Basin focused on phosphorus issues. Karl brought many years experience working with citizens and government on ways to manage land and property in ways that reduce erosion, soil loss and nutrient inputs to water bodies. With the limitation of funding, Karl's contract expired in September 2012, and all of us working in the Red Cedar Basin thank him for his great work and contributions.


2011 Year of Water

Beginning in January of 2011, Sustainable Dunn teamed up with other area partners to present a series of events focused on what the group termed "2011: The Year of Water". Several presentations were made at the various events discussing partnerships, water quality education, issues with the Red Cedar River Basin, research, and other topics. To view these presentations, go to the Publications page and click on each presentation.