The Wisconsin Chapter of the International Soil and Water Conservation Society will be conducting their annual conference on Feb. 21. The conference will begin at 8:30 a.m. in Stevens Point at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center located at 1001 Amber Avenue. Early registration is due by Feb. 14 and can be completed online at www.wi-swcs.org. Registration is also accepted the day of the conference, but preferably due by Feb. 14 to estimate the number of meals.
This year's conference will look at the trends in commodity economics affecting land use decisions, USDA Farm Bill impact on natural resources, recent changes to Wisconsin wetland laws, and innovative new ways to mitigate and control agriculture impacts to surface waters. Presenters will be from the United States Departments of Agriculture, United States Geologic Survey, Wisconsin DNR, UW-Extension, National Wildlife Federation, Madison Metro Sewerage District, and DVO Inc. Lunch will be provided with registration.
The Wisconsin Soil and Water Conservation Society is a non-profit scientific and educational organization devoted to bringing people and science-based ideas together to promote and improve the natural resources of the state.
Following is an overview of scheduled speakers:
*Bob Battaglia has been the director of the National Agricultural Statistics Service's Wisconsin Field Office for the past 16 years. The Wisconsin FO is responsible for conducting USDA's program of agricultural statistics and the Census of Agriculture. The office also conducts data collection and research projects for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and the University of Wisconsin. Bob has worked for NASS for 36 years. Prior to his Wisconsin assignment he led the New Jersey NASS office and worked in Washington, D.C. Bob is a native of New Jersey and attended Rutgers University.
*Dr. Ryan Stockwell is the agriculture program manager for the National Wildlife Federation.
Ryan provides outreach and policy analysis on Farm Bill and related legislation. Ryan also provides leadership on NWF's efforts to increase farmer adoption of cover crops. Ryan also farms near Medford. Ryan received a Ph.D. in History from the University of Missouri in 2008.
*Eric Cooley grew up in Sturgeon Bay and Deforest. He earned undergraduate degrees in nuclear engineering from Thomas Edison State College and soil and water conservation from University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master's degree in soil physics from UW-Madison.
Eric also served a six-year enlistment in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear reactor operator and water chemist. Eric started work for Discovery Farms in December 2004 as an outreach specialist and is currently the research coordinator. His work focuses on natural resources issues in eastern Wisconsin with an emphasis on surface water runoff and tile line drainage. He was previously employed by the Door County Soil and Water Conservation Department, where he specialized in nutrient management planning.
*Matt Komiskey, Matt is a physical scientist with the United States Geological Survey. He is a project chief of a variety of projects dealing primarily with agriculture and nonpoint pollution related issues. These projects involve investigation into water quality trends to best management practice (BMP) evaluations from small watersheds to edge-of-field and subsurface tile locations. One of the current projects Matt is working on is a “priority watersheds” component of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) where evaluation of NRCS BMPs are being conducted at the small watershed and field scale in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio.
*Liesa Lehmann has served as the Waterways and Wetlands Section Chief for WDNR's Bureau of Watershed Management since 2008. Liesa began her career in conservation working as a Water Management Specialist for WDNR, spending 10 years protecting lake, river and wetland resources by administering waterway and wetland permit requirements. Following that she worked 5 years as a statewide waterway policy coordinator. In her current role, Liesa manages the statewide policy and implementation of Wisconsin's waterway and wetland permitting and shoreland zoning programs. She has degrees from St. Olaf College and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is an avid paddler, hiker and gardener.
*Stephen Dvorak, P.E., obtained a degree in industrial/mechanical engineering from UW-Madison. Upon graduation, Stephen joined the MBA program at Madison. He earned his professional engineer designation in 1977.
In 1989, Stephen founded an environmental engineering firm, known today as DVO, Inc., (formerly known as GHD, Inc.). Since 2001, DVO has designed its market-leading, patented mixed plug-flow digester systems for dairy and poultry farms, beef feedlots, and slaughterhouse waste across the nation. DVO is the largest on-farm anaerobic digester developer in the United States, with over 70 farms currently operating a DVO digester and another eight sites under construction. In addition, DVO has expanded abroad, with several international projects either operating or under construction.
*Kathy Lake serves as the Environmental Specialist for the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District. Her duties include implementing the District's Watershed Adaptive Management project. This project brings together over 30-parties to fund phosphorus reducing practices targeted at water quality improvements in the Yahara River basin. The project, called Yahara WINs, is the first regulatory adaptive management project in the country. Project funding comes from each of the participants as well as private and public funding organizations. Kathy is a professional engineer with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota and a MBA from UW-Madison.
Source: Wisconsin Chapter of the International Soil and Water Conservation Society