Farm & Village Water Quality Partnership

The Fund for Lake Michigan has awarded a grant to the Sand County Foundation, a national not-for-profit that works at the intersection of agriculture and environmental conservation, to continue its water quality initiatives in the Village of Grafton, Ozaukee County.

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The $94,668 grant supports Sand County Foundation’s outreach to farmers to implement practices that reduce the amount of phosphorus entering local waterways. The award represents a two-year commitment to water quality in this municipality of the Milwaukee River watershed.

“Keeping soil and nutrients on farm fields and out of our waterways directly benefits agricultural business and our shared waters,” said Vicki Elkin, Executive Director of the Fund for Lake Michigan. “Simply put, Wisconsin’s farmers are key to improving Lake Michigan water quality.”

With technical assistance from the Sand County Foundation, the Village of Grafton will reduce nutrient and sediment losses from farms upstream, improving water quality and meeting Village wastewater discharge permit requirements in a collaborative, cost-effective way.

“Our efforts will empower other regulated facilities within the Lake Michigan basin to apply an Adaptive Management approach for permit compliance. The process will build trust between stakeholders and creates a culture of commitment to the goals of the entire watershed community,” said Dr. Heidi Peterson, Sand County Foundation Vice President of Agricultural Research and Conservation.

To date, the Fund for Lake Michigan has awarded 520 grants totaling $31.2 million to non-profit organizations and local government agencies, who partner with the private sector on water quality improvement projects than promise broad social, economic and environmental returns.

Launched in 2011, the Fund for Lake Michigan supports investments throughout the Lake Michigan watershed that improve water quality, create jobs, raise real estate values, revive communities, clean waterfronts, support habitats and drive tourism.

Sand County Foundation tests and demonstrates conservation practices with farmers, ranchers, foresters and businesses. These efforts produce clean water, healthy soil, abundant wildlife habitat and opportunities for outdoor recreation.

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Fund for Lake Michigan is a private foundation based in Milwaukee. It was established in 2011 as part of an agreement between We Energies, Madison Gas and Electric, WPPI Energy, Clean Wisconsin and Sierra Club to safeguard the lake and improve water quality in the region. The Fund supports efforts, particularly in southeast Wisconsin, that enhance the health of Lake Michigan and its shoreline and tributary river systems for the benefit of the people and communities that depend upon the system for water, recreation and commerce. www.fundforlakemichigan.org

Sand County Foundation inspires and empowers a growing number of private landowners to ethically manage natural resources in their care, so future generations have clean and abundant water, healthy soil to support agriculture and forestry, plentiful habitat for wildlife and opportunities for outdoor recreation.

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