Coon Creek Community Watershed Council Receives Funding for Watershed Planning

Photo by Richard Loomis

Coon Creek Community Watershed Council Receives Funding for Watershed Planning

Watershed planning efforts in the Coon Creek Watershed are moving forward, thanks to a $10,000 grant awarded to CCCWC by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WI-DNR) in early February 2024.

The watershed plan, which follows the Nine Element framework outlined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is meant to help assess threats to stream ecosystem health, prioritize restoration and protection strategies to address those challenges, and involve key stakeholders along the way.

The planning process is a collaboration between CCCWC, partners in La Crosse, Monroe, and Vernon Counties, Valley Stewardship Network, and Coon Creek Watershed residents. With the help of its recently awarded WI-DNR Surface Water Grant, CCCWC will support the planning efforts by facilitating farmer and community member involvement in the planning process, developing outreach and education strategies, and identifying management measures that will help support flood resilience and ecosystem health more broadly. .

“The amount of work happening at the local level to support our lakes, rivers and watersheds is incredible. It’s amazing to see the level of communication and coordination between members of these organizations, local government representatives, DNR Biologists and other stakeholders,” said WI-DNR Surface Water Grant Program Manager Jen Jefferson, in a DNR press release. “The effort it takes to develop such meaningful projects is commendable.”

The Surface Water Grant Program is designed to support local and regional partnerships working to improve stream health across Wisconsin counties and watersheds. According to WI-DNR, it allocated more than $6 million in grant funding to CCCWC and other Wisconsin-based nonprofit organizations and municipal and county governments this year. In its grant announcement, WI-DNR highlighted CCCWC’s work as an example of how its surface water grant program can be implemented on a watershed scale.

This is not the first time CCCWC has been awarded a DNR Surface Water Grant. In 2023, CCCWC also received $10,000 through the program, which CCCWC President Nancy Wedwick said helped the council begin the multi-year work of developing a Nine Element Plan for the Coon Creek Watershed.

“The Coon Creek Community Watershed Council is very happy to receive its second DNR Surface Water Grant Award,” Wedwick said. “This award will allow us to continue education and awareness about water quality, outreach to stakeholders, gather baseline data, and support the DNR efforts to create a Nine Key Element Plan in one of our subwatersheds, all with the goal of increasing water infiltration to mitigate flooding.”

The mission of the Coon Creek Community Watershed Council is to continue the historic legacy of conservation leadership through improving and restoring our soil, water, and air as stewards of the Creek Watershed. We focus on strategies and practices that individuals can implement. Together, we are learning to make running water walk.

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