The Land and Water Conservation Committee had a lengthy conversation about emergency manure cleanup expenses at its meeting, Thursday, March 7.

Ben Wojahn, county conservationist, said some dairies in the county are “in a bad situation with manure pits overflowing” because of a variety of circumstances, including the weather. He said manure pumping companies refuse to haul manure because they aren’t being paid by some farmers.

Wojahn said he was asking for the committee’s approval for emergency cleanup expenses not to exceed $2,500 using money from existing accounts to help one farmer in need. He said it wasn’t free money – the farmer would have to agree to a nutrient management plan and look at farm finances with Land and Water Conservation Department staff.

“We want to work with these folks,” Wojahn said.

A motion was made by committee member Kelli Mitchell to approve Wojahn’s request, with the stipulation he would contact the committee’s chair and vice chair before money was spent on cleanup. After discussing several options, the motion failed because of committee members’ concerns of the precedence it would set.

The committee heard a Vernon County deer herd and County Deer Advisory Council (CDAC) update from Dan Goltz, Department of Natural Resources biologist.

Goltz said the CDAC charter is as follows:

  • Gather public opinion on deer populations goals, antlerless quotas and season options;
  • Review and consider metrics on deer herd trends, impacts and human interactions;
  • Provide the DNR with recommendations on deer populations, antlerless quotas and permit levels, and season options.

Goltz said the goal in Vernon County is to maintain the deer population in 2018-2020.

The 2018 “bow” registration had a total of 1,739 deer harvested. Archery hunters harvested 550 antlered deer and 511 antlerless, for a total of 1,061. Crossbow hunters harvest 358 antlered deer and 320 antlerless, for a total of 678. Goltz said crossbows are becoming more popular.

Goltz also reported the 2018 gun harvest totals. The numbers included those from the youth season, nine-day gun season, muzzleloader season, December antlerless season and the holiday hunt. A grand total of 6,939 antlered and antlerless deer were harvested.

Goltz also presented Vernon County’s total harvest, 2006-2018; Southern Farmland antlered and antlerless harvest, 2006-2018; Vernon County deer seen per hour by hunters, 2009-2018; and Vernon County chronic wasting disease positives.

Goltz said the Vernon County CDAC mission for 2019 is to recommend antlerless harvest quota, determine bonus antlerless permit levels for public lands and private land, and determine the number of Farmland Zone permits per individual hunters.

The CDAC was to meet at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve March 11 to discuss the deer harvest in 2018 and to vote on season structure. Goltz said the CDAC would meet again at the KVR April 15 to finalize its recommendations.

The committee also discussed the lease proposal notice for the operation of Blackhawk Park Store & Concession Stand for 2019 and beyond. Martin Kennedy, project manager-parks administrator, said there are three primary lease options and lease proposals are due at the Land and Water Conservation Department office at 1 p.m. March 29.

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Angela Cina can be reached at angie.cina@lee.net.

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Vernon County Broadcaster editor

Angie Cina is editor of the Vernon County Broadcaster. Contact her at 608-637-5616.

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