Programs and Projects

Yahara Watershed Improvement Network (WINs)

Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District, in collaboration with over 30 partners, is pioneering a new approach to reduce phosphorus runoff called Watershed Adaptive Management. Excessive levels of phosphorus runoff can harm rivers, streams and lakes. In watershed adaptive management, partners work together to implement cost effective practices that reduce phosphorus from all sources. This collaborative effort is called Yahara WINs
and is focused in the Yahara River Watershed. 



Yahara CleanYahara Capital Lakes Environmental Assessment and Needs (CLEAN)  

The Yahara Clean cost-share program provides cost-share funds to support the implementation of conservation practices and systems that reduce both nutrient and sediment runoff to nearby streams and have the greatest potential for water quality benefits.



Harvestable BufferHarvestable Buffer Program   

In an effort to compliment the conservation practices installed by producers in the Yahara River Watershed and further reduce Phosphorous losses from cropland, the Dane County Land and Water Resources Department developed the Harvestable Grass Buffer Program available to producers in the Yahara River Watershed for land located in Dane County. This program will allow producers to establish a perennial grass cover which can be harvested and utilized while maintaining the environmental benefits of grass buffer strips.


Low Disturbance Manure InjectionLow Disturbance Manure Injection

In efforts to improve water quality within the Yahara River Watershed, the Dane County Land and Water Resources Department in collaboration with Yahara Pride Farms, Clean Lakes Alliance, and Yahara WINs is offering a cost-share assistance program to producers for the purchase of Low Disturbance Manure Injection (LDMI) equipment. This program is available to producers who own or operate land located in the Yahara watershed that are currently either surface applying or incorporating manure. The program is intended to help offset some of the cost for producers to purchase the equipment that allows manure to be applied in a manner that greatly reduces its risk of entering nearby surface waters.

LDMI Application for Haulers

LDMI Application for Producers


 Priority AreasPriority Areas

  Within the Yahara Watershed special focus is being directed to the Door Creek and Badfish Creek Watersheds.


The Dane County Land Conservation Division provides cost-share funds for installation of conservation practices to implement Dane County’s Land and Water Resource Management Plan. Funding is part of a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Eligible practices fall under the categories of structural and management. Eligible practices can include streambank protection, diversions, terraces, grass waterways, grade stabilization structures, access road (channel crossings), water sediment control structures, clean water for barnyards, and storage facility closure, barnyard runoff control systems and nutrient management. Criteria for evaluating cost-share applications is conducted through the Land Conservation Committee.

Wisconsin Working Lands Initiative

The primary objective of the Wisconsin Working Lands Initiative is to preserve farmland for future generations. The initiative passed in 2009 and can be found primarily in Chapter 91 of Wisconsin State Statutes. Main components include:

Farmland Preservation Program (FPP)

The purpose of the FPP program is to help preserve farmland through local planning and zoning, and to provide tax credit to participating landowners. Landowners in Agricultural Zoning Districts A-1 Ex, A-4 and A-B (all Towns except for Bristol, Burke, Middleton and Springdale) qualify for the FPP tax credit if they meet the eligibility requirements. Note: Land enrolled in Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Managed Forest Law is eligible for the tax credit provided that specific requirements are met. Related Working Land Initiative Links: For information on eligibility requirements, participation categories, and rules see: Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection For information on common questions on claiming the FPP tax credit, see: Wisconsin Department of Revenue For the Legislative Documents associated with FPP tax credit, see: Wisconsin Legislative Documents

Agricultural Enterprise Area (AEA)

An AEA is an area of contiguous land primarily in agricultural use that has been designated by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) in response to a locally developed petition. It can be used by individuals and communities to meet locally identified agricultural preservation and agricultural development goals. Dane County has three designated AEAs: Town of Dunn, Town of Windsor and Vienna-Dane-Westport. More information about Dane County AEAs, including petition text, rule map and parcel number list, can be found at Farmland Preservation Agricultural Enterprise Areas (DATCP). Eligible landowners in these three designated AEAs, can enter into voluntary farmland preservation agreements to collect the farmland preservation tax credits. Participants can receive a tax credit of $10.00 for each eligible acre. To determine if your parcels are included within the three Dane County AEA’s, click on the Interactive Map (DATCP). If your parcels are within a designated AEA, please contact Curt Diehl at the Dane County Land Conservation Division, 608-224-3741, for more information.

Purchase Agriculture Conservation Easements (PACE)

The Working Lands Initiative establishes a new program to provide up to 50% of the cost of purchasing agricultural conservation easements, including transaction costs. Through the Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easements (PACE) program, the state will provide funding to cooperating local governments or non-profit organizations to purchase easements from willing landowners. Land with an agricultural conservation easement cannot be developed for any purpose that would prevent its use for agriculture. The PACE program is not currently accepting applications. See the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) for more information.


The Land Conservation Division works in partnership with the USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service and USDA – Farm Service Agency to administer conservation programs such as:

NRCS- Wisconsin

Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)

FSA- Wisconsin

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)
Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)

More information on program specifics and eligibility requirements can be found on our partners websites.