Agricultural Land

Agricultural land can be a significant source of runoff and pollutants. Open land with little trees or vegetation doesn’t soak excess water during high rain or snow melt events, and manure or potential chemicals can find their way into streams and rivers. But there are best practices and support out there to help your agricultural land work best for you and for your clean water.

General Resources


Farmers who practice agroforestry integrate trees, crops, and animals together in sustainable farming systems. The Savanna Institute helps landowners with implementing agroforestry on their lands. Learn more at

Conservation Programs

Conservation programs are available to help implement best management practices needed to reduce nonpoint source pollution to streams from agriculture activities on private lands. Some of these practices include nutrient management, management of concentrated flow areas on cropland/pastures, waterway crossings for farm machinery and cattle, livestock fencing, riparian buffers, streambank protection, conservation tillage, managed-intensive grazing, wetland restoration, and wildlife habitat enhancement.

  • Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP):A land retirement program providing technical and financial assistance to eligible farmers to address soil, water, and related natural resource concerns on their lands in an environmentally beneficial and cost-effective manner. In the Marengo River watershed, the Lake Superior CREP is a modification of the program available elsewhere in Wisconsin and is designed to help achieve slow the flow objectives specific to the Lake Superior basin. As of 2010 two participating landowners in the Marengo River Watershed comprise a total of 33.1 acres in the program. Lead Agencies: United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) – Ashland Service Center, Ashland and Bayfield County Land and Water Conservation Departments.
  • Conservation Easements: Landmark Conservancy assists landowners in protecting their lands via conservation easements. Conservation easements help ensure that private land remains conserved in perpetuity. Lead Agency: Landmark Conservancy.
  • Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP):A program that encourages producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by undertaking additional conservation activities; and improving, maintaining, and managing existing conservation activities. Lead Agency: USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Ashland Service Center (715) 682-9117.
  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and State DATCP: Cost-share programs that provide technical and financial help to landowners for conservation practices that protect soil and water quality. This includes a variety of BMPs that help slow the flow, reduce sedimentation, and reduce bacteria and nutrient inputs. Lead Agencies: EQIP is a federal program administered by USDA-NRCS – Ashland Service Center. DATCP programs are administered by Ashland and Bayfield County Land and Water Conservation Departments.
  • County Nutrient Management Program:Cost-share and technical assistance program for developing and implementing nutrient management plans that help livestock producers comply with NR 151 Standards and Prohibitions. Lead Agencies: USDA-NRCS – Ashland Service Center, Ashland and Bayfield County Land and Water Conservation Departments, Ashland and Bayfield County.