Controlling Phosphorous Run-off: A Pilot Project Experiments with Monitoring and Management
|Project Summary: New grazing and monitoring programs on a buffalo farm managed by the Oneida Tribe are helping reduce excessive fertilizer and manure runoff from entering the Fox River.|
Project Name: Oneida Tribe Buffalo Farm
Location: Near Green Bay, Wisconsin
Description: The Lower Fox River watershed had increasing phosphorous loads over the last few years due to nutrient run-off from area farms. A new pilot project has funded numerous ways of monitoring farm activity and improving farm practices to minimize excess phosphorous use. With 48 contracts to help nearby farms in the Fox River watershed, almost 20,000 acres are covered.
Thanks to this program, the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin run a farm that has been able to expand its acreage, change how the buffalo graze on the land, and manage how the herd interacts with water on the property. As their herd reached 140 buffalo, with only 150 acres of pasture, access to healthy pasture became an issue. With help from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Oneida Tribe was able to expand their pasture to 214 acres. Additionally, a rotational grazing system was implemented, allowing the plant life to recover and ultimately be more nutritious for the buffalo. How water reaches the buffalo heard was changed, and benefits to water quality have been noticed.
Approximate Cost: $70,000 with some of funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
Resource Challenges Addressed: High nutrient levels in waterways, algae blooms, and lack of funds for conservation efforts in agriculture
Key Partners (Public and Private): Great Lakes Restoration Initiative; U.S. Geological Survey; Environmental Protection Agency; Natural Resources Conservation Service; Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection; Outagamie County Land Conservation Department; and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Types of Jobs Created: Scientists, engineers, hydrologists, construction workers, fencing contractors, well diggers, conservationists, and general laborers
Results and Accomplishments: On the Oneida Buffalo farm, a rotational grazing system was implemented, allowing the plant life to recover and ultimately be more nutritious for the buffalo. A well and watering facilities were also installed on the property, which controls how often the herd interacts with water. These changes have improved forage quality, are keeping pastures healthier, and have reduced ways for pathogens from the buffalo to enter the water supply.
Originally Published: August 30, 2013