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Midwest Prairies, LLC

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Midwest Prairies Participates in First Water Quality Trading Project in Wisconsin

Madison, WI, March 30, 2016 --( Midwest Prairies, LLC, a natural resources company located in Edgerton, Wisconsin, announced they participated in the first water quality trading project in the state of Wisconsin. Water quality trading allows entities such as city sewer districts and factories that discharge wastewater containing phosphorous into streams and lakes to offset those impacts by restoring natural cover to erodible agricultural lands rather than invest in expensive engineered systems.

Legislation allowing for water quality trading was promulgated by the state several years ago, but it was not until December 2015 that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued its first water quality trading permit to the Baker Cheese company in St. Cloud, WI. In order to satisfy their permit requirements, Baker converted 20 acres of erodible farm land into a perennial native prairie.

Baker Cheese’s wastewater consultant, The Probst Group of Brookfield, WI, introduced the idea of water quality trading as an effective, environmentally-friendly phosphorus compliance measure for their new wastewater treatment plant discharge. Implementation of the water quality trading project was led by attorneys John Clancy and Emily Ertel of Godfrey & Kahn, S.C., based in Madison, WI. Clancy stated, "Baker Cheese faced some real regulatory challenges with its new wastewater treatment facility because of the stringent phosphorous limitations for new discharge sources. We are pleased we could help them meet their stringent discharge requirements in a creative, cost-effective way that allows them to continue to expand their business, creating jobs and economic opportunity in this rural area of Wisconsin."

Midwest Prairies, LLC, designed the prairie plantings, construction plan and long-term maintenance plan for the site. Planting occurred in July 2015. “The site looks great,” said Carl Korfmacher, owner of Midwest Prairies, LLC. “Baker Cheese wanted to do things right. We were given a lot of flexibility in coming up with the best approach, which is always a pleasure. In a situation like this, failure is not an option. We installed several dozen native plant species from seed and used state of the art erosion control methods. By fall, native plants were popping up everywhere so we are confident the end result will be spectacular.”

Baker Cheese CEO Jeff Baker said, “As the first permittee under the water quality trading rules, we knew we would be breaking new ground with the regulators and expected some challenges. The Probst Group, Godfrey & Kahn and Midwest Prairies did a great job working with the DNR and pulling this together. We are pleased with the results. Not only are we meeting all the water quality requirements expected of us, but we've added meaningful habitat to the local land base and are improving our business operations at the same time."

Ertel concluded, “Since water quality trading is a new program in Wisconsin, there’s uncertainty in the state about whether it can be used successfully and is a reliable compliance option for permittees. Baker Cheese’s work has demonstrated that water quality trading can be a very effective compliance option for permittees facing low phosphorus limits. Baker Cheese not only created positive benefits to the watershed in terms of improving water quality, but also provided high-quality native habitat for wildlife.”

Midwest Prairies, LLC, is a natural resources consulting and contracting company dedicated to restoring prairie, savanna, wetland and woodland habitats throughout the state of Wisconsin. For more information, please contact Carl Korfmacher at 800.382.1132.
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Midwest Prairies, LLC
Carl Korfmacher

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