Brickstead Dairy wins watershed champion award

NEW Watershed Champion Brick family from the Greenleaf area, March 17, 2017 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- A dairy farm family from the Greenleaf area was recognized Friday for their efforts to limit farm run-off into the waters of Green Bay.

NEW Water, which is the brand name for The Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District, named Brickstead Dairy as this year's watershed champion.

The ceremony took place at the Jack Day Environmental Center in Green Bay,

"We want to congratulate the Brickstead family and the Brickstead Dairy for being this year's NEW Watershed Champion 2017," said Nancy Quirk, Green Bay Water Utility General Manager.

Brick was honored as part of World Water Day.

"Thank you. It's great to get recognition for our efforts that we're doing," said Dan Brick, Brickstead Dairy.

Past watershed champions include a high school teacher, a conservationist, and a politician. So what made a a dairy farm family from southern Brown County stand out?

"He's looking at practices that are not traditional in this area, and they keep the soil and the nutrients on the land as opposed to letting them wash off into the waterways," said Tom Sigmund, NEW Water Executive Director.

Brick says practices like no-till planting, and planting cover crops, are getting results.

"We keep it green all the time. The goal is to always keep a living and growing root into the soil. Help bring in the energy from the sun, and also keep the biology of that soil healthy," he said.

And a water quality station detects nitrates and phosphorus flowing from a field at the farm. Brick says the information will be used to form a long-range plan to manage that land.

"I feel that we're going to save 50-80 percent of our phosphorus that's leaving off the fields because of having a cover crop," he said.

Back at the ceremony,

"We have a special guest," said Sigmund.

A very young dairy calf, unofficially named "Patty" after St. Patrick's Day, snacked on a bottle or two of cow's milk.

"Happy World Water Day, and congratulations," said Sigmund.

World Water Day which is actually March 22nd, was established 24 years ago by The United Nations to increase awareness of the value of fresh water and of global water issues.

The 2017 NEW Watershed Champion Award was issued jointly by NEW Water, and the Green Bay Water Utility.

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