LCC History, Rules & Regulations

History of Land Conservation Committees

Most would agree that the national emergency we called the Dust Bowl gave birth to the modern soil and water conservation movement in this Country. During the 1930s dust storms that originated in the Great Plains swept across the nation resulting in ruined land, dead livestock, human suffering, and it forced the abandonment of farms. Improper use of farmland, overgrazing of rangeland, and drought combined to cause the Dust Bowl. More than any other event, this calamity made clear the necessity of conserving natural resources.

Our national government responded by establishing the Soil Erosion Service (SES) in 1933. The SES organized large-scale conservation demonstration projects around the country.The first of these projects was set up in Wisconsin in the Coon Creek Watershed, covering parts of Vernon, La Crosse and Monroe Counties.

Although successful, these projects failed to reach most land users. A more effective way of introducing land users to conservation was needed. This new approach would have to respond adequately to local farming conditions and local conservation priorities. In turn, it would enjoy the benefits of local support, local participation, and, especially, local leadership.  The answer was the creation of the Conservation District.

Conservation Districts Formed

Congress passed a Model Conservation District Law in 1937 that enabled states to receive technical assistance from the Federal Soil Conservation Service (which replaced the Soil Erosion Service in 1935). Conservation Districts were designed as special purpose units of government (like school districts) that would run on state and local funding, be locally administered, and rely on voluntary land user participation.

Wisconsin’s Soil Conservation District Law was enacted in 1937 as Chapter 92 of the State Statutes. A revision in 1939 empowered county boards to create conservation districts along county boundaries, linking conservation to county government. Dunn County formed its district in December of 1939 by resolution of the Dunn County Board of Supervisors.

Throughout the 1940s and 50s, most Wisconsin counties formed Conservation Districts.These districts were governed locally by the Agriculture and Extension Committee of the County Board. At the State level, a Board of Soil and Water Conservation Districts was formed and attached to the University of Wisconsin-Extension to coordinate and oversee district activities.

Land Conservation Committees Created

The conservation district system remained in place until 1982 when Chapter 92 underwent an extensive revision. Wisconsin’s policy makers wanted to improve the capability of county government to administer conservation programs and establish links among all county departments involved in natural resource protection. To achieve this goal, conservation districts were abolished and their powers and authorities were transferred to newly created Land Conservation Committees (LCCs).

  • Chapter 92 - Soil and Water Conservation and Animal Waste Management


Soil and Water Resource Management Program (ATCP 50)

ATCP 50, the DATCP rule, identifies conservation practices that farmers must follow to meet DNR standards. The DATCP rule also sets out the requirements for nutrient management plans.


Construction Site Erosion Control 

Construction site erosion is estimated to be 10 times greater per acre than cropland erosion. It is also estimated that 1.5 truckloads per acre of soil enter our water resources. The quality of Wisconsin’s and Dunn County’s lakes, streams and wetlands is degrading due to sediment and other pollutants from eroding construction sites. Fortunately, controlling pollutants from construction sites can be accomplished using effective and relatively low-cost measures called best management practices Since October 1, 2002, Wisconsin has required that certain performance standards be met on all construction sites which have 5 acres or more of land disturbing construction activity. Effective March 10, 2003, these standards apply to all construction sites which have one acre (290 ft. x 290 ft.) or more of land disturbing construction activity.

The Land and Water Conservation Division has trained staff that can provide or review construction site erosion control plans. In addition, a mulcher is available for rental (at reasonable rates) to insure that new seedings are protected from erosion and moisture loss. 


NR 151

Nonpoint Source Program Rules

NR 151, the DNR rule, sets performance standards and prohibitions for farms, non-agricultural performance standards to control construction site erosion, manage runoff from new developments and roads, and more precisely use fertilizer on 5-plus acres.

 Stormwater Runoff Management

Why is Stormwater Runoff Bad? 

Polluted runoff is now regarded as the largest remaining pollution threat to Wisconsin’s waters. Runoff from rainstorms and snowmelt picks up pollutants like sediment, oil, grease, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other chemicals and carries them into storm sewers or directly into water bodies. Preventing contamination of storm water is critically important or polluted runoff will be discharged-untreated-into the water bodies that we use for swimming, fishing, and drinking water. Most storm sewer systems do not provide treatment to the water they collect.

Why is Sediment Harmful to a Water Body?
Too much sediment in a water body can cloud the water and make it difficult or impossible for aquatic plants to receive the sunlight they need to grow. Excess sediment also smothers aquatic habitat, clogs fish gills, and impedes navigation in our waterways, which can lead to expensive dredging.

Do I have to get Permit Coverage? 
Since March 10, 2003, federal law has required that landowners of construction sites with one acre or more of land disturbance obtain construction site storm water permit coverage to address erosion control and stormwater management. With the exception of Native American lands, the Department of Natural Resource (DNR) has been delegated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to implement the federal storm water program in Wisconsin.

On August 1, 2004, the DNR received authority under revised ch. NR 216, Wis. Adm. Code, to require landowners of construction sites with one (1) acre or more of land disturbance to obtain permit coverage. Landowners need to submit an application called a Notice of Intent (NOI) to request coverage under the Construction Site Storm Water Runoff General Permit No. WI-SO67831.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) authorizes (under ch. Trans 401, Wis. Adm. Code) storm water discharges of WisDOT directed and supervised transportation construction projects.

The Department of Commerce (Commerce) authorizes permit coverage for construction of public buildings and places of employment regulated under s. Comm 61.115, Wis. Adm. Code, and s. 101.1205, Wis. Stats.

Projects which have received authorization from WisDOT or Commerce for construction site storm water discharges are exempt from the requirement to submit an NOI to the DNR pursuant to s. NR 216.42 (4) and (5), Wis. Adm. Code.