Most of us have no idea what is beneath our feet, though this information is just as important as what’s on the surface.
A few years ago, Pipestone Systems, one of the largest pork producers in the world, built their “Timberwolf RE” hog factory in Grant County with a 7.3 million gallon manure lagoon directly on top of a sinkhole. Whether the corporation knew the danger this poses to the groundwater, or willfully ignored the risk, it is clear why underground studies are critical to responsible decision-making and safe drinking water.
Crawford Stewardship Project (CSP) works to protect Crawford County and the wider Driftless region from threats of polluting and extractive industries, whether that be from industrial ag, frac sand mines, high-capacity wells, or other potentially polluting practices. To be effective long term, we must also learn more and educate everyone about what lies beneath our feet.
Crawford Stewardship Project has never been content to simply scratch the surface. We dig deep, often uncovering uncomfortable truths, and are committed to bringing our findings to light so proactive steps can be taken to protect what we hold most dear.
But this is not just a metaphor for our grassroots methods. We are also determined to look beneath the surface in a very literal sense. Our global contamination crisis is just as grave, and deeply linked to our biodiversity, climate, and health crises, and without knowing our water quality, and what influences this, we can’t even begin to address this.
Over the last year (after a decade of advocacy) CSP has collaborated with the Crawford, Richland, and Vernon County Conservation and Health Departments to test 563 wells for nitrates and bacteria through the Driftless Area Water Study. This, on top of the recent independent well testing done by CSP and the Tainter Creek Farmer-led Watershed Council, gives us some baseline to understand the health of our groundwater. We look forward to ongoing cooperative studies with our local partners to further this critical investigation of our most valued resource.
Who knew that caves and karst would have an international year?… We did! And we’ve been busily honoring this with renewed energy towards expanding our education beyond our usual citizen science and advocacy.
With a dozen karst presentations under our belt in the last few months (from education of local youth and farmers to international academics) and more to come, we are solidifying the bedrock principle of stewardship in sensitive karst areas. CSP also helped co-create a Driftless Area Karst Trail of notable sites in Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois, and have just printed our first batch of the beautiful and long-awaited Driftless slope map posters!
We are excited to continue expanding our kARsT (karst + ART) Campaign with our upcoming illustrated karst kids book and a revamped Underground World shadow puppet show!
All this, and the many other fronts we work on are made possible by your support. Whether promoting regenerative agriculture, advocating for forward-looking science-based decision making, monitoring threatened waterways, or building broad networks of alliances across issues, this all starts with you.
And you can now support us more easily than ever!
With a steady & reliable drip of funding, we can build beautiful projects together. Just follow this link and choose
“Make this a monthly donation”
CSP Program Coordinator