Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.
Please return this survey in the enclosed stamped and addressed envelope.
Visioning Session Results March/April 2003
The residents of the Town of Spring Brook would like to see agriculture stay pretty much as it is. Residents would like to encourage new forms of farming that are economically feasible and environmentally sensitive. Residents feel farmers are good stewards of the land. While they believe landowners should have the right to control what is done with their land, residents would like to see as much productive farm land as possible remain in farming. These statements were agreed to by a consensus of the 28 residents who attended the two visioning sessions.
DEVELOPMENT PLANNING SURVEY -- AUG. 2004
1. As we noted in the last newsletter, the cost for maintaining roads in our township is the largest item in the town budget. Greater than 60% of the money spent by the town goes towards roads. The town receives state aid for road maintenance, but this aid has only covered 55% of the cost the past few years. The largest single cost is for repaving roads which runs approximately $60,000 per mile. Would you be willing to see some of our more rural roads revert back to gravel as a cost savings measure? Yes/No
Yes – 101 (46%) No – 106 (48%) No Response – 13 (6%)
2. Our town does not currently have an ordinance covering the construction of new roads in the township. When land is developed and new roads and streets are constructed by the developer, there are currently few requirements as to how these roads and streets should be built. The township is typically expected to take over ownership/maintenance of these roads, and if they aren’t built to acceptable standards, the maintenance costs could be excessive. Would you support development and adoption of an ordinance that would establish standards for construction of new roads in our township? Yes/no
Yes – 190 (86%) No – 20 (9%) No Response – 10 (5%)
3. This year’s annual town meeting attracted 54 residents, with 48 of them voting to take village powers away from the town board. The town board adopted village powers at the 2001 annual town meeting in order to qualify for a planning grant and start the comprehensive planning effort. Twelve residents attended the 2001 annual meeting. With village powers the town board may exercise various powers, including “police powers” to regulate for the public health, safety and welfare of its residents, and the following land use powers:
- establishing a plan commission to engage in planning efforts;
- enacting a subdivision or other land division ordinance
- enacting a town zoning ordinance
- enacting a site plan review ordinance
The planning grant requires that the Town, by ordinance, adopt a Comprehensive Plan by May 2005. Right now the plan is approximately 70% complete, but without village powers the Town will be unable to adopt the plan as either an advisory or enforceable document. If the Town fails to adopt its Comprehensive Plan the Town will have to repay all grant money received, approximately $12,500. Do you feel the town board should have “village powers”? Yes/No
Yes – 124 (56%) No – 75 (34%) No Response – 21 (10%)
DEVELOPMENT PLANNING SURVEY -- AUG. 2004
4. Village Powers can only be adopted at an annual or special town meeting. The next annual meeting will be in April 2005. The plan commission feels it is questionable whether we could complete the planning process in May 2005 with the “village powers” issue in question. Would you favor calling a special town meeting before the April 2005 annual meeting for the purpose of discussing and possibly re-adopting “village powers”? Yes/No
Yes – 141 (64%) No – 56 (25%) No Response – 23 (11%)
5. Our township is unique in that it has a large area of flat/open land ideal for raising agricultural crops. The land use map that has been developed by the agriculture subcommittee indicates 70% or more of the land in our township is currently used for agriculture. Would you like to see ordinances enacted to limit residential development of agricultural land in the Town of Spring Brook? Yes/No
Yes – 141 (64%) No – 66 (30%) No Response – 13 (6%)
Menomonie Schools Yes/No Yes-93 (42%) No-25 (11%) No Response-102 (47%)
Elk Mound Schools Yes/No Yes-114 (52%) No-62 (28%) No Response-44 (20%)
7. Do you feel that:
A. As a landowner, you should have the freedom to use your property in any way and for any purpose you deem fit.
B. As a landowner, you should consider the rights of your neighbors when making decisions about use of your property.
Please circle A or B
A – 75 (34%) B – 134 (61%) No Response – 11 (5%)
8. In the first survey, the majority of respondents indicated a desire for minimum lot size limits of 5 acres or less. Please circle as many of the following choices that describe your interest in a lot size limit:
A. Concern for potential groundwater contamination (Some feel dense residential development utilizing septic systems can have a negative effect on groundwater)
110 Responses out of 220
B. Minimize land consumption/Sprawl 119 Responses out of 220
C. I prefer no limit 41 Responses out of 220
D. Maintain the rural character of the township 147 Responses out of 220
E. Privacy through larger lots 96 Responses out of 220
F. Other __(see comments page)
9. Would you like to see the town produce a brief “Guide to Rural Living” that could be given to new residents to help prepare them for life in a township like ours? Yes/No
Yes – 118 (54%) No – 82 (37%) No Response – 20 (9%)
TOWN OF SPRING BROOK
Agriculture, Natural and Cultural Resources Committee
John McMartin, Chairman
In the 1860’s to the early 1900’s, land ownership in the township was a combination of homestead and purchased railroad land. Families chose land near water, a spring fed pond, or a creek or land that was swampy. This was needed to provide water for the livestock and family.
The 1930’s signaled a change in agriculture in the Town of Spring Brook. Horse drawn equipment was giving way to small tractors. Families that had been able to hold their farms together during the depression were feeling a bit more prosperous and were looking forward to adding mechanization to increase productivity by the end of the decade. The farms were diverse, and most included cows, hogs, chickens, or horses. Crops were produced to feed the livestock. The farm was sustainable in nature, the entire family was employed, and very little was purchased. The only cash the family had to pay real estate taxes and make outside purchases with came from what little excess production the farm had.
In the 1940’s, prices increased and prosperity returned
to farms in Spring Brook as well as the rest of
Agricultural productivity continued to increase. The decade of the 1960’s saw an increased use
of crop inputs, better hybrid seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. Sprinkler irrigation came to the township in
1966. The previously unproductive
sandy loam soil of the Fall City Prairie blossomed with water. In the mid-1960’s, the Federal government formulated
an Ag Policy that encouraged
Residential homes started to appear in the 1970’s. City people seeking cheap land to build homes on moved into the country. Agricultural technology helped land that previously had limited production increase outputs. Irrigation expanded, farms and equipment got bigger, and the value of prime farmland rose dramatically. Heavy soils were no longer the most prized. Irrigated, sandy, well-drained soils combined with technological improvements were more productive and were in higher demand as farm size grew. As cash crop farming grew in the township, animal production declined.
Dairy farms continued to decrease through the 1980’s, 1990’s and early into 2000. Few dairy farms were passed on to the next generation. As profit margins dwindled, dairy farmers either rented or sold their land and took jobs in town. Their life style improved. They worked less hours, had more money, and received fringe benefits. These were all things that a small dairy farm could not easily provide. Specialty crop farms producing kidney beans, potatoes and horseradish grew while rotating land with traditional grain crops such as corn and soybeans. City people, envisioning an idyllic life style, continued to move to the country. Homes were being built primarily on the land least suited for agricultural production.
Twenty years from now there will be less land farmed in the Town of Spring Brook. As farmers age, they will be more interested in selling their land for development than for production agriculture. It’s not uncommon to hear a farmer say that their land is their 401K. The profits they made from farming were plowed back into the farm instead of into a retirement account. They intend to maximize the value of that investment as they reach retirement age. More residences will be built as city people want to live in the country and enjoy nature.
Highly productive, irrigated land will continue to be farmed. If current trends continue, farms will be larger in size and may have diversified into some type of processing that will add value to the crops they grow. There will probably be very few, if any, large dairy or livestock farms given the difficulty of siting such facilities.
A map showing active farmland, farmsteads, and non-farm residences has been developed. This was done to see if agricultural trends exist, such as where land is likely to stay in farming, or if there are areas where more development will likely occur (see map).
farmland has been defined, identified and mapped. The USDA-Natural Resources
Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Dunn County Land Conservation Office
assisted in identifying important farmland by using the Dunn County
Soil Survey. The program that
was used to determine important farmland is called LESA, which stands
for Land Evaluation and Site Assessment.
The Land Evaluation and Site Assessment system was developed
by the USDA-NRCS in collaboration with land use planners from
Soil quality factors are grouped under Land Evaluation (LE). The other factors are grouped under Site Assessment (SA). The SA factors are of three types: non-soil factors related to agricultural use of a site, factors related to development pressures, and other public values of a site. Site assessment factors include: “SA-1” factors other than soil-based qualities measuring limitations on agricultural productivity or farm practices; “SA-2” factors measuring development pressure or land conversion; and, “SA-3” factors measuring other public values such as historic or scenic values.
The Land Evaluation (LE) component of the Land Evaluation and Site Assessment (LESA) system rates the soil-based qualities for agricultural use. The four common kinds of classifications used for land evaluation are land capability classes, soil productivity ratings, soil potential ratings, and important farmland classes.
For purposes of comprehensive planning, soils are considered to be of high or medium production if they meet 3 criteria:
1) Considered to be “Prime Farmland”: This factor is defined in the USDA-NRCS-Wisconsin
Guide, Section 2,
Prime farmland is defined as land that has the best combination of physical and chemical characteristics for producing food, feed, forage, fiber, and oilseed crops and that is also available for these uses (the land could be cropland, pastureland, rangeland, forest land, or other land but not urban or built-up land or water areas). It has the soil quality, growing season, and moisture supply needed to produce sustained high yields of crops in an economic manner when treated and managed, including water, according to acceptable farming methods.
In general, prime farmlands have an adequate and dependable water supply from precipitation or irrigation, a favorable temperature and growing season, acceptable levels of acidity or alkalinity, an acceptable content of salt and sodium, and few or no rocks. They have soils that are permeable to water and air. Prime farmland is not excessively erodible or saturated with water for a long period of time, and it either does not flood or is protected from flooding.
2) Productivity for Corn: This factor is from the USDA-NRCS-Wisconsin Technical Guide,
3) Capability Class: Land capability classes are practical groupings of soil limitations based on
such characteristics as erosion hazard, droughtiness, wetness, stoniness, and response to management. Classes range from 1 to 8. These classes reflect the land’s relative suitability for crops, grazing, forestry, and wildlife. For a summary of limitations and the recommended management practices, see table 1-1.
Class I land has the widest range of use with the least risk of being damaged. It is level or nearly level, well-drained, and productive. Land in this class can be cultivated with almost no risk of erosion and will remain productive if managed with normal care.
Class II land can be cultivated regularly, but certain physical conditions give it more limitations than Class I land. Some Class II land may be gently sloping so it will need moderate erosion control. Other soils in this class may be slightly droughty, slightly wet, or somewhat limited in depth.
Class III land can be cropped regularly, but it has a narrower range of safe alternative uses than Class I or II land. This land usually requires extensive use of conservation practices to control erosion or provide drainage.
Class IV land should be cultivated only occasionally or under very careful management. Generally, it is best adapted for pastures and forests.
Class V land is not suited to ordinary cultivation because it is too wet or too stony, or because the growing season is too short. It can produce good pasture and trees.
Class VI or VII land use is severely limited because of erosion hazards. Some kind of permanent cover should be kept on these soils. With very special management, including elaborate soil and water conservation practices, improved pastures can, in some instances, be established by renovation.
Class VIII land is not suited to economic crops. It is usually severely eroded or is extremely sandy, wet, arid, rough, steep, or stony. Much of it is valuable for wildlife food and cover, watershed protection, or for recreation.
soils with a Capability Class of I and II are considered to be of high
agricultural importance. Soils
with a Capability Class of III are considered to be of medium importance,
and soils with a Class greater than IV are poorly suited for agriculture
production. This factor is from the USDA-NRCS-Wisconsin
Technical Guide, Section 2, Dunn County Soil Descriptions Non-Technical,
Pages 1-26, Dated
These 3 factors were combined in a mathematical formula with a maximum score of 100 points. Prime farmland represents 10% of the score. Production for corn represents 45% of the score, and Capability Class represents 45% of the score.
See “Appendix A” for “Formula Description”. See “Appendix Z” for the mathematical formula for determining soils of high and medium production. See “Soil Productivity Map” for soils of high and medium production.
A series of maps has been developed that contain both our productive soils and where agriculture is still the predominant land use.
The majority of the people who responded to the Citizen Opinion Survey said that they wanted to protect agriculture, important farmland, and rural character, which led to the following recommendations:
Commentary: It is important to realize that people will continue to build in our Town and that, somehow, the Town should alert them before they purchase land that the current residents share certain principles that are inherent in most rural communities.
Some issues that new residents need to understand are wind erosion, aerial spraying,
noise and machinery traffic that runs around the clock during spring planting and fall
harvest, line fence maintenance if the neighboring landowner has cattle, nitrate
contamination caused by overloading soils with septic systems that do not remove
nitrates, and building homes along stream terraces and on perched water table soils.
● Protect agricultural areas by limiting the amount of non-farm development that takes place in
Commentary: It will be difficult to achieve this recommendation because of agricultural economics. This is not saying no new development can occur in these areas, but the Plan Commission should give careful thought to the impacts of development in these areas.
It would be preferable that people not build homes in the middle of productive fields. It would be preferable to encourage non-farm development to be close to roads, on field edges, or on the edges of woodlots.
● Develop a “Right-to-Farm” Ordinance to protect our farmers.
● Develop an Ag Survey.
Commentary: Poll farmers on topics such as: Do they plan to continue farming? If so, for
how long? Do they intend on staying in dairy farming? Are they willing to have any
building restrictions on their land? Do they have any additional questions that could be
helpful to the Plan Commission?
Continue working with
of life and agricultural livelihood
We sincerely hope you are pleased with the work that was done by this Committee. If this report and the maps meet your expectations for agriculture, we will consider this job completed and move on to natural and cultural resources.
Town of Spring Brook
Town of Spring Brook is representative of the prairie topography that
Town has one of the two prairie lakes that are mapped in
The significant resources of the Town of Spring Brook have been identified and, when possible, mapped. Mapped resources include productive soils, surface water, water quality management areas, steep slopes, wetlands, areas that are occasionally and frequently flooded, and woodlands that are greater than 10 acres.
Much of the land on the Fall City Prairie is more susceptible to wind erosion than water erosion because of the lack of woodlands to provide shelter from the winds.
See NR 151 (
Areas with slopes greater than 20% are considered as environmentally sensitive. These areas are subject to severe erosion from tillage, road construction, and home construction unless precautions are taken. Most slopes are wooded. Some are pastured while few, if any, are cultivated. These slopes are prevalent throughout the Township but less so in the southeast corner.
Wetlands are a valuable resource because they store flood waters, filter sediment and nutrients, and serve as groundwater recharge areas. These are areas that have hydric soils (water at or near the surface through most of the growing season) and support hydrophytic vegetation (plants that thrive in wet conditions).
Floodplains are lands that are generally adjacent to creeks, rivers, lakes, and wetlands and that are susceptible to flood flow (floodway) or areas of slack water (flood fringe). For purposes of this plan, it includes areas which are subject to occasional or frequent flooding (based on soils).
Woodlands, for the purpose of this plan, are woodlots that are 10 acres or greater in size. This acreage was selected because this is the minimum acreage that can be enrolled in the State’s Managed Forest Program.
Although hydrology refers to both surface and groundwater, for purposes of this plan and mapping, it refers to those rivers and streams which are designated on the 7.5 Minute USGS Topographic Maps.
All land and water, whether cropland, woodland, wetlands, rivers and streams, floodplains, and even residential yards, supports wildlife. The following types of wildlife are common in the Town of Spring Brook: big game such as deer and black bear; small game such as rabbits and squirrels; upland birds such as turkeys and ruffed grouse; a large variety of songbirds and waterfowl; birds of prey such as owls, red-tailed hawks, and eagles; and, fur bearing animals such as raccoon, opossum, beaver, mink, red and gray fox, and coyote.
Groundwater is the water that saturates the tiny spaces between alluvial material (sand, gravel, silt, clay) or the crevices or fractures in rock. It is vital for all of us. We depend on its good quality and quantity for drinking, recreation, use in industry, and growing crops. It is also vital to sustaining the natural systems on and under the earth’s surface.
Although no specific maps are available at the town or county level showing groundwater, other than soils attenuation maps or groundwater elevations based on USGS topographic maps, it is known that groundwater tends to be localized, often following the same watershed boundaries as surface water.
Nonmetallic Mining Deposits
The Town of Spring Brook has sand and gravel deposits which can be found on outwash plains.
Resources Program works to conserve
Endangered species are any species whose continued existence as a viable component of this State’s wild animals or wild plants is determined by the Department of Natural Resources to be in jeopardy on the basis of scientific evidence.
Threatened species are any species which appear likely within the foreseeable future, on the basis of scientific evidence, to become endangered.
No threatened or endangered species are known to exist within the Township. For additional information, contact local DNR representatives.
In addition to
Agriculture, Natural and Cultural Resources being a required element
of a Comprehensive Plan, every county in the State of
· Coordinate with the Dunn County Land Conservation Division to provide training on the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) and the importance of residue management and no till in controlling soil erosion.
· The Committee would like to see the re-establishment of grassed waterways as a high priority best management practice. They would also like this practice to be given a high priority for State and Federal cost sharing assistance.
· Coordinate with the Land Conservation Division to educate landowners on the advantages of participating in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).
· Coordinate with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Dunn County Land Conservation Division to educate landowners and help them qualify for the Conservation Security Program, so that when the Spring Brook River Basin is selected, landowners can take advantage of the incentive payments.
· Work with all landowners, living near streams, to voluntarily participate in an “Adopt a Stream Program” to achieve the water quality goals within the Township. If all of the landowners living near a stream volunteer to participate as a group, they should be given priority for State and Federal cost sharing programs.
· Encourage woodland owners to work with the DNR Forester to remove those trees that are most likely to be defoliated and killed by a gypsy moth infestation, Dutch Elm Disease, oak wilt, bark beetle, blister rust, and other woodland management problems.
· Work with the DNR Foresters to educate landowners about the Managed Forest Program.
· Work with the Department of Natural Resources, USDA-NRCS, and the Land Conservation Division to become aware of what plants are considered invasive and to become educated on their control.
· Recommend educating landowners on the importance of allowing hunting to control wildlife populations.
Topography and Geology
The Mt. Simon Sandstone Formation, about 25 feet thick, underlies the entire county. It consists of medium to coarse-grained sandstone with some fine-grained sandstone. The Formation yields moderate to large amounts of water to wells.
The Eau Claire Sandstone Formation, overlying the
The Galesville Sandstone Formation ranges in thickness from about 30 to 50 feet. It is present under the southwestern part of the County and probably in the bedrock hills elsewhere in the County. The Galesville Formation generally yields moderate amounts of water to wells, but it is missing in most areas where soils and topography indicate irrigation to be most feasible. The unit consists of coarse to fine-grained sandstone.
The Franconia Sandstone Formation, Trempeauleau Foundation, and Prairie du Chien Group consist of sandstone, siltstone, and dolomite. These formations occur in the western and southwestern parts of the County and in highland areas. Moderate to small amounts of water can be obtained from the Franconia Formation, but the Trempealeau Formation and the Prairie du Chien Group yield only small amounts.
Glacial deposits in highland areas of
Water in the groundwater reservoir moves by gravity
from areas of recharge down the hydraulic gradient to areas of discharge. Recharge occurs over most of the County, and
generally the hydraulic gradient is from topographically high to topographically
low areas. Therefore, groundwater
is moving through the water-bearing rocks from the water divides in
the highland areas of
John C. The Vegetation of