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Wearing blue, going green: Wisconsin Herd raising money for Winnebago Waterways

Posted at 12:26 PM, Feb 02, 2024

OSHKOSH (NBC 26) — The Wisconsin Herd is auctioning off jerseys showcasing the region around Lake Winnebago to raise money for the Winnebago Waterways Recovery Initiative.

  • The Winnebago County Waterways Recovery Initiative aims to conserve land and water in the Lake Winnebago region.
  • Video shows how the initiative works, and how the jerseys can support it.

The Wisconsin Herd wore blue to go green. The team’s uniforms from their Thursday night matchup against the Westchester Knicks are being auctioned off to raise money for the Winnebago Waterways Recovery Initiative.
“We truly have a gem of a resource in our background here and we take for granted sometimes the resource we have,” said Chad Casper, director of the Winnebago County Land and Water Conservation Department.

The jerseys show the topography of the Lake Winnebago Region, which Casper said could be in jeopardy.

“Currently the waterways are still impaired according to the DNR,” Casper said. “The big impairment is phosphorus that are in these lakes. So we have a watershed that is 5,700 square miles draining to the Winnebago system.”

He said runoff brings phosphorus into the lake and stirs up more “legacy phosphorus,” which is sediment at the bottom of the lake.

“We’re trying to stabilize that sediment and stop the erosion from coming into the lakes,” Casper said.

It’s an issue that affects the whole county: more than two million people live within 75 miles of the lake, and recreational fishing contributes more than $300 million annually to the region, according to the Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance, which is leading the watershed initiative.

The money raised will go toward combating the problem through shoreline restoration, habitat restoration and conservation agriculture.

Herd Team President Steve Brandes said he hopes that this auction will bring much-needed attention to the issue.

“Do you have a fundraising goal tonight?” I asked him.

“Yeah, as much as we can!” Brandes said.

This auction will continue online until February 8.