"You will never completely eliminate erosion in a field, but the buffers are the last piece of the puzzle to
keep sediment and phosphorus out of Oak Center Creek and ultimately the West Branch of the Rock River and Horicon Marsh," Messner says.
The buffers provide nesting cover adjacent to the water.
"Because we have saved the soil, we are benefitting from having a lot more wildlife, turkeys, deer, fox, songbirds, ducks, geese, herons, egrets and different kinds of birds we never saw before."
In addition to all of his conservation efforts, Messner is still actively farming 125 acres.
Landowners participating in the Rock River Watershed receive economic benefits from the program. Messner says he is getting paid $150 an acre per year for 15 years for the land that is now part of the grassed filter strips
"I probably could get more today if I rented the land out. But if I had to do it over, I'd certainly do it again," he says.
Landowners in the Rock River Watershed, which includes the Horicon Marsh, have installed 26 miles of buffers.
"When we layout buffers along streams, we lay out straight lines for the remaining crop fields," Lesczynski explains. "That's important so the remaining fields can be farmed efficiently.
"There are many cases where the field lines are not straight, but the buffers are laid out in straight lines," Lesczynski adds.