Ken Genskow

Position title: Professor


Phone: (608) 890.0673

204 Music Hall

Photo of the CHair

BS General Engineering, Master’s Urban Planning, PhD Urban and Regional Planning
Campus Affiliations
UW-Extension Specialist; Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies Affiliate


Professor Ken Genskow works in the areas of environmental planning and policy, watershed planning, and collaborative and participatory approaches to resource management. His research and project activities explore the evaluation and assessment of collaborative watershed management, watershed governance, and the effectiveness of educational and technical assistance programs on land management. Genskow is interested in planning processes that provide for meaningful participation by stakeholders in resource management initiatives as well as planning approaches that explicitly incorporate social science dimensions into environmental planning and management. Current projects explore the effectiveness of outreach and policy tools for addressing excess nutrients in water, including peer-based farmer-led watershed councils and pollutant trading and related market-like mechanisms.

As a state specialist supporting UW-Madison Division of Extension, Ken works with extension educators and partners across Wisconsin and regionally on water resource, conservation planning, and collaborative resource management activities. From 2016-2019, he directed UW–Madison/Extension Environmental Resources Center, supporting Extension’s programs for Regional Natural Resources, Volunteer Stream Monitoring, Aquatic Invasive Species, and Farmer-led Watershed Councils, Wisconsin Master Naturalists, and more. In 2019, that center was absorbed into the Extension Natural Resources Institute, where he is an affiliate campus specialist. Genskow is also affiliated with UW–Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Agro-ecology program, and Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems.

Professor Genskow has a BS in General Engineering (renamed Systems Engineering and Design) and a Master’s in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois. He earned his PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from University of Wisconsin–Madison. Ken served as an engineer/planner with Peace Corps Nepal from 1989-1992.


Kniffin, M., K.R. Bradbury, M. Fienen, K. Genskow. 2020. Groundwater Model Simulations of Stakeholder-Identified Scenarios in a High-Conflict Irrigated Area. Groundwater. DOI:

Lane D, E. Murdock, K. Genskow, C. Rumery Betz, A. Chatrchyan. 2019. Climate Change and Dairy in New York and Wisconsin: Risk Perceptions, Vulnerability, and Adaptation among Farmers and Advisors.Sustainability. 11(13):3599.

Stepenuck, K.F & K.D. Genskow. 2018. Traits of Volunteer Water Monitoring Programs that Influence Natural Resource Management and Policy Impacts, Society & Natural Resources, DOI: 10.1080/08941920.2018.1511022.

Radatz, A.M., C.L. Herron, E.T. Cooley, K. Genskow, and M.D. Ruark. 2018. Improving water quality knowledge through a focus on partnership: A University of Wisconsin Discovery Farms case study. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation January/February 2018 vol. 73 no. 1 16A-21A. doi: 10.2489/jswc.73.1.16A.

Stepenuck, K.F. & Genskow, K.D. Characterizing the Breadth and Depth of Volunteer Water Monitoring Programs in the United States. Environmental Management (2018) 61: 46-57.

Margerum, R., C. Robinson, K. Genskow. 2016. The Challenges of Collaborative Governance: Synthesis and Research Directions, in Margerum, R. and C. Robinson, Challenges of Collaboration in Environmental Governance. Edward Elgar Press.

Amato, M.S., Shaw, B.R., Olson, E., Turyk, N., Genskow, K. & Moore, C.F. 2016.  The challenge of motivated cognition in promoting lake health among shoreline property owners: Biased estimation of personal environmental impact. Lake and Reservoir Management. DOI: 10.1080/10402381.2016.1234010

Busse, R., J.D. Ulrich-Schad, L. Crighton, S. Peel, K. Genskow, L. Stalker Prokopy. 2015. Using Social Indicators to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Outreach in Two Indiana Watersheds. Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education. 156:5-20. []

Prokopy, L.S. and K. Genskow. 2015. Social Indicator Variations Across Watersheds: Implications for Developing Outreach and Technical Assistance Programs. Society and Natural Resources. 29(5): 617-627.

Genskow, K and K Magyera. 2015. Wetlands. Edward Elgar Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Politics and Governance. […]

Mase, A.S., N.L. Babin, L.S. Prokopy, and K.D. Genskow, 2015. Trust in Sources of Soil and Water Quality Information: Implications for Environmental Outreach and Education. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) [published online Aug 2015]. DOI: 10.1111/1752-1688.12349.

Reimer, A, A Thompson, L Prokopy, J Arbuckle, K Genskow, D Jackson-Smith, G Lynne, L McCann, and P Nowak. 2014. “People, place, behavior and context: A research agenda for expanding our understanding of what motivates farmers’ conservation behaviors.” Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 69(2):47A-51A.

Howell, A, B Shaw, K Genskow. 2014. Evaluation of a Movie Theater Advertisement Campaign to Promote Behaviors that Prevent Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species. Society and Natural Resources. 27(7):768-776.

Genskow, K. and L. Prokopy. 2013. Intentional Outcomes for Watershed Outreach and Technical Assistance. River Voices. 23(3):8-11.

Genskow, K. and J. Blasczyk. 2013. Reaching New Forest Landowner Audiences: Impacts of Wisconsin’s Learn About Your Land Program. Journal of Extension. 51(3): 1-10.

Magyera, K. and K. Genskow. 2013. Toward Integrated Wetland Conservation: A Diagnostic Framework. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. 56 (1): 121-139

Robinson, P., K. Genskow, B. Shaw, and R. Shepard. 2012. Barriers and opportunities for integrating social science into natural resource management: Lessons from National Estuarine Research Reserves. Environmental Management. 50:998-1011.

Thurston L., C. Smith, K. Genskow, L. Prokopy, W. Hargrove. 2012. The Social Context of Water Quality Improvement Evaluation. In D. J. Rog, J. L. Fitzpatrick, & R. F. Conner (Eds.), Context: A framework for its influence on evaluation practice. New Directions for Evaluation, 135, 41–58.

Genskow, K. 2012. Taking Stock of Voluntary Nutrient Management: Measuring and Tracking Change. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 67(1):51-58. View Publication

Genskow, K. and L. Prokopy (eds.). 2011. The Social Indicator Planning and Evaluation System (SIPES) for Nonpoint Source Management: A Handbook for Watershed Projects. 3rd Edition. Great Lakes Regional Water Program. (104 pages). View Publication.

Genskow, K and D Wood. 2011. Improving Voluntary Environmental Management Programs: facilitating learning and adaptation.Environmental Management 47:907-916. View Publication

Prokopy L., A. Gocmen, J. Gao, S. Allred, J. Bonnell, K. Genskow, A.Molloy, R. Power. 2011. “Incorporating social context variables into paired watershed designs to test nonpoint source program effectiveness” Journal of the American Water Resources Association 47(1):196-202. View Publication

Genskow, K. and Linda Stalker Prokopy 2010. “Lessons Learned in Developing Social Indicators for Regional Water Quality Management” in Society and Natural Resources Vol. 23, Issue 1, Pages 83-91. View Publication

Urban and Regional Planning (URPL), Department of, University of Wisconsin‐Madison. 2009. “Implementing the Great Lakes Compact: Wisconsin Conservation and Efficiency Measures Report.” Extension Report 2009‐01. View Publication

Genskow K and D Wood. 2009. Measurement, Learning, and Adaptation in Planning and Implementing Voluntary Nonpoint Source Watershed Programs. Journal of Planning Literature 24(2):137-154. View Publication

Prokopy, L., K. Genskow, et al. 2009. Designing a regional system of social indicators to evaluate nonpoint source water projects.
Journal of Extension 47(2). View Publication

Genskow, K. 2009. Catalyzing Collaboration: Wisconsin’s Agency-Initiated Basin Partnerships.  Environmental Management. 43:411-424. View Publication

Genskow, K., L. Prokopy, and R. Power. 2008. Using social data in nonpoint source management. Lakeline 28(3):19-22. View Publication

Genskow, K., J. Haack, and M. Kornmann. 2008. Partnering for Shoreline Protection in Wisconsin’s Burnett County Lakes: What Roles for Lake Associations? Lakeline 28(3):45-49. View Publication

Genskow, K. 2008. “Using Social Indicators to Reduce Nonpoint Source Pollution.” In Environmental Communication & Social Marketing, published by UW-Extension, Environmental Resources Center. 1(1):5. View Publication

Genskow, Kenneth D. and Stephen M. Born. 2006. Organizational dynamics of watershed partnerships: A key to integrated water resources management. Journal of Contemporary Water Research & Education (135): 56-64. View Publication

Genskow, K., J. Blasczyk, and S. Slater. 2006.  Assessing Conservation Practices and Information Preferences in the Fever River Headwaters Area.  Report for the UW-Platteville Pioneer Farm. Environmental Resources Center. June 2006.  View Publication

Born, Stephen M. and Kenneth D. Genskow. 2001. Toward Understanding New Watershed Initiatives – A Report from the Madison Watershed Workshop. Report for Trout Unlimited and the Henry P. Kendall Foundation.  Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Extension. View Publication

Born, Stephen M. and Kenneth D. Genskow. 2000. The Watershed Approach—An Empirical Assessment of Innovation in Environmental Management. In Learning From Innovations ( Research Papers). Report No. 00-12. Washington, DC: National Academy of Public Administration. View Report View Appendices (Case Studies)

Born, Stephen M. and Kenneth D. Genskow. 1999. Exploring the Watershed Approach: Critical Dimensions of State-Local Partnerships. Portland, OR; River Network. View Publication


UW-Extension’s Regional Natural Resources Program, Volunteer Stream Monitoring, Aquatic Invasive Species, and Farmer-led Watershed Councils

Through his affiliation with the Environmental Resources Center, Professor Genskow directs Extension natural resources outreach and education programs involving Extension Educators working with partners across Wisconsin to enhance capacity for resource management. For more information:

Regional Natural Resources

Volunteer Stream Monitoring

Aquatic Invasive Species

Farmer-led Watershed Councils

Developing social indicators for managing nonpoint source water pollution

Dr. Genskow is co-leading a multi-state initiative to incorporate social data into planning an evaluation of watershed management projects.  For more information, visit this project website, or this site on project background. To use the online tool, SIDMA (Social Indicators Data Management and Analysis), visit the SIDMA website:  To download the social indicators handbook or view video modules with instructions for using SIDMA, link here.

Evaluating Programs for Nutrient Management Planning

Dr. Genskow is working with University of Wisconsin educators and researchers to determine effects of educational programs on farmer nutrient management practices.

Woodland owner education

Through the Regional Natural Resources Program, Professor Genskow is working with partners on approaches to target outreach efforts to woodland owners not traditionally involved in forest management.  For more information on woodland management programs through UW-Extension, visit:

Outreach for stormwater and agricultural nonpoint source pollution

Professor Genskow supports planning and education efforts related to urban and rural nonpoint sources of pollution. For more information about these efforts in Wisconsin, visit:

Professor Genskow is involved in numerous additional outreach and research projects, including:

-USDA-NIFA Dairy Cap (

-SERA-46, Land Grant Univeristy Collaboration for Nutrtient Reduction to Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia  (

-NC1190, Catalysts for Water Resources Protection and Restoration: Applied Social Science Research.

North Central Regional Water Network

-Volunteer monitoring for water quality (

-Integrated climate sensitivity analysis for the National Estuarine Research Reserves System (NERRS) (

-Understanding Manure Irrigation (

-Targeting in watershed management (

-Challenges of Collaboration in Environmental Governance (challenge areas)