Read the latest water-related news and events!
Read the latest water-related news and events!
A monthly e-newsletter from the North Central Region Water Network
December 2022 
River in winter

Network News

Happy Holidays from all of us at the North Central Region Water Network!
We are taking some much needed time away from the office to rest, relax and reflect on what was an eventful year for the Network. We went through some staffing changes with our long-time Director moving on, but we also saw continued focus and prioritization on key water issues from partners across the board, and had the chance to establish new connections and deepen engagement with long-time partners.
As we look back on 2022, here are just a few things that come to mind for us:
  • We hosted a first of its kind Climate Intersections Conference bringing over 150 water professionals from 20 states together to learn from one another, brainstorm new solutions to our ever-changing water landscape, and establish new lasting relationships.
  • The Network's soil health team, the Soil Health Nexus, established a Soil Health Matrix Decision Tool to aid producers in deciding which soil health practices are right for them and hosted a series of soil health trainings showcasing the new tool and highlighting the latest soil health research.
  • The Network and partners established a new online peer-learning community for watershed leaders.
  • We had our first cohort of undergraduate watershed steward interns participate in hands-on learning at six different institutions across the region to help them pursue future careers in watershed management.
  • We continued hosting our virtual education programs including The Current, the Soil Health Nexus Digital Cafe, and climate and water virtual learning series, and the harmful algal bloom webinar series. 
As you prepare to ring in the new year, we hope you too can take time to for yourself to reflect on all your hard work and give thanks for the talented colleagues and partners that make our work possible. 
-Joe Bonnell and Anne Nardi, North Central Region Water Network 
corn in water stressed soil
The Current Webinar Series
Drought Planning and Preparedness
January 25th at 2pm CT
Currently all states in our region are facing drought in some way with some areas facing D3 or D4 conditions. With drought on the horizon for many, we are focusing on drought planning and preparedness for this month's edition of The Current Webinar Series.

Tune in to hear about the latest research on flash droughts and how community planners are undertaking drought planning across the region and hear how one state is working to address and monitor the situation. Register

Green infrastructure at a marina in Ohio

Leadership Spotlight
Embracing Clean Water One Marina at a Time

What mental image comes to mind when you think of boating in Ohio? Perhaps it is sailing and powerboating on the shores of Lake Erie, or jet skiing on Alum Creek Lake outside Columbus, or maybe a quite canoe adventure at Grand Lake St. Mary’s? But let’s not forget taking a pontoon down the Maumee River or a celebrating a night out with a dinner cruise or pedal wagon on the Ohio River. According to Sarah Orlando, Program Manager for the Clean Marinas Program with OSU Extension and Ohio Sea Grant, boating can look very different depending on the waters you navigate.

Sarah has been with the Clean Marinas program since 2011 and at the time the program was limited to the Lake Erie Watershed. But in 2015, thanks to additional funding from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the program expanded and now supports marinas and recreational boaters statewide. Read on
Harmful algal bloom on a river

Network Spotlight

Harmful Algal Bloom Symposium Returns for its Third Year

The Algal Bloom Action Team is once again hosting the popular Harmful Algal Bloom Research Symposium next week! The symposium, which will take place entirely virtually January 5-6th, will feature the latest research from harmful algal bloom or HAB researchers across the North Central Region and beyond, and highlight examples of how communities and watersheds are effectively tackling this complex issue.

The event will feature four sessions: 1) HAB monitoring and forecasting, 2) detection and treatment, 3) ecology and human health, and 4) case studies of effective bloom management; plus a keynote presentation from Heather Raymond, Water Quality Initiative Director at the Ohio State University who will discuss harmful algal bloom control resources and innovations. Read on

In The News

Upcoming Events
On Common Ground: Practical Farmers of Iowa's Annual Conference
January 19-21st
Where does common ground exist? In ideas? Experiences? In ecosystems? In the physical spaces where we live and farm? Perhaps common ground exists wherever we make space for it – wherever we recognize the opportunity for connection, and wherever we acknowledge our shared impact on our land, water and communities. At PFI's annual conference, we are On Common Ground. We know common ground may be less visible than our differences. Take time to look for it, think about it and choose to enter those common ideas and conversations. Learn more
Midwest Cover Crop Council & South Dakota Soil Health Coalition Conference
January 23-25th

The Midwest Cover Crop Council's Annual Meeting will be held in conjunction with the South Dakota Soil Health Coalition Conference at the Best Western Plus Ramkota Hotel in Sioux Falls, SD January 23-25. Registration will open soon. Save the Date! Learn more
Southern Crops Council Conference- Two invaluable days of gaining knowledge and forging connections
February 14-15th

The Southern Cover Crops Council is hosting the Southern Cover Crops conference February 14-15, 2023, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana! This event will provide farmers crop consultants, extension agents and other professionals with the latest information on cover crop management in the southern region. Producer panels will also highlight valuable tips from experienced cover croppers. The conference includes a tour of the Louisiana State University AgCenter Doyle Chambers Central Research Station in Baton Rouge, LA, with cover cropping and equipment demonstrations, on the afternoon of February 15. Learn more

Funding and Opportunities
Trout Unlimited to invest up to $40 million to restore watersheds on national forests 
The Biden-Harris Administration announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service will provide up to $40 million to Trout Unlimited as part of a five-year agreement to improve watersheds on national forests and grasslands. Projects include clean-up of abandoned mines and removing barriers to improve fish passage, as well as stream habitat improvements. This national initiative aims to increase the pace and scale of watersheds on national forests and grasslands.
Learn more
Mississippi River Basin SRF Watershed Coordinator
Quantified Ventures’ (QV) State Revolving Fund (SRF) Solutions team seeks to hire an SRF Watershed Coordinator to support work in the Mississippi River Basin states. The SRF Watershed Coordinator will have a unique opportunity to connect watershed and conservation organizations with SRF funding and financing. The SRF Watershed Coordinator will join the QV SRF Solutions team that is comprised exclusively of former SRF directors that seek to be water infrastructure change agents working at the nexus of community health, equity, finance, and resilience. Learn more
2023 Extension Risk Management Education National Conference Call for Presentations
The ERME National Conference - March 27-29th -  brings together public and private sector educators, crop insurance agents, lenders, and other agricultural professionals to share ongoing and emerging successful risk management education efforts that target agricultural producers and their families. Conference participants learn about what is working to help producers effectively manage the financial, production, marketing, legal and human risks associated with their agribusinesses. The planning team is now accepting presentation proposals. Learn more


Study finds that big rains bring big algae blooms… eventually - University of Wisconsin Madison 
In the lake-rich regions of the world, algae blooms are a growing problem and the main driver behind the algal blooms is phosphorus. A new study from the University of Wisconsin–Madison shows how soon after a storm phosphorous “loading” sparks algae explosions, but also describes the many other factors that weigh on when and whether the lake reaches a tipping point. Learn more
US Water Alliance Releases Racial Equity Toolkit
For too long, our sector has been operating within systems in which race is a predictor of water access, affordability, quality, reliability, and resilience in the face of our increasingly disruptive and volatile climate. Though our current generation of water utility leaders is not responsible for setting these inequitable standards, we have the power to begin putting an end to them. Led by US Water Alliance staff and the consulting team at Water Savvy Solutions—and guided by the water sector and environmental justice experts in our Racial Equity Advisory Group—this Toolkit was developed to enable water utilities to work to improve their racial equity practices and outcomes both internally and externally.  Learn more
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