The latest water-related news and events
The latest water-related news and events
A monthly e-newsletter from the North Central Region Water Network
September 2021
Lansing Iowa

Network News

Fall is upon us, and for many that means schedules are picking up (did they ever slow down?!)
We recently traveled to Michigan for an in-person Regional Soil Health Nexus In-service at the beautiful Kellogg Biological Station and heard top-notch soil health presentations from experts across the region. Discussion focused on creating ecologically sound cropping systems and allowed the Nexus to showcase some of their recent work including a catalog of resources on carbon credits and carbon agreements
We are also excited to announce that applications are now open for the 2022 Summer Watershed Management Outreach and Research Internship Program. All undergraduate students regardless of institution are invited to apply! Students will be placed at one of seven institutions across the region where they will experience broad perspectives and experiences in water-related research and extension education. 
We hope you find time to enjoy the change of seasons while continuing your important work,
-Rebecca Power and Anne Nardi, the North Central Region Water Network team

P.S. Want your water questions answered by colleagues? Use the North Central Region Water Network listserv to get answers quickly. To subscribe, email
Cover crops. Photo by NRCS

The Current Webinar Series
Carbon Markets and Carbon Credit Agreements
Wednesday, October 13, 2021 at 2pm CT

Lately, it seems we all have been hearing about the potential of agricultural carbon markets. Tune into this edition of The Current webinar series as we dive into the topic! We will hear from leading experts on the latest research on soil carbon sequestration and the state of the science, what producers need to know or consider before entering an agreement, and how different companies and organizations are going about verifying soil carbon sequestration and the different protocols used.

We know you have a lot of questions, this is a great opportunity to hear what we know and what we don't! Register here
Photo by NRCS 
Farmer standing in corn field

Network Spotlight
Introducing Tap Your Potential, A Curriculum to Help Build Farmer Leadership in Watershed Management

Anyone who works in watershed management in the Mississippi River Basin knows that farmers are an important part of the solution for reducing nutrient loss and improving water quality. But something many watershed professionals are grappling with is how to get more farmers involved – not just getting them to implement conservation practices on their operations but also empowering them to help their peer farmers to do the same. Read more
Maggie Karschnia at a Clean Water Clean Up Event with the Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District

Leadership Spotlight

New University of Minnesota Extension Educator to Address Complex Water Resource Challenges

The University of Minnesota’s Water Resources Center (WRC) and the Minnesota Sea Grant (MNSG) have long recognized that effective management of water resources provides numerous benefits to local communities beyond improving water quality and reducing flood risks; it can also provide social and economic benefits, increasing overall quality of life. WRC and MNSG’s complementary water resource goals have led to a growing set of joint activities. As such, both programs joined forces to hire Extension Educator Maggie Karschnia to focus on urban stormwater, community resiliency and watershed education. Read on

In The News

Upcoming Events
Life Hacks over Lunch: A Meet-up Series for Watershed Professionals
October 15th, November 19th, December 17th
This free, virtual meet-up series is a peer-learning opportunity for watershed professionals to share ideas and advice for solving real-life challenges of watershed projects. Learn more

4-part Digital Dialogue: What are healthy agroecosystems? 
Tuesday, October 19th

This fall Grassland 2.0 is hosting a 4-part Digital Dialogue focusing on the question – What are healthy agroecosystems? The series will explore the different aspects that make up a healthy agroecosystems and the benefits these systems have on people, farms, communities and the land. October's session will feature Stephan van Vilet, Nutrition Scientist and metabolomics expert at the Center for Human Nutrition Studies at Utah State University who will discuss the linkages between animal and human health. Learn more

Lunch and Learn: Tap Your Potential, A Training to Grow Farmer Leadership in Watershed Management
October 21st 
Learn how you can incorporate Tap Your Potential, a curriculum to build farmer leadership, into your programming to engage farmers and farm advisors in watershed efforts. Registration required. Learn more

Enhancing Farm Revenues with Conservation Practices and Ecosystem Services
October 26th

armers interested in implementing conservation practices, or providing other ecosystem services, may find themselves eligible for additional revenue streams. In this webinar, we’ll talk about NRCS initiatives that provide cost-shares and rental payments, as well as several up-and-coming benefits programs for things like nutrient reduction, watershed protection, carbon sequestration, and solar energy production. Join in the conversation as Andy Larson of FFI interviews Tera Johnson, CEO of Iroquois Valley Farmland REIT, about practices that have worked for their farm clients. Learn more

Funding and Opportunities

Two Program Coordinator Conservation Leadership and Planning Positions through NDSU

NDSU Extension is currently accepting applications for two Program Coordinator, Conservation Leadership and Planning positions. These are full time, approximately two year term positions that will work closely with Soil Conservation Districts (SCDs) and partner organizations in one SCD Area of North Dakota (approximately 20% of the state.) Office space for these positions will be in a mutually agreed-upon Extension or partner office. Screening will begin on October 5th. Learn more

Full-time Research Soil Scientist Position Opening
The USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Adaptive Cropping Systems Laboratory located in Beltsville, MD, is seeking a permanent full-time Research Soil Scientist. The mission of this unit is to evaluate crop responses to climate change, develop adaptation and mitigation strategies, apply systems theory to the solution of complex, agricultural problems and to develop computer-aided farm decision support systems and assessment tools for environmental study and analysis. Analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of findings will be done in the form of reports, presentations and publications in scientific journals. This announcement is open from 09/14/2021 to 10/14/2021. 
Learn more

Assistant Climatologist Position Opening at Kansas State University

This position provides vital data and information to the public, private companies, and governmental agencies including: media requests, climate reports to NOAA, regional climate centers, and meteorological data to support the Kansas Department of Agriculture drift claims and the USDA Farm Service Agency livestock indemnity program claims and other applications. Learn more

Conservation Outreach: Racial Equity and Justice Conservation Cooperative Agreements - USDA NRCS
The Office of Outreach and Partnerships Division within the Natural Resources Conservation Service announced a funding opportunity to expand the delivery of conservation assistance to historically underserved farmers and ranchers, including socially disadvantaged, limited resource, beginning, tribal and veteran. Proposals should support activities that introduce the concepts of climate-smart agriculture and to assist producers with planning and implementation of conservation practices and principles. Applications deadline is October 25, 2021.  
Learn more

In Midwest farm states, nitrate pollution of tap water is more likely in lower-income communities - Environmental Working Group
In three leading Midwestern agricultural states, communities whose drinking water is contaminated with nitrate are more likely to be lower income. A new Environmental Working Group analysis of state test data found that in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, communities with elevated nitrate in drinking water were more likely to have median household incomes lower than the state median. 
Read on

Results from New Poll Offer Boots-on-the-Ground Insight on Improving the Nation’s Conservation Delivery System - Soil and Water Conservation Society
The Soil and Water Conservation Society released results from the first ever Conservation Practitioner Poll (CPP) in early September. The poll surveyed conservation practitioners in the Upper Mississippi River Basin who provide technical assistance, implement programs, and work directly with farmers to realize natural resource conservation goals on the landscape. 
Read on

Fleshing Out the Meaning of Regenerative Agriculture - Daily Nexus

Soil is everywhere. And as of late, talk of soil is everywhere, at least within the circle of environmental advocacy. The semantics slightly vary across published sources, but “regenerative agriculture” seems to stick most. It’s the catchphrase for what is somewhat a new faith, where healthy soil is the savior that will resurrect Earth as it was before the anthropogenic stain. Look closely and find the two words making their appearance among documentarians and in branding. But where did this battle cry come from? And is it something more substantive than just that — a battle cry? Read on

Using Cover Crops to Reduce Nitrate Leaching in the Waverly Wellhead Protection Area - UNL Water

Several communities in Nebraska are facing growing concerns of increasing groundwater nitrate concentration in their municipal wells. As nitrate concentrations in the groundwater continue to increase, these communities, including Waverly (Figure 1), are facing expensive water treatment options to continue providing safe drinking water to the communities. While low nitrate concentrations in groundwater can occur naturally, the major source of groundwater nitrate in agriculturally dominated areas is nitrogen fertilizer when applied in excess amounts.  Read on

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