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
July 2023
Person sitting on a bench by a lake at sunset

Network News

We hope you are staying cool and managing the challenging drought conditions many of us are experiencing this summer. If you, or your constituents, are in need of resources on drought response assistance or practical heat stress strategies, the Extension Disaster Education Network is a great starting point. And, if you are interested in planning for future drought, the Collaborative Drought Planning Website developed by the National Drought Mitigation Center in collaboration with the Network is a great resource to get started. 
With the heat and wildfire smoke, we too have climate on the mind - and in more ways than one. We are preparing to head to Denver this October for the Climate, Water, Equity and Opportunity Workshop October 12-13th. The workshop is a great opportunity to connect with land-grant colleagues across the region, and discuss how we can better serve our communities in the face of changing weather conditions. If you are with Extension working on water- and climate-related programming this event is for you! Registration is now open and is only $50. We hope to see you there.
Happy summer!
-Joe Bonnell and Anne Nardi, North Central Region Water Network
Brian Jackson and NRCS District Conservationist Larrette Kolbe discuss the soil health and water quality benefits of no-till and cover crops in one of Brian's fields.
The Current Webinar Series
A Future Focused on Water: A Look at New and Expanded Funding Opportunities
Wednesday, August 9th at 2pm CT
The passage of several federal laws over the last couple years has brought new opportunities and expanded funding for water in a myriad of ways. Tune into this edition of The Current Webinar Series as we explore additional State Revolving Fund dollars and new funding and expanding program flexibility for conservation ag programs and how water professionals can take advantage of these opportunities! Register
Photo by Lynn Betts
Man holding healthy soil with earthworms in it.
With all the buzz about soil health, regenerative ag, and climate-smart, farmers want to know how practices such as cover crops and no-till pencil out. While data on the financial impacts of conservation practices are still emerging, there is a growing collection of research that is establishing a knowledge baseline. Now, a good portion of this research can be found in one place with the launch of the Conservation Economics & Finance Resource HubRead on
Photo by Lynn Betts
Farmers standing around a table pointing at a map of fields

Leadership Spotlight

Leslie Johnson’s childhood home is only 4 miles as the crow flies from her current office where she works as an Animal Manure Management Extension Educator at Nebraska Extension, based at the Haskell Ag Lab. “I like to joke – I didn’t make it very far in life,” quips Johnson. But for her, she couldn’t be happier. She is close to her family farm and her family while contributing to her husband’s family farm and teaching and helping producers and ag professionals through her work with Nebraska Extension. Read on

In The News

Upcoming Events
Algal Bloom Action Team July Webinar: Lake Physics and Social Perspectives on Freshwater HABs
August 2, 2023 at 11AM CT

Tune into this webinar as we hear from two speakers who discuss how lake physics and internal nutrient loading can create toxic blooms and how constituents are understanding and assessing HAB risk. Register here

2023 Farm Drainage Field Day
August 8-9, 2023

The 2023 Tile Drainage Field Day is hosted by Michigan Land Improvement Contractors of America in partnership with Michigan State University Extension. Learn about soil health, nutrient management and water management to protect water quality and improve crop productivity. Both days include live installation demonstrations of tile drains, saturated buffers, water control structures and water-gate valves. Register here
Nutrient and Water Management in Climate-Smart Soil and Water Conservation
August 24, 2023
The Conservation Matters Series webinar, presented by the SWCS Science and Policy Committee, will explore the multidimensional aspects of climate-smart agriculture. Experts will share their ideas on where climate-smart agriculture is going and how conservationists and researchers can integrate this perspective into their current work. In the August 24th session, presenters will address the importance of nutrient management, as well as water management, when planning climate smart agriculture to maximize benefits and minimize off-site losses of nutrients in the practical implementation of climate-smart conservation agriculture. Register here

Funding and Opportunities

SWCS Emerging Leaders Program

The Soil and Water Conservation Society Emerging Leaders Program is designed for early-career conservation professionals and is an immersive, interdisciplinary leadership experience. Through this program, participants will learn their leadership style and host a local, in-person conservation activity, with virtual guidance from SWCS staff and industry leaders. This program is flexible and will be adapted to meet the interests of participants and address their regional conservation needs.  Learn more

Minnesota Sea Grant Water Resources Extension Educator
Under the working title of Water Resources Extension Educator, this position will be responsible for developing extension programming about water quality of Lake Superior and Minnesota’s inland lakes and streams, delivering programming to Minnesota communities, and evaluating the impact of these programs over time. This position will work closely with other Minnesota Sea Grant staff, University of Minnesota Extension staff, researchers, and partner agencies and organizations. This position will be supervised by the Minnesota Sea Grant Extension Program Leader.  Reviews start August 11th. Learn more

University of Minnesota Extension Educator - Water Resources and Irrigation 
The Water Resources and Irrigation Extension Educator will bring in-depth expertise to address complex water management issues, specifically in geographic areas with significant agricultural land use and irrigation. The educator will collaborate with diverse organizations to identify, develop, implement, and evaluate educational programs that will have a measurable benefit on water quality and quantity. A substantial portion of this person’s time will be focused on Extension education related to irrigation, although they will also work on other issues related to agriculture and water quality and quantity. Learn more

Three Examples from History That Demonstrate the Need to Break Down Silos in Decision-Making for Food, Energy, and Water Security
Since the early twentieth century, four of the dominant goals for food, water, and energy security in the United States have been to increase crop and livestock production, achieve energy independence, improve the quality and reliability of our water supply, and reduce flood risk. While these goals have had widespread support, what has proved problematic has been the means to these ends: their pursuit has largely been in silos, with disparate laws, regulations, and incentives. Meanwhile, our food, energy, water, and natural systems remain interconnected. Read more
Wetlands of Nebraska Education Materials Available
After several years of development, the final products from the “Wetlands of Nebraska Outreach and Education project” have been released.  All of the products are available on the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s wetlands page. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission coordinated this project with the Platte Basin Timelapse group at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at UNL, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Ducks Unlimited. The final products include StoryMaps, films, a childrens booklet, and a publication. Read more

Understand the inherent uncertainty of your phosphorus monitoring strategy
Are you performing edge-of-field monitoring to measure effectiveness of conservation practices and their water-quality impact? Do you know the uncertainty of your sampling strategy? Subsurface drainage discharge and surface runoff are pathways for phosphorus (P) loss from subsurface-drained farms. Monitoring P loss is important to evaluate the P reduction performance of conservation practices, which is measured by the P load. The sampling strategy has a considerable effect on the uncertainty of the P load estimate. There are three strategies for collecting water samples: (1) flow-proportional sampling, (2) time-proportional sampling and (3) grab sampling. Read more

How's Your Nutrient Use Going?
Mid-growing season, when crops are doing what they do best, is a great time to evaluate nutrient use on the farm and consider plans for the next growing season. If you're looking for ways to use nutrients more efficiently and reduce input costs, check out One Good Idea, a clearinghouse of videos and podcasts that feature farmers’ ideas and experiences with practices that are helping them improve their soil, land, and bottom lines. See what these farmers are doing here.
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