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
September 2023
Fall weather at a river in Wisconsin

Network News

We’ve arrived at the end of September. Fall has officially begun although it currently feels more like the middle of summer than the beginning of fall. Another summer has somehow come and gone and we’ve entered into the fall meeting and conference season. The North Central Region Water Network continues to be busy. In just a couple of weeks, we’ll be co-hosting the Climate, Water, Equity, and Opportunities Workshop in Denver. We’re excited to come together and have productive conversations with our land grant institution (1862, 1890, and 1994) colleagues and other partners. Planning also continues for the 4th Annual Harmful Algal Bloom Symposium, which is scheduled for January. 

In staffing news, Joe Bonnell, who served in an interim role as director of the North Central Region Water Network, has moved to a new position with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Joe is the state’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy Coordinator so we expect we haven’t seen the last of Joe as he will continue to work with Extension colleagues in his new role. We wish Joe the best in this new position and thank him for stepping into the interim director role and supporting all the great work the network is doing. 

Happy fall! Get out and enjoy the fantastic weather and all the activities that make fall great!

The North Central Region Water Network Team
Rural landscape
Many state and federal programs are available to support small and rural communities interested in making environmental infrastructure and socio-economic changes to improve water quality and residential quality of life. However, applying for and implementing these grants can be daunting. Tune in to this edition of the Current to learn about some of the programs and resources available to help small and rural communities build capacity to successfully compete for and make the most of available funding. Register
Watershed interns and mentors

With the Fall 2023 semester in full swing, Extension professionals from the North Central Region and their summer interns have had time to share the work they’ve done through the Watershed Management Research and Outreach Undergraduate Internship Program this past summer
Read on
Brad Carlson interacting with a farmer at harvest time
Leadership Spotlight

On October 1st, Brad Carlson begins his 30th year working for the University of Minnesota Extension. The Extension Educator, who works statewide from the Mankato Regional Office, focuses on water quality issues related to agriculture, and more specifically, nitrates. Read on

In The News

Upcoming Events
Short-Term Dynamics and Long-Term Trajectories of Algal Blooms in Lakes
October 4, 2023

Understanding algal blooms' dynamics is essential for ecosystem and human health. While there's been a hypothesis of climate-driven bloom intensification, U.S. lake data showed it's not widespread. Early warning indicators of declining resilience may predict severe blooms in some cases, especially when significant ecosystem changes occur. Join the Algal Bloom Action Team and Dr. Wilkinson as she explores these complicated dynamics. Register here
U.S. EPA CyanoSymposium 2023
October 16, 18, 23, and 25, 2023

EPA’s CyanoSymposium 2023 will provide an introduction to freshwater cyanobacteria and their toxins, from biology and taxonomy to ecology, monitoring (from in situ to space-based), and analysis. It will also cover how these harmful cyanobacterial blooms affect water quality programs and federal support available for management and mitigation. Each day will include a spotlight on a state or tribal freshwater HABs program and the final day will include a panel on funding opportunities for managing HABs. Register here

Life Hacks Over Lunch: A Meet-up Series for Watershed Professionals           October 20, 2023
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. If you work with farmers and communities on watershed-scale projects to improve water quality and have ever found yourself thinking, “I don’t want to recreate the wheel,” this meet-up series is for you. Registering here will sign you up for all 3 meet-ups. You can attend whichever ones fit your schedule. Brought to you by The Confluence for Watershed Leaders Register here

Funding and Opportunities

North Dakota State University Soil Health Extension Specialist
North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension is looking for a highly motivated educator to serve as an Extension Specialist with an emphasis in soil health. The Soil Health Extension Specialist will be responsible for providing innovative Extension programming that will serve a diverse clientele of producers, as well as industry and advisory groups. Programming will focus primarily on soil health and associated agricultural issues, utilization, and management, by providing education to Extension agents, farmers and ranchers, landowners, agricultural lenders, agribusinesses, soil and water conservation boards, industry organizations, and agricultural processors. Learn more

University of Minnesota Extension Educator-Water Resources and Soil Health
The University of Minnesota is seeking a dynamic and experienced individual to join the team as a Water Quality and Soil Health Extension Educator who works toward clean, abundant water for all Minnesotans. In this role, the educator will be responsible for promoting sustainable farming practices and improving soil health and water quality in collaboration with farmers, agricultural organizations, government agencies, and others at the University of Minnesota. Learn more

New Resource Summarizes Current Data on the Financial Impacts of Conservation Agriculture
Farmers and ranchers are increasingly interested in conservation practices to strengthen soil health and improve water quality for present and future generations. Conservation practices can also help farmers improve their profitability in the face of increasingly volatile weather and uncertain market conditions. Some farmers and ranchers hesitate to adopt these practices because of perceived financial risks or uncertainty about what they would mean financially for their operations. Read more
Soil Health Specialist Says Dry Conditions Have Complicated Cover Cropping
Some farmers new to cover crops might be having second thoughts after another dry growing season. University of Minnesota Extension soil health specialist Anna Cates says cover crops generally take up a lot of water in the spring and fall. “At a time when we have a lot of water. It rains a lot (and) the soil is holding a lot of water (so) it’s great to have something growing and reducing that a little bit. But the last couple years that reduction has kind of left us short for cash crop water supply, and that’s been a real hardship (and) we’ve seen poor stands because of it.” Read more

Conservation Learning Group Publishes Water Issues in Iowa Report
The Conservation Learning Group, a think tank based at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and dedicated to addressing conservation and environmental challenges, has published its Water Issues in Iowa report and associated infographic. The report provides insights and priorities expressed by Iowans regarding water quality across the state and tracks changes in perceptions of water quality issues among Iowans over the past 15 years. Read more
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