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
August 2023
People in a park inn the distance with a lake in the background

Network News

As we head into the Labor Day weekend, back-to-school season, and the end of the summer season, we hope you are able to take time to spend with family and friends.
At the Network, we are gearing up for a busy fall and winter - planning for the 4th Annual Harmful Algal Bloom Research Symposium, gearing up to open applications for the 2024 Watershed Management Internship Program, working with partners across the Mississippi River Valley to pilot a new farmer leadership training, and in the final planning stages of the Climate, Water, Equity, and Opportunity Workshop coming up October 12-13th. 
The final agenda for the Climate, Water, Equity, and Opportunity Workshop is now out and while it is only two-days, it packs a punch! We hope you can join us. 
Happy Labor Day from the North Central Region Water Network Team!
Algal bloom
The Current Webinar Series
Harmful Algal Blooms: A look beyond Nutrients
Wednesday, September 13th at 2pm CT
When it comes to harmful algal blooms (HABs), we know high nutrient loads are often the culprit. But more and more research is uncovering mysteries into the causes of these blooms - that go beyond nutrients. Tune into this edition of The Current Webinar as we hear from three researchers who are studying the causes of HABs outside of nutrients alone. Register
Photo by Eugene Braig
16th Street Mall in Downtown Denver

The Climate, Water, Equity, and Opportunity Workshop is just six-weeks away! This unique workshop is taking place in downtown Denver, Colorado October 12–13 prior to the First American Land-Grant Consortium Annual Conference. The event will bring together land-grant colleagues from 1862, 1890, and 1994 institutions across the region to discuss how we can better work together to address climate and water-related challenges facing our communities. Read on
Solar panels at All Seasons Farms in Champaign County, Illinois.

Leadership Spotlight

As the extreme weather increases, smoke from wildfires inundates the region, and the energy sector shifts from coal and renewables, environmental justice and the connection to water resources is an increasingly prominent discussion topic. Starting in 2019 with a Network mini-grant to explore the intersection of equity and green infrastructure, Lisa Merrifield, Community Development Specialist at the University of Illinois Extension and member of the Network Leadership Team, and partners across Extension began exploring ways to serve communities in Illinois and share knowledge across the region. Read on
Photo by Amanda Pankau

In The News

Upcoming Events
Soil Solutions: Improving Farm Productivity Through Healthy Soil
September 7, 2023

Planting green? Reducing tillage? Trying to keep the soil in place? Join UMN Extension for a field day to explore innovative ways to improve farm productivity through healthy soil. Learn tactics you can use right away! Attendees will see cover crops and 6 different tillage implements in action and learn about how the landscape changes the soil you work with from the start. Don't miss the opportunity to connect with fellow farmers, industry experts, local SWCDs, and researchers and ask questions about cutting-edge soil health techniques. Register here
Iowa Water Conference
September 19-20, 2023

This year, the conference theme is “Navigating the Extremes.” Climate change has been disrupting water supplies and impacting the environment, socioeconomic structures, and ecosystems, such as forests, soils, lakes, cities, and communities. The Iowa Water Conference is a great opportunity for water, climate, agriculture, and natural resource professionals to come together, brainstorm and collaborate, exchange ideas, and learn from each other. Register here

2023 Great Lakes Water Infrastructure Conference
September 19-21, 2023

Communities nationwide are facing critical water infrastructure needs. The pipes, pumps, wires, and technology that are the unseen backbone of modern life are aging and in need of rehabilitation, replacement, and fortification. The 2023 Great Lakes Water Infrastructure Conference will focus on putting solutions into place to improve water quality and public health while transforming the communities of the Great Lakes Basin. Register here
One Water Summit 2023
November 14-16, 2023
Join hundreds of top water leaders in Tucson, AZ, for One Water Summit 2023. It is the premier national conference focused on sustainable, integrated, and inclusive approaches to managing water—our most precious natural resource. From inspiring plenary sessions, skill-building learning labs, interactive workshops, mobile tours, and unparalleled networking opportunities, One Water Summit 2023 is not to be missed. The registration fee is based on your organization's type and size, with discounts for US Water Alliance members as well as those attending as part of a One Water Delegation. Register here

Funding and Opportunities

Midwest Climate Hub Ag-Climate Crop Management Changes Fellowship

Are you looking for a chance to work with an interdisciplinary team in a world-renowned USDA national laboratory? The Midwest Climate Hub is hiring! A research opportunity is available within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), with the Midwest Climate Hub housed in the National Laboratory for the Agriculture and the Environment located in Ames, IA. The candidate will have the opportunity to learn about cropping, management, climate smart agriculture in Midwestern agricultural systems and the impacts of climate change on these systems. Learn more

University of Minnesota AI-CLIMATE Institute Executive Director
The AI Institute for Climate-Land Interactions, Mitigation, Adaptation, Tradeoffs and Economy (AI-CLIMATE) is seeking an Executive Director for the organization. This Institute aims to advance foundational artificial intelligence (AI) by incorporating knowledge from agriculture and forestry sciences and leveraging these unique, new AI methods to curb climate effects while lifting rural economies. Learn more

Wetland Science Conference - Call for Special Sessions
The Wisconsin Wetlands Association seeks proposals for Special Sessions—symposia, roundtables, working groups, and workshops—to be held at the 2024 Wetland Science Conference to be held in February. The conference will highlight the environmental, socio-cultural, and economic value of wetlands and promote the latest research on, and techniques for, wetland and watershed planning, restoration, and management. Learn more

FEWscapes: Principles for Policies to Advance Food, Energy, Water, and Ecosystem Security
One big challenge for achieving goals for food, energy, and water (FEW) security is a history of uncoordinated policies that tend to focus on single goals – such as energy independence or increasing crop and livestock production – rather than taking a bigger picture that accounts for the complex and inherent connections between food, energy, and water systems. An unfortunate result of this uncoordinated approach has been negative unintended consequences – such as erosion, runoff, and degraded water quality and wildlife habitats. Read more
SARE/ASTA/CTIC Cover Crop Surveys (2022/2023)
Cover crops offer a wide range of benefits to farmers, from erosion control to soil building to capturing nutrients and holding them in the root zone over the winter. As interest in cover crops continues to grow, it’s important to understand the trends, opportunities and challenges surrounding these important tools. Insight from farmers who use cover crops—or from those who haven’t yet made the move—is vital for fellow farmers, as well as for crop advisors, conservation specialists and policymakers. Read more

Agricultural conservation practices and the impact on the Great Lakes
For about two decades, annual algae blooms – fed primarily by nutrient runoff from sources like agricultural fields, animal facilities and wastewater treatment plants – have developed in the western portion of Lake Erie. A Michigan State University researcher has received a $1.2 million MDARD fund for continued water quality research. Read more

Agricultural Carbon Programs: From Chaos to Systems Change
In this white paper, American Farmland Trust (AFT) and Sierra View Solutions (SVS) analyze the current state of agricultural carbon programs, explore four main reasons why farmer participation may be low, and recommend 12 strategic changes that would help these programs, which are mainly focused on cropland, to succeed. The most critical barriers AFT and SVS identify are the economics of the programs, concerns about additionality, requirements for permanence, and data and technology barriers for agriculture. Read more
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