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
June 2023
Doc on a freshwater lake in Minnesota

Network News

With summer in full swing we know your schedule is filling up with work, travel, field-work, family gatherings, and holidays. That said, we hope you can join us for several upcoming Network and partner events:
Happy summer and have a great Fourth of July!
-Joe Bonnell and Anne Nardi, North Central Region Water Network
Aerial image of a constructed wetland
Please credit: SWCS/IDALS Photo by Lynn Betts
The Current Webinar Series
Water Quality Trading in Action
Wednesday, July 12th at 2pm CT
Water quality trading programs, a market-based approach to reaching water quality improvements, have existed for the better part of four decades, but continue to be sporadic in their implementation across the region. Tune into this edition of The Current Webinar as we hear about efforts to increase water quality trading programs across the region, and how Wisconsin is using WQT to reach state-wide water quality goals. Register
Climate, Water, Equity, and Opportunity Workshop Save the Date
The North Central Region Water Network team is headed to Denver, Colorado this October for the Climate, Water, Equity, and Opportunity Workshop October 12-13th. The workshop is a unique opportunity to meet, connect and partner with land-grant colleagues – including colleagues from Tribal Colleges and Historically Black Land-Grants within the North Central Region. Read on
Ron Graber speaks with producers during a cover crop tour in his watershed in central Kansas.

Leadership Spotlight

Story by Melissa Harvey
Some of us measure a career in terms of years. Ron Graber, extension watershed specialist for Kansas State University, uses a whole different yardstick. “When we start a career, we hope to make a difference,” said Graber. For him, that success is measured in innovative partnerships, successful management strategies, and improved water quality. Read on

In The News

Upcoming Events
Biochar in Michigan Agriculture Event

July 17, 2023

Farmers, landowners, agricultural advisors and conservation professionals are invited to attend a morning of informational presentations, networking and field tours to learn about the biochar industry and its use in field crops. The event will take place at the Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) in Hickory Corners, Michigan. The morning will include an explanation of biochar basics and its use as a soil carbon amendment, the current economic feasibility of biochar production in Michigan, a tour of biochar research field plots, and networking opportunities among attendees and biochar industry professionals. Register here
State of the Soils: A soil health assessment across Washington’s diverse soils and systems
Wednesday, July 19th at 2pm CT
Tune into the July edition of the Soil Health Nexus Digital Café series to hear from Dr. Deirdre Griffin LaHue, Assistant Professor of Soil Health and Sustainable Soil Management at Washington State University.  Dr. LaHue will discuss the Washington State of the Soils Assessment Project and the Washington Soil Health Initiative, preliminary findings, challenges, and next steps. Register here

Regional Soil Health School
August 1-3, 2023

The Haskell Ag Lab Soil Health School is a collaborative event with Nebraska Extension, North Central Region’s Soil Health Nexus, and the Nebraska NRCS. It will cover many aspects of the science related to soil health, including foundational soil health principles, the evaluation of soil health management practices, and many hands-on soil health investigations and demonstrations.  The first two days of the event are filled with speakers, hands-on demonstrations and activities, and student poster presentations. Both full days are free to attend and include a full lunch and refreshments. Register here
Understanding Algal Blooms: State of the Science Conference
September 6, 2023

Ohio Sea Grant's Understanding Algal Blooms: State of the Science Conference in Toledo, Ohio will highlight current scientific knowledge related to algal blooms. Research and outreach leaders will present findings from recent studies and identify important areas of uncertainty. Specific topics will include community engagement to support agricultural production and water quality, locating and implementing Best Management Practices to improve water quality, nutrients and processes behind algal blooms and dead zones, tools to track and predict nutrient movement and reductions, and more. Register here

Funding and Opportunities

University of Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership - Extension Educator in Climate Adaptation & Resilience

This educator position will be based in one of our Extension regional offices in Farmington, Morris, or Willmar, and will serve as a key member of our growing MCAP team to bring in-depth climate science expertise to assist Minnesota’s agricultural sector, water, and natural resource managers, and communities in responding to impacts of a changing climate. Applications are due July 9th. Learn more

NOAA Climate Resilience Regional Challenge - Notice of funding opportunity
NOAA has released a Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Climate Resilience Regional Challenge, which provides approximately $575 million in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act for investing in holistic, collaborative approaches to coastal resilience at regional scales. This is an unprecedented opportunity to implement resilience building and climate adaptation projects that benefit our coasts. The competitive funding can be used to increase resilience to extreme weather events, as well as address longer-term, chronic climate hazards. Projects funded under the Challenge will need to consider four overarching priorities: risk reduction; regional coordination and collaboration; equity and inclusion; and enduring capacity. Learn more

Post-doctoral Researcher: Human Dimensions of Conservation Practice Implementation
The Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management Department (NREM) in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University is seeking a full-time postdoctoral scholar to work on a 2-year project focused on equipping conservatio professionals and farmers with tools to facilitate edge-of-field (EOF) conservation practices to meet nutrient reduction goals in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. The project will examine the factors and successes of ongoing, innovative approaches to scaling up EOF implementation and translate lessons learned into practice implementation plans to be used in other projects and regions of the Upper Mississippi River Basin. For additional information email Dr. Thomas Isenhart

Clearer picture of watershed quality helps people put dollar values on improvements
It may be easy to argue that cleaning up a river is inherently good, but it’s far harder to put a monetary value on the outcome of a clean-up — especially when each person appreciates the condition and uses and expectations for a local or distant body of water in their own way. Measuring that value is important, though, as government agencies run cost-benefit calculations and consider how to best deploy limited resources. Researchers including economists at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have developed a method to gauge the value of improvements in watersheds protected by the federal Clean Water Act. Their results, which surveyed thousands of residents of three major river watersheds in the United States, were published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read more

Flash droughts are becoming a bigger threat to crops, water supply, shipping, research says
Last fall the Mississippi River fell to low water levels when a flash drought exacerbated a dry spell in the upper part of the river’s basin. Soon it was more expensive for a grain company to send corn from St. Louis to New Orleans than it was to ship to China. Flash droughts come on quickly and can wilt crops and waterways faster than long-term droughts. New research finds the dangerous dry spells will become more common in the future. Read more

Introducing Climate Ready Midwest: Empowering Extension Professionals in Climate-Smart Agriculture
North Central Climate Collaborative, the Network’s climate-focused team, has recently updated their website! Be sure to check out the Climate Ready Midwest page complete with a project fact sheet and “Project News” blog. The project is working to define climate-smart agriculture, what it means for extension, and how extension can lead climate-informed programming. Learn more about the project, read the latest blog post, and register for notifications about future blog posts here.
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