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
November 2022 
River in autumn

Network News

On behalf of everyone at the North Central Region Water Network, we hope you had a bountiful and relaxing Thanksgiving Holiday with friends and family.
As we head into the busy meeting season, we want to remind you of a couple of upcoming Network events:
Lastly, we know drought is on the mind for many of us with much of the North Central Regions facing drought, and some facing D3 or D4 conditions. Be sure to check out the Collaborative Drought Planning website the National Drought Mitigation Center developed last year with support from the Network. As we all hope for winter snowfall to lesson drought conditions, this website can help us collectively plan and prepare for the spring and summer - whatever it may hold.
-Joe Bonnell and Anne Nardi, North Central Region Water Network 
Field photo from summer 2022 where Rebecca North is teaching students how to collect limnological samples, including toxin samples.

Leadership Spotlight
Uncovering the mysteries of cyanobacteria in inland lakes

Rebecca North grew up on the shores of the Bay of Quinte in Belleville Ontario, a picturesque location off the coast of Lake Ontario. Known as the ‘heart of the sea and the river’ it has reputation for sailing, walleye fishing, and harmful algal blooms or HABs. “I grew up swimming in the Bay as a kid. Now, people don’t even let their dogs near it,” notes North when she talks about her hometown. For North, growing up on the water instilled in her not only a love for water, but also a fascination with phytoplankton.

“There is a lot of conflicting research on what causes harmful algal blooms. We have seen an increase in blooms in recent years – both in times and in places. And we know nutrients have an impact,” notes North. “But what if nutrients aren’t the full story? What other factors come into play? Do climate change, rising temperatures and light have a role to play in bloom development?” Read on
Dairy cows grazing under solar panels

Network Spotlight

How We Used Backcasting to Develop ‘Histories of the Future’ for Food, Energy, Water, and Ecosystem Security

Imagine it’s 2050. In the Upper Mississippi River Basin, we have reached goals set at least three decades prior for sustainable and secure food and energy production, improved water quality, and biodiversity. Now, how did we get there?

This mental exercise is called backcasting, and it’s the approach the FEWscapes project, which includes Netwwork staff, has taken to engage our community partners in developing scenarios for the future of food, energy, water, and ecosystems. Read on

In The News

Upcoming Events

Rebuilding the US Cattle Herd - A Climate Mitigation Strategy & a Just Transition for Packinghouse Workers

December 6th
Grassland 2.0's final Digital Dialogue of the fall will take place Tuesday, December 6th from 12-1:30pm CT and will feature Dennis Olson, Senior Research Associate, Food and Agriculture Policy an the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union. Dennis will discuss, “Rebuilding the US Cattle Herd: An Imperative Climate Mitigation Strategy and a Just Transition for Packinghouse Workers“ Learn more
Life Hacks Over Lunch: A Meet-up Series for Watershed Professionals
December 16th

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. Learn more
National Climate Assessments and Climate Tools
December 19th

In this North Central Climate Collaborative webinar, two speakers will be covering slightly different topics, both in the realm of climate.  Dr. Aaron Wilson will discuss the public comment period for the fifth National Climate Assessment, wherein all individuals are allowed to review materials created before the final release.  Laura Edwards will then discuss climate tools available for use in the Midwest, with a focus on mesonet capabilities in South Dakota. Learn more
On Common Ground: Practical Farmers of Iowa's Annual Conference
January 19-21st
Where does common ground exist? In ideas? Experiences? In ecosystems? In the physical spaces where we live and farm? Perhaps common ground exists wherever we make space for it – wherever we recognize the opportunity for connection, and wherever we acknowledge our shared impact on our land, water and communities. At PFI's annual conference, we are On Common Ground. We know common ground may be less visible than our differences. Take time to look for it, think about it and choose to enter those common ideas and conversations. Learn more
Midwest Cover Crop Council & SD Soil Health Coalition Conference
January 23-25th

The Midwest Cover Crop Council's Annual Meeting will be held in conjunction with the South Dakota Soil Health Coalition Conference at the Best Western Plus Ramkota Hotel in Sioux Falls, SD January 23-25. Registration will open soon. Save the Date! Learn more

Funding and Opportunities

Mississippi River Basin State Revolving Fund Watershed Coordinator Position

Quantified Ventures’ (QV) State Revolving Fund (SRF) Solutions team seeks to hire an SRF Watershed Coordinator to support work in the Mississippi River Basin states. The SRF Watershed Coordinator will have a unique opportunity to connect watershed and conservation organizations with SRF funding and financing. Despite broad eligibility to invest in nature-based solutions, currently 96% of SRF dollars are allocated toward grey infrastructure solutions. By bridging the gap between complex state and federal funding programs and hyper local watershed and conservation organizations, the SRF Watershed Coordinator will play a pivotal role in increasing natural infrastructure investments that lead to health and environmental benefits. Learn more

Creative Engagement Specialist or Artist-in-Residence Application
Interested in using art or creative engagement to lead collective action around community drinking water? Apply to be a creative engagement specialist or artist-in-residence in one of the Minnesota communities of Chatfield, Fairmont, or Little Falls.
Environmental Initiative is accepting individual and team applications for the role through Friday, December 30th. This call for artists is part of a collaborative effort to protect drinking water and is supported by the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment. Learn more


Sioux City drinking water exceeds health advisory levels for ‘forever chemicals' - Iowa Public Radio
Dangerous chemicals, known as PFAS, have been detected in one of Sioux City’s drinking water sources, with contamination levels that now warrant a health advisory. In January, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources detected the presence of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at the Southbridge Water Treatment plant. At the time, those levels did not meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s threshold for a health advisory. Learn more

Wetland Restoration Helps Wisconsin “Slow the Flow” to the Great Lakes - NACD
The good health of the Great Lakes and their freshwater estuaries depends also upon the health of the watersheds and rivers that drain into them. In Wisconsin, conservation partners have a long history of taking a proactive approach to implementing upstream conservation practices to help improve downstream water quality and the health of Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and their freshwater estuaries. 
Read on

Farmer to Farmer Field Day at Hinkston Creek - Bluegrass Greensource 

On November 12th BGGS held the Farmer to Farmer Field Day event in Millersburg KY, which is part of The Licking River Basin. This event was in partnership with UK College of Agriculture, Food & Environment Cooperative Extension Service and the Bourbon County Conservation.  BGGS staff was on hand to answer questions and present about the programs we offer, also staff from UK Ag, Bourbon Co. Conservation and The KY Division of Water were able to speak to farmers directly about programs and cost share opportunities available for some of the conservation practices highlighted during the event. Read on

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