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
March 2023
Rainbow over a stream

Network News

Happy Spring! As we gear up for planting and field season, we hope you are able to slow down, organize, and reflect on lessons learned and new connections made during the winter meeting season. A kind of spring cleaning as it were!

Read on to learn about the many educational opportunities and positive changes happening around the region, including a new Center for Lakes and Streams at Michigan State University and job opportunities with the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund.   

At the Network, we are looking forward to our own spring cleaning when we will gather in-person in Chicago with our Leadership Team for the first time since 2019. We will take time to take stock of our accomplishments from last year, assess our ongoing projects and teams, welcome new leadership, and develop a plan for our work moving forward to ensure that we continue to provide a valuable service to folks like you across the North Central Region! 

-Joe Bonnell and Anne Nardi, North Central Region Water Network
Man cutting kernza in a pasture
Photo credit: University of Minnestoa Extension Nutrient Management Podcast
The Current Webinar Series
Perennial Agricultural Systems and Water Quality
Wednesday, April 12th at 2pm CT
Often times when we look at nutrient pollution, we explore tactics to lesson nitrate and/or phosphorus leaching from annual cropping systems. But, where to perennial agricultural systems come into play? Tune in to this edition of The Current Webinar Series as we explore the impact different perennial systems have on water quality, and how they can be potentially integrated into existing systems. Register
People sitting around a table talking and brainstorming. Photo by Farmers and Fishers Partnership

Photo by Fishers and Farmers Partnership

Network Spotlight
Empowering Watershed Leaders and Building a Professional Network thorugh Peer Learning

Story by Jenny Seifert

Even though watershed management is an inherently people-oriented endeavor, the work of a watershed project leader can often feel lonely. They may be the lone watershed coordinator in their watershed, and they may have limited connection with peers in other watersheds. Or perhaps they are a farmer who’s active in conservation but feels like the black sheep in their community.

Dispelling such feelings of isolation through peer learning is one of the bread-and-butter ways The Confluence for Watershed Leaders is working to increase an essential element for successful watershed management: human capital. I like to define human capital as people with the skills, knowledge, and networks necessary to succeed.
Read on
People standing over a table identifying aquatic plants

Network Spotlight
New Center offers Programs to Encourage Stewardship of Freshwater Lakes and Streams

A new center focusing on Extension and research activities in the conservation and stewardship of Michigan’s lakes and streams is being developed by water professionals and Extension educators at Michigan State University.  The Center for Lakes and Streams will consolidate the many programs MSU Extension and its partners offer to residents and user groups throughout the state and work with campus faculty and specialists, state agencies, other Universities, decision makers, agricultural producers and nonprofit, community, and riparian organizations to provide the most current information on the state of Michigan’s inland waters. Read on

In The News

Upcoming Event
HAB Effects on Wildlife and the Importance of Community Science
April 5th at 11:00AM CT

The Algal Bloom Action Team will host Dr. Jeanine Refsnider and Dr. Alba Argerich for their April webinar. Dr. Refsnider from the University of Toledo will present her research on the effects of Lake Erie HABs on wildlife health. Dr. Argerich from the University of Missouri will discuss the importance and lessons learned from 30 years of community science in Missouri. 
Register here
Soil Health Nexus Digital Cafe - The Top 10 Impacts of Cover Crops on Soil Health
April 19th at 2:00PM

Dr. Rob Myers, Director of the University of Missouri Center for Regenerative Agriculture and also Regional Director of Extension Programs for NCR-SARE, will discuss several of the key ways that cover crops can improve soil health.  These factors include nutrient cycling, soil organic matter, rainfall infiltration, addressing soil compaction, aggregate stability and impacts on earthworms, mycorrhizal fungi, and other aspects of soil biology. 
Register here
Learning from Leaders: Accelerating Conservation Drainage Adoption
April 26th at 3:00PM CT

This webinar series explored the adoption of conservation drainage across disciplines, regions and landscapes. Stakeholders will share unique perspectives, engage in dialogue and generate a set of recommendations to be used to advance conservation drainage adoption locally and nationally. The series is intended for a broad audience of conservation professionals and producers who implement conservation practices. The fouth webinar of the series will be held on April 26th featuring experts from the leading industries and non-governmental organizations discussing what they are doing to drive adoption. 
Register here
2nd National Flash Drought Workshop
May 2-4, 2023 

The 2nd National Flash Drought Workshop will take place from May 2-4 in Boulder, CO and will bring together the flash drought research community and practitioners to learn from one another, build stronger connections and increase coordination. The workshop will have discussions on the state of science, resources and tools related to the flash drought to build a better understanding of practitioner needs for improved flash drought preparedness, response and communication. 
Register here

Funding and Opportunities
Great Lakes Sediment and Nutrient Reduction Program
The Great Lakes Sediment and Nutrient Reduction Program has provided grants to reduce nutrients and sediments entering the Great Lakes. This year's program will focus on helping non-federal units of government, tribes or incorporated non-profit organizations reduce phosphorus contributions to water within the Great Lakes basin and other efforts to achieve measure of progress under the GLRI Action Plan III. This program is currently seeking submissions for proposals for sediment and nutrient reduction activities associated with one of the two project types: 1) Agricultural non-point; and 2) Shoreline or streambanks. Learn more
Job Opportunities at Soil and Water Outcomes Fund 
The Soil and Water Outcomes Fund is seeking motivated, self-starting individuals to join their team and work on expanding their reach to more farmers. They are currently hiring Conservation Agronomists to work with farmers and implement conservation practices on farms that produce environmental outcomes like greenhouse gas and water quality improvements. 
Learn more  

EPA's Virtual Regional Listening Sessions on PFAS Strategic Roadmap
Research The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced a series of virtual listening sessions on EPA's PFAS Strategic Roadmap. The sessions will be held till late April focused on each EPA region, as well as a session specifically dedicated to the perspectives of EPA's Tribal partners. These sessions will provide opportunities for communities to share feedback directly with the EPA regional and program leaders to inform the implementation of the actions described in the roadmap. Read more
ITRC's Online Training Webinars
American ITRC's Online Training Webinars create a unique forum for the exchange of technical and regulatory information on strategies to prevent and manage harmful cyanobacterial blooms. Recordings of all the training webinars are available on Clu-In's website as well as on their Youtube channel. Read more
How an Iowa county installed hundreds of Edge-of-field practices in just three years
Paperwork is a reality for farmers seeking public funding to install a conservation practice on their operation. But the hassle of it can often be a barrier, particularly when it comes to practices that benefit the greater good but have less direct incentive otherwise for the farmer, such as edge-of-field practices. A team in Polk county, Iowa found an innovative way to ease their pain through a model that doesn't necessarily skip the paperwork, but it does simplify the process and reduces the time and financial costs to landowners. Read more
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