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 2022 
Pier in Minnesota Lake

Network News

Lately it seems like all year long is a busy time of year, but we hope you are able to take some time out of the office to relax and enjoy these last sweet days of summer. 
In between taking some much needed time away, we are diving into new projects - such as the North Central Climate Collaborative's partnership with the Midwest Climate Hub. We are also working on a project aimed at educating ag lenders and conservation professionals on how investment in conservation practices can positively impact a farm's financial portfolio, and a new project building on past work examining the social and economic indicators that can lead to water quality change.
Having time to dive into new projects, and hearing the latest updates from the Watershed Management Interns as they finish up their summer projects, is leaving us energized and ready to bring new energy to our work. Here is hoping that energy and renewed focus finds you too!

-Joe Bonnell and Anne Nardi, North Central Region Water Network
A flooded road

The Current Webinar Series
Helping Communities Prepare for Extreme Weather

As the climate continues to change, extreme weather events are becoming more commonplace. Tune into this edition of The Current as we explore different tools and approaches to creating community resilience - through hazard mitigation, natural infrastructure, and evaluating and communicating risk. Register
People at a Southland Park Field Day

Network Spotlight
New website offers watershed professionals and farmers access to peer learning and resources for achieving clean water goals

Conservation professionals, extension educators, and farmers who are involved in or support on-the-ground watershed-based projects to improve water quality and landscape resilience have a new portal to peer learning and resources designed to support their work:, the recently launched website of The Confluence for Watershed Leaders.

The Confluence is a community and collaborative of people working for healthy watersheds in the Great Lakes, Mississippi River, and Red River Basins. Its goals are to build human capital for water management – i.e., the skills and knowledge watershed professionals and farmers need for success – and to advocate for increased investment in people to achieve clean water goals. Read on
Katja holding up a crop at a field day

Leadership Spotlight
Infusing real-time complexities into soil health education and research

In March 2022, Katja Koehler-Cole started a new position as a soil health management extension educator for the University of Nebraska Eastern Nebraska Research, Extension and Education Center. While her role doing soil health research and programming state-wide for Nebraska Extension is new, Koehler-Cole has been studying the impact of cover crops at the University of Nebraska for quite some time.

Koehler-Cole got Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska School of Natural Resources in 2015 and has been with the university ever since studying the impact of cover crops and green manures in corn, soybean, and wheat systems in various roles. Read on

In The News

Upcoming Events

The Michigan Inland Lakes Convention
September 14-16th

 Every two years the Michigan Inland Lakes Convention brings together passionate lakeshore owners, lake scientists, policy makers, and conservationists to spark new ideas and inspire stewardship of inland lakes. This year’s convention theme is “Protecting Lakes Today for Tomorrow”, and it will take place virtually September 14-16 on Zoom. Learn more
Life Hacks Over Lunch: A Meet-up Series for Watershed Professionals
September 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
Great Lakes Coastal Symposium
Monday-Wednesday, September 19-21, 2022

The symposium will be hosted in Sault Ste. Marie, MI. Participants will explore Great Lakes coastal systems in light of a changing climate, and discuss management and conservation approaches for coastal waters, vegetation, and wildlife. Learn more

2022 Iowa Water Conference
September 28th and 29th
The 16th annual Iowa Water Conference will be held on September 28-29, 2022 in Dubuque Iowa. We all live in a watershed; each watershed has one common resource – its water. The Mississippi River and its watershed are the foundation for a large, diverse community that affects the use and resilience of many of this country’s natural resources. Individuals and communities throughout the region have stories to tell. How does water impact them? How are they innovating to increase resilience and mitigate the impacts of climate change? 
Learn more

Funding and Opportunities

Regional Natural Resources Educator Position - UW-Madison Extension

The Natural Resources Education Team works together to design, deliver, and evaluate research-based educational programming and services aligned with the position's programmatic focus. The team focuses heavily on integrating human dimensions perspectives into natural resources management decisions.Applications are due September 5, 2022. Learn more

Water and Weather Outreach Coordinator - NDSU Extension
South Dakota State University (SDSU) Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering Department is offering an exciting career opportunity as a Water and Weather Outreach Coordinator. They are looking for a creative and innovative professional to join them in developing high impact outreach and communication products to promote research activity at SDSU and increase engagement of individuals and communities across South Dakota and the northern great plains.
Learn more
Call for Preproposals for NCR-SARE Research and Education Grant Program
The Research and Education (R&E) Grant Program provides funds to collaborative teams of scientists, farmers/ranchers, institutions, organizations, and educators who are exploring sustainable agriculture through research projects or education /demonstration projects. Preproposals must address issues of sustainable agriculture of current and potential importance to the North Central Region. NCR-SARE is interested in projects that lead to resilient agricultural systems. Submissions are due by 4pm CDT on October 13, 2022. Learn more


I see London, I see France, Farmers Buried Underpants (to Test Soil Health) - The Confluence for Watershed Leaders
Across northwest Wisconsin, farmers in four local watershed councils volunteered to participate in a light-hearted competition aimed to turn some heads and crudely measure soil biological activity as a proxy for soil health. The Soil Your Undies Challenge is pretty simple: Bury a pair of underwe
ar in a crop field in the spring, then let the soil microbes work on them for 50 to 60 days. The cotton in the underwear, a natural fiber, is capable of quick decomposition in that time, as long as there is plenty of microbial activity. Read on

Looking for the perfect burger? Look for local grass-fed - Grassland 2.0

If there is one thing that can be widely agreed upon – it’s that burgers are loved. In fact, market research firm Datassentials notes that burgers are the 10th most loved food in the US across demographic segments out of more than 3,000 items. For folks looking for the perfect all-beef burger, grass-fed is a delicious, healthy option that provides an array of benefits to the environment and the local economy. Read on

Environmental Conservation and Behavior Survey for Practitioners - University of Virginia

Do you promote behavior change in your work? Or assess the environmental and social impacts of those changes? Please consider sharing your experience – and possibly expanding approaches to programs and policies - in this short survey of conservation professionals. Read on

Breaking Down the Inflation Reduction Act - NACD
On Friday, August 12, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA). Earlier that week, the U.S. Senate passed the IRA by a vote of 51-50. President Joe Biden then signed the bill into law on Tuesday, August 16. NACD applauded the bill’s inclusion of historic investments to support conservation, improve resilience, and address climate change. Read on
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