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
January 2024
Lake Mendota coved in ice as the sunrises

Network News

2024 is well on its way and the weather and climate has dominated much of our month - and not just because it dictates how many layers we have to wear as we head outside! 
The 5th National Climate Assessment was released late last year and Extension Field Specialist and Midwest Chapter author Aaron Wilson recently shared some of his thoughts on the report and its implications for Extension. If you are looking to hear more about NCA5, check out this webinar on the Midwest Chapter coming up next month. You can also check out this excellent post recapping 2023 major weather events from the Midwest Regional Climate Center. Are we destined to experience two vastly different winters again this year? It seems so if January is any indication.
Next month we will be turning our focus to harmful algal blooms and resilient shorelines with two webinars on the docket. You can also check out this newly released factsheet from our Algal Bloom Action Team on harmful algal blooms and their health-related impacts on animals as spring and turnout will be here before we know it!
-The North Central Region Water Network team
Lake Shoreline in Michigan with a natural seawall
The Current Webinar Series
Creating Resilient Shorelines
Wednesday, February 14th at 2pm CT
Whether it is the shores of the Great Lakes or the shores of your local inland lake, creating resilient shorelines in the face of extreme weather and increasing land demands is critical for the stewardship of our water resources. Tune into this edition of The Current Webinar Series as we discuss research on coastal storm resiliency, new policies surrounding inland lake seawall replacements in Michigan and more. Register
Image by Michigan EGLE
People in a field under a tent sitting on hay bales
We are excited to announce that the Network’s soil health team, the Soil Health Nexus, has recently received a North Central Region SARE Professional Development Program Grant to expand their outreach and education efforts. The grant will allow the team to enhance its Soil Health Toolbox, a resource hub for research-based soil health resources throughout the North Central Region, and create two new resources for ag professionals. Read on
Diverse Corn Belt team
Few people would accuse Dr. Linda Stalker Prokopy of Purdue University of thinking small. As project director of the Diverse Corn Belt (DCB) project, the professor of natural resources social sciences is combining her lab’s research on motivation and persuasion with the work of more than 30 other investigators who bring their expertise in agronomy, entomology, soil science, economics, computer modeling, marketing, Extension, education and policy. Their goal for the five-year, USDA NIFA-funded project: nothing less than creating concrete, viable, evidence-based frameworks that can guide America’s Corn Belt toward a more diverse, resilient, prosperous future. Read on

In The News

Upcoming Events
The Power of Adaptive Grazing

February 8, 2024

This Understanding Ag webinar will demonstrate how cattle can be used as an effective tool to restore degraded landscapes and improve overall profitability. You’ll also learn how adaptive grazing reduces erosion and sediment transport, promotes perennial plant growth, controls invasive species, restores riparian areas and incised channels, and reestablishes natural water flow and promotes infiltration. Register here
Great Lakes Freshwater Symposium: Groundwater Policy Developments
February 13, 2024
Join groundwater researchers and policy experts from Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan for a free, virtual Great Lakes Freshwater Symposium. Panelists will discuss groundwater policy developments and challenges in their states, and what kind of research is needed related to factors such as managing agricultural contaminants and PFAS. Register here

Annual Great Lakes Day Conference 2024
February 27, 2024

Join Michigan State University for the 34th annual Great Lakes Day conference: Celebrating Science and Water. This conference will feature presentations on emerging issues such as PFAS and Coastal Resiliency in the Great Lakes;  and share research about the fascinating species we find in our Great Lakes -- and the challenges marine debris brings. Register here
"HABs 101" Webinar
March 6, 2024

What's this green goo? Get the scoop on harmful algal blooms (HABs) in an upcoming "HABs 101" webinar, hosted by Michigan Sea Grant and partners around the state. Tune in on March 6, 2024, at 6-7:30 pm ET, to bust some myths, get tips for keeping your family and pets safe, and learn how you can take action to support healthy water quality on your property and in your community. Register here

Funding and Opportunities

Regional Crops and Soils Educator - University of Wisconsin Extension

The Agriculture Institute's Crops and Soils Program works hand-in-hand with row crop, forage, fruit and vegetable producers to implement best practices for every aspect of the growing phase. The Crops and Soils program provides timely resources and information to help Wisconsin crop producers and their agricultural consultants manage crops efficiently and profitably. Learn more

Water Resources Internship Program
Know a student with an interest in the environment, conservation, and agriculture, particularly water and soil quality? Iowa State University is seeking undergraduate student interns for summer 2024 who are self-motivated, detail-oriented, strong communicators, enthusiastic, and have a sense of fun. The water resources internship program serves as an outstanding springboard for careers in agriculture, engineering, the environment, and/or further studies. Learn more

2024 Great Lakes Summer Fellows Program
The Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR) announces the 2024 Great Lakes Summer Fellows Program, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab (GLERL). The Great Lakes Summer Fellows Program exposes students to a broad range of STEM disciplines by providing hands-on research training and career development mentoring in a supportive and inclusive environment. This program seeks to support diversity in Great Lakes research by valuing the wide range of identities, backgrounds, perspectives, and skills that enrich scientific exploration and help connect science with society. Learn More

Minnesota's drought contributes to drinking water crisis downriver
A Gulf-borne mass of saltwater is quietly advancing upriver from the mouth of the Mississippi and threatening the drinking water supply of thousands of Louisianans. And this "slow-motion disaster," as Grist described it, is directly connected to the stubborn, severe drought that has afflicted Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. Read more

Harmful Algal Blooms and Their Health-Related Effects on Animals
This factsheet includes information on the signs of toxicity in animals, tips for domestic animals and livestock and an overview of harmful algal bloom (HAB) toxins and their symptoms. It also includes contact information for HAB poisoning for each of the 12 North Central Region states. Read more

The State of Gender Equity in U.S. Agriculture
This report is a synthesis of research on the status of gender equity in U.S. agriculture conducted by the Women for the Land team at American Farmland Trust between 2021-2023. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that agriculture is among the most gender-unequal occupations in the U.S. Read more
MCEA report: PFAS Forever Chemicals in our Wastewater
This report, by the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, outlines why wastewater streams are critical to the broader per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) contamination crisis, what legal tools are available to help address this problem, and proactive steps other states have taken to better prevent PFAS contamination from wastewater streams. Read more
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