The latest water-related news, funding and events!
The latest water-related news, funding and events!
A monthly e-newsletter from the North Central Region Water Network
January 2021
Farm field in snow

Network News

Happy 2021! Hard to believe it has only been a month since the holidays - a lot has happened in January. And we don't just mean in the national news.
Our Harmful Algal Bloom team, the Algal Bloom Action Team, is a collaboration among Extension and Water Resource Research Institutes in the North Central Region. The team hosted their first virtual research symposium featuring the latest HAB research and over 890 of you tuned in! if you missed it, recordings are available on our YouTube page.
The Soil Health Nexus, our multistate soil health team, is also continuing their Soil Health Digital Cafe series in the new year and just this week hosted a webinar on regenerative carbon neutral beef production
We are also excited to announce that the Network is partnering on a series of upcoming Virtual Shop Talks for Farmers in February and March where like-minded farmers can have meaningful conversations with farmers and experts about practical ideas and programs that can help weather hard times and improve the soil.
As the virtual programming continues, we hope you are staying safe and sane!
-Rebecca Power, Network Director, and Anne Nardi, Network Communications.

P.S. Want your water questions answered by colleagues? Use the North Central Region Water Network listserv to get answers quickly. To subscribe, email 

The Current
Indigenous Perspectives on Water and Conservation

February 17, 2021 at 2 PM CT

Join us for our February edition of The Current webinar as we explore indigenous perspectives on water and conservation and how integrating first nation individuals, technology and knowledge can serve to strengthen water work. Dr. Dan Wildcat of Haskell Indian Nations University will share his perspective and Christina Hill and Derrick Kapayou of Iowa State University will discuss how traditional ecological knowledge on intercropping and soil health techniques can inform modern ecological and agricultural knowledge. Register Here
A group of people in the field looking at an ACPF output map
Once a landowner decides to implement conservation practices on their land, we might think the hard part of our work as conservation advisors is over. But what practices should they implement? And where on their land should they place edge-of-field practices to maximize conservation efficiency and effectiveness? The Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF) can help answer these questions and more. Read on
Sara McMillan taking a water sample in a stream

Leadership Spotlight

McMillan and partners at Purdue take a holistic approach to conducting and communicating water quality outcomes in the St. Mary’s Watershed

When it comes to determining the impact of agricultural best management practices on water quality on the watershed scale – the science can be noisy. No one knows that more than Sara McMillan. McMillan, who is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University, studies how humans impact nutrient cycling in aquatic and wetland ecosystems. Read on

In The News

Upcoming Events
Virtual Farmer Shop Talks
February 3 & 17, March 3 & 17, 2021
This four-day event will be an opportunity to have meaningful conversations with other farmers and experts about practical ideas and programs that can help you weather hard times and have success with stewardship practices on your farm. If you are a farmer who is participating in or considering practices to improve soil health and water quality we invite you to join us. While we welcome farm advisors, we want the focus to be on the farmers. If you work with farmers and would like the join us, we are asking that you bring a farmer along with you. Learn more
Seven Best Practices for Risk Communication
February 10, 2021

Understanding risk is a key component for initiatives focused on helping communities prepare for and respond to weather and climate hazards. This interactive webinar introduces participants to seven best practices, numerous techniques, and examples for communicating about coastal hazards. Whether beginning a new effort or trying to keep people motivated to better prepare for future hazards, applying risk communication principles will lead to more effective results. Please note that this training focuses on improving risk communication skills for coastal hazards planning and preparedness, not crisis communication. Learn more
2021 Trust in Food Symposium
February 23-25, 2021
This year’s theme, Regenerative Reset, reflects the reality that now is a moment unlike any in recent memory. Against this backdrop, our country’s food system – from producers to consumers – appears to be rapidly evolving, as well.  Together, we’ll explore whether a new system can emerge out of the disruption of 2020 – a system that helps farmers move toward more regenerative practices, with revenue streams from carbon markets and other ecosystem servicesLearn more
Midwest Cover Crops Council Annual Meeting and Conference
February 23-25, 2021

Join the Midwest Cover Crops Council for their Annual Meeting and Conference. This event will cover a variety of topics relating to cover crops including economics, livestock, soil, and much more. Learn more
Full-Time Executive Director and Part-Time Field Coordinator Positions
The Minnesota Soil Health Coalition is currently hiring for a full-time Executive Director and a part-time Field Coordinator. The full-time Executive Director provides leadership and coordination of the Coalition managing communications, education, outreach, partnerships, and the farmer mentor program. The part-time Field Coordinator aids the Executive Director while assisting producers in the field with soil health including soil health testing, technical expertise, and conservation planning. The submission deadline is February 5, 2021. Learn more
Soil Health Outreach Specialist
The Soil Health Outreach Specialist is a new, exciting position in the UW-Madison Division of Extension designed to meet the research-based educational and outreach needs of agricultural producers in Dodge and Fond Du Lac counties. The Soil Health Outreach Specialist will be a leader in applying research findings and providing education and outreach efforts around soil health. This is done through assessment of needs and designing, delivering, and evaluating research-based educational programming and services to meet these needs. Applications due February 8, 2021. Learn more
FY 2020 Training and Technical Assistance to Improve Water Quality and Enable Small Public Water Systems to Provide Safe Drinking Water
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is soliciting applications under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA) from eligible applicants as described in Section III.A of the announcement to provide training and technical assistance for small public water systems, small publicly-owned wastewater systems, communities served by onsite/decentralized wastewater systems, and private drinking water well owners. Applications are due February 12, 2021. Learn more 
Extension Educator, Water Resources & Minnesota Sea Grant
This Extension Educator will bring in-depth expertise to address complex water management and water quality issues, specifically related to urban stormwater, community resiliency, and watershed education. The educator will collaborate with diverse organizations to identify, develop, implement, and evaluate educational programs that will have a measurable impact on water resources by engaging with water professionals, policy-makers, water and land managers, and others in coastal and inland communities across the state. The position will require working with a range of public, private, and non-profit stakeholders. Applications are due February 15, 2021. Learn more
Reducing Runoff With Prairie Strips - North Central SARE
In southeast Wisconsin, Dan Stoffel grows soybeans, alfalfa, and oats on 800 acres of rolling terrain that’s been in his family since the late 1870s. Stoffel’s no stranger to conservation and sustainability. His farm’s unique landscape, carved by various glaciation periods from 75,000 to 11,000 years ago, has lent itself to practices like contour cropping and no-till, put in place by his grandfather back in the 1930s. So when a conservation group brought up the idea of prairie strip plantings, Stoffel was open-minded. Read on
Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll Shows Farmers' Beliefs on Climate Change Are Shifting - ISU Extension and Outreach News
Climate change is impacting Iowa agriculture and negative impacts are expected to increasingly threaten agricultural productivity in the state. There are many ways, however, that farmers and landowners can increase the resiliency of production systems, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and even capture carbon. The 2020 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll survey explored farmers’ perspectives on climate change and ways that farmers can address its impacts on agriculture. The project is supported by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station. Read on
Secretary Naig Awards More Than $2.6 Million to Support New Soil Health and Water Quality Projects- Iowa Water Center
DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced the recipients of the 2021 planning and development grants funded through the state’s Water Quality Initiative. More than $2.6 million are being awarded to support four projects that help advance the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and soil health and water quality efforts across the state. Read on

Manure Stockpiles: Mind Your Manners - UNL Water
Manure stockpiles must be built following some regulations, but where those regulations end, manners should remain. I suspect that just about everyone reading this article has been told on more than one occasion, “Mind your manners!” Or, perhaps as a parent, it’s this very simple instruction that you now give to your kids as they head out the door to spend time with someone outside the household. Read on
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