Read the latest water-related news and events before you head out!
Read the latest water-related news and events before you head out!
A monthly e-newsletter from the North Central Region Water Network
December 2021 
Happy Holidays from the North Central Region Water Network

Network News

As the year draws to a close, we are reflecting. We hoped 2021 would bring a return to normalcy. Instead, we learned that the word “normal” may continue gathering dust. More extreme weather and a continuing global pandemic are calling us to recognize and gracefully hold the paradox that 1) everyone’s experience is unique and 2) we all have much in common as we strive to do our best under the most difficult of circumstances. We also reflect that the word normal can be misused to represent a privileged condition that many of us do not experience. Our hearts go out to all who have been impacted by recent storms, and thanks to all those who are providing much needed relief.

Despite its challenges, 2021 brought progress and hope. We advanced treatment against a novel virus and increased our understanding of soil carbon dynamics and the impact of a cold climate on nutrient management BMPS. We saw exemplary examples of collaboration, often without leaving our desk - such as the seven-state watershed management internship program, the green infrastructure community of practice, or the multi-state partnership working to foster farmer leadership in the Mississippi and Atchafalaya River Basins

We have adapted and learned to continue our work and our lives in different ways. When in-person events continued to be less common we turned to webinars and virtual events - such as the Soil Health Nexus Digital Cafe series or the Virtual Harmful Algal Bloom Research Symposium. We learned to craft these events to reconnect with colleagues and friends as well as to share information.

So, as we look back at the year that was and the year ahead, what strikes us most was our ability to adapt and help one another navigate our changing world. We continued working toward a future of safe and sufficient water supplies and healthy rivers, lakes, and wetlands for all. And we did it while caring for loved ones who were sick, helping kids feel safe, and attempting to maintain our own sanity in the process. While we hope 2022 brings less uncertainty, we have faith in our resilience as a water community. And that, is something worth celebrating.

-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
Microplastics Image
The Current Webinar Series
Emerging Contaminants: A Look at Microplastics
Wednesday, January 12, 2022 at 2pm CT

Often when we think about plastic pollution we think of grocery bags, straws, and bottles. However, the small fragments, known as microplastics, have become ubiquitous in our lakes, rivers, and drinking water. The next edition of The Current Webinar Series will take a deep dive into these plastic fragments and the on-going research surrounding their pathways into our waterbodies and the effects on the ecosystem. Register here

Photo credit: Minnesota Sea Grant
Introducing One Good Idea: A clearinghouse of videos and podcasts with ideas to help farmers improve their soil, land, and bottom lines. All ideas are by farmers, for farmers.

Network Spotlight
New virtual platform called One Good Idea will help farmers learn and share ideas to improve their soil, land and bottom lines

One Good Idea is a new online platform and campaign to help farmers get started and have success with soil health and regenerative practices. Created by a multi-state team of university Extension professionals and farmers, One Good Idea was designed to facilitate farmer-to-farmer learning about practices that can improve soil, land, and bottom lines, such as cover crops, conservation tillage, rotational grazing, and nutrient management. Read on
Soil health sampling to help support regional conservation practice soil health evaluation

Leadership Spotlight
Innovative partnership with NRCS and Cargrill enables team of Extension associates to engage farmers in water quality improvement practices

Across 20 counties within the western Lake Erie basin a new team of Extension water quality associates is partnering with farmers to help advance soil health, reduce nutrient runoff, and improve regional water quality.  The team leads applied on farm research trials to demonstrate the effects of conservation practices on water quality, soil health, and farm profitability. Results of these field trials are published annually in the Ohio State University’s eFields publication, enabling information to be quickly shared with farmers and ag professionals alike. Read on

In The News

Upcoming Events

Manure Mondays

Monday, January 3, 2022, 3PM CT 
Manure Mondays is a webinar series that continues where the Manure Expo left off and provides the opportunity to share new technology and information about managing manure. A series of educational sessions will be presented by OMAFRA and NAME (North American Manure Expo). Registration is free and includes access to all sessions. Sessions will run on Mondays until March 21. 
Learn more

2022 Wisconsin Online Nutrient Management Training

Tuesday, January 4, 2022, 10AM CT

This online training will cover the basic concepts of soil fertility management in Wisconsin and is meant to cover the material required to write your own nutrient management plan for your farm. You only need to attend one of the four training session to be certified to write a nutrient management plan for your operation. The remaining three sessions will be held on February 7th, March 1st and 15th.  Learn more
Virtual Harmful Algal Bloom Symposium
Thursday & Friday, January 6-7, 2022, 8:30AM-4:30PM CT

This year’s symposium will feature emergent harmful algal bloom (HAB) research and provide a venue for moderated discussions regarding HAB research, outreach, and how information dissemination can be improved. This event is free, but registration is required. Make sure to book your spot as space is capped at 1000! 
Learn more
One Good Idea Lunch and Learn
Friday January 14, 2022 at 11:30AM CT

This virtual Lunch & Learn is an opportunity for professionals who work with farmers to implement conservation practices – such as Extension agents, farm advisors, and conservation professionals – to learn the “science” behind One Good Idea - a new online platform and campaign to help farmers get started and have success with soil health and regenerative practices. We’ll also cover how to collaborate with farmers to contribute to the platform and the movement to facilitate farmer-to-farmer learning about conservation and regenerative practices. Learn more

National Climate Assessment: Midwest Chapter Engagement Workshop
Friday, January 24, 2022, 9AM-1:30PM CT
This workshop will be used to inform members of the public about the development of the fifth National Climate Assessment. This will include a session that provides an overview of the assessment and an introduction to the Midwest chapter. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss the chapter's key topics and their own priority with the chapter authors in breakout sessions.
Learn more

Funding and Opportunities

Natural Resources Communication Specialist - University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension

The North Central Region Water Network is seeking a Natural Resources Communications Specialist to join our team! The communications specialist will identify, develop, and evaluate communication opportunities, and assist in the design, development, and maintenance of promotional materials to reach conservation audiences and increase participation in educational programs that address natural resource management. Applications are due January 7th. Learn more

Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) Funding - NOAA
This funding opportunity is aimed at regionally-focused and interdisciplinary research and engagement teams that are working to build on adaptation capacity and resiliency from extreme weather events and climate change. Closing date is January 11, 2022.
Learn more

Gulf of Mexico Historically Underserved Farmer to Farmer Grant Program - EPA
The EPA Gulf of Mexico Division (GMD) announced request for applications to support projects within the Gulf of Mexico watershed and that will support the Gulf of Mexico Farmer to Farmer objectives. Closing date is February 4, 2022.
Learn more

Farm-Led Conservation & Watershed Protection Mini-Grant Program  - Mississippi State University
Funding is intended to expand farmer-led conservation demonstration efforts and associated farmer-led organizations. Closing date is February 15, 2022.
Learn more


Cover crops can benefit farmers, earth in many ways - Agri-Pulse

The Midwest Cover Crops Council, the Northeast Cover Crops Council and the Southern Cover Crops Council have created tools to help producers in their regions decide on the right cover crops based on their goals, soil types, growing season lengths and locations. Read on

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