Watershed Connections - February 2016

Watershed Connections

February 2016

Online resources available for governor's water summit

water summit logo

A full house of 800, plus many others expected to be listening to Gov. Mark Dayton's livestreamed remarks, will launch a broad-ranging discussion of water quality issues in Minnesota at the first statewide Water Summit Saturday, Feb. 27 at the Intercontinental St. Paul Riverfront hotel. Registration is full, but the govenors' office has made available a series of online resources to engage in this weekend’s Water Summit. Those resources are now live on the Governor’s website. Gov. Dayton says the focus will be on working together to find solutions for water quality issues, and not placing blame. Agenda and additional details.

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Minnesota River Congress shifts from organizing to action

A citizen-led group focusing on the natural resource and economic health of the Minnesota River basin will transform from organizing to action at the sixth Minnesota River Congress March 10 at the New Ulm Event Center. Congress participants and Action Board will act on remaining board elections, annual meeting date, and launch action groups in specific interest areas. The measures were advanced by the Congress Action Board meeting Jan. 26 in New Ulm.

Registration for the Congress is available online at https://payableform.appspot.com/forms/avm4p, or by mail to Minnesota River PO Box 488, New Ulm, MN 56073. Make checks payable to the Coalition for a Clean Minnesota River. The cost is $15 in advance, and $20 at the door. There is no charge for young adults under 19 or with a college ID. Online registration for the networking fair is available at: https://payableform.appspot.com/forms/4q7bzFor more information, contact Scott Sparlin, 507-276-2280, sesparlin@gmail.com.

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6th MN River Congress flyer

Smithsonian WaterWays sponsors working on local exhibits


Local sponsors of Smithsonian WaterWays exhibits are busy working on their displays and events for the upcoming series at six locations around the state. The Smithsonian exhibit, in partnership with the Minnesota Humanities Center and MPCA, will be touring the state in 2016-2017 in an initiative designed to reconnect Minnesotans to our water and the need to become more actively involved in its protection by using, in addition to science, the tools of story, history, faith, ethics, and the arts. The first stop is June 25-Aug. 7 at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center, Spicer. Photo: Britt Gangeness, MPCA WaterWays coordinator, and Glenn Skuta, the MPCA's new Watershed Division director with a WaterWays poster display at a recent agency meeting.

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Hawk Creek crowd learns about soil health, carbon, honey bees

Hawk Creek-Reicosky

A large crowd at the 14th annual Hawk Creek Watershed Project information and appreciation meeting Feb. 24 in Willmar heard two perspectives on soil health. Don Reicosky (left in photo) focused on the dire need for 'conservation agriculture' to reverse the ongoing loss of carbon in the soil. A retired soil scientist USDA-ARS lab in Morris, Reicosky shows the beneficial results from using cover crops and no-till farming.

Holly Hatlewick of the Renville County NRCS (center), demonstrated with slake tests the differences between healthy and unhealthy soils. Healthy soils abound with microbes and organic matter, which offers both crop production and water quality benefits. Looking on at right is Blayne Doty of the NRCS area offic in Marshall. In her opening remarks, Hawk Creek coordinator Heidi Rauenhorst gave an overview of water quality data, the number of projects in place, and the benefits in terms of water pollutant reductions.The program also included Gary Reuter of the U of M, who talked about honey bees, bee-keeping and pollination.  

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Groups organize to paddle entire Minnesota River in a day

wild river academy

The DNR is planning another 'paddle the Minnesota River water trail in a day' event for Saturday, June 11. The goal is to recruit as many paddlers as possible to cover every navigable mile of the 318 miles from the headwaters of Big Stone Lake near Ortonville to the confluence with the Mississippi River at Fort Snelling.

You can paddle alone, with your own group, or with an organized group. Information about organized groups, locations, and other details are available on the web page, or by contacting Alex Watson, alexander.watson@state.mn.us, 507-359-6062. By participating you can also chalk up miles for the DNR's "125 miles by bike, boot, or boat" challenge, celebrating 125 years of Minnesota state parks and trails. Photo: Paddlers with Wild River Academy.

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Native Americans plan week-long walk along Minnesota River

Mni sota river walk

Native American groups are planning a Nibi (Water) Walk along the Minnesota River March 25-April 1. 'Nibi' is the Ojibwe word for water. The Dakota (Sioux) word for water is 'Mni', which is an origin of the name, Minnesota. According to the website, www.nibiwalk.org, the Nibi Walks "respect the truth that water is a life giver, and because women also give life they are the keepers of the water." In 2014 a five-day Nibi Walk along the St. Louis River began near Hoyt Lakes, ending at Jay Cooke State Park. Organizers of the Nibi Walk are associated with the Indigenous Peoples Task Force of Minneapolis.

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