Watershed Network News Oct. 25, 2011

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MN Crow Watershed

Oct. 25, 2011

Watershed network plans program for Nov. 15 event

Civic engagement and funding sources top the list of topics for the Tuesday, Nov. 15 gathering of the Minnesota-Crow Watershed Professionals Network. It will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Pizza Ranch in Redwood Falls. Scott Kudelka of the MSU Water Resources Center, and Denise Stromme of the MPCA, will offer a definition of civic engagement, and some specific examples. A panel with Board of Water and Soil Resources and project staff will discuss funding sources. Brett Arne of the Pomme de Terre Watershed District will share their experience with intensive watershed monitoring. Other topics include the Blue Thumb program, Minnesota FarmWise, and Discovery Farms. The event will wrap up with informal updates and news from watershed organizations and agencies.

Separate webpage for Watershed Network News

Watershed Network News is now located on separate webage: http://www.pca.state.mn.us/zihyed5.

LeSueur sediment budget on GBERBA agenda Nov. 18

A discussion of the LeSueur River sediment budget study is on the agenda for the Nov. 18 policy-technical committee meeting of the Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA). The report is the culmination of a four-year project to develop a sediment budget for the LeSueur River watershed.

A sediment budget is a way to measure how much sediment is added to and removed from a river system. When more material is added than removed, there is a “surplus” and the river’s banks build up with sediment. When more is removed than added, there is a “deficit” and the river’s banks erode. In the case of the Le Sueur, the river has a sediment deficit, its banks losing much more sediment than it receives from upstream sources.

It provides a reliable estimate of erosion from a variety of sources, particularly near channel such as bluffs, banks, and ravines. A link to the study is located on the LeSueur River watershed page of the new Minnesota watersheds webpage of the MPCA. A preview of the report was given at the GBERBA technical committee meeting Sept. 28.
Lesueur River

Unique civic engagement project launches in LeSueur

The Water Resources Center at Minnesota State University Mankato, Clean up the River Environment, Rural Advantage, and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) are partnering on a different approach for engaging citizens on water quality issues and creating a stakeholder-driven process with support from MPCA and partners. This unique collaboration will be working together in the Le Sueur River Watershed identifying civic leaders to lead an effort for improving and protecting the health of the river and its watershed. The idea behind this project is to provide the technical expertise and  resources necessary for these civic leaders to engage the broader community on this important endeavor and work towards the goal of improving water quality. Ultimately, the local community will chart the strategy for improving water quality and carry it out on their terms.

Newspaper inserts carry Community Clean Up info

Newspaper subscribers in about two dozen Minnesota River basin communities are noticing a bright green postcard inserted into their papers. It tells them about Community Clean Ups for Water Quality, and invites them to fill out and return the card with information about yard clean up efforts to reduce phosphorus runoff. Nearly 100,000 postcards are being distributed in the project, co-sponsored by Friends of the Minnesota Valley and Freshwater Society, and funded by a 319 grant and other sources. The card describes what to do, how, and when to collect leaves and grass, and take it to a compost site. Returned cards will give homeowners credit for their effort, and help measure the collective amount of phosphorus pollution reduction. For more information visit the Community Clean Up webpage.
river newspaper insert

Chippewa 10 Percent project seeks outreach specialist

The Land Stewardship Project is looking for an "ag lands solutions specialist" for the Chippewa 10% Project in western Minnesota. This position will conduct outreach to farmers and agricultural landowners to help them plan the right mix of conservation incentives, production practices and market-based farming enterprises and/or strategies to enhance land stewardship and farm profitability and mitigate environmental and production risks. For a full job description, click here.

FarmWise receives grant for mentoring program

Minnesota FarmWise, an innovative program to encourage conservation and protect clean water in the Minnesota River Valley, has won a $15,000 challenge grant in the Minnesota Idea Open. The Freshwater Society and the National Park Service will use the grant to form a farmer-to-farmer mentoring program to encourage practices aimed at reducing soil erosion and the runoff of fertilizers and pesticides into the streams and rivers that lead to the Mississippi River. View a video about the mentoring program. The Minnesota FarmWise program will identify the most vulnerable areas in the Minnesota River Valley, and work through existing community relationships to mentor, advise and implement farmer-proven and farmer-approved water-friendly practices that protect these critical, high-priority areas. Read the Minnesota Idea Open announcement of the grant.

Call for data for 2012 surface water assessments

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) will conduct surface water assessments for these watersheds in early 2012: Crow Wing River, Big Fork River, Mississippi River – Twin Cities, Mississippi River – Winona (Whitewater River), Bois de Sioux River, Mustinka River, Minnesota River – Granite Falls (Yellow Medicine River and Hawk Creek). To be included in the assessment effort, data must be received by the MPCA and uploaded to the state’s water quality data management system (EQuIS) prior to data analysis. Steps involved in data storage for any project can span more than a month. Information on how to submit data is available on the MPCA website.  Data should be provided to the Minnesota EQuIS Team by Nov. 1, 2011.

Study shows BMPs reducing sediment, nutrient losses in Great Lakes region

A USDA study shows that farmers using combinations of erosion-control and nutrient-management practices on cultivated cropland are reducing losses of sediment, nitrogen and phosphorous from farm fields and decreasing the movement of these materials to the Great Lakes and their associated waterways. The Great Lakes Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) study estimates that the use of conservation tillage and other conservation practices has resulted in a 50 percent decline in sediment entering rivers and streams, along with 36 and 37 percent declines, respectively, in phosphorus and nitrogen loading. Read additional information about the Great Lakes Conservation Effects Assessment Project study, including the full report, which was announced  Oct. 12. The Minnesota River basin is included in the Upper Mississippi River CEAP study, which was released in June, 2010 and is available at this weblink.

Watershed Academy webcast - stormwater outreach

EPA's Watershed Academy will hold its 60th free webcast seminar Thursday, Oct. 27, "Conducting Effective Stormwater Outreach,"by Don Waye, Nonpoint Source Outreach Coordinator, EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds; Holly Galavotti, Environmental Protection Specialist, EPA's Office of Water's Water Permit Division; and Kathy Hoppe, Environmental Specialist, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Watershed Management. This webinar will help state and local agencies, municipalities, watershed groups and others design effective outreach initiatives. It will showcase EPA's Nonpoint Source (NPS) Outreach Toolbox, which offers a variety of stormwater TV, radio and print ads and other tools. To register for the webcast visit
https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/373037154. The presentation will be posted in advance at http://epa.gov/watershedwebcasts. Also, webcast participants are eligible to receive a certificate for their attendance

In the News

Daily Planet, 10/5/11
Agri-News, 9/29/11
Mankato Free Press, 9/11/11


Nov. 1: Minnesota River Watershed Alliance, 6 p.m., Ridgewater College, Hutchinson.
Nov. 7: Environmental Initiative forum, "Working Together to Achieve Healthy Waters," St. Cloud State University.
Nov. 15: Watershed Professionals Network fall meeting, Pizza Ranch, Redwood Falls.
Dec. 4-6: Annual convention, Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Doubletree hotel, Bloomington.


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Watershed Network News welcomes news from partners about funding opportunities, project updates and events. Email your news to forrest.peterson@state.mn.us.  Please note that the MPCA has switched to a new service, called GovDelivery. To ensure delivery of these messages, please add mpca@public.govdelivery.com to your address book or safe sender list. Please forward this to any other interested parties. Past issues are located on the MPCA Minnesota River Basin webpage
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