Watershed Network News, Feb. 29, 2012

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MN Crow Watershed

Feb. 29, 2012

John White, Butch Halterman receive River Keeper awards

John G. White (right, in photo) and Butch Halterman both received the River Keeper Award at the Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) annual meeting Feb. 11 in Montevideo. John is editor of the Clara City Herald; Butch teaches science at Montevideo High School. During the event, Sen. Gary Kubly was honored with the Good Government Award, which in the future will be known as the Kubly Good Government Award. Jean Menden was honored as the Volunteer of the Year. The Good Media Award went to Jon Carlson and John Hickman for their Minnesota River film, which was aired on KARE 11 television. Three people were honored with the Prairie Paddler Patch: Nicole Zempel, Scott Tedrick and Karl Pfaff. About 300 attended CURE's 20th annual meeting, emceed by CURE director Patrick Moore. Speakers included: Dennis Frederickson, DNR Region IV manager; Scott Sparlin, CCMR; Jon Olson, Mississippi River Market; and the Hudson Bay women, Anne Raiho and Natalie Warrren. - Compiled from Montevideo American-News
River Keepers

Proposed CWP rule change comments posted

Comments about proposed changes to MN Rules 7076, Clean Water Partnership Financial Assistance, have been posted on the MPCA's CWP rule change webpage. At a video conference Feb. 3, representatives from watershed organizations asked questions and expressed views about the proposed changes. The Clean Water Partnership Rules (Chapter 7076) have not been amended since 1995 and MPCA is also considering changes to streamline rule requirements based on current MPCA water quality objectives. Changes may include housekeeping changes to address obsolete requirements, elimination of noncompetitive continuation grants, and funding changes from advance payments to expense reimbursement, as well as other changes necessary to streamline and update existing requirements. Comments are posted at Rule Related Documents. Preliminary draft #2 is scheduled to be posted on the Web by April 20, 2012.

Watershed network to begin spring meeting plans

Planning will begin soon for the fourth spring meeting of the Watershed Professionals Network. An informal steering committee will meet to discuss and decide on presentation and discussion topics. Past meetings have included presentations on specific technical and operational topics, and provide an opportunity for watershed organization staff to engage in networking and informal discussion. Program ideas and other meeting details will be announced in the next Watershed Network newsletter. Background information is available on the watershed network webpage. Stephanie Klamm has joined the steering committee, replacing Cory Netland who is now with the DNR.

Lac qui Parle to host Earth Day 5k fun run April 21

The Lac qui Parle River Watershed District is hosting a 5k fun run/walk/bike/stroll on Saturday, April 21 in the following communities: Hendricks, Canby, Dawson, and Madison. The event will take place in all four communities simultaneously to increase awareness of our watershed community. A $10 registration by April 3 includes an Earth Day T-Shir; $15 after April 3. Registration will begin at 8:15 a.m. with the fun run starting at 9 a.m. Families are encouraged to get out and enjoy the fun run/walk/bike event and appreciate their local natural resources.Registration Forms available at local businesses, online at www.lqpybwatershed.org or email mary.homan@lqpco.com. "Please join us in celebrating our world and remember we all live in a watershed."

Crow River groups sponsor Science Museum program

Crow River Organization of Water, the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District and Renville County are partnering to bring the Minnesota Science Museum’s “Water” program to local schools in the Crow River Watershed. The program engages learners in key concepts about water including how it moves and cycles around our planet; that freshwater, limited in supply, is used by people for many purposes; and that through depletion and pollution it can become unavailable and unsuitable for life. The following schools are participating: Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, New London/Spicer, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, Wagner Elementary in Litchfield, Bold-Bird Island Elementary School, and Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart Elementary school.

Crow River cities offer 324 rain barrels for sale

The Crow River Organization of Water is working with the cities of Buffalo, Glencoe, Hutchinson, and Pope SWCD to sell 324 rain barrels this spring. Glencoe and Hutchinson send a flyer with their April utility bills, so we encourage folks to pre-order because they go fast. To order please contact Dan Nadeau at 763-682-1933 or by email daniel.nadeau@mn.nacdnet.net (limited 4 barrels per household, unless in Glencoe, which will pay 50% for 2 barrels within city limits). In Pope County, contact Luan Johnsrud at 320-634-5327 to order.

CROW annual report.

Hawk Creek to monitor tile drainage impact on wetland

The Hawk Creek Watershed Project will be doing some field work over the next several years on two studies of the impacts of cropland drainage. The Limbo Creek - Watershed in Limbo project, through a $182,000 Dept. of Agriculture grant to Renville County SWCD, will assess the impact of field tile drainage on the biological communities in a wetland. The study will evaluate the impact of outletting tile drainage into Limbo Creek, a natural wetland system located in Hawk Creek Township. HCWP will do all chemical water quality monitoring, and the biological community assessments will be done by an outside contractor. In another project, HCWP contracted with the Discovery Farms program to collect water samples from automated samplers on a seven-year, field-scale research project in southeast Renville County.

Chippewa River project seeks summer intern

Applications are due March 16 for a 2012 Chippewa River Watershed Project summer intern position. Job duties include collecting water samples and flow measurements; data collection, entry and analysis, preparing publications; and participating in workshops. Seeking individuals pursuing degrees in environmental studies, biology, hydrology, soil and water Conservation or related fields. Coursework in biology, chemistry, or hydrology recommended. For more information contact Jennifer at 320-269-2139 x120 or email jennifer.hoffman@chippewariver.org. To apply, send resume including cover letter to: Chippewa River Watershed Project, 629 N 11th St., Suite 17, Montevideo, MN 56265.

Secchi tubes to measure stream transparencies

Beginning this monitoring season, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) will be replacing the equipment it uses for monitoring transparency in streams. The new Secchi tube equipment functions on the same principle as the transparency tube, but works more like a Secchi disk. With a Secchi tube, the user lowers a small disk into a tube of stream water until it disappears, rather than draining water from the tube until the disk appears at the bottom. This change will result in more accurate data and streamlined processes for data reporting. Because all monitoring will be conducted with longer, 100-centimeter tubes, there will be fewer streams in which water quality exceeds the measuring capacity of the equipment. In addition, the new tubes are easier to use, and allow the user to fine-tune their reading without refilling the tube. For more information or to see a video, visit the Secchi tube webpage.
secchi tube

South Metro Mississippi, Minnesota TMDL draft reports open for public comment

The official public comment periods for the Minnesota River and South Metro Mississippi River Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) projects started Feb. 27, and will continue through April 27. The reports focus on turbid water caused primarily by sediment. After receiving public comments, the MPCA will revise the draft reports and submit to the EPA for approval. Following EPA approval, plans will be developed to reduce turbidity through land-use practices that reduce the amount of sediment and nutrients entering lakes and streams. The reports and other information are available on their respective webpages: Minnesota River turbidity TMDL, South Metro Mississippi River turbidity TMDL. The public notices can be viewed on the State Register Website. Page 991: Minnesota River TMDL Study, and Page 993: South Metro Mississippi River TMDL Study.

A lot of 'buzz' at water quality dialogue events

A vibrant "buzz" of conversation marked the two water quality dialogue meetings Dec. 6 and Feb. 2. More than 100 people attended the first one in Mankato with a focus on the South Metro Mississippi, Minnesota River and Greater Blue Earth River. Nearly 100 attended the second in Owatonna with a focus on the Cannon and Straight rivers. After dinner and a facilitated conversation, participants moved to different tables to meet new people and continue the discussions. Some common themes included changing policies, educating the public more, interacting more with the rivers, collaborating more, making personal commitments, developing new incentives for farmers, and using Legacy funds to address water quality issues. Clean Up the River Environment and several other partners including InCommons, organized and facilitated the meetings for the MPCA. A third dialogue event is being scheduled for March 29 in Red Wing.
water dialogue meeting

Nitrogen stream study under way

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is leading a study to characterize total nitrogen loading to Minnesota’s surface waters, comparing watersheds, sources, pathways and trends.  The work is being conducted by the University of Minnesota, U.S. Geological survey, and MPCA, in cooperation with others.   Findings from this project will be used to develop and evaluate nitrogen loading reduction strategies for improving Minnesota’s waters, as well as addressing our nutrient contribution to the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Winnipeg.  A comprehensive report is expected by early 2013.  For further information on the total nitrogen loading study contact Dave Wall at 651-757-2806, david.wall@state.mn.us.

DNR stream habitat program offers workshops

The Science of Healthy Waters

The Science of Healthy Waters is designed for anyone involved in watershed issues including water quality (rivers, lakes, wetlands), aquatic and terrestrial habitat, land use, wetlands, and flooding. This series will present: a) the science underlying integrative, system-based watershed management, b) the problems, issues, and barriers hampering our ability to protect and restore watershed health and c) alternative approaches for accomplishing goals of clean water, improved fish and wildlife habitat and reduction of flood damages and erosion. Each workshop addresses a specific topic related to stream health.
The Science of Healthy Waters: The Dam Dilemma *New workshop*
This workshop will unpack the science and implications involving dams in terms of: 1) effects on connectivity, hydrology, geomorphology, water quality, and aquatic habitat, 2) societal and ecological implications of these structures and 3) the challenges, benefits and design approaches of dam removal, dam modification, and by-pass fishways.This class will be held May 21-23 in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Cost is $300.
The Science of Healthy Waters: The Ditching Dilemma *New in 2011*
This workshop unpacks the science and implications of ditching in terms of: 1) effects on hydrology, geomorphology, water quality, and aquatic habitat, 2) societal and ecological implications of these practices, and 3) alternative design concepts and approaches that work towards accomplishing sustainable agricultural goals while improving water quality and restoring channel stability and ecological health. This class will be held July 16-18 in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Cost is $300. A flyer can be downloaded at www.mndnr.gov/eco/streamhab, for course descriptions and the registration form.

In the news

MPCA  news release, 2/28/12
MPCA news release, 2/21
MPCA news release, 2/13/12
Agri-News, 2/16/12
NRCS news release


March 8-9: Minnesota Erosion Control Association annual conference and trade show, Grand View Lodge, Nisswa.
March 19: Minnesota River Board, 9 a.m., K of C hall, Fairmont
March 20: CURE listening session, 5-9 p.m., Bootleggers Supper Club, Granite Falls.
March 29: Water quality dialogue, St. James Hotel, Red Wing.
March 29: Precision conservation conference, St. Anthony, Freshwater Society.
April 17: Minnesota River Watershed Alliance, 6 p.m., Ridgewater College, Hutchinson
May 8-10: Art of hosting training, Prairie's Edge, Granite Falls, Register at 877-269-2873, dixie@cureriver.org.


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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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