Watershed Network News - April 27, 2012

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watershed network news

April 27, 2012

Watershed network hears about ag drainage, civic engagement

Ag drainage research and civic engagement projects led the topics discussed at the Watershed Network spring meeting April 25 in Redwood Falls. Jeff Strock, associate professor at the U of M research and outreach center-Lamberton, gave an overview of research on impacts of drainage on hydrology and water quality. "Drainage water management for water
quality protection" is an article authored by Strock and others that appeared in the December 2010 issue of the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation.

Following up on the topic of civic engagement at the fall Watershed Network meeting, there were updates on several civic engagement projects in progress. Diane Sanders described the Crow  River Organization of Water's 'strategic appreciation' plans to connect with existing groups in order to get more people involved in water quality projects. Brett Arne and Joe Hauger introduced the Pomme de Terre River Watershed Academy, which started a six-week program on April 19.

Other topics at the spring meeting included an update by Larry Gunderson, MPCA, on the South Metro Mississippi and Minnesota River TMDL projects, and the outlook for Clean Water Fund grants by Matt Drewitz of the Board of Water and Soil Resources. 
WPN spring 2012

Chippewa River explores forming joint powers entity

The Chippewa River Watershed Project is exploring the possibility of forming a joint powers entity including seven counties. The idea was discussed at a meeting April 20 of the counties, SWCDs, and representatives from the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust. A draft document will be reviewed at the next CRWP executive committee meeting, after which CWRP coordinator Kylene Olson will meet with each board of commissioners from Chippewa, Swift, Kandiyohi, Pope, Stevens, Grant and Douglas counties. This action results from the pending dissolution of the Prairie Country Resource and Development, which had served as the fiscal agent for CRWP, and also Hawk Creek Watershed Project. A joint powers entity qualifies as a local unit of government eligible for grants. 

Watershed newsbriefs

Brady Swanson named High Island Creek grants coordinator

Brady Swanson is the grant coordinator for the High Island Creek /Rush River watershed projects in Sibley County. After graduating from St. Olaf majoring in biology, Brady has been working on his master's in environmental science at Minnesota State-Mankato. His thesis involves identifying relationships between stream biota, water quality, and other habitat parameters. Brady grew  up on a farm near St. James raising corn, soybeans and hogs. At St. Olaf he played football, and spent a semester studying in Sydney, Australia.

Brady Swanson

Margaret Peters joins Middle Fork Crow staff

Middle Fork Crow Watershed District has hired Margaret Peters for the technician post formerly held by Sara Jacobson, who is now with the DNR New Ulm office. A New York Mills native, Margaret graduated in 2009 from the U of M with a BA in environmental science policy and management, and from Bemidji State in 2011 with an MA in environmental science policy and planning. Prior to Middle Fork, she worked for the Heron Lake Watershed District.

Margaret Peters

Heidi Rauenhorst takes Hawk Creek coordinator post

Heidi Rauenhorst has accepted the Hawk Creek Watershed Project coordinator position, vacated when Cory Netland joined the DNR staff in New Ulm. A native of the Olivia area, Heidi previously worked for the DNR and Farm Service Agency. She earned a B.S. in biology at San Diego State University, and is working toward an MS in biology at Minnesota State-Mankato. She will be starting at Hawk Creek in June. The application deadline ends April 27 for the technician position vacated when Stephanie Klamm moves on to the DNR in Thief River Falls. 

Heron Lake WD seeks coordinator in West Fork Des Moines River

May 3 is the application deadline with the Heron Lake Watershed District for coordinator of the West Fork Des Moines River (WFDMR) Watershed project. The main responsibilities will be assisting with Level III feedlot inventories in Nobles, Jackson, Murray, and Cottonwood counties. The full-time temporary position would also pursue funding for education and implementation efforts for the WFDMR watershed TMDL implementation plan in southwest Minnesota. Application information is found on the HLWD website.

Chippewa April newsletter

Check out the April 2012 issue of the Chippewa River Watershed Project's Citizen Connection newsletter, for articles about the annual meeting, the Watershed Game training event, and donation from the Canadian Pacific Railway to the project's endowment fund.

Watershed groups busy at Earth Day events

earth day 2012
Despite rainy weather, a large crowd turned out for the Earth Day festival April 21 at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center near Spicer. A big highlight for kids was the puppet show by Tricia and the Toonies, teaching about water quality and the environment. Educational and fun activities for kids included: tie-dying t-shirts, archery, wood ducks, energy conservation, water quality monitoring, fish, raptors, and climbing wall. A  host of water management organizations help plan and host the festival: Crow River Organization of Water, Hawk Creek Watershed Project, Kandiyohi Soil and Water Conservation District, Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District, North Fork Crow River Watershed District, and Shakopee Creek Headwaters Project

Minnesota River clean-up

On Sunday, April 22-Earth Day, CURE organized a special river clean up on the Minnesota River. Some volunteers visited the flood ravaged DNR Minnesota River campsite north of Montevideo to give it some TLC. Others picked up trash along the road. Others planned to get in canoes and clean up trash in the river. 

Watershed Alliance eyes mayors' fishing opener for 2013

The Minnesota River Watershed Alliance is planning to launch a 'mayors' fishing opener' on the Minnesota River in 2013. At its quarterly meeting April 24 in Hutchinson, Alliance members formed a committee to begin planning the event. The idea grew out of previous discussion about seeking a governor's fishing opener on the Minnesota River. The idea is to engage the mayors and their communities all along the Minnesota River to coordinate events on the annual fishing opener. It also relates to the federal Great Outdoors Initiative-Blueways Program, which also was discussed at the MWRA meeting. The upper Minnesota River is one of two state regions selected nationally for Blueways designation. The goal is to connect more people with the outdoors and natural resources. Other business at the April 24 meeting included updates on the Paddler Patch program, River Revival video, and Big Stone rock mining. issue. More information about alliance activities is available on the MRWA blog.

Canoe-cook-camp for gals on the Lac qui Parle

Canoe, cook, and camp is a "gals getaway adventure" on the Lac qui Parle River, May 18-19. It begins at the Lac qui Parle State Park at noon Friday, May 18, to set up camp, have a canoe paddling safety lesson then canoe a portion of the Lac qui Parle River.  Dinner will be made over an open fire featuring dutch oven cooking skills. Saturday morning is breakfast over the campfire, exploring the park and a special introduction to geocaching. You need only bring a few personal items and a sleeping bag as we supply the rest!  A detailed list will be provided after registration.  Register by contacting the Lac qui Parle SWCD at 320-598-7321 Ext. 3. - Mary Homan

Lac qui Parle launches Earth Day 5k fun run

lqp 5k 2012
The Lac qui Parle-Yellowbank Watershed District celebrated Earth Day with the first Lac qui Parle River Watershed 5K fun run on Sunday, April 22. It took place simultaneously in Dawson and Canby with a total of 91 participants. Earth Day trivia and watershed signs lined the route to raise awareness of our local resources. Prizes were awarded to the first place male and female runners and participants received Earth Day t-shirts. The event was delayed from April 21 because of rain. In the future the event will be held on Earth Day,  April 22, in one community, rotating among Hendricks, Canby, Dawson, and Madison.

'Map party' a big draw in LeSueur River watershed

map party
More than 70 people recently took part in a new kind of watershed-based civic engagement exercise – the Map Party – April 10 in Pemberton, south of Mankato.
Here’s how Patrick Moore of Clean Up the River Environment, describes it, “The idea is simple. Get your local historical society, your local soil and water conservation district and local staff from the DNR, the MPCA, the Department of Ag, and academic institutions together in one room with round tables, maps and a buffet line of free food, and invite local farmers and landowners to come in and talk."
Moore also said, “For four hours we talked about maps and how the river used to flow compared to now, what can be done to slow stream bank erosion, where the sweet spots are in the watershed to direct public resources …
The informal give-and-take was inspiring. You had the feeling that we were a community of Minnesotans with mutual respect for one another, bringing our best efforts forward to think, talk and plan our way toward right action.” 

CURE creates blog to continue water quality dialogue

Sarina Otaibi, program organizer for Clean Up the River Environment (CURE), has created a Friendship Tour Network blog using posterous.comThis continues the conversation about action items and connections that were created from the past three Water Quality Dialogues in Mankato, Owatonna, and Red Wing. When you email friendshiptournetwork@posterous.com, the contents or attachments are automatically posted to the primary space on the Friendship Tour Network's posterous blog. There are other idea specific pages with more in depth discussions with other people in the network. This type of blog allows you to e-mail (friendshiptournetwork@posterous.com)  information, thoughts, ideas, projects, website links, photos, PDFs, Word documents, and videos. For more information, contact Sarina at (320) 262-9514 or sarina@cureriver.org.

Big Stone County rock mining proposal draws opposition

More than 100 people attended a public hearing before the Big Stone County Board April 17 on the proposed hard rock mining quarry. Most of those who testified opposed the proposal by Strata Corporation of Grand Forks, N.D., which is seeking a conditional use permit to develop a 104-acre quarry on a 478-acre property outside of the city of Ortonville. The property consists of granite outcrops and pasture and is host to nine different species of rare and endangered plants. It is located on the edge of the Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge. The County Board will take up the issue again May 1, and commissioners are expected to make a final decision on a conditional use permit by May 21.

In the news

Mankato Free Press, 4/13/12
Hutchinson Leader, 4/13/12
The Farmer, 4/10/12


April 28: CCMR annual banquet, Lola's Larkspur restaurant, New Ulm.
April 28: Seven Mile Creek Park clean-up, 1-4 p.m.
April 28: Ney Nature Center spring fling, 5:30 p.m., Montgomery American Legion.
May 8-10: Art of hosting training, Prairie's Edge, Granite Falls, register at 877-269-2873, dixie@cureriver.org.
May 15: LeSueur River Watershed Project potluck supper, 5:30 p.m., Red Jacket Park, Mankato.
May 18-20: River and history weekend, Chippewa County park, Wegdahl.
May 21: Minnesota River Board, 9 a.m., location TBA.
May 24: Environmental Initiative Awards, Nicollet Island Pavilion, Minneapolis.
July 11: Friendship Tour, upper Minnesota River basin, Ortonville, info: 320-839-3411. 


Watershed Projects


Watershed Districts


Joint Powers Boards and Associations



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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