Training News from BWSR

Train Tracks NEW

In this issue:


HOLD THE DATE for BWSR Spring Training


BWSR will again offer BWSR Spring Training this year for our LGU partners. This is online training opportunity will take place on the morning of March 29th, with several concurrent sessions offered. There is no cost to participate. Keep an eye out for additional information next month; registration will open in mid-February.



BWSR Water Erosion Pollution Estimator Spreadsheet Training Videos


The BWSR Estimators were developed in the 1990s for the original LARS reporting database, a precursor to eLINK, when BWSR began requiring grantees to report the environmental outcomes of practices receiving financial assistance. The spreadsheet tool includes 4 separate estimators to calculate sediment, soil, and phosphorus loss from practices that mitigate impacts from these sources: 1) sheet and rill erosion, 2) stream and ditch bank erosion, 3) gully erosion, and 4) filter strips. These tools are relatively simple and have a limited number of data inputs. These estimators have been used for nearly 25 years for BWSR reporting on environmental outcomes for agricultural practices, but are slowly being replaced by more robust tools like HSPF SAM, PTMApp, and others.


Information on these estimators can be found here under Common Pollution Reduction Estimators. These estimators include Sheet and Rill, Stream and Ditch, Gully, and Filter Strip. Three new video training modules were recently added to this site and include:


  • Module 3:  Best Practices for using the BWSR Gully Estimator
  • Module 4:  Best Practices for using the BWSR Stream and Ditch Bank Estimator
  • Module 5:  Determining Contributing and Applied Acres for the BWSR Estimator Sheet and Rill Erosion Estimator


If you have questions about using these estimators, please contact Matt Drewitz, BWSR Measures and Outcomes Coordinator at


BWSR Southern Region Training Conservationist Kristin Brennan

New Southern Region Training Conservationist: Meet Kristin Brennan


Kristin Brennan grew up in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and received her degree in Soil Science from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. For the past eighteen years she has worked for USDA-NRCS, starting with the Soil and Plant Science Division where she completed soil survey mapping and updated projects across Minnesota, North Dakota, Oregon, and Wyoming. For the last six years, she served as the Assistant State Soil Scientist and Soil Health Specialist for Minnesota NRCS, coordinating soil health programing and training and leading dynamic soil property sampling projects across the state. Kristin is especially passionate about soils education and outreach and is looking forward to focusing on training development and delivery as the Southern Regional Training Conservationist with BWSR’s Technical Training and Certification Program. Many of her weekends are spent camping and hiking with her family along the shore of Lake Superior, and she enjoys making pottery in her free time. Kristin is married to fellow soil scientist, Joe, and loves spending time with her two daughters, Claire and Cora, both of whom can tell the difference between a silty clay and sandy loam.


Two Minute Training

Two Minute Training on Email Management

Email Management                    

As much as we depend on email, it can be overwhelming at times. With the new year, now is a good time to adapt new and improved practices for managing email.  Let’s look at the “Four Ds” of managing email:


  • Delete – up to 50% of emails received can be deleted upon receipt. Ask yourself if the information is pertinent to what you are working on or will be needed in the next six months. If not, delete it.
  • Do It – If the email can be addressed in two minutes, a rule of thumb is do it now. If the task cannot be completed in two minutes, move it to your “To Do” list.
  • Delegate – Is the email asking you to do something that could/should be completed by someone else? If yes, forward the email and delegate it.
  • Defer – If the task in the email does not fall into one of the above categories, then defer it. Be sure to mark the email with a red flag or other marking or move the task to a “To Do” list so it is not forgotten.


 While applying the Four D’s may take a bit of practice, it can be worth the effort!


Technical Training & Certification Program Updates

Technical Training & Certification Program Logo

RUSLE2 Training Available

Erosion begins with the impact of raindrops, detaching soil particles and moving them across the surface. This process causes interrill (sometimes called sheet) erosion. Runoff from interrill erosion will collect and form rills across the hill slope. Sediment from rill and interrill erosion is transported down slope to where it slows enough to be deposited on the land surface or deposited directly into concentrated flow channels.


Released in 2003, the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation 2 (RUSLE2) estimates soil loss from rill and interrill erosion caused by rainfall on cropland. RUSLE2, like its predecessors, RUSLE and USLE, is used to estimate sheet and rill erosion on a number of landuses, many cover types, and varying management scenarios.


After six months of development and testing we are excited to announce the release of a comprehensive training on the use of RUSLE2. This training, which builds on Soil Erosion Module 1: Soil Erosion 101, covers:

  • History of efforts to estimate sheet and rill soil erosion
  • Variables that effect sheet and rill erosion
  • Instructions on downloading and installing RUSLE2 (non NRCS computers)
  • Instructions on downloading and importing the necessary database files to run RUSLE2 in Minnesota
  • Step by step instructions on using RUSLE2:
    • Profile view
    • Worksheet view
    • Plan view
    • STIR, SCI, T, soil loss, sediment delivery
    • Management scenarios
    • Conservation practice scenarios
  • Self-paced scenarios that you can work through
  • Cautions and limitations when using RUSLE2


Soil Erosion Module 2: RUSLE2, is located on the MNC3 website. More information regarding this site, including how to create an account, can be found here.


Tech Talks Return

Tech Talks is a webinar series featuring a variety of presenters on a wide range of technical topics. Originally launched in April 2020 these webinars were held every Monday at 1:00. Starting this month we are relaunching Tech Talks, but we are scaling back from the every week schedule. Webinars will be held at 1:00 on the second and fourth Mondays of the month.


More information on the upcoming Tech Talk schedule can be found here.


Updated Training Series

Last summer TTCP assembled collections of trainings and resources to create a Training Series for commonly requested practices. Each Training Series provides a direct link to the most relevant trainings currently available online to help you build your knowledge, skills, and abilities. These training series are updated twice a year as new/updated training becomes available. The original 12 training series were recently updated, and new collections for Livestock Pipeline & Watering Facility and Prescribed Grazing are now available.


Nutrient Management Training – Going Virtual

Due to the spike on COVID cases, and concerns with in person gatherings, the nutrient management training is moving to a virtual format. Spread over three mornings the week of February 7, the training will still cover modules 20 and 21 and include planning/review scenarios for a variety of scenarios. These sessions will complete two years of virtual nutrient management training. Prerequisites include completing the Minnesota Nutrient Management Modules and taking the Job Class I and II exams.


Additional information for this training, the full listing of prerequisites, and a link to the updated registration can be found here.


CAD Training

A beginner Computer Aided Design (CAD) training will be offered on February 1. The intended audience is conservation staff with little CAD experience. A recent survey found staff with IDP CAD requests have many different goals for this type of training. Our plan is to follow up with in person, small group sessions at various locations for staff wanting practice or task specific assistance.  These in person trainings will hopefully be held soon after this virtual training.


More information and a link to the registration can be found here.


Upcoming Training Events

BWSR Sponsored Training Events



March 29

BWSR Spring Training - Morning Save the Date

Technical Training & Certification Program Trainings


Tech Talk Webinars:  Mondays at 1:00 pm

January 24 Sheep and Goat Grazing and Browsing for Native Restoration
February 14 Agricultural Chemical Handling Facilities
February 28 Irrigation Basics
March 14 Pasture and Hay Planting – Species Selection
March 28 Pasture and Hay Planting – Practice Standard
April 25 Forage Harvest Management
Jan 24-28

Nutrient Management, Online

Feb 1 CAD Training, Online


Related Partner Trainings

Jan 19 Soil Health Measurements, Soil Health Nexus
Jan 20 Drones, Cameras, Droplets and More - The Latest Technologies for Crop Sprays, ASA and Crop Protection Network
Feb 1 Economics of Soil Health: Farmer Experiences Across Systems, SSSA and Soil Health Institute
Feb 3 Weed Management in an Herbicide Resistant World, ASA and Crop Protection Network
Feb 8 14th Annual Nutrient Management Conference, MAWRC, UMN Extension, MDA
Feb 10 Using Soil Microbes to Improve Fertilizer Efficiency and Soil Health, ASA
Feb 15 8th Annual Nitrogen: Minnesota’s Grand Challenge and Compelling Opportunity Conference, MAWRC, UMN Extension, MDA
Feb 25 Role of Cation Exchange in Nutrient Management, SSSA and Nutrien eKonomics

Learn on Your Own

Not all training takes place in a classroom. Check out the links below to learn at a time and place of your choosing.


We’ve also put together a searchable library of recorded modules, webinars, videos and other resources to help our staff and partners find professional development information on a variety of topics. You can visit BWSR's Online Learning page to find web-based technical training resources sorted by category.




Program Contacts

Barbara Radke   Jon Sellnow David Demmer & Ben Meyer
Training Coordinator   Technical Training and Certification Program Coordinator MN Wetland Professional Certification Program Coordinators
(507) 844-0442   (218) 340-3521 (218) 464-8289 & (612) 201-9806 &