Watershed Connections - October 2016

Watershed Connections

October 2016

Crop consultants among watershed network topics Nov. 10

watershed network logo

The fall Watershed Network meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 10 at the Pizza Ranch in Mankato. Topics being planned include a discussion with several independent crop consultants, update on the governor's 'Year of Water Action', panel of retired water quality professionals to share wisdom and experience, and preview of the Nov. 17 Minnesota River Congress. At the previous 14 meetings we have enjoyed a wide variety of interesting and informative topics. As always, the events provide a great opportunity to network and meet informally with water quality colleagues. If you have ideas for topics please contact Forrest Peterson, 320-441-6972, forrest.peterson@state.mn.us. 

2016 BWSR Academy Oct. 24-26 near Brainerd

The 2016 BWSR Academy will be held Oct. 24-26, at Cragun’s near Brainerd. BWSR Academy is a three-day, cost-effective annual training event for conservation-based local government staff. It will focus on beginner and intermediate sessions to prepare newly hired local government staff and as a refresher for experienced staff. Visit the BWSR Academy page for registration information. You are encouraged to register early as sessions and the Academy reached capacity before the registration deadline last year. Lodging reservations are made directly with Cragun’s by submitting their lodging form. Please make note of their cancellation policy, which is on this form.

Hawk Creek field day shows growing interest in cover crops

Hawk cover crop field day

Renville County, known for its abundant yields of corn, soybeans, and sugar beets, is also fertile ground for the growing cover crop movement. More than 50 local farmers attended a cover crop field day Sept. 23 south of Maynard, sponsored by the Hawk Creek Watershed Project, Renville County SWCD, and Renville County Water Management office. The test plots are located on the farm of Dean Dambroten, Hawk Creek Watershed Project technician. 

Holly Hatlewick of the Renville County SWCD described a variety of cover crop plants and test plot results. Jodi Dejong-Hughes of U of M Extension scrambled into two soil pits, one showing healthy soil beneath perennial vegetation, and the other showing dense, compacted soil below tillage. Eric Barsness, an agronomist with the NRCS in Brookings, SD, used a rainfall simulator to demonstrate the infiltration rates and runoff rates of different farming methods. Healthy soil structure from vegetation allows better infiltration of rainfall, compared with compacted soil with less organic matter. Seed vendors and aerial applicators provided information about how to get started using cover crops.

Farmers are encouraged to contact their local SWCD/NRCS office for more information. Research shows that cover crops help protect soil from rainfall impact, armor the soil from wind and water erosion, and build soil organic matter, increasing soil structure and water infiltration. Photo: Holly Hatlewick describes several varieties of cover crops at the test plot.

Back to top

Water/Ways at Red Wing through November 16

red wing

The Smithsonian Water/Ways travelling exhibit has moved on to the Goodhue County Historical Society in Red Wing, through Nov. 16. A new, local companion exhibit will have four main themes: Cloudy Waters, Sacred Water, Consuming Water, and Protecting Water. Each theme will be anchored in a local story that will be conveyed through short films: the Jordan Creek, the Red Wing Brewery, and the Minnesota Mussel Survey. These focus stories will be a jumping-off point to discuss water-related events in our county’s history and concerns for our community’s future relationship with water. We will be installing “Cloudy Waters,” a multimedia project by Mona Smith, a Dakota artist born and raised in Red Wing.

Water/Ways is a traveling exhibition and community engagement initiative of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street program. In Minnesota, Water/Ways is led by the Minnesota Humanities Center in partnership with Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), Minnesota Historical Society, Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Section of the American Water Works Association. Previously, the exhibit visited New London-Spicer and St. Peter. Following Red Wing, it moves to Sandstone, Lanesboro, and Detroit Lakes.

Back to top

Watershed staff news

Anna Bosch new watershed project manager at MPCA-Brainerd

Anna Bosch joins the MPCA-Brainerd Watershed Unit as a project manager. For the past 10 years she was the Conservation Corps Iowa and Minnesota district manager. Other prior experience includes: Conservation Corp crew project leader in Montana, three years in the U.S. Peace Corps working as a forestry extension agent in Central Africa, and owner/operator of a café in Central Africa. She has a BS in chemistry and biology from the U of M-Morris and has taken online courses from Michigan State University on watershed concepts and watershed management plans.

She will be working with Scott Lucas on the Mississippi River-Grand Rapids WRAPS, and also the Long Prairie and Redeye WRAPS, which are close to being finalized. Following those she will work with Bonnie Finnerty on tracking their continuing Implementation. Contact: anna.bosch@state.mn.us, 281-316-3929.

Bateman joining Southwest Watershed Unit as stressor identification specialist

Breeanna Bateman will be joining the MPCA Southwest Watershed Unit in Mankato as a stressor identification specialist, starting Nov. 2. She was a student worker in the Southwest unit several years ago before working for Waseca County. She returned to the MPCA in 2015 to work in the Industrial Division’s Water Quality Unit. She has a background in Environmental Science with an emphasis in aquatic ecology.

Ed Lenz replaces Jeff Nielsen as BWSR southwest regional manager

After 10 years with Nobles SWCD and 1-1/2 years as a BWSR Board Conservationist in Marshall, Ed Lenz moved up to regional manager with BWSR. He replaces Jeff Nielsen who recently retired. His work at the SWCD included promotion of CRP and other habitat programs, engineering and design of grassed waterways and sediment basins. As Nobles SWCD District Manager since 2008 his work included state reporting, grant writing and water planning duties. In addition, he handled the Wetland Conservation Act and technical assistance programs for the Kanaranzi-Little Rock Watershed District. He works out of the Marshall office and lives in Adrian, where he helps family with farm chores.

Back to top

7th Minnesota River Congress to focus on policy statements

MN River Congress logo

Following six regional meetings in August and September, the 7th Minnesota River Congress will take place Thursday, Nov. 17, in Mankato. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. with the networking fair. A meal will be served at 6:15 p.m. At 7 p.m. Scott Tedrick will give a presentation on the Granite Falls whitewater park plan, followed by the Congress business meeting at 7:30 p.m.

The agenda includes the presentation of the policy collection process to date, receiving any new policy submissions, discussion for each policy and potential modification considerations, and vote to prioritize the top four or five or incorporation into a public policy statement. At 8:45 p.m. there will be Interest Network Team reports and updates. The congress will adjourn at 9:15 p.m. For more information contact Scott Sparlin, sesparlin@gmail.com, 507-276-2280

Back to top

Do you have water quality data to share?

SWAG monitoring in Root River watershed

The MPCA is asking for your data to help assess the condition of lakes and streams and build a national database of water quality.

The MPCA is specifically interested in the following priority watersheds because the agency will be determining whether these water bodies meet state water quality standards in early 2017:

  • Cloquet River
  • Lac Qui Parle River
  • Minnesota River - Headwaters
  • Mississippi River - Grand Rapids
  • Mississippi River - La Crescent
  • Mississippi River - Reno
  • Roseau River
  • Upper Iowa River
  • Upper Wapsipinicon River
  • Vermilion River
  • Winnebago River

The MPCA is also looking for data on the Red River from the headwaters to the Canadian border.

If you have data from outside a priority watershed or one of these areas, the agency will also accept it.

 The MPCA will use your data to:

  • Help plan for future monitoring efforts including what to monitor for and where to monitor.
  • Identify pollutant “stressors” that are causing or contributing to problems or threats to fishing, swimming, and recreational uses.
  • Evaluate the success of ongoing activities to protect and restore water quality.

Deadline: Submit project, lab, and field data now through Nov. 1.

Deadline: By Dec. 15 you will need to review the data entered by the MPCA.

Find out more on the MPCA's surface water data website.

Your role in collecting these data is important to Minnesota’s effort to identify impaired waters, as well as those waters in need of additional protection. Thank you for your help.

For more information on submitting data:

  • Nancy Flandrick, 651-757-2361 (St. Paul, Duluth, Rochester, and Mankato regional offices)
  • Jean Garvin, 651-757-2378 (Brainerd, Willmar, Marshall, and Detroit Lakes regional offices) 

Back to top

Watershed news briefs

Annual Crow River cleanup day October 15

The annual Crow River cleanup day is set for 9 a.m.-noon Oct. 15, beginning at the Middle Fork Crow River DNR public water access located in New London on Hwy 9. This is in conjunction with a cleanup effort organized by the CROW Organization of Water. People are encouraged to bring waders, canoes, and anything that will help with the cleanup efforts. Following the clean-up lunch will be provided by Middle Fork Cafe at the Goat Ridge Brewery in New London. RSVP by calling the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District Office at 320-796-0888, or email to Jon Morales, jon@mfcrow.org. There will be a free t-shirt for all participants who find at least one piece of garbage.

Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge 40th anniversary event

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is marking its 40th anniversary with a public celebration Oct. 8 that will feature events throughout the day including family-friendly and hands-on activities such as birding, exploration, fishing, hiking and more. Come and celebrate this urban oasis for nature and animal lovers alike, and learn more about one of Minnesota’s best-kept secrets. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Refuge Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd. E. 1 p.m.-Ceremony and cupcake celebration, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.-food trucks. For more information call: 952-854-5900 / TTY 800-877-8339, e-mail: MinnesotaValley@fws.gov.

lqp-yb logo

LqP-Yellow Bank photo contest for 2017 calendar

The Lac qui Parle-Yellow Bank Watershed District is sponsoring a photo contest in the watershed. Selected photos may be published in a 2017 calendar and may be used on our website and brochures with credits given. Cash prizes are first place $50, second place $30, and third place $20.  Judging will be completed by the Lac qui Parle-Yellow Bank Clean Water Partnership TEAM which consists of partnering agencies from Lincoln, Yellow Medicine and Lac qui Parle counties. 

You do not need to live within the watershed to submit a photo. Digital photos are preferred. There is a maximum of three photos per person. Pictures from all seasons are needed. Ideas include scenic views of rivers and lakes, fun water activities, wildlife, or seasonal pictures. Contest entry form with map of the watershed can be downloaded from www.lqpybwatershed.org (click on Clean Water Partnership button). To have a form mailed contact Mary Homan at 320-598-3319 or mary.homan@lqpco.com. The deadline is Oct. 31.

EPA approves 12-Mile Creek dissolved oxygen TMDL

The 12 Mile Creek Dissolved Oxygen TMDL was approved by EPA on Sept. 26. The final TMDL is posted on the North Fork Crow River Watershed web page along with the EPA approval letter and decision document. The Approved WRAPS/TMDLs web page has also been updated. 

BWSR approves $1.7 million in One Watershed One Plan grants

The Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) approved $1.7 million in grants for seven watershed for the One Watershed, One Plan program.

  • Cannon River watershed, in parts of Dakota, Goodhue, Le Sueur, Rice, Steele, and Waseca counties.
  • Cedar River watershed, in parts of Dodge, Freeborn, Mower, and Steele counties.
  • Lake of the Woods watershed, in parts of Lake of the Woods and Roseau counties.
  • Leech Lake River watershed, in parts of Beltrami, Cass, and Hubbard counties.
  • Missouri River Basin watershed, in parts of Jackson, Lincoln, Murray, Nobles, and Pipestone counties and all of Rock County.
  • Pomme de Terre River watershed, in parts of Big Stone, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Stevens, and Swift counties.
  • Thief River watershed, in parts of Beltrami, Marshall, Pennington, and Roseau counties. 

These follow a successful pilot phase in five watersheds: Lake Superior North, North Fork Crow River, Red Lake River, Root River, and Yellow Medicine River.  

Back to top