Watershed Connections - November 2016

Watershed Connections

November 2016

Minnesota River Congress, networking fair Nov. 17

MN River Congress logo

Following six regional meetings in August and September, the 7th Minnesota River Congress will take place Thursday, Nov. 17, at the Kato Ballroom, 200 Chestnut St., 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 a review of next steps, including the board meeting in January and next full Congress meeting in April. The congress will adjourn at 9:15 p.m. For more information contact Scott Sparlin, sesparlin@gmail.com, 507-276-2280. Individual registration including meal is $20. Networking fair exhibit table is $30. Register online.

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Watershed network event Nov. 10 at Mankato

watershed network logo

MPCA’s fall watershed learning and networking event will be Thursday, Nov. 10 at the Pizza Ranch in Mankato. Topics being planned include:

  • A One Watershed, One Plan governance strategy, Tim Gieseke, Ag Resource Strategies
  • Panel: Water quality professional emeritus’ perspectives: Bob Finley (PCA), Chris Hughes (BWSR)
  • ‘A day in the life’ of independent crop consultants: Steve Sodeman
  • Updates: Minnesota River Congress, Smithsonian Water/Ways, Governor’s ‘Year of Water’ initiative

At the previous 14 meetings partners 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, MPCA public information officer, at 320-441-6972 or forrest.peterson@state.mn.us.

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Greater Minnesota focus for November in 'Year of Water Action'

year of water action logo

The theme for November in Gov. Dayton's 'Year of Water Action in Minnesota' is "Clean Water Challenges & Solutions in Greater Minnesota." “We have a shared responsibility to protect Minnesota’s precious lakes, rivers, and streams for future generations. That starts with fostering an ethic of water conservation in our communities,” said Governor Dayton. Development of the theme followed the "Water Summit" last February. The MPCA launched a 'Water Action Week' webpage with tips on what people can to to help protect and improve the state's water resources. A specific theme has been assigned to each month, wrapping up with a 'Year of Water Action' review in August 2017. 

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Gov. Dayton declares 'Water Resources Professionals Week'

Water resources center training

Concluding his remarks at the recent Minnesota Water Resources Conference, Gov. Dayton proclaimed October 19-26 'Water Resources Professionals Week'. The proclamation cites the conference as a gathering place for water resources professionals and their dedication to managing, protecting and restoring the waters of Minnesota. The Oct. 18-19 conference presented innovative, practical, and applied water resource engineering solutions, management techniques, and current research about Minnesota’s water resources. Conference speakers included MPCA Commissioner John Linc Stine. The annual conference is sponsored by the U of M Water Resources Center and College of Continuing Education. Photo: U of M Water Resources Center training.

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Watershed staff news briefs

BWSR welcomes seven new staff members

Shaina Keseley has moved from the MPCA staff to a clean water specialist position with the Board of Water and Soil Resources. Other new staff formally welcomed at the BWSR meeting Oct. 27 included: Tara Ostendorf, board conservationist, Waite Park; Elsa Flage, wetland mitigation program assistant, St. Paul; Jed Chestnut, wetland specialist, Rochester; Tim Smith, wetland banking coordinator, St. Paul; Jill Sacket-Eberhart, board conservationist, New Ulm; and Doug Goodrich, Board Conservationist, Marshall. 

Moudry named project coordinator for Pomme de Terre River Association

Megan Moudry has accepted the Pomme de Terre River Association project coordinator position in Morris. She is replacing Jared House, who is taking a position with BWSR. Since 20XX Megan has been Environmental Specialist with the Upper Sioux Community in Granite Falls.The Pomme de Terre project coordinator performs a variety of job duties that include a combination of technical and administrative tasks to fulfill the overall goals of the Pomme de Terre River Association. The coordinator works closely with the local governmental units within the Pomme de Terre Watershed boundary, which includes Big Stone, Douglas, Grant, Stevens, Swift, and West Otter Tail counties and SWCD offices.

randy anhorn

Anhorn new administrator for Nine Mile Creek WD

The Nine Mile Creek Watershed District has named Randy Anhorn as its new district administrator. Anhorn has B.S. and M.A. degrees in aquatic biology and has more than 25 years experience working with natural and water resource management issues. The Nine Mile Creek Watershed District covers about 50 square miles serving the communities of Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Richfield. After graduate school he worked for an engineering firm and then went to work as a limnologist for the Metropolitan Council for 15 years. He next became an administrator for the Comfort Lake-Forest Lake Watershed District in northern Washington County for about three and a half years. For three years he worked for the Washington State Department of Ecology, then moved back to Minnesota where he became a supervisor of the land and water unit for Hennepin County, prior to joining Nine Mile Creek. - Reported in the Eden Prairie News.

mitch enderson

Enderson joins LqP-Yellow Bank staff

Mitch Enderson has starting working with the Lac qui Parle-Yellow Bank Watershed District. He will be working with Mary Homan, who will be leaving at the end of December. He holds two bachelor's degrees, one in accounting from NDSU, and one in hydrogeology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. "Following accounting, I became interested in working with water protection in the Midwest and returned to school for a second degree. The position allows my wife (originally from Madison) and me (Benson) the opportunity to return to the area where we were raised and do the same with our 9-month-old daughter, Addelyn. I am thrilled to now have the opportunity to return home and help protect the wetland resources while raising Addelyn closer to family." Contact Mitch at: mitchell.enderson@lqpco.com320-598-3319. 

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MPCA among MASWCD convention trade show exhibitors

Various programs of the MPCA will be represented at the trade show of the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts convention Dec. 4-6. The main trade show occurs on Monday, Dec. 5. A new feature this year will occur Tuesday, Dec. 6, the "Conservation Information Fair" from 7:30 a.m. to noon. Businesses and agencies participating in the fair "will have the opportunity to meet with the award-winning landowners, farmers, sportsmen, and conservation leaders from around the state." The MPCA will be participating in both events.

In the past, MPCA programs represented in the Monday trade show included feedots, construction stormwater, citizen monitoring, subsurface sewage treatment systems, nutrient reduction strategy, and Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy. The convention program includes business meeting, awards, and a variety of concurrent education sessions. The Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts represents the 89 soil and water conservation districts of Minnesota.

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Shakopee Creek headwaters project celebrates 20th year

shakopee creek

Residents and landowners in northwest Kandiyohi County will be celebrating 20 years of effort to protect and improve water quality in the Shakopee Creek headwaters area. Activities for kids and adults – and a free lunch – are being planned for a special event Saturday, Nov. 19 at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center west of Spicer. The event and activities coincide with the state’s ‘Year of Water Action’ theme for November, “Clean Water Challenges and Solutions in Greater Minnesota.” 

The headwaters area including Norway, Games, Andrew, and Florida lakes is in the spotlight for trying out some new tools to protect and improve water quality throughout the entire Minnesota River Basin and beyond. Since the project started in 1996, approximately 200 Best Management Practices have been completed including: More than 70 onsite sewage treatment system upgrades, 2,000 acres of wetland restorations, and 31,000 feet of shoreline protection and riparian buffer projects.

The  project is part of a multi-state effort to reduce stormwater runoff that carries these pollutants in a way that sustains agriculture and industry in the nation’s midsection. Led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Minnesota Environmental Quality Board, local, state, and federal agencies are collaborating on better tools for conservation crews and land owners. For more information contact Kylene Olson, executive director, Chippewa River Watershed Project, 320-321-1717, kylene@chippewariver.org.

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DNR designates Bonanza Valley groundwater management area

bonanza valley groundwater map

The Department of Natural Resources designated the state’s second groundwater management area. Designation of the central Minnesota Bonanza Valley Groundwater Management Area allows a more comprehensive and focused approach to ensuring that groundwater supplies will be adequate to meet human needs while protecting lakes, streams and wetlands. The DNR also approved a management plan for the area, designed to ensure adequate supplies of groundwater. News release.

The designated area includes parts of Stearns, Pope, and Kandiyohi counties along with smaller parts of Douglas, Meeker, Swift and Todd counties. The Bonanza Valley Groundwater Management Area is one of three groundwater management areas under development around Minnesota. The North and East Twin Cities Metropolitan Area was designated in November 2015 and the Straight River near Park Rapids in north-central Minnesota is yet to be designated.

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Marsh Lake restoration project ground-breaking event Nov. 21

Marsh Lake map

A ground-breaking ceremony is set for 11 a.m. Nov. 21 for the Marsh Lake Ecosystem Restoration project at the Marsh Lake Dam near Appleton. A partnership between the Army Corps of Engineers and the Dept. of Natural Resources, the nearly $13 million project involves restoring the environment to its historic conditions at Marsh Lake and improving habitat for migratory waterfowl and aquatic species in the area. 

Marsh Lake is on the Minnesota River between Swift and Lac qui Parle counties. It lies within the Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management area, managed by the DNR. The dam is owned and maintained by the Corps of Engineers as part of the Lac qui Parle Flood Risk Management project.

The project-ground breaking will consist of a short, one-hour ceremony. Invitee's include Minnesota DNR representatives; Upper Minnesota River Watershed District Board of Managers; the commander of St. Paul District, Col. Samuel Calkins; members of the Ducks Unlimited organization; the general public; and members of the media. State and federal elected officials have also been invited. 

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Webcast available for hypoxia task force meeting Dec. 6

hypoxia task force logo

The Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force public meeting Dec. 6 in New Orleans will be accessible via webcast 8:30 a.m.-noon, from the Renaissance New Orleans Pere Marquette French Quarter Area Hotel. Visit https://water-meetings.tetratech.com/Hypoxia/StaticPublic/index.htm to register, find meeting & location information, and download the meeting agenda & other materials (registration is free). If you have any questions about the meeting, please contact: Megan Wiitala at Wiitala.Megan@epa.gov or Kyra Reumann-Moore at Reumann-Moore.Kyra@epa.gov.

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Apply now for U of M watershed specialist training

The University of Minnesota is accepting applications for the Watershed Specialist Training spring 2017 session: Jan. 17-April 30. The training is designed to help staff from SWCDs, WDs, tribes, counties, and cities strengthen their ability to protect water resources. It is entirely online so you save travel costs and interact with professionals from around the state. Gain practical skills to apply immediately and to build your career. Learn about:

  • assessing the community and stakeholders to more effectively engage them in problem-solving,
  • identifying social and physical data needs so you can design a monitoring or evaluation program,
  • writing a communication strategy and effectively getting your message across to diverse audiences,
  • justifying implementation activities that will best address the local water resource issues, and
  • pulling it all together into a work plan that could be used for a grant proposal.

For more information contact Ann Lewandowski, WST Program Coordinator, University of Minnesota Water Resources Center, St. Paul, MN, 612-624-6765.

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In the news

Water quality marries research
Agri-News, 10/26/16
DNR Report: Drawdown underway on Pope County lake
Alexandria Echo-Press, 10/26/16
Root River 1W1P moves into final phase
Bluff Country Reader, 10/18/16
Our View: Water quality: Profitable farming can co-exist with clean water
Mankato Free Press, 10/6/16
USDA issues $1.7 billion for 24 million acres in Conservation Reserve Program
USDA news release, 10/28/16

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Nov. 10: Watershed network fall event, Pizza Ranch, Mankato.
Nov. 17: 7th Minnesota River Congress, Kato Ballroom, Mankato.
Nov. 19: Shakopee Creek Headwaters Project open house, Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center, Spicer.
Nov. 19-Jan. 1: Smithsonian Water/Ways, Audubon Center of the Northwoods, Sandstone.
Dec. 1-3: Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts convention, Arrowwood, Alexandria.
Dec.4-6: Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts convention, DoubleTree Hotel, Bloomington.
Feb. 7, 2017: Nutrient Management Conference, St. Cloud. Details TBA.
Feb. 16, 2017: Nitrogen Conference, Verizon Wireless Center, Mankato.

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