November 2015 Newsletter 
North Central Region Water Network
Extension-led, community-driven outreach and education
Director's Update
Strengthening Regional Water Resource Management Through Collaborations with Tribal Colleges and Universities
The First Americans Land-grant Consortium (FALCON) is a professional association that represents administrators, faculty, and staff at Tribal Colleges and Universities that are 1994 Land-grant Institutions. FALCON has an annual conference that includes presentations, working sessions, a business meeting, and opportunities for rich conversation.
For the past six months, the North Central Region Water Network has been exploring ways to strengthen multi-state water collaborations with our colleagues at 1994 land-grant institutions.* As part of these efforts, FALCON invited us to be part of a panel exploring collaborative models for addressing water resource management and climate change at TCUs and in tribal communities and sovereign nations.  We shared how the Network was formed and is currently organized, and invited conference attendees to talk with us about opportunities for collaboration.
Both before and after the panel, Dan Downing (University of Missouri) and I spent time listening to other presentations and having conversations with our colleagues at the 19 TCUs in the North Central Region.  Faculty, staff, and students presenting at the conference shared remarkable stories of how they are weaving science, teaching, local traditional knowledge, community outreach, and community benefit.
Land-grant institutions have a rich history of service through science, practical and culturally grounded knowledge, and collaborating with the people we serve. This is our niche. In this era of widely accessible information from a diversity of sources, the holistic, culturally grounded research, teaching, and extension work done by Tribal Colleges and Universities can strengthen all land-grant contributions to water resource management in the North Central Region.  To find a list of 1994 land-grant institutions in the North Central Region, please visit the North Central Region Center for Rural Development website.
*The Network currently comprises land-grant institutions established by the Morrill Act of 1862.  The 1994 land-grants were established through the Equity in Educational Land-grant Status Act of 1994.

Important Item:

Save the Date! The North Central Region Water Network's second  conference and
regional working session will be March 21-23, 2016 in Lincoln, NE.  Theme: "From Science to Success." More details coming soon!


Rebecca Power, Network Director


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Network Initiatives
Visit our  Network Initiatives Page for more information on previous and current initiatives, and future funding opportunities. 

Professional Development for Extension Professionals and Educators on Land Use and Management Practice to Enhance Water Quality

The Professional Development for Extension Professionals and Educators on Land Use and Management Practice to Enhance Water Quality initiative will provide technical in-service training and program curriculum on:

1.) Land use of riparian ecosystems 
2.) Manure and nutrient management for Extension Specialists, Extension Agents and Educators at Regional Universities, Community Colleges and 1994 Institutions within the Great Plains Region

The program will be comprised of in-service trainings held in North Dakota, Nebraska and South Dakota.

Each in-service will be two days with a day allocated to each of the topic areas. Each day will be formatted to include a classroom component, a hands-on technical component, and wrap-up discussion. The technical training portion of the in-service will help demonstrate assessment methods, sampling techniques and exhibit management practices. This hands-on training will engage participants and project partners resulting in co-learning and co-discovery of new knowledge. Program participants will develop technical skills and knowledge that will enhance their ability to develop innovative solutions for the management of livestock and the enhancement of water quality. Upon completion of the in-service, participants will be supplied with curriculum on the topics covered to utilize in extension programs and courses. 

The land use and riparian management module of the in-service will provide participants with an increased understanding of watershed processes and management in both a classroom and field setting. Specific topic areas will include: 
  • Influence of land conversion on water quality
  • Overview of watershed processes/riparian systems and how land use influences ecosystem processes
  • Best management practices to enhance watershed health and water quality by reducing sediment supplies and E. coli 
  • Introduction to programs and cost-share opportunities 
Miranda Meehan
North Dakota State University

Leadership Spotlight: Iowa State University Extension
Each month we call attention to a significant state-led project and associated leadership team member from our Network. These spotlights demonstrate the diversity of ongoing water research and outreach projects in our region. Please contact your state's  North Central Region Water Network Leadership Team member  for details on the projects in your area. 

Cleaning Iowa's Waters with Saturated Buffers, New Publication

A new publication on saturated buffers is now available from the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Extension Store. Cleaning Iowa's Waters with Saturated Buffers in Iowa Watersheds (WQ 0005) is offered as a free download to highlight the recent work being done with saturated buffers in Iowa.
In a conventional tile drainage system, the underground tile pipes take extra water from cropland and drain it into the nearest ditch or stream. With a statured buffer in place, a portion of the drainage water is diverted into lateral drainage tile installed along the buffer, increasing the shallow groundwater level and providing nutrient removal.
Jamie Benning, water quality program manager with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach says, "Saturated buffers are a relatively new technology that farmers are very excited about, they can be incorporated into an existing buffer or installed when a new buffer is implemented at the edge of a field."
Saturated buffers extend the many benefits of streamside buffers, such as removal of sediment, phosphorus and pesticides while providing more abundant wildlife habitat. With the addition of the saturated buffer portion, additional nitrate is removed from the groundwater through denitrification and plant uptake, improving downstream water quality.
"We are working with private land owners in Iowa Water Quality Initiative Watersheds to establish and monitor saturated buffers as a nitrate management practice within tile drained watersheds. Initial monitoring has shown the practice has great promise in reducing nitrate loss to streams. The data collected will help develop criteria for installing these saturated buffers as an accepted conservation practice," said Tom Isenhart with Iowa State University. The work is a collaborative project with Dr. Dan Jaynes of the USDA-ARS National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment.
To find additional publications on water quality and more, visit the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Store at

Jamie Benning, Iowa State University Extension

Jamie Benning is the Water Quality Program Manager with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates existing extension program activities related to water quality, connects with water researchers, and develops new programs to meet current and future needs. Benning connects with external partners and stakeholders to support water quality improvement efforts throughout the state. Benning obtained a bachelor's degree in Agronomy and master's degree in Soil Science, both from Iowa State University. She has 13 years of experience in multi-disciplinary research and extension projects focusing on water quality, watershed management, farmer-leadership, soil quality, and nutrient management.
(515) 294-6038
The Current Webinar Series

Our  w ebinar series is your connection to our Network and water outreach, research and collaboration efforts across the North Central Region. Designed for busy working professionals like yourself, the webinars are only an hour and won't take up much space on your calendar. We hope you will join the conversation. 

Please visit our webinar overview page for details on upcoming and past webinars. 

***The Current  Webinar will return on January 16, 2016. In order to better serve your educational needs, please fill out this brief survey to help us plan for the next installment of  The Current Webinar Series:  SURVEY

Past Webinars:
The Current 14
Innovations in Stormwater Management - November 18, 2015:   Watch Now
  • Shahram Missaghi, Extension Educator, Water Resource Management and Policy, University of Minnesota Extension
  • Eleanor Burkett, Extension Educator, Water Resource Management and Policy, University of Minnesota Extension
  • Katie Pekarek, Extension Educator, Water Quality, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
The Current 13
Farmer Leadership in Watershed Management  - October 21, 2015:  Watch Now
  • Lois Wright-Morton, Professor of Sociology, Iowa State University,  Watershed Groups as Catalysts: Intersection of Science and Values
  • Julia Olmstead, Outreach Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Extension,  Early Insights from Wisconsin's Farmer-led Watershed Councils
  • Todd Sutphin, Operations Manager, Iowa Soybean Association,  Watershed Planning: A Farmer-led Perspective
The Current 12
Citizen Water Quality Monitoring  - September 16, 2015:  Watch Now
  • Matt Young, Illinois RiverWatch Coordinator, Overview of Citizen Monitoring
  • Peggy Doty, Illinois Extension Educator, Energy and Environmental Stewardship
  • Ilana Haimes, UW-Extension Program Assistant, Making the Connection Between Citizen Monitoring and Nutrient Related Water Quality Outreach
The Current 11
Agricultural Irrigation Management - August 19, 2015: Watch Now
  • Joshua Stamper, Irrigation Extension Specialist, University of Minnesota,  Validating Variable Rate Irrigation Prescriptions
  • John Panuska, Natural Resource and Bio Environmental Engineer, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Becky Larson, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison,  Irrigation Activities in Wisconsin
  • Joshua Stamper, Irrigation Extension Specialist, University of Minnesota,  Outcomes from Irrigation Capacity Building Workshop for Irrigation Professionals in the North Central Region 
    The Current 10
    Harmful Algal Blooms - July 15, 2015:  Watch Now
  • Chris Winslow, Interim Director, Ohio Sea Grant College Program:  Harmful Algal Blooms: What are they? Where do they come from? What are we doing in HAB research? 
  • Greg LaBarge, Ohio State University Extension:  OSU Nutrient Management Outreach Education Programs Addressi ng Harmful Algal Blooms in Lake Erie
  • Sonia Joseph Joshi, Center for Excellence for Great Lakes and Human Health, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: NOAA's Harmful Algal Bloom Forecasting Products
The Current 9
Application of Cover Crops in the Midwestern U.S. - June 17, 2015: Watch Now
  • Dr. Dean Baas, Senior Research Associate, Michigan State University Extension: 
    The Midwest Cover Crops Council - A regional collaboration that works
  • Dr. Tom Kaspar, Plant Physiologist, USDA-ARS, National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment:  Effect of cover crops on nitrogen in tile drainage
  • Dr. Matt Ruark, Assistant Professor and Extension Soil Scientist, University of Wisconsin-Madison: Cover crops after fall manure application
The Current 8
Managing Agricultural Drainage Water - May 13, 2015 Watch Now
  • Jane Frankenberger, Professor Agricultural & Biological Engineering Purdue University: " Managing Water for Increased Resiliency of Drained Agricultural Landscapes"
  • Chris Hay, Assistant Professor and Extension Water Management Engineer in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at South Dakota State University: "Managed/Controlled Drainage for Production and Environment"
  • Richard Cooke, Associate Professor Department of Agricultural Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:  "Incorporating Uncertainty into Bioreactor Design"
The Current 7
Des Moines Water Works Lawsuit - April 15, 2015:  Watch Now
  • Kristine Tidgren, Staff Attorney for Iowa State University Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation, will offer a legal analysis of issues surrounding the Des Moines Water Works lawsuit and discuss implications for agriculture and water resource management.
The Current 6
Generations of Water Leaders - February 18, 2015:  Watch Now
  • Elizabeth Juchems, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach -Water Rocks!: Making a Splash with Youth Water Education
  • Kate Reilly, University of Wisconsin-Extension - ThinkWater, The Next Big Thing in Water (Thinking) Just Got Bigger!
  • Catherine Techtmann, University of Wisconsin-Extension - G-WOW: Gikinoo'wizhiwe Onji Waaban(Guiding for Tomorrow) Changing Climate, Changing Culture - A Model and Tools for Increasing Climate Change Literacy

If you happened to miss one of our webinars in 2014 or 2015, be sure to visit our webinar archive page to get caught up on the latest from our Network. You can also view these by going directly to our NEW NCRWN YouTube Page.   Thank you!

Ag Drainage Water Management Webinar Series by USDA-NRCS
Webinars: July 22 - December 16, 2015
Agricultural drainage water management and drainage water quality are the topics of a series of webinars recently developed by a team of extension specialists from several Upper Midwest universities. The webinars will be presented monthly from July through December.  The webinars will provide best management practices for improving drainage water quality and information from multiple states across the Midwest. They are structured to provide both the perspective of the farmer/practitioner and the research/extension specialist.   The six one-hour webinars will be held at 9 a.m. Central Time on the following Wednesdays: July 22, Aug. 19, Sept. 16, Oct. 21, Nov. 18 and Dec. 16.  Learn more here.

Nutrient Management and Edge of Field Monitoring: 
From the Great Lakes to the Gulf
December 1-3, 2015
The collaborative effort, starting with the 2014 Workshop, is organized around the development of data-driven, region-specific case studies highlighting a systems approach to BMP strategies to reduce nutrient exports to water resources in the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watersheds.  Learn more here.

From Science to Success: Bridging the Gap Between Knowledge and Practice in Water Resource Management
Lincoln, Nebraska: March 21-23, 2016
Save the date for the North Central Region Water Network's 2016 Conference "From Science to Success." Check back for details Learn more here. 
Funding Opportunities
EPA: Protecting America's Waters Grant, Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia 
Deadline: December 14, 2015
EPA is soliciting proposals from eligible applicants to provide support for training, outreach and technical assistance activities to build the capacity of state and tribal officials and nongovernmental stakeholders in the CWA Section 303(d) Program, 305(b), the 2 TMDL program, the Nonpoint Source (CWA Section 319) Program, and Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia related activities. More info. 

Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act Grant
Deadline: December 15, 2015
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) requests interested entities to submit restoration, research and Regional Project proposals for the restoration of the Great Lakes Basin fish and wildlife resources, as authorized under the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act (16 USC 941c). The purpose of the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act (GLFWRA) is to provide assistance to States, Indian Tribes, and other interested entities to encourage cooperative conservation, restoration and management of the fish and wildlife resources and their habitats in the Great Lakes Basin.  More info.

In Case You Missed it...
The Current Webinar 14: Innovations in Stormwater Management

  • Eleanor Burkett, Extension Educator, Water Resource Management and Policy, University of Minnesota Extension
  • Shahram Missaghi, Extension Educator, Water Resource Management and Policy, University of Minnesota Extension
  • Katie Pekarek, Extension Educator, Water Quality, University of Nebraska-Lincoln  Watch Now
View my videos on YouTube


NCRWN Fact Sheet

Want to see what we have been up to in the North Central Region Water Network? Check out our new fact sheet for more details. 


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