The Current

The Current is a speed networking webinar series for professionals engaged in water-related extension, research, and conservation activities. The North Central Region Water Network and Extension Directors from all 12 North Central states are sponsoring this series to highlight the best water-related research and Extension programming in the region. Webinars will run for 60 minutes, with three 10-minute project snapshots and 30 minutes of QA/peer-to-peer interaction.

There will be no webinar in December due to the holidays.  The Current Webinar series will re-start in January.

Recent Webinars: 

November 8, 2017: Conservation Practice Tracking for the Mississippi River Basin

This webinar gave an overview of conservation and water quality tracking across the Mississippi and Atchafalaya River Basin (MARB). Discussion focused on the overall need for tracking and what is being done on the state and regional level. The goal was to add power to the conservation story by showing the combined impact of all of our efforts.

  • Katie Flahive, Agricultural Engineer, Clean Water Act Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Julie Harrold, Program Manager Water Quality Initiatives, Division of Soil Conservation, Indiana State Department of Agriculture
  • Reid D. Christianson, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


October 11, 2017: Next Generation Extension 
  • Alan Pilkenton, Educational Media Coordinator, Michigan State University Extension Children and Youth Institute
  • Deb Weitzenkamp, Extension Educator, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Kimmel Education and Research Center


September 13, 2017: Social Indicators in Watershed Outreach and Impact Assessment: Overview and Applications– Due to technical issues this webinar was not recorded.  We apologize for the inconvenience.
  • Ken Genskow, Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at UW-Madison and Co-Director of the UW Environmental Resources Center: Social Indicators for Watershed Nonpoint Source Planning and Management
  • Richard Ingram, Associate Director of the Mississippi Water Resources Research Institute: Using Social Indicators to Guide, Evaluate and Accelerate Implementation of State-level Nutrient Reduction Strategies


August 9, 2017: Cover Crops for Healthy Soils, Water Quality, and Water Availability 

  • Eileen Kladivko, Professor of Agronomy and Extension Professional at Purdue University: Cover Crops to Improve Water Quality
  • Dean Baas, Extension Educator in Sustainable Agriculture at Michigan State University: Cover Crops to Improve Water Quantity in Cropped Fields
  • Anna Morrow, Program Manager for the Midwest Cover Crops Council: Using the MCCC Cover Crop Selector Tool


June 21, 2017: Promoting Natural and Healthy Shorelines for Protecting Lakes

  • Julia Kirkwood, Non-Point Source Grants Project Manager at MI Dept of Environmental Quality: The MI Natural Shoreline Partnership: Creating a Comprehensive Approach for Promoting Healthy Shoreline Management
  • Bindu Bhakti, Water Quality Educator at Michigan State University Extension Oakland County: The Importance of Natural Shorelines: Program Basics and Lessons Learned from Property Owner and Train-the-Trainer Programs
  • Patrick Goggin, UW-Extension Lake Specialist, and Pamela Toshner, Lake Biologist at Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: Wisconsin’s Healthy Lakes Initiative and Best Management Practices for Lake-Friendly Living


  • Laura Christianson, University of Illinois: Choose Your Own Adventure: New Materials Describe Ten Conservation Drainage Practices
  • Jane Frankenberger, Purdue University: Transforming Drainage Through a Collaborative Research, Extension, and Stakeholder Network
  • Chris Hay, Iowa Soybean Association: Advancing Conservation Drainage in Iowa


  • Dave Gustafson, University of Minnesota. Presentation: Minnesota’s Perspective on Connecting System Owners to System Performance
  • Steve Safferman, Michigan State University. Presentation: Phosphorous in Onsite Wastewater: Pollutant to Resource


February 15, 2017: Communicating Conservation

  • Kristin Runge, UW-Extension, Muddying the Water: How Frames Affects Our Perceptions of Science Issues
  • Michael Dahlstrom, Associate director of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University

January 18, 2017: Aquatic Invasive Species

  • Tim Cambell, aquatic invasive species outreach specialist for the University of Wisconsin-Extension, UW Sea Grant, and the Wisconsin DNR
  • Paul Skawinski and Erin McFarlane, University of Wisconsin-Extension:  Wisconsin’s Citizen Monitoring program for aquatic invasive species, and Clean Boats, Clean Waters
  • Jo Latimore, Michigan State University:  Michigan’s Citizen Monitoring program for aquatic invasive species
  • Eleanor Burkett, University of Minnesota Extension:  Minnesota’s NEW AIS Detector Program