2017 Network Milestones

As a new year begins, and we take time to set new goals and resolutions, we would also like to take a moment and recognize the great work of our network initiatives in 2017. Each initiative is taking steps to ensure increased capacity, outreach, and education within our region in order to assure safe and sufficient water supplies for everyone.


Listed below are some of our network initiatives who had major milestones in 2017.  Read more about each of these initiatives and others on the Network Initiative page .


Building Collaboration Between State Land Grant Universities and Tribal Colleges and Universities in the North Central Region
With 20 Tribal Land-grant colleges and universities across the North Central Region, there are ample opportunities for collaboration on water-related issues.  In 2017, a team from state land-grants, tribal land-grants, and partners including the First Americans Land-grant Consortium (FALCON) hosted a summit to bridge communication and connections between diverse institutions. Six different tribal institutions, a number of state universities, and partner organizations attended and combined their perspectives to identify priority issues surrounding overlapping water issues. The team is now hard at work building on the opportunities discussed at the summit, developing a working group of diverse stakeholders and building action plans for the identified priorities.


Establishing an Aquatic Invasive Species Working Group for the North Central Region Water Network
The negative impacts of aquatic invasive species (AIS) on communities and aquatic ecosystems are well-documented, but many states outside the Great Lakes Basin lack both resources and engagement around this issue. Last year, the North Central Region AIS working group hosted a Current Webinar on the impact of AIS in the region to combat these aquaculture problems. The team has also been working to conduct an audit on existing AIS programming as well as continuing to hold meetings that lead to collaborative discussions and workshops around resources, both new and existing.


Online Stormwater Core Curriculum: Enhancing Course Development
The North Central Region stormwater collaborative group is striving to establish a publicly-available, uniform, comprehensive stormwater core curriculum that is suitable for region-wide utilization. Together the team developed a five module course for stormwater professionals that is now available online. Last year, the team built off their previous success by conducting a core course collaboration workshop to review existing materials and starting the process of integrating enhanced multi-media content to the stormwater courses.


Regional Climate Team: Providing the Foundation for Lasting Climate Education in the North Central Region
The regional climate team of the North Central Region Water Network is utilizing their diverse expertise to engineer education around agriculture, water, and climate in the region. Collectively, the team is working to inform and influence decision makers who manage agriculture and natural resources. Additionally, the team is striving to promote climate-smart practices with an eye towards water management while still maintaining profitability. The climate team met last April to launch their initiative and are working to bring their expertise together to create comprehensive resources for the region.


Soil Health Nexus: Improving Water Quality through Soil Science
The North Central Region Soil Health Nexus is dedicated to increasing soil-health related research, knowledge, extension and resources throughout the region. Last year, the team created a website dedicated to soil health communication within the region, developed data briefs on the findings of critical soil health research, and gathered at the National Conference on Cover Crops to set the stage for this year’s work.


Ten Ways to Reduce Nitrate Loss From Drained Lands: A Comprehensive Multimedia Outreach Package
There are a number of practices to help reduce nitrate loss on drained cropland, each with varying degrees of effectiveness, suitability, impacts, and cost. The nitrate reduction team finalized a comprehensive booklet focusing on the ten ways to reduce nitrogen loads and the benefits each practice yields. In 2017, the team has been busy sharing the Ten Ways booklet with stakeholders throughout the region and is in the process of creating a factsheet on the booklet to advance awareness surrounding their program.


Youth Water Education Needs Assessment: Determining the gaps in Youth Water Education in the North Central Region
The North Central Region youth working group is committed to increasing the number and quality of resources that educators and communities can use to support youth water education. The first step is to implement a comprehensive evaluation of the youth education programs already being conducted and compare those to the best practices available. The team is well on their way, and just last month submitted a survey to extension educators throughout the region to gather information on youth programming.

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