Fargo, North Dakota –In the Northern Great Plains, livestock production and watershed management often go hand in hand. If not managed properly, this combination can lead to water contaminated with harmful bacteria. This is the issue Miranda Meehan, her colleagues at North Dakota State University Extension, South Dakota State University Extension, and the University of Nebraska Extension set out to address by hosting two Land Use and Management Practices to Enhance Water Quality Workshops. The workshops provided training and curriculum to Extension professionals, educators and Technical Service Providers to help them address water quality concerns related to land use and nutrient management.
Participants can utilize the curriculum and skills learned at the workshop in programs within their areas/counties, increasing producers and land managers’ awareness of issues impacting water quality and knowledge of management strategies to improve water quality. Workshop curriculum including PowerPoints, presentations, handouts, and lesson plans are available for use here.
“E.coli bacteria is the leading cause of impairment of many water bodies in the North Great Plains. This leading source of impairment has been linked to livestock production, specifically riparian grazing,” said Miranda Meehan, North Dakota State University Extension, “To date there has been no training provided to Extension educators in the project area on watershed management.”
The educational programs will increase public awareness of management and stewardship practices that will enhance habitat and water quality within watersheds in the participating states.
“Being able to learn the topic, then see, or apply the theory behind it in the field was great. Also, meeting other professionals you can introduce to local producers and improve their operation and stewardship practices is beneficial,” said attendee Nicole Wardner, NDSU Extension Service, “We don’t always have the answers, but if you can direct them or link them with someone who does it keeps momentum going for improving the land.”
The workshops are part of a seed-funded project grant provided by the North Central Region Water Network which is a 12-state collaboration designed to enhance connectivity across regional and state water projects, develop and carry out integrated outreach and education efforts, and coordinate projects with measurable short and long-term environmental and social impacts. More information on this seed-funded project and curriculum that was presented at the workshops can be found here: Professional Development for Extension Professionals and Educators on Land Use and Management Practice to Enhance Water Quality.
For more information, contact:
Miranda Meehan, Extension Livestock Environmental Stewardship Specialist, North Dakota State University
For media inquires, contact:
Amber Schmechel, UW-Extension, Environmental Resources Center