At the North Central Region Water Network, we are committed to coordinating and funding initiatives focusing on a variety of priority water-related topics. Network funded initiatives connect recognized Extension leaders throughout the region with collaborators across sectors and disciplines to address water issues and generate measurable short and long term impacts.
Below is a list of active Network initiatives.
Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), or blue green algae, are naturally occurring; however, their frequency and intensity are increasing. The Algal Bloom Action Team is working to transform HAB research into accessible information and tangible tools for the public through extension and outreach in concert with state-based harmful algal bloom prevention, monitoring, and response efforts.
Drought is the second costliest natural disaster in the United States with each event costing the economy approximately 9.7 billion dollars, primarily in the agriculture sector. The Network’s Drought team is working to expand and transform a National Drought Mitigation Center report on drought scenario planning into an interactive Extension guide that can be used as the basis for a future Extension program designed to help communities and organizations understand, explore, and begin planning scenario exercises for developing or updating drought plans.
Changes in climate impact agriculture and water quality in the North Central Region. The North Central Climate Collaborative (NC3) is a Network funded team comprised of individuals with expertise in climate science, agronomy, stormwater management, and other disciplines, who is working to increase the flow and usability of climate information for extension, farmers, natural resource managers, and communities.
Communities around the Midwest and Great Lakes are increasingly turning to green infrastructure as part of their stormwater management plans. The Network’s green infrastructure team has been working to understand how to help communities go even further. Specifically, they are looking at ways communities can use green infrastructure to promote social equity and workforce development.
Soil health is critically linked to issues such as nutrient losses to surface water, climate change, erosion, and ultimately farm profitability. The North Central Region Soil Health Nexus is a university-led team dedicated to increasing access to research-based soil health knowledge, extension and resources. The team was created in 2015 with funding from the Network and is structured around research, extension and outreach, and resources and communications with representatives from all 12 North Central Region states.