Sunset over river with bridge

The Sun Is Setting on The Confluence Newsletter, But Rising for Something Bigger

By Rebecca Power

We believe in keeping in touch. That’s what The Confluence newsletter set out to do in its first iteration in the mid 2010s as part of a USDA NRCS-funded Conservation Innovation Grant addressing the science and practice of nutrient management in the Mississippi River Basin.

For the past three years, we’ve continued bringing you highlights of important work in the Basin in this 2.0 version of The Confluence, with generous support from USEPA. It reflects the goals of a five-year-old collaboration through the land-grant SERA-46 committee that has emphasized the importance of people in watershed management and what they need to make the best decisions in their respective roles, as farmers, landowners, conservation professionals, municipal water utility staff, researchers, educators, and others.

As the sun sets on 2021, we are sunsetting this second iteration of The Confluence newsletter. This will be our last issue, but we are not wavering in our commitment to all of you leading conservation efforts in a watershed context – no matter what your role!!

This ending is making room for an exciting new initiative that builds upon the work done on this project and others to build human capital for watershed leadership: The Confluence for Watershed Leaders.

The Confluence for Watershed Leaders is a multi-partner, multi-state collective of and for people who work to achieve healthy watersheds and thriving communities in the Midwest and Mid-South. Its mission is to cultivate effective leadership among conservation and watershed professionals and farmers to enhance their success in organizing and mobilizing efforts to clean up waterways.

While it goes by a similar name and a similar mission, this initiative will be much more than a newsletter.

The Confluence newsletter has always been about the power of people to make changes on farms and in communities to improve water quality and quality of life. The Confluence for Watershed Leaders will carry that torch, but it will do more to accelerate innovation and advocate for impactful investment in people by increasing access to professional development and peer learning opportunities, amplifying stories and insights, and nurturing a community of practice among watershed leaders.

The Confluence for Watershed Leaders will primarily serve the same people who have been reading the newsletter: watershed professionals, farmer and landowner leaders, and watershed trainers and educators; though we hope to reach other groups who are important for making watershed management successful.

One of the first things you can expect from The Confluence for Watershed Leaders is a multimedia website that will showcase articles and resources that can support watershed leaders, be a gateway to professional development and peer learning opportunities, and cultivate community through tools such as virtual networking. We will be launching this website in early 2022.

We are also in the development process for other aspects of the initiative’s programming and structure, so stay tuned or learn more details by attending The Current webinar on November 10th at 2pm CT.

Remember, this work depends on all of us. We hope you will stay in touch and consider joining The Confluence for Watershed Leaders when we’re up and running.

Headshot of Rebecca PowerAbout Rebecca Power

Rebecca Power the Director of the North Central Region Water Network branded program within the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension Natural Resources Institute. During her nearly 19 years with Extension, she has developed and supported successful multi-state, multi-disciplinary teams to address water resource issues in the Upper Midwest and created stronger linkages between the environmental and social sciences in water resource management. She began her career with a private consulting firm restoring savannas, prairies, wetlands, and spent eight years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service using adaptive management strategies in the restoration of savanna ecosystems.


This post was written for The Confluence, a quarterly newsletter for watershed leaders in the Mississippi Atchafalaya River Basin (MARB) that ran from May 2019 to October 2021.

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