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Designing Agricultural Watersheds with Science and Community Engagement

December 20, 2016 |


This article was originally published on Cool Green Science

“The Cedar Rapids Water Division has its headquarters, appropriately, just a few hundred yards east of the Cedar River, the source of drinking water for this second largest city in Iowa. This building is the epicenter of the Water Division’s work to provide clean water for the 126,000 residents and numerous industrial and food production facilities located in the city.

Rising levels of nitrate in the Cedar River make this work more important than ever. The Water Division building was also the location of a recent workshop organized by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment and Cedar Rapids. In this unique meeting, farmers, watershed coordinators, and partners from producer organizations and state and federal agencies crowded around large, interactive TVs to “design” a watershed that could support profitable farming and provide clean water as well.

This workshop was years in the making and was only one step in a long collaborative process to quantify how better watershed management upstream can provide improved water quality and other benefits to communities downstream. Recognizing the importance of watershed management to their community, Cedar Rapids led an effort to secure more than $4 million through one of the first U.S. Department of Agriculture Regional Conservation Partnership Program grants, and in 2015 the “Middle Cedar Partnership Project” (MCPP) was born…”

Read on at: Cool Green Science.

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