Waters of Minnesota Documentary on Watersheds

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2009 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund
University of Minnesota - Bell Museum
Recipient Type
Public College/University
Start Date
July 2008
End Date
June 2010
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2008, Chp. 367, Sec. 2, Subd. 06a
Appropriation Language

$349,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota for the Bell Museum of Natural History to begin the development of an educational documentary television series on the waters of Minnesota designed to promote watershed understanding and citizen action in protecting, restoring, and conserving water resources. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2011, at which time the project must be completed and final products delivered, unless an earlier date is specified in the work program.

2009 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Project Overview

Overall Project Outcome and Results
The documentary film that resulted from this project, Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story, examines our relationship to the Mississippi River and its surrounding watershed through the competing interests of food, fuel, and environment. Excess nitrogen and phosphorus, fertilizers essential to the growth of plants, are contaminating the nation's rivers, lakes, and aquifers at the same time as precious soils wash away. The film tells the complex story of these troubled waters, both here in Minnesota and downstream as far away as the Gulf of Mexico, and highlights innovative solutions, such as high-tech farmers that practice precision agriculture and conservation farming methods; cattle farming while maintaining perennial cover on the landscape; and new technologies that hold water back on the land. Farmers, scientists, and entrepreneurs offer new ideas for meeting the goals of an ambitious, food-producing nation while ensuring the long-term health and sustainability of one of its most precious resources: the Mississippi River and its watershed.

Engaging, serious, and hopeful documentary video has proven to be an innovative and effective environmental education tool that reaches a broad audience of students and adults. Following the successful model of the recent Emmy award-winning television series Minnesota: A History of the Land, this new documentary will be broadcast on public television and be available in DVD format for local distribution.

Project Results Use and Dissemination
Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story will be broadcast on Twin Cities Public Television. Subsequent broadcasts are planned for the Minnesota Channel. Public television stations along the length of the Mississippi River will have the opportunity to air the film. A public premiere screening event is planned for October 3, 2010. The documentary is available in professional quality DVD format for educational uses. The DVD will be distributed to Mississippi River venues (e.g. the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium and Mississippi National River and Recreation Area Interpretive Center).

"Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story" was the winner of three 2011 Emmy Awards: Best Topical Documentary, Best Writer (Program - Non-news), and Best Editor (Program - Non-news).

View "Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story" online for free on the Twin Cities Public Television website.

Project Details