The DNR is working with local communities and an interagency team to define, prioritize, and establish groundwater management areas in Minnesota. Groundwater management areas will have increased data collection and monitoring that allow the state and local communities to understand water supplies, uses, limitations, and threats to natural resources that depend on groundwater. This information will support detailed aquifer protection plans that ensure equitable and sustainable groundwater and drinking water use for the future.
A multi-partner effort has begun to study the amount of nitrate-nitrogen (nitrate) leaching loss that occurs below an agricultural field recently converted from timber land to irrigated row crop production. The landowner has made the property and their staff available to better understand the deep drainage and nitrate leaching dynamics following this type of land use change. This study is unique.
The Clay County Drainage Site is designed to evaluate the environmental impact of both surface and subsurface drainage from agricultural fields. This site includes six subsurface plots and one surface runoff plot, each approximately 24 acres in size. Monitoring stations are fully automated and each individual plot is monitored separately.The soils and topography across this demonstration site are virtually identical and represent field characteristics common in the most productive agricultural areas of the Red River Valley.
Cornerstone Academy, the preservation education partnership of the Preservation Alliance and MNHS, launched in 2014. The statewide preservation education program has developed a training series for homeowners, community members, and professionals in fields that frequently interact with historic buildings and districts. Last year, hundreds of property owners across the state participated in more than 40 workshops. Courses included Understanding Historic Tax Credits, Handyman Special, Repairing Old Windows, and Why Old is Green: Sustainability in Older Homes.
The Discovery Farms program is a farmer-led effort to gather information on soil and nutrient loss on farms in different settings across Minnesota. The mission of Discovery Farms Minnesota is to gather water quality information under real-world conditions.
MNHS is working to engage Twin Cities youth in programming in order to increase their interest in history and the Minnesota Historical Society. MNHS promotes and recruits diverse students for programs that engage them in understanding how public organizations present historical narratives. One of these programs is the American Indian Museum Fellowship program (above). The funds also provide logistical support for diversity outreach efforts, which includes having tables at events and community engagement activities.
Minnesota’s use of groundwater has increased over the last two decades. An increasing reliance on groundwater may not be a sustainable path for continued economic growth and development. The DNR is establishing three pilot groundwater management areas (GWMA) to help improve groundwater appropriation decisions and help groundwater users better understand and plan for future groundwater needs associated with economic development.
The Northern Bedrock Historic Preservation Corps and MNHS are refining the lessons learned from the fall 2014 demonstration project to increase the viability of a historic preservation activity built on a conservation corps model. The pilot phase focused on building
the capacity of the corps through diversification of revenue and expansion of service projects, skills training, and networks.
The Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) is a voluntary opportunity for farmers and agricultural landowners to take the lead on implementing conservation practices that protect water quality. Those who implement and maintain approved conservation practices will be certified and in turn obtain regulatory certainty for a period of ten years. This program will help address concerns about changing regulatory requirements from multiple state and federal agencies.
The Minnesota Main Street program is a proven, comprehensive strategy that helps communities create new jobs and businesses while revitalizing buildings and preserving their historic downtowns. MNHS's Heritage Preservation department works with the partners
listed above to implement Minnesota Main Street,
which provides the tools, training, information, and networking that communities need to revitalize their business districts.
There are currently seven Minnesota Main Street designated communities: Faribault, New Ulm, Owatonna, Red Wing, Shakopee, Willmar, and Winona.
This project was part of a three-state partnership to test, demonstrate and promote a simple, inexpensive and reliable new system for edge-of-field water monitoring. The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Pioneer Farm, in collaboration with UW-Platteville Engineering, has developed a low cost monitoring system that can obtain good quality, edge-of-field monitoring data in agricultural settings. By eliminating unnecessary features and assembling components in-house, the prototype monitoring system derives the majority of cost savings with minimal sacrifice in accuracy.
This project works with local partners that implement conservation project to provide learning opportunities, technical help, and grants that result in cleaner water through healthier watersheds and shorelands. The DNR's natural resource experts help prioritize conservation areas and target project locations so they improve water quality while providing habitat and other benefits. Stream experts provide designs for stream projects that provide long-term stability by using natural features.
The Minnesota Nutrient Management Initiative (NMI) was developed to help farmers and crop advisers evaluate management decisions using the farmer's actual field conditions.Participating farmers work with a crop adviser to set up field trials. After completing plot harvest and submitting the required forms, farmers and crop advisers are reimbursed for their time and will receive a summary and analysis of their results.
"Precision conservation" means targeting conservation practices to places on the landscape where they will be most effective. It's about getting the right practices in the right place, at the right scale.
The Metropolitan Council, in conjunction with the University of Minnesota, is evaluating outdoor water use in the Twin Cities metro region - a subject which has come under the spotlight recently due to concerns related to water quality and quantity issues. In the Twin Cities, 20% of all treated drinking water is used outdoors, with a majority of this being used on lawns and landscapes. The goal of this proposal is to reduce water use in the home landscape by conducting assessments, research, and demonstration around the smart use of irrigation.
The Root River Field to Stream Partnership is comprised of farmers, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center, The Nature Conservancy, Fillmore and Mower County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the Root River SWCD, Monsanto and academic researchers.Together, project partners are addressing the following key questions:What is the range of sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus losses from agricultural fields on real farms in southeast Minnesota?What are the long-term trends and relationships between specific farming practices and water qualit
MNHS has in its care over 100,000 cubic feet of hard-copy government records and manuscript collections dating from the territorial period to the present. To access the vast majority of these holdings, researchers must currently visit the History Center or make other special arrangements. In FY16, MNHS is piloting a unique "scan on demand" service for researchers that will allow them to request, either online or in person, the digitization of specific materials with the resulting images being put online for wide public access.
American Indian ceremonies were held at Historic Fort Snelling in November 2015, marking the 150th anniversary of the execution of Sakpedan (Shakopee) and Wakanozhanzhan (Medicine Bottle) at Fort Snelling. They were convicted by a military commission for their participation in the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. MNHS provided a community meal for the Dakota community immediately following the ceremonies.
Nitrate-nitrogen (nitrate) is one of the contaminants of greatest concern for groundwater in Minnesota. This funding is being used for activities that help identify the severity and magnitude of nitrate contamination and implement practices at the local level to reduce nitrate in groundwater. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is working with many local partners and passing funding through to local government units (counties, cities, soil and water conservation districts) to address this concern.
The MDA's technical assistance helps ensure that current and accurate scientific information is made available and used to address water quality concerns in agricultural areas of Minnesota. This funding has been used to evaluate the effectiveness of conservation practices, share information from research and demonstration sites and enhance outreach and education to the agricultural community and local government partners.
The Together in Time project meets the needs of a diverse, aging population by empowering them as lifelong learners, encouraging them to tell stories, and by supporting their caregivers in carrying out their essential roles. Core elements of the program include leading programs in multiple locations for those with memory loss and their caregivers and working on tools such as a mobile app to show objects from MNHS's collections in order to spark conversations.
MNHS continues to focus on broadening access to many of its Legacy-funded programs through the Internet. This funding supports the web development professionals who plan, build, and implement digital components that are part of many Legacy-funded history projects and helps pay for Web hosting to make these projects accessible to people in Minnesota and beyond. MNHS also uses the web to report on its use of Legacy funds at legacy.mnhs.org and for the public to apply for Legacy grant funds at legacy.mnhs.org/grants.
This project will produce a Winter Maintenance Assessment tool prototype that allows users to create a customized approach to modify their existing winter maintenance program that will reduce their road salt use. The tool will allow users to take inventory of their current practices and evaluate how they are doing today and where they have the most potential to reduce salt usage.