Minnesota is known as the land of 10,000 lakes and holds the headwaters of the Mississippi River that flows over 2,300 miles from Lake Itasca in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. As such, the state is the definition of upstream in the Mississippi River Watershed, which covers approximately 40% of the lower 48 states. It is estimated that well over 50 cities rely on the Mississippi River for their water supply. The watershed produces approximately 92 percent of the U.S. agricultural exports, 78 percent of the world’s feed grains and soybeans, and also produces a major portion of the livestock and hogs for the nation. From a natural resource standpoint, the Mississippi River is major migratory route for an estimated 60% of North American bird species and 40% of the waterfowl species.
Given those statistics, and the natural resource emphasis inherent to Minnesota, there is a lot of attention given to land and water resources, as well as management for quality and sustainability of those resources by not only agencies in Minnesota, but also by its general public. Through partnerships between federal, state, local, private entities along with the public, Minnesota taken many innovative approaches to address stewardship of land and water, with much of the focus on water quality issues surrounding agricultural systems and their management. Minnesota is somewhat unique with the passing of their Clean Water Legacy Act/Clean Water Fund in 2008 that has allowed for additional funding for many projects.
This session will explore the intersection of water quality and agriculture in Minnesota, but will also address how projects relate to the larger watershed and considerations of downstream impacts. Speakers will cover both a national and state/local perspective with specific comments on what has worked in their partnership experiences, lessons learned, and next steps. Climate changes that are impacting land and water resources, and management decisions, will also be discussed. The audience will have ample opportunity to interact with speakers; there will be panel discussions in both the morning and afternoon to engage in discussion.
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November 18, 2015 9:00 AM Eastern