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August 2016 Newsletter 
North Central Region Water Network
Extension-led, community-driven outreach and education
Director's Update
Weathering the Storms

The contrast between the deep blue sky outside my window on the UW-Madison campus and the images coming in from Louisiana is striking. While fair weather cumulus clouds float overhead here in W isconsin, torrential rains drenched and drowned communities across a wide swath of southern Louisiana, with some areas experiencing over 27 inches of rain between August 8 and August 15. As of August 18, 13 people have died.
However, earlier this summer northern Wisconsin experienced its own disaster due to severe storms and flooding in mid-July, with 8-12 inches of rain falling in just a few hours.  Several major highways were 
washed out and closed, and two people died.
These events and others like them in Texas , Oklahoma, Missouri, and Illinois, are motivati ng conversations locally and nationally, in public and private sectors. How do we keep people safe and mitigate damage to property when storms that previously occurred every 500-1000 years are now occurring regularly?
Extension programs across the North Central Region pr ovide resources ad apted  for the needs of the people and communities in each state. Extension specialists and educators consolidate the best science into resources that people can use. Flooding resources address preparation, response and recovery for individuals (adults and youth), communities, farms, and other businesses. Examples from our region include:

University of Illinois

Purdue University

Iowa State University

University of Minnesota

University of Missouri

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

North Dakota State University

South Dakota State University

The Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) has helped extension specialists and educators develop and share resources at state, regional, and national scales. The research and educational resources already available are supporting current flood planning and response efforts. Land-grant universities, with their research, education, and community engagement expertise, are also well-positioned to help update responses to changing weather and climate patterns.  

If you would like to contribute ideas for the future of the North Central Region Water Network, feel free to send me a note at

Rebecca Power, Program Director

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Network Initiatives

Visit our Network Initiative Page  for more information on current and previous initiatives, and future funding opportunities. 

Establishing an Aquatic Invasive Species Group for the North Central Region

Extension professionals are important resources at each level of addressing Aquatic Invasive Species issues, from helping state-level natural resource managers develop programs to meet their management objectives (e.g. watercraft inspection programs to slow AIS spread, citizen monitoring efforts for data on AIS distribution), to offering support and programming to communities to meet their local needs (e.g. training to implement watercraft inspection/citizen monitoring programs).

Although AIS and their detrimental economic and ecological impacts are not limited to the Great Lakes Basin, a broader engagement of extension professionals in AIS issues in the North Central Region Water Network states outside the Great Lakes Basin has been lacking. This could be for a number of reasons, including differences in funding availability, differences in existing AIS networks, and differences in water resources. Early discussion with NCRWN extension professionals outside the Great Lakes states indicates high levels of interest in engaging in AIS issues, but limited resources and access to existing materials, programs, and knowledge. The NCRWN structure represents an opportunity to share existing AIS extension programming among network states and expand the portfolio of issues that NCRWN extension programs can address. This will ultimately better protect the communities and water resources throughout the NCRWN from the undesirable impacts of AIS.


In order to address this gap, an Aquatic Invasive Species Working Group has been created through the North Central Region Water Network that establishes an extension-based network where one currently does not exist. This will benefit working group participants by connecting them with other interested extension professionals that are working with AIS issues. This sharing of information can increase efficiencies and help develop new programs across the network. An established working group will also position participants to take better advantage of regional funding opportunities for which only a coordinated network can successfully compete. This network also will benefit state AIS and natural resource managers.  Extension-based programming is often at the heart of citizen efforts to prevent the spread of AIS and building capacity within extension for this kind of work gives managers another tool to use when addressing complex AIS issues. 

Lastly, this network has the potential to benefit local communities. Whether it be extension-based watercraft inspection programs that help interested citizens protect their lakes and rivers from AIS, or extension-based efforts to help businesses address AIS issues (e.g. Great Lakes Sea Grant Network's AIS Prevention for Fishing Tournaments project), local communities stand to benefit greatly from extension programming that enable them to take action against AIS.

Intended Impacts

North Central Region Water Network extension professionals interested in AIS will be better connected to each other through a formal working group allowing them to address issues. In the long run, the NCRWN AIS Working Group hopes to engage more citizens and natural resource managers in AIS management activities, which will prevent new invasions and will provide social and economic benefits.


More info. 



Tim Campbell

UW-Extension and UW Sea Grant Institute


Leadership Spotlight:  University  of Nebraska-Lincoln

Each month we call attention to a significant state-led project and associated leadership team member from our Network. These spotlights demonstrate the diversity of ongoing water research and outreach projects in our region. Please contact your state's North Central Region Water Network Leadership Team  member for details on the projects in your area. 

Application of Remote Sensing/Satellite Technology in Water Resources

Dr. Ayse Kilic is an Associate Professor in the School of Natural Resources and Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Dr. Kilic's research at UNL develops and evolves procedures and techniques for applying satellite imagery to determine water use (evapotranspiration) from agricultural and natural vegetation that aids in better assessing, planning and managing of water resources on large scales.
She pioneers contributions for educating and training undergraduate and graduate students, next generation educators, scientists and researchers in the fields of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing technologies and their applications in addressing water and natural resources issues in Nebraska, United States and internationally. Her special focus is on water consumption at the field scale using 30 m Landsat imagery. Her classes and research programs teach data handling in the contexts of watersheds, agriculture, and aquatic and landscape environments. The courses immerse students into hands-on, real-world data organization and analysis applications and are tailored for natural resources, including water applications, ecological, environmental, aquatic, restoration, and soils. 
Dr. Kilic is a funded member of the National Landsat Science Team and was a member of the NASA Energy and Water Cycle Science Team. Her research has been applied by Nebraska Natural Resources Districts to improve management of ground-water and surface water systems and her software tools are used to support satellite-based remote sensing of water consumption throughout the American west, including the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the California Water Resources Control Board. Dr. Kilic has authored and co-authored 70 refereed journal publications and published the book  Evapotranspiration -- Remote Sensing and Modeling in 2012

She is the current chair of the American Society of Civil Engineers Technical Committee on Evapotranspiration in Irrigation and Hydrology and the ASCE Task Committee on Remote Sensing of Evapotranspiration. Those committees formulate standardized computation methods for national and international use.  Dr. Kilic is an instructor for national training courses on estimating water consumption from satellite imagery.  She teaches courses at UNL in Geographic Information Systems in Water Resources, GIS and Remote Sen sing in Natural Resources, Surface Hydrology, and Introduction to Remote Sensing in Natural Resources.  She is the Mission Area leader of the Environmental Sciences mission area in the School of Natural Resources.
One of Dr. Kilic's current research projects includes developing specifications for thermal imagers on future Landsat satellites and creating Google Apps for mapping evapotranspiration and conserving water in residential landscapes. The Google Earth Engine apps, named EEFlux (Earth Engine Evapotranspiration Flux) and GEARUP (Google Earth Engine Application for Residential Water Use and Preservation), will provide free access to water consumption and water management information derived from satellite and aerial-based remote sensing to the entire globe. 

Suat Irmak, College of Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Suat Irmak's research, extension and educational programs apply engineering and scientific fundamentals in soil and water resources engineering, irrigation engineering and agricultural water management, crop water productivity, evapotranspiration and other surface energy fluxes for agro-ecosystems; invasive plant species water use; and impacts of changes in climate variables on water resources and agro-ecosystem productivity. Irmak leads the Nebraska Agricultural Water Management Network, which aims to increase adoption of new tools, technologies and strategies for increasing crop water productivity and reducing energy use in agriculture. He established the Nebraska Water and Energy Flux Measurement, Modeling and Research Network, made up of 12 water- and surface-energy flux towers forming a comprehensive network that measures surface energy and water vapor fluxes, microclimatic variables, plant physiological parameters and biophysical properties, water use efficiency, soil water content, surface characteristics and their interactions  for various agro-ecosystems.       

239 L.W. Chase Hall
Lincoln: East Campus
(402) 472-4865


The Current Webinar Series
The Current is a speed networking webinar series for professionals engaged in water-related extension, research, and conservation activities. The North Central Region Water Network and Extension Directors from all 12 North Central states are sponsoring this series to highlight the best water-related research and Extension programming in the region. Webinars will run for 60 minutes, with three 10-minute project snapshots and 30 minutes of QA/peer-to-peer interaction.

Fall Schedule: 

September 21, 2016: 
Planning for the future of a watershed: Lessons from Yahara 2070  Register here.
  • Stephen Carpenter, Director, UW-Madison Center for Limnology, and Stephen Alfred Forbes Professor of Zoology
  • Christopher Kucharik, Professor, UW-Madison Department of Agronomy and Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and Global Change
  • Jenny Seifert, Science Writer/Outreach Coordinator, UW-Madison Water Sustainability and Climate Project
October 19, 2016: Nutrient and Manure Management in the Northern Great Plains
November 16, 2016: TBD

View archived webinars here

*Don't miss the Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework and Daily Erosion Project Overview on August 23.  Today (August 19) is the last day to register!
Register here!
Developers of the USDA's Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF) and the Daily Erosion Project (DEP) will offer an overview of both products on Tuesday, August 23 from 9-11:30 am. This overview is for agriculture conservationists, natural resource managers, supervisors and others who use GIS information to make decisions, but are not GIS practitioners in their daily work.  Participants can join in person in Madison, Wisconsin or remotely through a web link available after registration. Those already registered for the full training do not need to re-register.  This Overview is part of a two-day technical training for watershed professionals using GIS tools and technologies. More info. 
Buffer Science and Design Symposium
September 16, 2016, St. Paul, MN
The University of Minnesota will present this one-day symposium to explore the current science behind the design, effectiveness, and implementation of riparian buffers. The symposium will provide a scientific foundation to inform future training, rules, implementation projects, and research. The primary audience is researchers and students, and staff from government and private organizations engaged in buffer-related activities. More info.

Upham Woods 75th Anniversary Celebration
September 18, 2016, Wisconsin Dells, WI
Upham Woods Learning Center will be celebrating its 75th anniversary Sunday, September 18 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Join us in celebrating the past, while looking into the future as we explore the history of Upham Woods.  More info.

12th Annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference

September 20-22, 2016, Sandusky, OH
Each year Healing Our Waters - Great Lakes Coalition brings together a diverse group of more than 400 people from throughout the Great Lakes region to attend the Great Lakes Restoration Conference. The conference provides a 3-day forum for participants to learn about important Great Lakes Restoration issues, network at the largest annual gathering of Great Lakes supporters and activists, and develop strategies to advance federal, regional and local restoration goals. More info.

Water Environment Federation - Water Quality Event
September 24-28, 2016, New Orleans, LA
WEFTEC®, the  Water Environment Federation's  Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference, is the biggest meeting of its kind in North America and offers thousands of water quality professionals from around the world the best water quality education and training available today. Also recognized as the world's largest annual water quality exhibition, WEFTEC's massive show floor provides unparalleled access to the field's most cutting-edge technologies and services. More info. 

Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference
October 17-19, 2016, La Crosse, WI
The goal of UMISC is to strengthen management of invasive species, especially prevention, control, and containment. Invasive species research, prevention, and management has seen great strides but much work still must be done. As the 2016 UMISC theme says, sharing innovative and practical solutions are the key to stopping the spread of invasive species in the Midwest and beyond. More info.

Minnesota Water Conference
October 18-19, 2016
The Minnesota Water Resources Conference presents innovative, practical, and applied water resource engineering solutions, management techniques, and current research about Minnesota's water resources.  More info.

Funding Opportunities
 Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Agriculture and Natural Resources Science for Climate Variability and Change Challenge Area
This AFRI Challenge Area focuses on the priority to mitigate and adapt to climate variability and change. It supports activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon sequestration in agricultural and forest production systems, and prepare the nation's agriculture and forests to adapt to variable climates. The long-term outcome for this program is to reduce the use of energy, nitrogen fertilizer, and water by ten percent and increase carbon sequestration by fifteen percent through resilient agriculture and forest production systems. In order to achieve this outcome, this program will support multi-function Integrated Research, Education, and/or Extension Projects and Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement (FASE) Grants. 
In Case You Missed it...
Stop the Spread of Spiny Water Fleas! "Spiny Water What???!!!"
This video challenges boaters to help halt the spiny water flea from invading our lakes. It was produced by experts from UW-Extension and UW-Madison to urge boaters to adopt behaviors that will help stop the spread of a tiny, troublesome crustacean known as the spiny water flea. They can hurt our lakes by making the water greener and degrading fisheries.

The 6th installment of the Communicating Climate Change Webinar:

Climate Change and Water for Agriculture Education for Extension Professionals

As a result of the webinar series, Extension professionals and partners will be more aware of existing water resources and how they relate to weather and climate in North Central region. Additionally, the participants will be empowered to use the new relationships and knowledge gained to improve programming in the water resource program area, particularly impacting the ability of the network to "generate measurable economic, environmental, and social impacts in the short and long-term, with a focus on watershed planning and climate change and adaptation."  View here.


Congratulations to G-WOW Climate Initiative, Nominated for Climate Adaption 
Leadership Award
The "Gikinoo'wizhiwe Onji Waaban" (Guiding for Tomorrow) or " G-WOW" Initiative has been nominated for the Climate Adaptation Leadership Award for Natural Resources for "outstanding leadership to advance the resilience of the nation's living natural resources in a changing climate."
The project was nominated by the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, a partner in the initiative along with the University of Wisconsin-Extension, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore-National Park Service, and the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. View here. 


Press release: Land Use and Management Workshop
In the Northern Great Plains, livestock production and watershed management often go hand in hand. If not managed properly, this combination can lead to water contaminated with harmful bacteria. This is the issue Miranda Meehan her colleagues at North Dakota State University Extension, South Dakota State University Extension, and the University of Nebraska Extension set out to address by hosting two  Land Use and Management Practices to Enhance Water Quality Workshops.  

Useful to Usable and The Sustainable Corn CAP: Climate Change and Agriculture Extension
The research and the educators were a part of two USDA-NIFA climate projects,   which were funded to increase Corn Belt agriculture's capacity to adapt to and to assist in mitigating the impacts of climate change. These lessons give us a deeper understanding  of the beliefs and knowledge of agricultural stakeholders at the intersection of climate and agriculture. They provide insights into farmers' readiness to learn about climate science and to engage in adaptive and mitigative agricultural management. View here.

EPA 2016 Workplan: Programmatic Response to Climate Change and Water
This Workplan describes the actions that the National Water Program is planning to take in 2016 to implement the National Water Program 2012 Strategy: Response to Climate Change . View here.

Fields to Streams: Managing Water in Rural Landscapes Publication
"Fields to Streams: Managing Water in Rural Landscapes" is a new on-line and print publication from the University of Minnesota. It is designed to help conservation staff work with landowners to understand the science and practice of managing water in rural landscapes. The 100 page booklet uses extensive graphics and concise explanations about the water cycle and land management practices that can be used to reduce the rate of erosion and sediment loss from rural streams.

The online publication is available for free download from University of Minnesota Extension at   and the print version is available from the University of Minnesota Bookstore website  under Books, UM Extension Publications.

Learn more about NCRWN

NCRWN Fact Sheet
Want to see what we have been up to in the North Central Region Water Network? Check out our new fact sheet for more details. 

N CRWN is now on Facebook
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Our Mission:

We work together to expand and enhance multi-state water outreach and research efforts across the North Central Region of the United States.

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