United States
                         Environmental Protection
                   Off ice of Water
        Summer 2001
v°/EPA       Watershed  Events
                        A Bulletin on Sustaining Water Resources and Ecosystems
 In This Issue...

 This issue of Watershed Events focuses
 on partnership efforts to protect and
 restore the Mississippi River Basin and
 the Gulf of Mexico. Protecting and
 restoring North America's largest river
 system is one of the most important
 challenges facing federal,  state, and local
 agencies in the 31 states and 77 tribes
 within the system.

 On The Inside...

 The  Mississippi River or "Father
   of Waters"	 1
 Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan	2
 Sampling the Spring 2001  Flood	3
 Restoring Wetlands and Habitat
 Louisiana Protects Its Wetlands	5
 Experimental Mississippi Drawdown	6
 Corps's St. Paul District	6
 Managing Nutrient Runoff
 Farmers—Stewards of the Land	7
 Natural Nitrification	8
 Somerset Plantation	8
 WRI Explores Market-based
   Solutions	9
 Watershed Assistance Grants	10
 USGS Nitrogen Studies	11
 Protecting Green Space
 Minneapolis Riverfront	12
 Blufflands Alliance 	12
 Working Together Brings Back
   the Splendor of the River	14
 Getting the Public Involved
 Wisconsin's Watershed Approach	15
 Big River Journey	16

 Legislation	17
 New Resources	18
 Events	20
 Changing Face of the Watershed	20
The Mississippi  River or
"Father of Waters"
      The North American Indians
      that once populated the banks
      of the Mississippi River
called it "Messipi" ("Big River"),
and it was also known as the "Mee-
zee-see-bee" ("Father of Waters").
It is hard to imagine that the mighty
Mississippi, the river that inspired
Mark Twain's marvelous stories of
steamboats and adventure, originates
as a tiny outlet stream from Lake
Itasca in northern Minnesota. This
tiny stream goes on to become one
of the world's greatest river systems,
draining all or parts of 31 states and
2,350 square miles before it finally
reaches the Gulf of Mexico. Few
rivers have played such  an integral
role in shaping our nation's histori-
cal, cultural, and economic heritage.

Years of human alterations and uses
have, however, taken their toll. The
locks and dams that allowed our
early agrarian and industrial society
to thrive and prosper have also
altered the river from its original
meandering state, affecting fish and
wildlife habitat and contributing to
costly flooding. The separation of
the river from its original floodplain
and the loss of millions of acres of
wetlands, many drained  for agricul-
tural purposes, have further hin-
dered the river's ability to absorb
and protect against the torrents of
spring floodwaters. Although billions
have been spent to tame the
river and reduce flood damages.
recent floods have cost taxpayers
billions and resulted in significant
loss of life. Nutrients discharged
from the river system into the Gulf
of Mexico have contributed
to a "dead zone."

Nevertheless, the river today is as
popular as ever with recreationists.
and it still supports an amazing
diversity of aquatic life. More than
400 species of wildlife call the
Mississippi their home, including
some of the most ancient lineages
offish. Forty percent of North
America's duck, goose, swan.
and wading bird populations rely on
the river as a migration corridor.

Balancing the demands of
navigation, agriculture, recreation.
industry, and wildlife is not easy.
However, a number of collaborative
partnerships  are fostering a  better
understanding of this dynamic
ecosystem, and coordinated actions
are under way to address some
of its most pressing problems.
This issue of Watershed  Events
describes some of the federal, state.
and local efforts to protect and
restore a great American treasure—
the Mississippi River Basin.

 Page 2
     Watershed Events
                                                      Summer 2001
The Hypoxia Action Plan:
A Win-Win Strategy for the
Gulf and the Mississippi

        After years of investigating
        the complex causes of the
        low-oxygen hypoxic zone
in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists
have pinpointed excessive nutrients
coming from the Atchafalaya and
Mississippi River Basin; physical
changes in the basin, such as the loss
of wetlands and vegetation along
the banks; and the natural stratifica-
tion of waters of the Northern Gulf
caused by the interaction of fresh
river water and  the saltwater of the
Gulf. Fish, shrimp, crabs, zooplank-
ton, and other important fish prey are
significantly less abundant in bottom
Gulf waters that experience hypoxia.
Although the size of the hypoxic zone
is seasonal and varies over time,
scientists estimate that between 1996
and 2000 the zone of midsummer
bottom-water hypoxia averaged 5,454
square miles.

Recognizing that hypoxia can pose
serious economic and environmental
threats, Congress passed the Harmful
Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research
Control Act in 1998. The law charged
federal agencies to work with the
states and other interested stakehold-
ers to assess the causes  of hypoxia
and to develop an integrated assess-
ment and plan to reduce and control
hypoxia in the Gulf. The Action Plan
for Reducing, Mitigating and Control-
ling Hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of
Mexico, released in January 2001,
reflects a consensus-based national
strategy to tackle this challenging
problem. A Task Force composed of
federal, state, and tribal governments
produced the final action plan, with
input from diverse interests through-
out the 31-state  basin. The plan pro-
vides ambitious long-term goals for
the entire river ecosystem (see box).

Nutrient loads will be reduced
through the development and imple-
  Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan
  Coastal Goal: By the year 2015, reduce hypoxic zone to below 5,000 square kilometers.
  Within Basin Goal: Restore and protect the waters of the Basin states and tribes.
  Quality of Life Goal: Improve social and economic conditions in the Basin.
  Summary of Implementation Actions
  #1   By December 2000,  prepare integrated budget proposal for additional funds
  #2  By summer 2001, establish Sub-basin Committees
  #3  By fall 2001, develop a Hypoxia
      Research Strategy
  #4  By spring 2002, expand the long-term
      monitoring for the zone
      By spring 2002, expand the monitoring



      within the Basin
      By fall 2002, develop strategies for nutrient
      reduction for each subbasin
      By December 2002, Corps of Engineers (COE) study
      of nutrient reduction from COE projects or operations
      By January 2003, reduce loadings from point sources
      By spring 2003, increase assistance to
      landowners for voluntary actions
  #10 By spring 2003, increase assistance to agricultural
      producers/businesses for best management practices
  #11 By December 2005 and every five years thereafter,
      the Task Force  assesses results.
mentation of subbasin watershed
strategies that encourage voluntary,
cost-effective actions. Preliminary
efforts to establish the subbasin
committees responsible for develop-
ing the strategies have started this
year. Because many of the Basin
states are faced with significant
river miles degraded by excessive
nutrients, including groundwater
contamination from excess nitrates,
the strategies are expected to result
in improvements in water quality
for the freshwater resources of the
Basin as well as the Gulf. The Task
Force recognizes that nutrient
                                     cycling and transport within the
                                     Mississippi River ecosystem is
                                     complex, and therefore an adaptive
                                     management framework, which
                                     involves continual feedback of
                                     information and improved manage-
                                     ment actions every five years, is
                                     central to the plan.

                                     The Task Force has noted that new
                                     legislative authorities and additional
                                     appropriations are necessary to
                                     carry out the plan. In addition,
                                     revisions to the Farm Bill may
                                     provide additional incentives for
                                     nutrient reduction management.
    Integrated Assessment of Hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of Mexico
    The primary resource used for the Action Plan was the findings from the Committee
    on Environment and Natural Resources' "Integrated Assessment of Hypoxia in the
    Northern Gulf of Mexico." The Integrated Assessment is based on six peer-reviewed
    science reports and public comment. It examines the distribution, dynamics, and
    causes of hypoxia in the northern Gulf of Mexico; its ecological and economic
    consequences; the sources and loads of nutrients transported by the Mississippi
    River to the Gulf of Mexico; effects of reducing nutrient loads; and the social and
    economic benefits of such methods.
    For copies, contact the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at (301)
    713-3338; e-mail: coastalocean@cop.noaa.gov. The report is also available at
    Visit www.epa.gov/msbasin to download a full copy of the Action Plan or to learn
    more about efforts to protect and restore the Mississippi River Basin.

Summer 2001
     Watershed Events
  Watershed Events
  Patty Scott, Editor
  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

  This Issue's Contributors
  Mary Belefski, U.S. Environmental
   Protection Agency
  Gretchen Benjamin, Wisconsin
   Department of Natural Resources
   and Mississippi Valley Conservancy
  Terry Dukerschein, Wisconsin
   Department of Natural Resources
  Mark Davidson, U.S. Army Corps of
   Engineers, St. Paul District
  Gary Edwards, Iowa Corn Growers
  Cathy Engstrom, Iowa Natural Heritage
  Suzie Greenhalgh, Patricia Zurita, and
   Paul Faeth, World Resources Institute
  James L. Halbeisen, Growers Chemical
  Jessie Meschievitz, National Audubon
  Ruth Nissen, Wisconsin Department of
   Natural Resources
  Glenn Patterson, Dana Kolpin, Steve
   Kalkhoff, Kathy Lee, Doug
   Schnoebelen, Kimberlee Barnes, and
   Richard Coupe, U.S. Geological
  Drew Puffer, Gulf of Mexico Program
  Rachel Ramadhyani, Minneapolis Park
   and Recreation Board
  William Richardson, U.S. Geological
   Survey, Upper Midwest
   Environmental Sciences Center
  Larinda Tervelt, U.S. Environmental
   Protection Agency, Gulf of Mexico
  Lyndon Torstenson, National Park
  Kathi Weilbacher and Laura Cohen,
   Confluence Greenway Project

  Watershed Events provides
  updated and timely information to
  professionals and others
  interested in the development and
  implementation of the watershed
  approach and in achieving
  watershed goals. Please direct any
  questions or comments to:
              Patty Scott
     Office of Wetlands, Oceans,  and
           U.S. EPA (4501 F)
       1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
         Washington, DC 20460
            (202) 260-1956

  To be added to the Watershed Events
  mailing list, send your name and
  address to:
             Becky Schmidt
            Tetra Tech, Inc.
      10306 Eaton Place, Suite 340
           Fairfax, VA 22030
    Delegates to National Watershed Forum Make Recommendations
    Nearly 500 delegates, representing local watershed organizations, business
    groups, and local, state, tribal, and federal agencies, gathered at the National
    Watershed Forum on June 28th through 30th in Arlington, Virginia. Delegates
    recognized the need for a significant federal role as well as active state and private
    sector participation  in support of local watershed efforts. Their suggestions
    included the development of a national watershed strategy for delivery of technical
    assistance to watershed  groups, a clearinghouse for dissemination of information
    on watershed protection and restoration, and a media campaign to increase
    general awareness  of watershed issues. EPA, USDA, CH2MHILL, and the
    Department of the Interior were major sponsors of the Forum, and issued a joint
    letter of support indicating their interest in considering the delegates'
    recommendations. A report summarizing Forum deliberations and outlining the
    recommendations will be available  in four to six weeks. Additional information about
    the Forum can be obtained  at www.epa.gov/owow/watershed/conferences.html or
    by contacting the Meridian Institute at connielewis@merid.org.
It's Not Just How High; It's
How Clean: Sampling the
Spring  2001 Flood in the
Upper Mississippi River

      Floods can cause water-quality
      problems because of the large
      amounts of contaminants
(sediment, nutrients, pesticides, and
bacteria) that can be transported by
flood-waters. During the flood on
the Upper Mississippi River in
2001, water-quality and water-
quantity data were collected during
near-record streamflow. This is the
first time  that samples for determin-
ing  organic wastewater contami-
nants (pharmaceuticals, hormones,
and industrial/household use
compounds) and pesticide
degradates have been collected
during a flood of this magnitude.

Sampling the Floodwaters
March and April 2001 brought to
the upper Mississippi River Basin a
succession of heavy rains that
coincided with the melting of an
unusually large snow pack. The
resulting flood was unusually long,
lasting from early April through
mid-May. It produced river levels
and flows from central Minnesota
and western Wisconsin to southern
Iowa that generally were the
second- or third-highest on record,
with recurrence intervals in the
range of 50 to  100  years. Although
the upper Mississippi River was
closed to all boat traffic for more
than 400 river miles during the flood
peak, the U.S. Geological Survey
(USGS) was given special permission
to collect data during this time. The
rapid response and data-collection
efforts under less-than-ideal field
conditions were possible because
established streamflow and water-
quality monitoring sites were used
(fig. 1 on page 4).

These stations are operated as part
of the USGS National Stream
Quality Accounting Network
(NASQAN), National Water-
Quality Assessment Program
(NAWQA), other state and local
cooperative projects, and the Long-
Term Resource Monitoring Program
(LTRMP). Samples in the last
program were collected in coopera-
tion with the five upper Mississippi
River system states (Illinois, Iowa,
Minnesota, Missouri, and Wiscon-
sin) and the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers. The success of the
sampling effort also was the result,
in part, of having specialized
equipment, training, and sampling
protocols in place in preparation for
such a flood. For example, acoustic
Doppler technology was used to
measure streamflow across flooded
channels. During this flood, chan-
nels were as much as 1 mile wide
and 48 feet deep.

          See flood, page 4

Page 4
     Watershed Events
                 Summer 2001
         Flood, from page 3
During the flood, water-quality
samples were collected at 10 stations
and along five study reaches (approxi-
mately 150 sites per reach) on the
Mississippi River, and 20 stations and
sites on major tributaries. Several
cities, including LaCrosse, Wiscon-
sin, and Davenport, Iowa, were
unable to treat their sewage as a
result of flood conditions; therefore,
some of the sewage was discharged
directly into the Mississippi River.
Accordingly, samples also were
collected for bacteria and wastewa-
ter constituents to evaluate the
effects of this sewage discharge.

Typically, samples were collected by
using USGS protocols for equal
width- and depth-integrated samples
and clean-sampling procedures
(often called parts-per-billion, or
ppb, protocols).

Organic Wastewater
In addition to collecting measure-
ments for dozens of chemical and
physical water quality parameters
(e.g., dissolved oxygen, nutrients,
sediments, water-soluble pesticides
and pesticide degradates), samples
at 10 locations were analyzed for a
broad spectrum of organic waste-
water contaminants. Target com-
pounds included prescription and
nonprescription drugs, antibiotics,
hormones, fecal sterols, and house-
hold and industrial wastewater
products. Because few comprehen-
sive investigations of organic
wastewater contaminants have been
conducted, it is unknown whether
flooding conditions will increase
(because of inundation of septic
fields, storage lagoons, etc.) or
decrease (because of dilution) the
likelihood of detecting compounds in
streams. Background data on
organic wastewater contaminants
for selected sites in Minnesota
                   I LTPMF* mgm-ftwn fwch
                       e-**it«r-*qu#ity sampling button
                              -fluaUy sampling tocataon
On April 23, 2001, about 2040 tons per day
of nitrate was being transported by the
Mississippi River at  Clinton, Iowa. This load
is about 40 percent  higher than the peak
nitrate load measured at this site during
the flood of 1993.
during differing seasons and flow
conditions are available for com-
parison. The data for these flood
samples are expected to be available
this summer.

Preliminary Results
Even though soil conditions had
prevented most farmers from
applying fertilizers since the
autumn of 2000, concentrations of
nitrate in the Mississippi River and
its major tributaries were elevated.
They ranged from about 0.1 mg/L
(milligrams per liter) in the head-
waters to about 4 mg/L downstream
and generally exceeded the
75th-percentile concentration for the
long-term record at each site. On
April 23,2001, about 2,040 tons
per day of nitrate was being
       transported by the Mississippi
       River at Clinton,
       Iowa. This load is about 40
       percent higher than the peak
       nitrate load measured at this
       site during the flood of 1993.

The preliminary data indicate that
nutrient concentrations and loads
during the 2001 flood exceeded those
during the 1996 and 1997 spring floods
on the upper Mississippi River. Like the
2001 flood, the 1997 flood was
characterized by heavy snowmelt.
Apparently, the snowmelt had little net
diluting effect. Snowmelt was a
smaller component of the 1996 flood
than of the two later floods.

Initial results from the bacteria
sampling indicate that the sewage
discharge did not pose an immediate
health threat because concentrations
of fecal indicator bacteria (fecal
coliforms and Escherichia coli)
were very low (less than 100
colonies per 100 milliliters).

In conclusion, a rapid response by
trained water-quality sampling crews
with an existing network of stations
produced a unique set of samples of
river water during the near-record
flooding in the upper Mississippi
River Basin in April 2001. Prelimi-
nary data indicate that the flood
carried a large load of nutrients.
When all of the analytical results are
available, they will provide answers
to some important questions about the
effects of this flood on water quality
in the basin.

For more information about USGS
water-quality programs, please visit
http://water.ugsg.gov/owq and
Or contact Glenn Patterson, United
States Geological Survey, 412
National  Center, Reston, VA 20192.
Phone: (703) 648-6876; e-mail:

Summer 2001
     Watershed Events
Restoring Wetlands  and  Habitat
Louisiana Builds a River
Structure to Protect Its

          Wetland loss along the
          Louisiana coastal zone is
          one of the state's most
pressing environmental problems.
Although numerous factors have
contributed to this loss, many con-
sider the leveeing of the Mississippi
River for flood control to have had
the greatest impact. The levee blocks
the river's historical spring overflows
and thus impedes the rush of marsh-
supporting freshwater, nutrients, and
sediment to the coastal zone.

Coastal Louisiana is losing, on
average, between 25 and 35 square
miles of land annually—more than
one football field every 30 minutes.
Much of the land lost contains
valuable wetlands. In fact, Louisi-
ana holds 40 percent of the lower 48
states' coastal wetlands has experi-
enced 80 percent of the nation's
total wetland loss. These wetlands
provide valuable nursery grounds
for fisheries, a buffer to  protect
developed areas from storm surges,
and a filtering system for pollutants
carried in urban runoff.

The Gulf of Mexico Program
(GMP), working with local agencies
and organizations, has begun to take
action to reverse the trend of
wetland loss in Louisiana through
the Davis Pond Freshwater Diver-
sion Project. The project, led by
Jefferson Parish, is a partnership
that includes the GMP, the U.S.
Geological Survey, Louisiana State
University, the Louisiana Universi-
ties Marine Consortium,  and the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Funding for this effort was obtained
through EPA's Environmental
Monitoring for Public Access and
Community Tracking (EMPACT)

The diversion project involves
building a structure to divert fresh-
water and sediments from the river
to renourish and restore coastal
wetlands where flow has been cut
off. Scheduled to be on-line this
summer, it will be the largest
freshwater diversion project built to
date, capable of diverting up to
80,000 gallons per second of river
water. The freshwater diversion will
imitate historical spring floods by
providing a controlled flow of
freshwater and nutrients into the
Barataria Bay estuary, which is
located southwest of New Orleans.
A similar structure farther down
river, called Caernarvon, has
reversed the  loss of freshwater and
brackish vegetation while enhancing
the productivity of the area. It is
expected that the Davis Pond
Diversion will similarly benefit the
Barataria estuary.

There are concerns that the fresh-
water diversion will have a negative
impact on the estuary. Some people
are worried that nutrient-rich river
water will cause algae blooms.
Some of these blooms can be toxic;
they can also contaminate seafood
and have human health impacts.
Commercial fishermen are worried
that massive  amounts of river water
may deteriorate the water quality in
the lakes and bays where they make
their living. Communities south of
the diversion site worry that water
levels will increase and cause
flooding during high wind-driven
tides. And scientists even debate the
wisdom of introducing more
nutrients into an already eutrophic
system and wonder what changes
might occur as salinity levels are
altered in the upper estuary.

Partners in the project expect that
monitoring conducted through the
EMPACT project will offer answers
to these questions by providing
valuable "before and after" data. To
collect background data before
diverting the water, the EMPACT
project team began monitoring the
water quality in  Lake Salvador and
Lake Cataouache (both of which are
downstream of the diversion and are
part of the Barataria Bay system) in
August 1999. Analyses of pre- and
post-diversion water quality data will
be used to determine the effects of
river water diversion on the estuary
and operate the  structure such that
the timing and amount of the
releases have the maximum benefit
for the wetlands and the people that
use them.
For more information, contact Drew
Puffer, Gulf of Mexico Program, at
(228) 688-3913. Or visit the Gulf of
Mexico web site at www.gmpo.gov.
Click on the "projects" bar at the
bottom of the page. Look for the
link to the Lake Salvador project.

     Watershed Events
                Summer 2001
Experimental Mississippi
River Drawdown Should
Improve Habitat

   Tronically, as the Mississippi
   River at La Crosse recedes from
   a near-record flood, the Wiscon-
sin Department of Natural Re-
sources (WDNR) staff at the
Onalaska Field Station are working
on an experimental drawdown in
Navigation Pool 8 in the Mississippi
River. Pool 8 is part of a complex
system of locks and dams along the
Mississippi that, in addition to
dredging, help maintain the 9-foot
depth required for navigation. It is
hoped that the drawdown will help
improve vegetation, subsequently
enhancing fish and wildlife habitat.
The dams create slack-water pools
for navigation during periods of low
and medium flows. The locks open
and close to pass river traffic from
one pool to another, like a stairway
of water. The average person might
think of a dam as a huge solid
structure used to block the flow in a
river and form a lake. This is not
true of navigation dams like those
on the upper Mississippi. These
dams are not solid but are a series
of concrete piers across the river
with movable gates between the
piers. A dam is formed when the
gates are  lowered, causing the water
level upstream of the dam to rise
and form a slack-water pool deep
enough for navigation.
Many people believe that the
navigation pools should be drawn
down before periods of high water
are expected, to provide storage
capacity for incoming flows.
Experimental  drawdowns have been
conducted on  a smaller scale, but
this is the first drawdown of an
entire navigation pool. This
multiagency effort includes the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, Army
Corps of Engineers, U.S. Geologi-
cal Survey, Minnesota Department
of Natural Resources, and WDNR.
The participants hope the draw-
down will improve the growth and
distribution of emergent and sub-
mersed vegetation in Pool 8 of the
river. Years of wind and wave action
in the pool have harmed aquatic
vegetation and caused turbidity that
has disturbed the delicate sediment
structure. The experimental draw-
down will help consolidate sedi-
ments along the shorelines, increase
plant growth, and enhance water-
fowl and fish habitat. More plant
growth will mean more roots to
hold sediments down and provide
resistance to wave action.
EPA joined the effort recently by
providing $10,000 to monitor
vegetation in four lower-pool
backwaters of Pool 8. WDNR and
its partners will monitor water
quality and mussels, waterfowl, and
other organisms to determine the
effects of the drawdown, which
might prove to be a cost-effective
system-wide tool for improving fish
and wildlife habitat.
For more information, contact Terry
Dukerschein, Wisconsin Depart-
ment of Natural Resources, Pool 8
Field Station, 575 Lester Avenue,
Onalaska, WI 54650. Phone: (608)

Corps's St. Paul  District
Leads the Way in River

      The U.S. Army Corps of
      Engineers' St. Paul District
      balances commerce and
conservation on the Upper Missis-
sippi River—from north of
Guttenberg, Iowa, to Minneapolis,
Minnesota. This mission provides an
opportunity for the St. Paul District to
share stewardship of natural re-
sources and commerce with diverse
and sometimes competing interests.
One  of the most important opportu-
nities for stewardship is the
District's channel maintenance
program, which includes compre-
hensive long-range planning with the
active involvement of partnering
agencies. Since the early  1970s,
changes in channel maintenance have
resulted in a 50 percent reduction in
annual dredging requirements. These
changes include closer monitoring of
channel conditions, reduced dredging
dimensions, and adjustments to
channel control structures. In addition,
the District places 95 percent of the
sandy material dredged where it can
be used for environmental  enhance-
ment, recreational use, land develop-
ment, construction, or road
 Pool 8 Island Complex 99 Aerial
In 1986 the St. Paul District began a
new Environmental Management
Program (EMP) to ensure coordi-
nated ecosystem development and
enhancement of the river. Through
the EMP, the District constructs
habitat projects and monitors natural
resources on the Upper Mississippi
River system upstream of Cairo,
Illinois. The St. Paul District, along
with the Rock Island and St. Louis
Districts, manages the EMP in
partnership with the states of
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa,
Missouri, and Illinois and the U.S.
Department of the Interior (U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S.
Geological Survey). Habitat projects
include dredging backwater areas and

 Summer 2001
     Watershed Events
channels, constructing dikes, creating
and stabilizing islands, and controlling
side channel flows and water levels.
The St. Paul District began the first
habitat project in 1987 and has
completed 37 more since then.
Another 23 are under way.
The St. Paul District also displays
river stewardship in its regulatory
(permit) program. The District's
responsibility for waterway and
wetland permits in Minnesota and
Wisconsin covers tens of thousands
of square miles that drain into the
Upper Mississippi. Many construction
and agricultural projects reviewed
could potentially harm the river by
adding sediments and nutrients. The
St. Paul District carefully modifies or
adds conditions to requested projects
 Managing  Nutrient Runoff
to minimize harm from
streambank erosion, loss of
vegetative cover, and wetland
degradation. Last year, the District
required wetland creation to replace
90 percent of the wetland losses it
permitted. For more information,
contact Mark Davidson, U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers, St. Paul
District, (651)290-5201.
Farmers—Your Partners and
Stewards of the Land
by Gary Edwards, Iowa Corn Growers

Like most Americans, I think clean
water is a good thing. But as a
farmer, I've got additional reasons
to care about our watersheds and
waterways. Almost 90 percent of
rain falls on privately owned land
before it enters lakes, streams,
groundwater, and estuaries. This is
working land, used for crops,
livestock, or timber production, and to
those interested in water quality, the
bottom line is: A working partner-
ship with farmers and land manag-
ers can improve the environmental
quality enjoyed by all.

Others worry because excessive
erosion or nutrient runoff harms the
ecosystem. I've got a more immedi-
ate concern—not only do we need
safe water to drink, wash our hands
and cook our food, but erosion
means my farm will be less produc-
tive and less profitable. Nutrient
runoff means I've spent money to
nourish my crop, but my crop won't
benefit. Erosion and runoff threaten
my environment, but they also
threaten my ability to support my
family and preserve my farm.
So it's no wonder that most farmers
are good stewards of the land.
Spend time with us and you'll hear
us discuss buffer strips, tillage
methods, tiling systems, and all the
other steps we take to retain soil
and preserve our environment.
Iowa's corn growers have funded
research into nitrogen use to guide
application practices, reduce our
costs, and reduce nitrogen runoff.
We've funded a nutrient manage-
ment task force to develop practical
solutions that growers will be glad to
adopt because they work both
economically and environmentally.
When the science is solid, growers
will use it.
Last winter, the Iowa Corn Growers
Association reached over a thou-
sand growers with Crop Fairs that
provided guidance adapted to local
needs. That's important because
each watershed area will have
different factors at work—the types
of soil, the type of agriculture, the
resources available. That's also why
the best approach to solving water
problems is not a blanket regulation.
The best solutions will make use of
our commitment to the environment
by involving us in a public-private
partnership. Why not help growers
develop a "leadership corps" of
growers at the local level, working
with their neighbors to solve water
pollution problems? A "Watershed
Leadership Corps," providing solid
research and education, could be
EPA's best ally in helping growers
improve water quality.
When water leaves my farm, I want
it to be as clean as when it entered
my farm. Every neighbor I know
feels the same  way and takes this
into consideration when they plant.
We are your partners and stewards
of the land.
For more information, contact Gary
Ed-wards. Iowa Corn Growers Association,
4533 Edwards Road, Anamosa, IA 52205,
Phone: (319) 462-4658.

     Watershed Events
                Summer 2001
Natural Nitrification
Reduces Need for
Commercial Fertilizers

       Growing plants with commer-
       cial nitrogen rather than
       effectively using safe
atmospheric nitrogen has become a
common practice in most areas of
North America. However, excessive
nitrogen use has led to some serious
pollution problems, including
hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico.

Since 1955 Growers Chemical
Corporation of Milan, Ohio, has
promoted a fertility program that
includes reducing the use of applied
nitrogen. Many agricultural opera-
tions and some nonagricultural
operations (such as lawn care) have
successfully used the program, which
has two basic components—supply-
ing adequate amounts of calcium to
the soil profile and using high-grade,
balanced fertilizer solutions.

Why calcium? Some bacteria in the
soil are able to fix nitrogen from the
air. In the course of a year the mem-
bers of one genus of bacteria, Azoto-
bacter, can fix 15 to 40 pounds of
atmospheric nitrogen per acre!
Therefore, it's important to create a
soil environment that promotes these
nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Increasing
the available calcium helps stimulate
bacterial nitrogen fixation. Calcium
also helps prevent the increased
solubility of iron  and  aluminum,
which negatively affect nitrogen
fixation. In addition, calcium makes
the soil more porous,  allowing for
better air infiltration and exchange,
and adequate levels of oxygen are
important in the conversion of
nitrogen to a form that can be used by
plants. Finally, earthworms flourish
best in soils that contain a continuous
supply of calcium, and improved
earthworm activity is critical for the
optimum success of bacteria. (Earth-
worms shred organic matter, making
it more available to the bacteria.)
The second part of the Growers soil
program is use of a small amount of
a high-grade, balanced plant food
solution on the seed at planting.
While providing crop nutrition, the
food also promotes the efficiency of
the bacteria in the fixation of
nitrogen. Foliar feeding of crops
with this same material means less
applied nitrogen is needed to
supplement the native nitrogen.

By using this program, farmers have
significantly lowered their use of
applied nitrogen while maintaining
sound economic productivity.
Growers Chemical boasts that
clients have experienced higher
grain test weights, better produce
flavor and shelf life, and fewer
veterinarian visits for their livestock.
For additional information, contact
James L. Halbeisen, Director of
Research, Growers Chemical
Corporation. P.O. Box 1750, Milan,
OH 44846;  Phone (419) 449-2508.

Somerset Plantation,
Louisiana: A Demon-
stration of Agricultural
Nutrient Management in
the  Mississippi Delta

"W "^ Tater quality in the Tensas
  \/\/ River watershed in the
   V V  Mississippi Delta is poor.
According to the Louisiana Depart-
ment of Environmental Quality
(LDEQ), the Tensas River only
partially meets its designated uses
because of sediment, nutrient, and
pesticide loading and low dissolved
oxygen conditions. Most of these
problems stem from one land use—
agriculture. An estimated 85 percent
of forestland in the basin has been
cleared and converted to row crop
agriculture. Addressing problems
caused by various agricultural
activities while maintaining the
overall, long-term sustainability of
the industry presents special chal-
lenges, but one farmer in the Tensas
River watershed is tackling the
problem head on.

Jay Hardwick, Ph.D., who owns
Somerset Plantation, is working
with the Northeast Delta Resource
Conservation and Development
Area, the Gulf of Mexico Program,
LDEQ, the Tensas River Basin
Technical Steering Committee, and
other partners to implement a
locally led and voluntary site-
specific demonstration project to
reduce nutrient inputs to the basin.
This project will demonstrate the
advantages of site-specific nutrient
management. It is also designed to
demonstrate how the agricultural
community and the environmental
community can work together to
develop "win-win" strategies that
will reduce nutrient contributions
from agriculture while improving
the return on investment for the

Site-specific nutrient management in
farming operations (precision
farming) provides fertilizers only
where needed and has the potential
to reduce overapplication of fertil-
izer, thereby reducing or eliminating
fertilizer runoff to rivers and
streams, while maximizing yields or
return on investment.

Dr. Hardwick is implementing
precision farming methods and
showing others how such practices
can reduce or prevent sediment and
nutrients from  degrading the Tensas
River. So far, he has incorporated
the following practices into his
farming operation:
 •  Detailed grid sampling to give an
   accurate picture of nutrient
   variation within a field and allow
   for more precise application of
•  Differential global positioning
   systems to identify exactly where
   soil samples are being taken and
   to know exactly where to apply

Summer 2001
     Watershed Events
                          Page 9
•  Computerized records in conjunc-
   tion with geographic information
   system technology to organize
   and analyze the information
   available, perform cost analyses.
   and optimize the site-specific
   nutrient management plan.
•  GIS technology to visualize and
   interpret the information avail-
   able and link that information.
   using a map, to specific points in
   each field.
•  Yield monitors on board the
   harvesting equipment to obtain
   site-specific information about
   yield that can be related to other
   factors, such as fertilizer applica-
   tion and soil type.
•  Water quality monitoring,
   including flow and rain gauge
   measurements, to understand the
   impacts of practices on the
   streams and water bodies in  the
   project area.
•  Education and outreach to
   inform the agricultural commu-
   nity of the results and encourage
   other landowners to implement
   similar nutrient management
Landowners like Hardwick depend
on fertility adjustments to provide
maximum realistic yields, and most
landowners are willing to implement
new conservation practices if the
practices make economic sense. For
more information, contact Larinda
Tervelt, Bldg 1103, Rm 202, Stennis
Space Center, MS 39529-6000,

WRI Explores Market-
based Solutions to
Reduce Nutrient Loadings

       To effectively tackle problems
       like the "dead zone" in the
       Gulf of Mexico, cooperation
and communication among the key
stakeholders, government agencies,
and policy makers are essential. The
World Resources Institute (WRI)
has been working with a number of
other nongovernmental organiza-
tions (NGOs) to bring the "dead
zone" issue to the public, the
agricultural community, and policy
makers. With the Mississippi River
Basin Alliance (MRBA), Clean
Water Network (CWN), and Missis-
sippi Riverwise Partnership, WRI
has worked to foster public aware-
ness of hypoxia, its causes, and its
consequences. WRI and its partners
have disseminated information to
the public, met with key stakehold-
ers, and taken advantage of media
opportunities as they have arisen.

In addition to increasing public
awareness, reducing hypoxia will
require viable and cost-effective
solutions and policy changes that
target the problem. To  support this
effort, WRI is conducting a national-
scale analysis of various nutrient
reduction policies that address the
issue. The policy scenarios, their
feasibility, and their impact are being
developed and tested in conjunction
with organizations within the MRBA
and CWN and through discussions
with the agricultural and legislative

One of the more promising market-
based solutions to reducing nutrients
causing hypoxia is nutrient trading.
Nutrient trading is a cost-effective
solution to the problem because it
allows farmers who have low costs
of reducing nutrient loss to trade
nutrient reduction credits with those
whose costs may be substantially
higher, such as municipal wastewa-
ter treatment plants.

With its partners, the Michigan
Department of Environmental
Quality, Chesapeake Bay Commis-
sion, and USEPA Region 10, WRI
has been developing an
e-marketplace to help implement
nutrient trading. This web site is
being customized to address the
local watershed conditions for three
pilot trading programs under
development in Michigan, the
Chesapeake Bay, and Idaho. These
pilot programs will provide impor-
tant information on how to best
extend nutrient trading to water-
sheds in the Mississippi River Basin
to address the dead zone.

It is through these types of coopera-
tive efforts that effective solutions
to environmental problems like the
dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico
can be recognized, developed,
and implemented. For more informa-
tion, contact Suzie Greenhalgh,
World Resources Institute, Phone:
(202) 729-7786, e-mail:
  Corps of Engineers Agrees to Retool Navigation Study
  The Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to create an independent review team to revisit
  a $60 million study launched in 1993 to examine whether the lock-and-dam systems on the
  Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers should be expanded for navigational purposes.
  Preliminary results of the Navigation Study found justification for a billion-dollar expansion.
  Controversy over the study led the Department of the Army to request the National Research
  Council (NRC) of the Academy of Sciences to conduct an independent review. The Council
  made a number of recommendations to improve the study, including consideration of less
  costly and less environmentally damaging methods to address barge traffic congestion and
  better incorporation of environmental issues in planning, design, operations, and analysis. To
  address the NRC recommendations, the Corps recently convened an interagency group
  consisting of Washington-level representatives from the Department of Agriculture,
  Environmental Protection Agency, Fish and Wildlife Service, Maritime Administration, and
  Army Corps of Engineers to re-scope the Upper Mississippi River and Illinois Waterway
  System Navigation Study.
  Furthermore, Lt. Gen. Robert B. Flowers, the Corps's military commander, pledged to change
  the way the Corps evaluates major construction proposals. He said  he would establish a
  review panel to assess the merits of large, complex or controversial  studies.

Page 10                               Watershed Events                          Summer 2001
   Watershed  Assistance  Grants  Strengthen Landowner Stewardship

   Using funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Audubon Society awarded 42
   Watershed Assistance Grants in the Upper Mississippi River Basin in July 2000. Dan McGuiness, Director of
   Audubon's Upper Mississippi River Campaign, announced the awards at the first five-state Upper Mississippi
   River Watershed Roundtable in September 2000.

   The goal of Audubon's small grants  program is to provide local watershed groups financial assistance to raise
   landowner awareness about nonpoint source pollution and to develop solutions that are tailored to communities'
   needs. In the 305-county, 189,000-square-mile Upper Mississippi watershed, agricultural lands constitute 67
   percent of the landscape. Some 253,000 farms (mostly family farms) are located in the 16 subwatersheds of the
   basin. Here are a few examples of projects underway:

          In Iowa, the Northeast Iowa Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) office conducted
          a water quality assessment of the Upper Iowa River and is using the information to inform
          landowners about stewardship needs. Waterquality parameters for nitrate-nitrite-nitrogen,
          phosphorus, atrazine, membrane fecal coliform, ammonia, and turbidity are being tested. The
          results will be available laterthis year.  Meanwhile, the group surveyed farmers in the watershed
          to identify the barriers to  improved land management. Fifty percent of the landowners reported
          that "confusion about conservation practices" was a major barrier to implementation. And 85
          percent of landowners reported that cost was a barrier to implementation of conservation mea-

          In Illinois, the Nature Institute is developing a landowner education program to improve land
          practices on fragile blufflands along the Mississippi River. Audubon and the Institute kicked off
          the education program in October 2000 with a folk concert, press conference, and exhibits on
          the waterfront near their blufflands office in Godfrey, Illinois.

          The Mississippi Headwaters Board in Minnesota held a Youth Watershed  Congress in March
          2001, bringing more than 100 students together to learn how to monitor water quality. With
          Audubon and EPA funds, the Board provided scholarships and travel expenses to students in
          need. Each school made a presentation summarizing the results of its work. Students will
          participate in other events,  including a  500-mile canoe trip on the Audubon Ark from the headwa-
          ters at Lake Itasca, Minnesota, down to Fort Snelling State Park in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

          In Wisconsin, the River Country RC&D is promoting buffer strips along the highly erodable Lower
          Chippewa River. Project organizers hope to contact 800 local landowners and establish 1,500
          acres (124 miles) of buffer strips by 2003. This is a grassroots project involving a consortium of
          30 diverse organizations and individuals. It has $12,000 in hard dollars and $64,000 in volunteer
          in-kind dollars.

   Because of the tremendous interest and enthusiasm for this program, Audubon plans to expand the small grants
   program by tenfold by leveraging government, foundation, and private dollars. Their goal is to expand the
   program from the start-up amount of $30,000 to $300,000 by 2003. For more information, contact Dan
   McGuiness at (651) 290-1695; e-mail: DMcGUINESS@Audubon.org.

Summer 2001
     Watershed Events
                       Page 11
USGS Nitrogen Studies
Expand River Knowledge

       Although we have a good
       understanding of how
       excess nutrients affect lakes
and other enclosed water bodies, we
know little about nitrogen cycling in
large river systems like the Missis-
sippi. This lack of understanding
prevents managers and policy
makers from developing effective
management strategies. Scientists at
the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Upper Midwest Environmental
Sciences Center in La Crosse,
Wisconsin, are conducting several
studies on nitrogen cycling in the
upper Mississippi River and its
floodplain to expand our under-
standing of this challenging issue.

The main objective of the studies is
to determine how the various forms
of nitrogen (particularly nitrate and
ammonia) are delivered, trans-
formed, and transported within this
complex riverine system. The size
and scope of these investigations
require extensive collaboration.
Research partners include scientists
from the USGS's Water Resource
Division, as well as faculty and
students from the University of
Wisconsin-La Crosse and Winona
State University in Winona, Minne-
sota. In addition, water quality data
are being supplied by the Long-
Term Resource Monitoring Pro-
gram, which is run cooperatively by
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,
USGS, and five states in the upper
Midwest. The program has amassed
more than 10 years of data on trends
in water quality and biota in the
upper Mississippi River system.

The data show that in many reaches
of the Mississippi River, rates of
nitrate removal are below the
maximum potential rates because
backwater lakes and marshes, which
are optimal habitats for nitrate
removal, receive little nitrate. Most
of the nitrate-rich water remains in
the main channel except during
floods or where main-channel water
has been intentionally rerouted to
backwaters for habitat rehabilitation

Scientists at the Center are also
collaborating with scientists from
the National Park Service to evalu-
ate the effects of ammonia in
sediments on survival of native
mussels in the St. Croix River
National Scenic Waterway. The
St. Croix River, a tributary of the
Mississippi River, has one of the
few remaining healthy and diverse
populations of mussels in North
America. The proximity of the
St. Croix River to the expanding
Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan
area might lead to greater inputs of
nitrogen and the potential for toxic
levels of ammonia in river sedi-
ments—the habitat for native
mussels. Scientists are studying
concentrations of ammonia in
sediments that are detrimental to
juvenile mussels. Through this effort,
they hope to determine where
problem areas might exist, both now
and in the future, and the overall risk
of ammonia toxicity to this highly
sensitive group of organisms
throughout the St. Croix River and
other rivers in the eastern United

For more information, contact
Dr. William Richardson, USGS
Upper Midwest Environmental
Sciences Center, 2630 Fanta
Reed Road, La Crosse, WI 54603.
Phone: (608) 781-6231; e-mail:

Page 12
     Watershed Events
                Summer 2001
Protecting Green  Space
 Minneapolis Envisions
 Riverfront Greenspace

          More than a century ago.
          farsighted city leaders
          established the first
 "Minneapolis on the Mississippi"
 riverfront at Minnehaha Falls and
 the Lower Gorge. Throughout the
 decades that have followed, the city
 has recognized the value of provid-
 ing public access to the river as well
 as protecting the river's health. The
 city is working in partnership with
 the Minneapolis Park and Recre-
 ation Board and other agencies to
 implement this vision by systemati-
 cally buying up continuous riverfront
 greenspace under its new master

 Key to this effort is educating the
 public on the importance of public
 ownership of the river's edge.
 Public ownership enables the
 citizens of Minneapolis to preserve
 and restore the ecological health of
 the river as a legacy for future
 generations. Using this approach,
 the downtown-adjacent Central
 Riverfront area has been trans-
 formed from amid-70s landscape in
 industrial decline to a vital, expand-
 ing district of parks, residences, and
 other uses.

 Above the Falls: A Master Plan
for the  Upper River in Minneapo-
 lis extends this legacy to the city's
 Upper River area. Completed in
 2000, Above the Falls is  a compre-
 hensive master plan guiding land
 use, the creation of continuous
 riverside trails and greenspace,
 riverbank restoration, and innovative
 storm water handling methods
 within a SV^mile corridor along the
 Mississippi River in the northern
 section of Minneapolis. The plan is
 intended to stimulate neighborhood
 economic revitalization and sustain-
able development through a shift in
land use away from private owner-
ship of the shoreline (often by
heavy industry) to new residential
neighborhoods, office space, and
light industrial development in
conjunction with greenways and
riverfront trail systems.

Above the Falls has received a
number of prestigious awards,
including an international Honor
Award from The Waterfront Center,
a Planning Award from the Environ-
mental Design Research Associa-
tion, and an Honor Award from the
Minnesota chapters of the Ameri-
can Planning Association and
American  Society of Landscape
Architects (ASLA). The project is
truly a model of public involvement
and multiagency partnerships: more
than 2,500 residents were involved
in a 2-year series of public meet-
ings. The Minnesota Legislative
Commission on Minnesota Re-
sources, Hennepin County, and
several Minneapolis city agencies
provided funding for the meetiSng.
For more information, contact
Rachel Ramadhyani, ASLA, Project
Manager, Minneapolis Park and
Recreation Board, 200 Grain
Exchange, 400 South 4th Street,
Minneapolis, MN 55415. Phone:
(612) 661-4814; e-mail: rachel.b.
"The Mississippi River is not only
the grand natural feature which
gives character to your city and
constitutes the mainspring of its
prosperity, but it is the object of
vital interest and the center of
attraction to intelligent visitors
from every quarter of the globe."
       Landscape Architect H. W. S. Cleveland
Protecting Lands Through
the Blufflands Alliance
      ack in 1993, we found
      .that many studies and groups
      focused on the Mississippi
River itself—but they'd mention
the land around it only as an
afterthought," says Mark
Ackelson, president of the Iowa
Natural Heritage Foundation
(INHF), a private land trust. "Many
of us knew that  a river can't be
truly protected without protecting
the adjoining lands, but we also
knew that one state or one land
trust can't do it alone." And
that is how the Blufflands
Alliance,  a coalition of land trusts in
Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin,
and Illinois, was born.
The "blufflands" are the
hilly region adjoining the upper
Mississippi River and its
tributaries. The bluffs extend some
200 miles down  the river, affecting
23 counties in four states. The area
supports one of the nation's key

Summer 2001
     Watershed Events
                       Page 13
migratory flyways, several threat-
ened and endangered species, a
dwindling number of earthen
mounds built by a long-lost native
culture, and a tourism and recreation
economy valued at $ 1.2 billion
annually. The region borders the
Upper Mississippi Wildlife and Fish
Refuge, which receives more than 3
million visits annually— 10 percent
of the total visits to the entire
national refuge system. Some areas
of the blufflands provide a last-
chance filter for water entering the
Mississippi River.

Alliance partners range from long-
established land trusts to recent
start-ups  and include the INHF,
Wisconsin Farmland Conservancy,
Mississippi Valley Conservancy
(Wisconsin), Standing Cedars
Community Land Conservancy
(Wisconsin), Minnesota Land Trust,
Natural Land Institute, and Jo
Davies Conservation in Illinois. The
National Audubon Society's Upper
Mississippi River Campaign is also a
member.  The organizers set out to
protect the blufflands' local, natural,
cultural, historical, and agricultural
resources through methods like
voluntary land protection (from
easements to acquisitions), individual
landowner visits and public educa-
tion, registry programs, and demon-
stration projects.

The group presented a joint
funding proposal to The McKnight
Foundation, which offered start-up
funds in 1994 and has provided
significant annual support ever since.
McKnight provides matching funds to
support each group's "capacity" to
work in the blufflands (e.g., staff,
training, workshops). Though some
McKnight money goes directly
to land projects, most acquisition
funds come from other private and
public sources. The Blufflands
Alliance has already protected
10,000 acres and another 10,000 are
in negotiation. Member groups take
turns exploring pilot projects.
Minnesota has taken the lead on
conservation-friendly development.
Illinois's Natural Land Institute is
designing multiuse preserves. Iowa
is developing new kinds of conser-
vation easements. And one of
Wisconsin's land trusts, the Wiscon-
sin Farmland Conservancy, is
focusing on protection of farmland
and natural land adjacent to farm-

Another Bufflands Alliance member,
the Mississippi Valley Conservancy
(MVC), established a priority
protection area around the Wiscon-
sin Department of Natural Re-
sources' (DNR) Rush Creek
Natural Area, near Ferryville,
Wisconsin. Last December, MVC
signed a conservation easement to
protect 280 acres, including more
than a mile of streambank. In the
Sugar Creek watershed, MVC
permanently preserved land and
streambank. Securing money from
Wisconsin DNR's Stewardship fund,
the McKnight Foundation, the Stry
Foundation, and private individuals,
MVC bought 113  acres for perma-
nent protection. In addition, MVC
helped landowners to enroll 80 acres
in its Registry Program. This
Program is designed to provide
landowners with an understanding of
the biological value of their land
through a site visit by a knowledge-
able resource manager. Landowners
that agree to become a part of the
Registry Program work to conserve
the natural values of their land and
are recognized by MVC.

Meanwhile, the Blufflands Alliance
is expanding its vision. "We've done
well with this regional approach, but
now we're talking about attracting
significant national funding to our
work," says Ackelson. "Farm runoff
from Iowa and other states causes
hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. Just
as the Mississippi River ecosystem
can't be addressed from one state
alone, it's not covered by a four-
state alliance either."

Headwaters to  Backwaters
Consequently, the Alliance is working
with other organizations down the
river, from  Minnesota to New
Orleans. Together they've helped
launch the Headwaters to Backwa-
ters program, for which each group
submitted project needs and contrib-
uted toward hiring someone to
condense that information into a
national proposal. The final package
will be distributed to major national
flinders and the U.S. Congress.

That kind of global vision and local
action is what Ackelson most values
about the Blufflands Alliance: "I see
this kind of alliance as a nested
approach to conservation," he says.
"A single organization is nested
within a regional group of organiza-
tions, all working on the same
landscape but in different service
areas. And then that regional effort
can be nested inside a larger
national initiative."

For more information, contact
Cathy Engstrom, Iowa Natural
Heritage Foundation, 505 Fifth
Avenue, Suite 444, Des Moines, IA
50309. Phone:(515) 288-1846; e-
mail: cengstrom@inhf.org or
Gretchen Benjamin, Wisconsin
Department of Natural Resources
and MVC, 3550 Mormon Coulee
Road, La Crosse, WI 54601.

Page 14
     Watershed Events
                Summer 2001
Partners Work Together to
Bring Back the Splendor
of the River

       Chouteau Island is a complex
       of three Mississippi River
       islands located between the
main river channel and the Chain of
Rocks navigation canal just north of
downtown St. Louis, Missouri, and
East St. Louis, Illinois. Public
entities, including the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers (USAGE),
Illinois Department of Natural
Resources (IDNR), and Madison
County, Illinois, own extensive
portions of this 5,600-acre area. A
collaboration of seven nonprofit
organizations known as the
Confluence Greenway, in conjunc-
tion with the city of Madison,
Illinois, IDNR, and USAGE,  has
developed a vision for Chouteau
Island to be preserved as urban open
space to provide recreational
opportunities for the local and
regional population.

Chouteau Island lies in the path of
the proposed Confluence Greenway.
Once completed, the Confluence
Greenway Project will result in a
40-mile riverside recreation and
conservation area on both banks of
the Mississippi, extending from the
Gateway Arch in downtown
St. Louis to the river's meeting
points with the Missouri and Illinois
Rivers. Project organizers hope that
its parks and trails will offer access
to the waterfront for hiking, biking,
fishing, birdwatching, riverwatehing,
and much more. It will also stimulate
regional economic growth, enhance
civic pride, and present unique
education opportunities. And even
better yet, the Greenway will
restore and protect environmentally
sensitive land, plants, and wildlife,
while helping to keep our rivers
control flooding, and reduce storm
runoff. Another partner, the Na-
tional Parks Service Rivers Trails
and Conservation Assistance
Program, is looking at creative
approaches, such as creating
wetlands areas along the
floodplain at Columbia Bottom.

Restoration of native plant commu-
nities and wildlife habitat is pro-
posed to enhance the existing
conditions.  Protecting the land on
Chouteau Island provides a unique
opportunity to enhance and make
accessible to the public the last
remaining natural reach of the
Mississippi River, an area that is
ecologically rich. The Chain of
Rocks canal bypasses several miles
of the Mississippi, providing barges
and other river traffic an alternative
route past the Chain of Rocks
rapids, thus preserving a section of
the river in a natural condition.
Renovation of the Old Chain of
Rocks Bridge, once part of historic
Route 66, as a bicycle/pedestrian
crossing of the Mississippi River,
has provided access to Chouteau
Island, linking it to numerous recre-
ational trails on both sides of the

When preserved as open space,
Chouteau Island will provide a
haven of open space and outdoor
recreation in the heart of an urban
area, benefitting both humans and

For more information, contact
Kathi Weilbacher, Media Manager,
at (314) 416-9930 or Laura Cohen,
Confluence Greenway Project
Manager, at (314) 436-1324, ext. 108.
 Points ol Interest
     Pore Marquctte State Park
     Ptasa Creek
     M actions, End of Katy Trail
     RIvcMands.Lock A Dam 26
     Fort Bellefonutjne Slto
     Confluence Point
     Columbia Bottom
     Lewis a Clark Monument
     Old Chain of Rocks Bridge
     LOCK and Dam 27
     Rlvwtroot Trail
     Greal Wall ot St. Louit
     Riverfront Area/
     LaclMe B Landing
     Eads Bridge
     Trlgcn Building
     East SL Louis Heritage

Summer 2001
     Watershed Events
                       Page 15
Getting  the  Public Involved
Wisconsin's Watershed
Approach to Nonpoint
Source Pollution

      The bluffland region of
      Minnesota and Wisconsin
      has been described as one of
the most scenic stretches of the
Upper Mississippi River not only
because of the presence of the
towering bluffs, but also because of
the relatively intact forested flood-
plain, much of which is part of the
Upper Mississippi River National
Wildlife and Fish Refuge. Even in
this stretch, however, sedimentation
is one of the  river's most serious

In Wisconsin, the Chippewa, Wis-
consin, and Black Rivers contribute
the most sediment to the Mississippi
River. Many of the smaller tributar-
ies also carry a sediment load and
other nonpoint source pollutants,
particularly during flood events.
Typical sources of sediment include
croplands, streambank pastures,
highway construction, and home and
commercial construction sites.
Much of the  agriculture along the
river consists of intensive dairy
operations, many of which are
located on steeply sloped coulee
topography.  Because of the steep
slopes, flat cropland  is at a premium
and barnyards are therefore located
on land not ideal for cropland.
Frequently, this is land adjacent to a
stream, and the result is that
barnyard nutrients enter the

As a result of farming practices
employed on steep slopes until
the 1930s, the depth  of accumulated
sediment reached 12 to 15 feet in
some valleys, burying roads,
buildings, and bridges.
Today, soil conservation techniques
such as contour plowing, terraces
and strip cropping, woodland
management, and pasture manage-
ment have minimized the problems
associated with hillside erosion. But
the sediment remains, and if stream
banks are not protected by vegeta-
tion or are heavily grazed, the
sediment is easily mobilized, espe-
cially during flood events.

Statewide Approach to Nonpoint
Source Pollution
To address these types of nonpoint
source pollution problems at their
source, in 1979 Wisconsin insti-
tuted a pollution abatement pro-
gram called the Priority Watershed
Program. Funding for the program
was dispersed on a watershed
basis through each county's Land
Conservation Department. Land-
owners and municipalities that
voluntarily participated received
educational and technical assis-
tance plus 50 to 70  percent state
cost sharing to install best manage-
ment practices  (BMPs); the
landowner or the  county had to
come up with the balance.  Five of
the fifteen watersheds directly
adjacent to the Mississippi River
have had or currently have Priority
Watershed Projects.

Recently the program was changed
to target smaller areas and to focus
on waters on the state's impaired
waters list. However, local
municipalities and townships on
streams that are not on the impaired
list also face problems stemming
from non-point source pollution. A
partnership approach to address this
situation was used successfully by the
Town of Onalaska, along the
Mississippi River near La Crosse,
A Partnership Approach to
Nonpoint Pollution Problems on
a Small Tributary of the
Halfway Creek and Sand Lake
Coulee Creek watersheds drain
approximately 28,000 acres into
Lake Onalaska, a large backwater
of the Mississippi River. Both
watersheds have  long been affected
by sedimentation and erosion, which
have caused the backup of water
into homes and businesses, flooding
of highways and  railroad tracks, and
inundation of wetlands and farm
fields with sand and silt.

On the nearby Upper Mississippi
River National Wildlife and Fish
Refuge, sedimentation in the
marshy outlet of the creeks has
damaged valuable fish and wildlife
habitat. Sedimentation was also
threatening the longevity of a highly
acclaimed fish and wildlife habitat
restoration project near the mouth
of the creeks.  This multimillion-
dollar project was designed to
restore habitat diversity within Lake
Onalaska that had been lost because
of island loss  and sedimentation of
deeper-water areas.

A study funded through a grant to
the Town of Onalaska was com-
pleted in 1995 to  evaluate causes of
and possible solutions to  these
watershed problems. The final
report provided development
density,  storm water, and sediment
management recommendations. A
partnership of private citizens,
conservation groups, and local,
state, and federal agencies is now
undertaking projects aimed at
solving the area's flooding and
erosion problems. Members of the
partnership provide funds, in-kind
donations, and other contributions.
      See Wisconsin, page 16

Page 16
     Watershed  Events
                 Summer 2001
      Wisconsin, from page 15

The first phase involved the con-
struction of the Upper Halfway
Creek Marsh Project, which is
located on the Refuge. The goals of
the project are to reduce the  amount
of sediment reaching Halfway
Creek Marsh and Lake Onalaska.
restore and enhance wetland and
upland habitat, and increase  oppor-
tunities for wildlife observation and

Three pools connected by water
control structures were constructed
to meet these goals. Pool A is an
upland sediment trap that captures
fine-grained sediment (and attached
nutrients) during flood events. It is
managed as a shallow, moist soil
area. Pools B and C will be man-
aged as temporary  seasonal wet-
lands. Pool C allows water to flow
back into Halfway Creek through a
water control structure. The project
was completed last October, and in
just one spring it has already
demonstrated its effectiveness at
meeting the three goals.  In addition
to removing sediment from the
creek, concentrations of nearly
1,500 ducks,  300 swans, and more
than 200 Canada geese have been
observed on Pool A.

Work continues on the watershed to
eliminate  or improve some of the
worst sites. Two streambank stabili-
zation projects have been completed
on targeted stretches  of Halfway
Creek, involving more than 2,200
linear feet of streambank. Severe
bank slumping was the primary
source of sediment to the creek. The
banks were reshaped and riprapped,
and the excess soil was removed.
Lunker structures were installed on
one stretch, which  helped to stabi-
lize the streambanks, narrow and
deepen the creek, and also provide
overhead cover for trout.
Partnership streambank stabilization
projects, which can ultimately
prevent sediment from reaching the
Mississippi River, are routinely being
conducted in other Wisconsin
counties bordering the Mississippi
River, particularly Vernon County.
Though individually small in size,
these projects demonstrate how
partnerships formed among differ-
ent agencies, all levels of govern-
ment, conservation groups, the
public, and landowners can solve
large-scale problems step by step.
For more information, contact Ruth
Nissen, Wisconsin DNR, 3550
Mormon Coulee Road, La Crosse,

Big River Journey Teaches
Science in the Main Stream

In St. Paul, Minnesota, some 2,400
students from 28 elementary
schools studied science from a
floating classroom on the Missis-
sippi River. The Harriet Bishop, a
modern four-deck paddleboat
named for St. Paul's first school-
teacher, is a science school in
motion, featuring hands-on learning
stations. Lessons on board and in
the classroom teach fourth, fifth,
and sixth graders how to care for
the "big river" by caring for the
watershed where they live.

Now 5 years old, Big River Journey
is coordinated by the Mississippi
National River and Recreation Area
(National Park Service) and operates
in partnership with eight other public,
private, and nonprofit organizations in
the Twin Cities metropolitan area (see
box). Partnering groups collaborate to
provide educational programming on
the Mississippi  River, as well as to
support schools' and teachers' efforts
to bring the Mississippi River into the
classroom. Scholarships support
cultural and economic diversity
among the program participants.
Among the partners are a private
tour boat operator, a nonprofit
science center, a nonprofit environ-
mental education group, a nonprofit
friends group, and federal, state, and
regional agencies.

At six onboard learning stations, park
rangers, naturalists, science educators,
and a riverboat captain immerse
students in river science topics.
Students peer through microscopes at
aquatic bugs while learning of the
bugs' significance in assessing water
quality. Using binoculars, some
groups of students observe bird
adaptations firsthand, as others
explore the meaning of a floodplain
ecosystem or analyze river litter while
learning about watersheds. Many of
the students also disembark to
discover the rich archaeology at the
confluence of the Minnesota and
Mississippi Rivers. After returning to
school, children take their learning to
the streets and engage in service
projects. The lessons add up to one
big take-home message: the Missis-
sippi River is an intricate wellspring
of life that requires our stewardship.

For more information, contact Lyndon
Torstenson, National Park Service,
111 East Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN
55101-1256. Phone: (651) 290-3030,
ext. 232.
  Big River Journey Partners

  Friends of the Mississippi River
  Hamline University, Center for Global
   Environmental Education
  Metropolitan Council Environmental
   Services, Metropolitan Environmental
  Minnesota Department of Natural
   Resources (Adopt-a-River,  Fort
   Snelling State Park, and Project
  Minnesota Historical Society,  Historic
   Fort Snelling
  Padelford Packet Boat Co., Inc.
  Science Museum of Minnesota
  U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Minnesota
   Valley National Wildlife Refuge

Summer 2001
     Watershed Events
                       Page 17

Farm Bill/Conservation Security
The House Agriculture Committee
recently began a series of hearings
to examine the conservation title of
the Farm Bill. A number of com-
modity and conservation groups
have been pushing Congress to
increase funding for conservation
programs and expand the enrollment
acreage. New legislation, the
Conservation Security Act (CSA),
introduced on May 22, 2001 by a
bipartisan group of lawmakers, is
likely to receive consideration during
the Farm Bill debate. The CSA
allows landowners and operators to
enter into contracts and receive
payments based on the type of
conservation practices they willingly
implement and maintain. Conserva-
tion practices include soil and
residue management, contour
farming, and cover cropping as well
as comprehensive farm plans that
take into account all the resource
concerns of the agricultural opera-
tion. CSA establishes three tiers of
progressive conservation practices,
plans, and payment levels. Under
the legislation, a participant may also
receive payments based on estab-
lished practices and for adopting
innovative practices and systems or
for pilot testing new technologies
and new conservation techniques.
Upper Mississippi River Basin
Conservation Act
On May 10, Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI)
introduced H.R. 1800, the Upper
Mississippi River Basin Conserva-
tion Act. The bill aims to reduce
sediment and nutrient loadings to
the Upper Mississippi River Basin
through better coordination, ex-
panded research and monitoring
efforts, and targeted financial and
technical assistance. It establishes a
new sediment and nutrient monitor-
ing network as well as a new
modeling program to identify major
sources of sediment and nutrient
loadings. H.R. 1800 also creates a
grant program to demonstrate new
and innovative best management
practices. Finally, the bill calls for
enhanced federal coordination
through an Interagency Task Force.
The bill has 21 cosponsors.

Conservation and Reinvestment
More than 190 House cosponsors
have joined Rep. Don Young (R-
Alaska) in support of H.R. 701, the
Conservation Reinvestment Act
(CARA). While scaled-back CARA
language was incorporated into last
year's appropriations bills, support-
ers vowed to fight this session for a
stronger and more permanent
authorization.  H.R. 701 establishes
a generous trust fund from oil and
gas production royalties to help
support a variety of wildlife and
conservation projects.

Environmental Education Act
The Senate recently passed legisla-
tion to reauthorize the Environmen-
tal Education Act. The bill provides
$13 million in support of a broad
range of environmental education
and training programs, including
$4.5 million in EPA environmental
education grants and $1 million for
the National Environmental Educa-
tion and Training Foundation grants
program. These programs help
primary and secondary schools,
colleges and universities, and
nonprofit organizations educate
young people about environmental
issues. The bill also continues the
President's Environmental Youth
Awards for K-12 students and
creates a new award program for
teachers that demonstrate excel-
lence in advancing environmental
education at the grade
school level.
The legislation also establishes the
John H. Chafee Memorial Fellow-
ship Program and the Theodore
Roosevelt Environmental Steward-
ship Grant Program. The first is a
competitive fellowship program for
college students that choose to
pursue a field of environmental
studies. The Theodore Roosevelt
Grant Program will award competi-
tive grants to  a consortia of colleges
and universities to promote partici-
pation in environmental stewardship
among college students, and be-
tween college students and the
communities in which their college
campuses are located.
 Adopt Your Watershed
 Now Offers On-line
 In 1998 EPA worked with a number
 of partners to establish a national,
 on-line database of watershed
 groups, volunteer monitoring
 organizations,  schools, and others
 working to protect and restore our
 nation's water  resources. Currently
 more than 3,000 organizations are
 listed in the Adopt Your Watershed
 database, which is just one of
 several searchable databases
 available in the new Watershed
 Information Network
 All groups that are signed up now
 have the option of going on-line at
 adopt.nsf/update to update their
 information. Watershed
 partnerships not currently listed
 can join  by going to the Adopt Your
 Watershed homepage
 (www.epa.gov/adopt) and clicking
 on "Join  Now."  The goal is to
 provide citizens with an easy way
 to learn about  opportunities to get
 involved  in their community, as well
 as to provide a network for groups
 to share information, tools, and

Page 18
     Watershed Events
                Summer 2001
New  Resources
New Training Modules
The Watershed Academy Web
recently announced several new Web-
based training modules, including
"Agricultural Management Practices
for Water Quality Protection." This
module describes at an introductory
level good agricultural practices
advocated by the U.S. Department of
Agriculture as part of its "CORE 4"
outreach program. Another new
training module, "Wetland Functions
and Values," reviews the extraordi-
nary contributions wetlands make to
our water quality,  economy, recre-
ation, environmental health, and other
areas. Watch for a new module on
forest best management practices!
The URL for the Watershed Academy
Web is www.epa.gov/watertrain.

Training Opportunities Booklet
EPA's Watershed Academy has
published an updated Watershed
Training Opportunities booklet,
which includes descriptions of the
four main activities of the Water-
shed Academy—training courses,
publications, watershed manage-
ment facilitation services,  and Web-
based training. The booklet is avail-
able at www.epa.gov/owow/
watershed/wacademy/wtopps .html.
Hard copies can be obtained from the
National Service Center for Environ-
mental Publications (NSCEP) at
(513)489-8190 or (800) 490-9198.
Please provide the document number
EPA 841-B-01-002 when ordering.

Dam Removal Toolkit
Many conservation groups and river
ecologists consider selective dam
removal to be one of the  most
significant river restoration opportu-
nities of the 21st  century. In the
coming years, thousands of commu-
nities across the United States will
be faced with deciding whether to
repair or remove  an old dam.
Experience has shown that selective
removal of old, unsafe, and uneco-
nomical dams, especially smaller
dams, can eliminate safety hazards
and result in significant cost savings
to dam owners, which are often the
communities themselves.

The nation's leading river conserva-
tion groups have collaborated to
produce Taking a Second Look:
Communities and Dam Removal, a
22-minute video designed to increase
awareness among local businesses,
public officials, dam owners, and
community members. In addition, a
new 126-page handbook, Dam
Removal: A Citizen's Guide to
Restoring Rivers, offers a step-by-
step process for pursuing selective
small dam removal as a river restora-
tion tool. It provides information on
getting to know a dam, issues to
consider during the decision-making
process, laws and policies affecting
dam removal, strategies and tactics to
advocate for removal, restoration
work after removal, and more.

To request a copy of the video,
contact Trout Unlimited at (608) 250-
2757, bgraber@tu.org, or American
Rivers at (202) 347-7550,
shiggs(S!amrivers .org.
  oo  viy          o
To order a copy of the handbook,
contact the River Alliance of
Wisconsin at (608) 257-2424,
wisrivers@wisconsinrivers.org, or
Trout Unlimited at (608) 250-2757,

Department of Transportation
Citizens Guidebook
The Federal Highway Administra-
tion and Federal Transit Administra-
tion have developed A Citizens
Guidebook to Transportation
Decision Making. The guidebook is
designed to help citizens understand
how transportation decisions are made
at the local, state, and national levels.
The better people understand the
transportation decision-making
process, the more certain it is that the
transportation system will be safe,
efficient, and responsive to the
public's needs and concerns. The new
guidebook is available on the World
Wide Web at www.fhwa.dot.gov/

EPA Report on Land Use,
Transportation, and Air Quality
EPA's Office of Policy, Economics
and Innovation has released Our Built
and Natural Environments: A Techni-
cal Review of the Interactions
Between Land Use, Transportation,
and Air Quality. The report docu-
ments the many direct and indirect
interactions between the built envi-
ronment and the natural environment.
The report also suggests a number of
development practices that can reduce
environmental impacts and is a
valuable resource for analysts,
citizens, and communities. The
document is available on the Web at
www.smartgrowth.org. The report
(EPA 231-R-01-002) is also available
from the NSCEP at (513) 489-8190

Big Darby  Creek Case Study
EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans and
Watersheds recently issued a report
examining protection of the Big
Darby Creek (Ohio) watershed, one
of the finest warmwater systems in
the Midwest. Big Darby Creek Case
Study: A Profile of Watershed
Threats and Protection in a Midwest
Landscape examines major threats
(dams, agricultural practices, urban-
ization) over a 25-year period through
1996. It specifically examines the
roles of government and nonprofit
institutions, science, funding, and
other factors in responding to threats.
The report will be available soon
from the NSCEP at (513) 489-8190 or
(800) 490-9198. Ask for EPA publica-
tion 841-B-00-004.

Summer 2001                              Watershed Events                                       Page 19
  June 2001
  27-July 1   National Watershed Forum, Arlington, VA. Contact Todd Barker, Meridian Institute. Phone: (802) 899-2625;
             e-mail: tbarker@merid.org; web site: www.merid.org.

  July 2001
  20-21       Northeast Watershed Roundtable III Northfield, Mt. Hermon School, Northfield, MA. Contact Peter Raabe or Pat Munos
             at River Network. Phone: (202) 364-2550.

  30-Aug 2   Managing River Flows for Biodiversity: A Conference on Science, Policy, and Conservation Action, Fort Collins, CO.
             Contact Nicole Rousemaniere at nrousemaniere@tnc.org or visit the web site at www.freshwaters.org/ccwp/home.html.

  31-Aug 2   Western Regions/States NFS Meeting,  San Diego, CA. Contact Marquietta Davis, Tetra Tech, Inc., 10306 Eaton Place, Suite
             340, Fairfax, VA 22030. Phone: (703) 385-6000; fax: (703) 385-6007; e-mail: davisma@tetratech-ffx.com.

  August 2001
  4-8         Soil and Water Conservation Society: 2001 Annual Conference, Myrtle Beach, SC. The conference will focus on how
             conservation of natural resources is linked to local, regional, national, and global concerns. Visit the web site at

  14-15       Southeast Watershed Forum Meeting (by invitation only). Contact Marjan Peltier, EPA Region 4. Phone: (404) 562-9420.

  27-30       Ninth National Nonpoint Source Monitoring Workshop: Monitoring and Modeling Nonpoint Source Pollution in the Agricul-
             tural Landscape, Indianapolis, IN. Contact Tammy Taylor, Conservation Technology Information Center, 1220 Potter
             Drive, Suite 170, West Lafayette, IN 47906. Phone: (765) 494-9555; fax (765) 494-5969; e-mail: taylor@ctic.purdue.edu.

  27-30       Wetlands Engineering and River Restoration Conference 2001, Reno, NV Contact J. Craig Fischenich, General  Conference
             Chair. Phone: (601)634-3449; fax: (601)634-4263; e-mail: fischec@wes.army.mil; Visit the web site at

  September 2001

  7-8         Colorado Watershed Assembly 2nd Annual Conference, Frisco Holiday Inn, Frisco, CO. Contact Chris Rowe.

  18-19       EPA Region 6 Nonpoint Source Watershed Conference, Dallas, TX. Contact TIAER at info@tiaer.tarleton.edu.
             Phone: (254)  968-9585.

  October 2001
  3-5         Addressing AnimalProduction/Environmental Issues: An International Symposium, Research Triangle Park, NC.
             Contact Dr. Leonard S. Bull, Animal and Poultry Waste Management Center, Box 7608, North Carolina State University,
             Raleigh, NC 27695-7608. Phone: (919) 515-6836; fax: (919) 513-1762; e-mail: Leonard_bull@ncsu.edu;
             web site: www.cals.ncsu.edu/waste.mgt.

  13-17       WEFTEC 2001. Water Environment Federation's 74th Annual Conference and Exposition, Atlanta, GA.
             ContactWEFTEC. Phone: 1-800-666-0206 ore-mail: confinfo@wef.org; web site: www.wef.org.

  16-19       Fourth Annual North Carolina Stream Restoration Conference—Stream Repair and Restoration: A Focus on the Urban
             Environment, Raleigh, NC. Visit the web site atwww5.bae.ncsu.edu/programs/extension/wqg/sri.

  17-19       RockyMountain Watershed Assembly,  Caper, WY. Contact Ellen Wolfe. Phone: (406) 994-1910.

  23-26       The Association of State Drinking Water Administrators Sixteenth Annual Conference, Baltimore, MD.
             Contact ASDWA, 1025 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 903, Washington, DC 20036. Phone: (202) 293-7655;
             fax: (202)293-7655; e-mail: asewa@erols.com; web site: www.asdwa.org.

  November 2001
  7-10        North American Lake Management Society's 2001 Conference: A Lake Odyssey, Bridging the Gaps Between Science, Policy,
             and Practice, Madison, WI. Contact Dr. Richard Lathrop, UW Center for Limnology, 680 North Park Street, Madison, WI
             53706. Phone: (608)261-7593; fax: (608)265-2340; e-mail: rlathrop@facstaff.wisc.edu;
             web site: www.nalms.org/symposia/madison.

  12-15       American Water Resources Association's Annual Water Resources Conference, Albuquerque, NM. Contact Michael E.
             Campana, Conference Chair, University of New Mexico, Water Resources Program, 1915 Roma, NE, Albuquerque, NM
             87131-1217. Phone: (505)277-5249; fax: (505)277-5226; e-mail: aquadoc@unm.edu.

Page 20                               Watershed Events                          Summer 2001
   The  Changing Face of the Watershed
   A new report entitled The Changing Face of the Upper Mississippi River Basin was released by the National
   Audubon Society at its first Watershed Roundtable in September 2000. The report, funded by a grant from the
   U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, describes and analyzes, for the first time, farming and farmland
   characteristics based on watershed boundaries in this basin. The report compares changes in land use
   patterns by county, by watershed, and overtime, using data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Census
   of Agriculture and the Natural Resources Conservation Service's national inventory. Following are the key
   findings of the report:
     •  Average farm size  in the basin has nearly tripled since 1920, going from 141 acres to 318 acres in 70 years
     •  Thirty percent of all farms in the basin are larger than 1,000 acres in size
     •  The acreage of farmland that is in family corporations has doubled since 1987

   The report will be used as the focus of a joint five-state conference sponsored by the Soil and Water
   Conservation Society and the National Audubon Society in the spring of 2002. Conference participants will
   look at how the information can be used to better deliver conservation services and programs to a changing
   clientele in the river basin.

   To view the report, visit the Upper Mississippi River Basin Stakeholder Network web site atwww.umbsn.org. It is
   also available on CD in pdf format for  a cost of $10.00.  To obtain a copy  of the CD, contact Jessie Meschievitz
   at the National Audubon Society, Upper Mississippi River Campaign, 26 East Exchange Street, Suite 110, St.
   Paul, MN 55101 or call (651)290-1695.
  Views expressed in Watershed Events do not necessarily reflect those of EPA. In addition, mention of commercial
  products or publications does not constitute endorsement or recommendation for use by EPA.
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