Third annual gathering promises continued innovation and partnership
Building off successes of two previous meetings among representatives from ag and urban sectors, the MPCA and other statewide partners are hosting the 2022 Ag-Urban Partnership Forum. Attendees will continue their progress in addressing challenges related to protecting water quality in Minnesota: increasing pollution levels in Minnesota lakes and streams, changing precipitation patterns, aging infrastructure across the state, invasive species, and more.
At the first convening in 2019, attendees identified the top priority as a need to bridge the social divide between ag and urban sectors — what one participant described as “breach the silos.” More than 200 people attended the event.
The inaugural Minnesota River Basin Ag-Urban Partnership Forum identified numerous ideas on how to bridge that divide. At a second forum held virtually in 2020, discussions continued on ways to work together to protect Minnesota waters, including water quality trading between point and non-point sources.
The third annual forum is scheduled for January 18, 2022. In keeping with the state guidelines for responding to COVID-19, the forum will be held via Webex. People from all regions of Minnesota are invited.
Who should attend
The forum is open to ag and urban partners looking for ideas and information on how to develop and strengthen relationships for working together to improve the water quality of Minnesota lakes and streams. These include:
- Elected officials
- Municipal employees
- Tribal leaders
- Commodity groups
- Watershed professionals
- Advocacy groups
- Lake associations
- Concerned residents
Details for the 2022 Ag-Urban Partnership Forum on Water Quality
Date: Tuesday, January 18, 2022 (9 a.m. to noon)
Desired event outcomes:
Learn from innovative examples of ag-urban collaboration.
Listen to stories about groups that have broken down barriers and are working together.
Hear strategies on how to move partnerships forward within existing planning frameworks.
Recognize successful partnerships.
Inspire additional partnerships.
Katrina Kessler, commissioner, MPCA
Thom Petersen, commissioner, Minnesota Department of Agriculture
North Fork Crow Water Quality Trading Project
Nicole Blasing, manager, MPCA Municipal Wastewater Section
Daniel Nadeau, senior resource conservationist, Wright Soil and Water Conservation District
Shaina Keseley, clean water specialist, Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources
- Overview of goals and outcomes of the 2021 water quality trading pilot project completed in the North Fork Crow Watershed. The project was led by representatives from the MPCA, BWSR, and MDA with significant engagement from local partners within the watershed.
Shell Rock River Stormwater Trading Pilot Project
Courtney Phillips, project and program manager, Shell Rock River Watershed District
The Shell Rock River Watershed District received a LCCMR grant to develop a stormwater trading pilot program, which was completed in 2021. They successfully created a transferable trading framework that provides a roadmap to incorporate market factors into pollution reduction goals and opportunities for accelerated implementation for both point and non-point loading reductions.
Red River Basin Adaptive Management Project
Andrew Bradshaw, operations manager, City of Moorhead Wastewater/Stormwater Services Division
Drew Kessler, PhD, water quality lead, Houston Engineering, Inc.
Ted Preister, executive director, Red River Basin Commission
- Overview of the Red River Basin Commission's Water Quality Offset Project, which seeks to find partners in pro-active water quality projects that will maximize the benefits to local organizations as well as downstream waters. This project is intended to produce a framework for potential future partners to identify new projects throughout the basin so that benefits can be targeted and quantified for all partners while maximizing cost effectiveness.
Generating Credits on Agricultural Land: the MN Ag Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) and Ecosystem Services Market Consortium
Leif Fixen, agriculture strategy manager, The Nature Conservancy
Ted Preister, executive director, Red River Basin Commission;
Mark Lefebvre, conservation planner, Stearns Soil and Water Conservation District
Ben Mergen, Mergen Acres LLC, Stearns County
- Discussion about opportunities for generating environmental credits by partnering with agricultural producers to implement conservation on their land. The MAWQCP is one of the supporting partners of the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium Pilot Project in Minnesota, which provides participants the unique opportunity to test the market product and give input to help guide ESMC program development.