Women who own or manage farmland in southeast Minnesota are invited to a free conservation discussion and field tour on Tuesday, July 23, at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 500 3rd St. West, Northfield, MN. Coffee and registration begin at 8:30 a.m. A free lunch is provided. The program will end with wrap-up and dessert at 3:30 p.m.
Women, Food and Agriculture Network is sponsoring the meeting as part of its Women Caring for the Land series, in collaboration with the Land Stewardship Project, Cannon River Watershed Partnership, and the Center for Rural Affairs. Funding comes from a Conservation Innovation Grant from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Women now own or co-own 25 to 50% of the farmland in the Midwest, and an increasing number of them are sole owners. “We have worked with women landowners for 15 years,” says Leigh Adcock, WFAN executive director. “They are some of the most dedicated conservationists in the region, but are typically overlooked with traditional conservation outreach, which is targeted at the tenant farmer.”
Women Caring for the Land meetings bring together women landowners in an informal, discussion-based learning format for a morning discussion, followed by a more in-depth look at the two or three topics of most interest. Female conservation professionals are on hand to answer questions and share resources. Following lunch, area conservationists lead a bus tour to view practices on the ground. Topics for discussion range from managing soil and water conservation, wildlife management and government cost-share programs, to how to talk with tenants about changing management practices.
“If I’d have known it would be so interesting, I would’ve brought a lot of friends along,” said one participant. Another said, “Thank you for explaining things in a way I could understand.”
2013 is the 50th anniversary of the Minnesota State Water Trails system, the first and largest in the nation. State Water Trails are recreational routes on waterways that are managed for canoeing, kayaking, boating and camping. They include a network of public water accesses, campsites and rest areas. They thrive on the support of local units of government, paddling clubs, nonprofits and outfitters. In the Cannon River watershed we are fortunate to have two State Water Trails: the Cannon River and the Straight River.
To celebrate this anniversary Cannon River Watershed Partnership is hosting some paddles on June 22nd and 23rd. Join us for a leisurely paddle exploring our wonderful waters!
There is no cost to join us (unless you need to rent a canoe or kayak) but preregistration is required by June 20th so we can plan out shuttling needs. Register by contacting Alana at (507) 786-3916 or email@example.com.
No one under the age of 18 without adult supervision. Life jackets/PFDs required. We will do a brief safety review at each site but paddling lessons are not part of this event. CRWP volunteers will be there to help people get in and out of the water and manage shuttling.
More details and information on canoe and kayak rental can be found at www.crwp.net, click on News and Events.
Route 1 – Cannon River – Cannon River Wilderness Area Park to Northfield
On June 4, Bridgewater Township invites the public to a feedback session on next steps to improve and protect Rice Creek (Spring Brook). The session will take place from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Town Hall, 500 Railway Street South, Dundas.
Rice Creek is the only trout stream in Rice County, but its health is threatened. The session will give you an opportunity to learn about the stream and provide input on plans to improve it. To spark your ideas, researchers will share findings from a two-year study of local brook trout, their habits and habitat.
How healthy is the trout population? Does their habitat need improvement? Where and when are pollutant levels highest? What is the source of cold water that trout prefer? What actions should we take and in what order? We will discuss these questions and more.
Spring is finally here. It’s time to get out and enjoy our wonderful watershed. The Cannon River Watershed Partnership (CRWP) invites you to learn to kayak in a relaxed setting on May 22nd – 6 PM – 7:30 PM.
Instructors: Marshall Wright (ACA instructor) and Betsy Wright.
Where: 5351 Elkton Trail, Faribault, MN.
Cost: FREE to CRWP members. To become a member go to the CRWP website.
Kayaking is a popular recreational activity for people of all ages. To enjoy kayaking safely you need knowledge, training and the ability to make informed decisions about wind, weather and waves. Proper boat selection based on the type of activity you wish to pursue in your kayak is an important consideration.
We will explain the different types of kayaks and terminology used to describe boat features and attributes. We will cover materials and boat “fit” and the different paddle designs available. We will have several kayaks for attendees to sit in to get the feel of the cockpit. And we will have a wide range of safety equipment–beyond life jackets (“pfds”).
We will also provide referrals to reputable sources for on-the-water training, outfitting and group touring. If time allows, Marshall will demonstrate a basic kayaking skill set on the water (if the ice is out on Cannon Lake and the air temperature is comfortable for class attendees) or in the pool.
Experiencing the water from the seat a of kayak is special. You are actually “in” the water, which is a unique point of view. Kayaking allows access to areas that can’t be reached by motorized craft or by hiking. It’s a silent sport that leaves a light footprint on the environment. Come learn about kayaking!
Help clean up the Cannon River and collect free soft water for your flower gardens. Join the Cannon River Watershed Partnership in learning about runoff and the benefits of rain barrels for water conservation and gardening. Go home with a fully assembled 55-gallon plastic rain barrel and the knowledge that YOU are doing something for clean water.
Northfield workshops will be held:
April 20th at 1:00 PM at First UCC Church, 300 Union Street as part of the Earth Day Celebration. Register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call (507) 786-3913. Cost is $40.
April 30th at 7 PM at the Northfield Community Resource Center, Room 225. Register through Northfield Community Services, #3275-W13A, Cost is $45.
By Elizabeth Kallestad, on March 29, 2013, 5:50 am
While it may not look much like spring today it’s coming soon – really! Cannon River Watershed Partnership has some fabulous opportunities for you to get outdoors, explore the watershed and celebrate spring.
Introduction to Kayaking – April 17th – 6 PM
Instructors: Marshall Wright (ACA instructor) and Betsy Wright.
Where: 5351 Elkton Trail, Faribault, MN.
Cost: FREE to CRWP members. To become a member go to the CRWP website.
Join us for a tantalizing wine tasting and auction experience. Enjoy a fabulous afternoon with friends sampling local wines from the Cannon River Winery and local foods from Thousand Hills Cattle Company and more, while bidding on fantastic auction items to support CRWP’s work for clean water.
Tickets are $30 each or two for $50. To purchase tickets contact Leslie at email@example.com or (507) 786-3915. Tickets will be available at the door as well.
By Elizabeth Kallestad, on December 6, 2012, 11:01 am
Cannon River Watershed Partnership is planning to roll out a new project in 2013 that we are calling Connecting With The Creek. Our goal is to engage people at a young age so they can gain a life-long appreciation of their watershed. With this project, youth will be engaged through interactive, after-school and summer sessions to experience nature in a deeper way. Hands-on activities will allow them to touch, see, smell, and hear the creek as they learn about its health and what lives there.
Now we just need to find the funding to make it happen! We’ve applied through Nature’s Path EnviroKidz to win a grant for $10,000 that will help get this off the ground.
YOU can help us win this grant by voting for the project on Facebook from December 1 – December 15th.
By Elizabeth Kallestad, on November 23, 2012, 6:11 am
A few weeks ago most of us went to the polls and elected someone else to represent us in the state and federal government as members of the Minnesota Legislature, the US Senate and House of Representatives. We hope that they will convey what matters to us to these governing bodies. Sometimes we have opportunities to speak to these elected officials and the agency staff who carry out the work of government and voice our opinions. Over the next few weeks the Environmental Congress of the State of Minnesota is giving us a chance to do just that. So just what is this Environmental Congress? As it turns out, Minnesota law instructs the state Environmental Quality Board (EQB) to hold and Environmental Congress to:
Assess Minnesota’s progress toward improving and sustaining clean air, clean water, and clean energy in our communities
Engage Minnesotans in constructive public dialogue about our state’s environmental and economic health
Identify environmental challenges and opportunities to improve and sustain the health of Minnesota’s natural resources and quality of life
Define a vision, and recommend specific policy changes to learn from our past, build on our strengths, and leave a legacy for future generations of Minnesotans
The EQB will be presenting an environmental and energy “Report Card” at Citizen Forums around the state over the next few weeks to talk about the report card which measures Minnesota’s performance in clean air, clean water, and clean energy. These Citizen Forums are our chance to engage in conversations and give feedback on the report card findings and share our thoughts on these important environmental issues. The EQB will use this feedback as they host the Environmental Congress in March 2013. For information about dates, locations and more information on the Environmental Congress go to http://mn.gov/EnvironmentalCongress/forum.html.
May 17th – 7:00 – 8:00 PM – Blue Thumb class to learn about rain gardens
Location: St. John’s Lutheran Church, 500 West 3rd St. Northfield
The class will cover: Rain garden basics; Design and installation for your property; Maintenance.
Bring a rough sketch of your property layout and downspouts for more site specific advice. Northfield residents may qualify for a $250 grant to install their own rain garden. Attendance is free but registration is requested.
The walk will take you through the St. Olaf Natural Lands to view wetlands, woodlands, and prairie habitats. The naturalist will talk about wetland and prairie restoration as it relates to water quality.
The Board of Directors of the Cannon River Watershed Partnership cordially invites our members and the public to attend our Annual Membership Meeting, Monday March 19, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, St. John’s Lutheran Church, 500 3rd St. West.
There will be social time and refreshments, a brief membership meeting and a keynote presentation by Commissioner Paul Aasen from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (507) 786-3915. More info on the CRWP events page.
She’ll present the "opportunity maps" that were created to show some ideas of how marginal lands can be used differently and how to add value to the two crop rotation system with "third crops". Learn more at This Perennial Land.
I entered Cannon River Watershed Partnership’s photo contest this year and whaddya know, I placed. Here are the winners in the three categories (thumbnails are linked to the large originals on the CRWP site but they still display in a slideshow here in the blog post):
Category: Family and Friends in the Outdoors First Place: Laurie Johnson Second Place: John Muellerleile
Category: Working for Our Watershed First place: Glenn Switzer Second place: Griff Wigley
Category: Nature in Our Watershed First Place: Griff Wigley Second Place: Eric Mueller Third Place: David Charlton
By Elizabeth Kallestad, on January 16, 2012, 5:33 am
The public is invited to attend a watershed wide, citizen–led conversation on water quality issues facing the Straight, Cannon, Le Sueur and Mississippi Rivers to be held on Thursday February 2nd at the Holiday Inn & Suites, 2365 43rd St NW, Owatonna, MN from 5 to 8:30 p.m. The event is free, but advanced registration is required.
The conversation is being sponsored by a wide range of grassroots citizen groups, farm groups, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and InCommons. The purpose of the meeting is to explore how citizens, businesses and government can share leadership by collaborating to restore water quality in the four river systems.
The meeting will feature a meal and round table discussions facilitated by InCommons – a community-based initiative that connects Minnesotans to share tools, knowledge and resources to address complicated problems.
The Owatonna dialogue will be patterned after a similar round table discussion held in Mankato on December 6, 2011, More than 130 people attended the discussion that featured farmers, environmental advocates, government agency workers and recreational users of the river all sitting at the same table to discuss the issues and seek common ground.
The public is invited and welcome to attend. Farmers and landowners are especially encouraged to participate. To register for the meal and dialogue or for more information, call 1-877-269-2873 by January 25, 2012. Seating is available for 80 people on a first come, first served basis. Organizers are expecting a full house, so don’t delay.
By Elizabeth Kallestad, on January 8, 2012, 6:52 pm
Join us for a fun afternoon sampling local wine, local foods, bidding on auction items to include dinners, tours, art and more while supporting clean water and the Cannon River Watershed Partnership. Tickets are $30 each or 2 for $50. Contact Leslie at email@example.com or call (507) 786-3915.
By Elizabeth Kallestad, on December 2, 2011, 8:44 pm
Dr. Michael Osterholm, epidemiologist and trout-fishing enthusiast, will share the story of rehabilitating three trout streams on his Prairie Song Farm in Iowa.
Until 2002 the streams were degraded by severe bank erosion and a lack of in-stream cover. Since that time, an extensive effort was made to enhance stream habitat, increase fish and prey populations, and improve spawning sites. This presentation will provide a comprehensive overview of issues surrounding coldwater stream improvement. Lessons learned will inform restoration efforts on our local trout stream, Rice Creek.
By Elizabeth Kallestad, on November 1, 2011, 8:48 am
Do you love the outdoors? Did you go on a really good canoe trip? Host a birthday party by a lake? Catch the biggest fish ever? Are you eager to share summer and fall pictures of our watershed? The CRWP wants your photos for a seasonal photo contest.
Photos will be judged on their originality, artistic merit and portrayal of an environmental theme. All photos will be available for public view in an on-line photo album. First, Second and Third Prize photos will be displayed on our website. Photos are due before December 1st 2011; winners will be announced early January.
“Working for our watershed” photos with themes of environmental stewardship
“Family and friends in the outdoors” People enjoying water
“Nature in our watershed” landscape and wildlife photography
Maximum of 3 submissions per photographer
Photos must be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org before 12/1/11
File size no bigger than 4MB
Include your name, the location of the photo and a 1-2 sentence description
Specify category of submission: Working for Our Watershed, Family and Friends in the Outdoors,or Nature in Our Watershed
By submitting your photo, you give CRWP the right to use it in future web and print publications.
By Elizabeth Kallestad, on September 30, 2011, 9:24 pm
Buy a rain barrel now and be ready for spring gardening. The Cannon River Watershed Partnership has fully assembled 55 gallon plastic rain barrels (white or blue) for sale for $40. To purchase your rain barrel please contact Leslie at (507) 786-3915 or email email@example.com.
Why harvest rainwater?
Free “soft water” containing no chlorine, lime or calcium making it ideal for gardens, flower pots, car and window washing.
A rain barrel will save you about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months!
Helps protect the environment while it saves you money and energy.
Diverting water from storm drains decreases the impact of runoff to streams and lakes.
A rain barrel is an easy way for you to have a FREE consistent supply of clean, fresh water for outdoor uses do your part for clean water!
The last two years we have pulled 48,000 pounds of trash from our rivers and lakes. We need your help to continue our work for healthier water and healthier communities. Walking and canoe access sites will be available. Groups from across the watershed are participating in this annual cleanup. Make a difference in your community and have fun!
The Cannon River Watershed Partnership (events page link) invites the public to join us for a Learn to Kayak class on July 20th at 6:30 PM at 5351 Elkton Trail in Faribault. The class will be taught by Marshall Wright. Marshall is an American Canoe Association certified instructor. He will present the basics of kayaking through informal lecture and on-land demonstrations.
You’ll get to sit in a recreational kayak and several touring kayaks. You’ll learn the terminology: hard vs soft chine; skeg vs rudder; primary vs secondary stability, etc. You will handle a variety of paddles and review essential safety equipment. Also covered: racking & tie-down for transport, launching and landing.
Participants must be at least 16 years old. Cost is $10.00 per person. Please note, you must pre-register by July 15th. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (507) 786-3913 to sign up, space is limited.
Saint Olaf professors and students, along with interns with Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), aided the biologists with the sampling. Together, the group netted and counted over 600 brook trout and 150 brown trout in five small reaches along the streams.
Of significance, some of the trout counted were 2-inch, young-of-year trout, indicating that stream conditions are adequate for trout reproduction. MPCA stream biologist Brenda Asmus:
I was quite surprised and impressed by the number of healthy adult fish and small young-of-the-year brook and brown trout that we found in these two streams.
Some observations were not indicative of good stream health, however. The group noticed large amounts of filamentous algae, an indication of high nutrient levels in the streams. Asmus:
Small amounts of algae are normal, but high amounts of algae can cause conditions that are stressful to fish. [This is especially the case] during warm summer days when the algae decomposes and competes with trout and aquatic insects for oxygen.
In August, MPCA stream biologists will return to Rice Creek and Trout Brook to sample insects and snails and to collect water chemistry information.
The biologists will be looking for the presence or absence of pollution sensitive fish and insects. Based on what fish and aquatic insects are found, they can get a general picture of the health of the streams. If pollution sensitive species are missing from a stream, it will be rated “impaired” and follow-up work will done to determine the specific problem.
Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Cannon Valley Trail and the beauty of the Wild & Scenic Cannon River by taking part in the Cannon River Peddle Paddle on June 4th from 8:30 AM – 2:00 PM.
Bike from the trail head off Hwy 19 in Cannon Falls to Welch and back, a 20 mile round trip, on the Cannon Valley Trail. Or enjoy a 3-4 hour paddle on the Wild & Scenic Cannon River from Cannon Falls to Welch.
Put your canoes in the Cannon River at Riverside Park (North 4th Street in Cannon Falls) and take out at Welch. Parking is available next to the river at Riverside Park and the Cannon Valley Trail site in Welch.
Don’t have a canoe? Rentals are available at Welch Mill Canoe and Tubing. Refreshments and other activities will be going on at the Welch rest area as part of the Cannon Valley Trail 25th Anniversary Celebration.