For Cleaner Water
       & Fewer Floods  

Area Events & Workshops

  • 07 May 2014 4:17 PM | Anonymous

    Thursday, May 8, 6:30 p.m.,


    by Bob Watson and Larry Stone

     Cascade Meadow Wetlands and Environmental Science Center, 2900 19th Street NW, Rochester

    Watson and Stone give a 4-step plan to address the river pollution and erosion we're seeing in rural areas while at the same time reducing flooding risks and improving the farm economy. See how you can be part of the solution to river pollution in this innovative presentation.

    For more information, contact Zumbro Watershed Partnership Education Coordinator Kevin Strauss at 507-993-3411, or ""

  • 28 Apr 2014 12:13 PM | Anonymous
    The Zumbro Watershed Partnership has CANCELLED it's 2014 Rain Barrel Sale.

    While earlier advertising reported that we had planned to hold a rain barrel sale on Saturday, May 3 from 9am-3pm, we have cancelled the sale because we couldn't find a vendor to supply the barrels.

    While we hope to hold sales in the future, that depends on our ability to find a company who can bring barrels to Rochester.

    If you have any questions, please contact ZWP Education Coordinator Kevin Strauss at 507-993-3411 or at ""
  • 17 Apr 2014 10:52 AM | Anonymous
    Last Thursday, our "Water Ways" Speaker Series Presenter was Arlys Freeman, President of Midwest Floating Island. She showed us how her company's artificial floating islands could clean fertilizers out of ponds, provide wildlife habitat, an...d protect eroding shorelines.

    While the cost for these islands varies, Freeman estimated about $45 per square foot for construction and installation.

    You can see some of their islands in action at the Cascade Meadow Wetlands and Environmental Science Center, Quarry Hill Nature Center, and Silver Lake, all in Rochester, MN.

    You can learn more about their projects at:

    You can see a video about these islands here:
  • 01 Apr 2014 2:31 PM | Anonymous

    Healthy Soils, Healthy Waters, Healthy Communities (H3) Festival

    Saturday, April 12, 2014

    8:00 am-4:00 pm

    Mazeppa Community Center, Mazeppa, MN


    Want to learn more about the history and animals of the Zumbro River? Ever wonder why the region's ponds and lakes fill with sediment? Want to learn about eagles, otters, and other wildlife that live in our area? Do you wonder what farmers and homeowners can do to protect our soil and keep our rivers clean?

    Then you'll want to bring your family to the First Annual "Healthy Soils, Healthy Waters, Healthy Communities Festival" on Saturday, April 12 from 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. at the Mazeppa Community Center in Mazeppa, MN, right on the banks of the North Fork of the Zumbro River.

    At the Mazeppa Community Center, children can play games and do activities to learn about river animals and history. You can get your picture taken with "Zumbro Zoe" our six-foot-tall Zumbro River Otter mascot, learn about the history of Mazeppa and the Zumbro River, and discover simple things you can do to work for "Cleaner Water and Fewer Floods" on the Zumbro River. 

    Hear speakers talk about the history, science, and wildlife of the Zumbro River from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

    Free Bus Tours:
    If you want to get outside, join us for a two-hour Zumbro River History and Conservation Bus Tour with the first bus leaving at 8:30 a.m. and the last bus leaving at 1:30 p.m. Tours will leave on the hour. You'll have a chance to see the results of flooding and erosion problems on the Zumbro River, and see what local farmers are doing to protect their soil and keep the Zumbro clean.

    At this family and child activity event, you'll learn to see soil in a whole new way, through hands-on activities and presentations about the Zumbro River, healthy soil farming practices, river-friendly lawn care, area wildlife, and more.

    Participating Organizations Include:

    SOM Generators Farm Mentor Group

    Zumbro Watershed Partnership 

    Renewing the Countryside

    Natural Resource Conservation Service

    Wabasha County Soil and Water Conservation Service

    Minnesota Department of Agriculture

    Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

    Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (Project WET)

    Lake Zumbro Forever


    For more information, contact ZWP Education Coordinator Kevin Strauss at 507-993-3411 or


  • 13 Mar 2014 2:19 PM | Anonymous

    For those who forgot to purchase their Rod Schara Breakfast tickets by March 12, you now have until March 16!


    The Zumbro Watershed Breakfast with Ron Schara 

    Saturday, March 22, 2014
    8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m.
    Mayo Civic Center, Taylor Arena, Rochester, Minnesota
    Almost everyone in Minnesota knows of Award-Winning Outdoor Journalist and Television Producer Ron Schara. Ron will talk about his role on the Minnesota DNR Outdoor Advisory Committee and what we can all do to work for "Cleaner Water and Fewer Floods" in Southeast Minnesota. 
    Catering by the Canadian Honker.  The cost will be $12.00 per person. 
    Menu:  Scrambled eggs....Sausage patties....American fries....Fresh fruit....Assorted
    mini juice & coffee. 
    If you are interested in attending the breakfast, tickets must be purchased
    through the Zumbro Watershed Partnership by March 16.   

    Bring your email receipt to the breakfast as your ticket.  
  • 29 Jan 2014 11:11 AM | Anonymous
    Would you like to help monitor the health of our rivers? Somerby Golf Course is looking for a volunteer to help with river sampling.

    "We have all the equipment necessary to perform the tests, but am looking for a new water enthused volunteer (who can help us by) testing 4 to 6 times per season. If you happen to know of anyone interested, please send them my way."

    Eric Counselman
    Golf Course Superintendent
    Somerby Golf Club
    Office: 507-775-3743
    Cell: 920-918-0293
  • 22 Jan 2014 3:13 PM | Anonymous

    Everyone knows that excessive sediment (dirt) in the Zumbro River is leading to problems like shallow lakes, reduced fish populations, and mucky water. But since this sediment could be washing into the river from almost any of the 900,000 acres that make up the watershed, this has been a hard problem to get a handle on, until now


    The Identifying Priority Erosion Sites (IPES) project, funded by a grant from the Legislative Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) and managed by the Zumbro Watershed Partnership will provide the tools that local Soil and Water Conservation Districts will need to identify and prioritize erosion sites in their counties. Barr Engineering and University of Minnesota’s Dr. David Mulla are implementing the technical parts of the project using high-resolution GIS mapping data to identify which parts of the watershed (all the land that drains to the Zumbro River) that could have the biggest erosion problems.


    “Past studies in other watersheds have shown that up to 80% of the sediment in the region could be eroding from as little as 10-20% of the landscape,” said ZWP Executive Director Lawrence Svien. “By targeting our limited staff and funding resources on these erosion ‘hot spots’ we’ll see the best return on our conservation investments.”


    On Thursday, Dylan Timm from the University of Minnesota and Greg Wilson from Barr Engineering presented the project at the ZWP Partners Advisory Committee Meeting, a meeting of county, state, and city conservation and water professionals at the Cascade Meadow Wetlands and Environmental Science Center in Rochester.


    According to Wilson, the project is using high-resolution mapping data to identify places in the watershed where we would expect to see high levels of erosion, based on land slope and water flow. So far, this process identified hundreds of locations that could be erosion problems in the watershed.


    In February, Barr Engineering will hold a training for city, county, and state water professionals in the region to teach them how to use the tool that they have developed to identify and prioritize possible erosion sites in their county or city. Then these Soil and Water Conservation Districts will have a list of site they can focus on to reduce erosion and sediment in the Zumbro River.


    When asked what prevention measures people could use to reduce erosion, Wilson was clear.


    “It’s all about vegetative (green plant) stability,” said Wilson. “If you have an area without any plant cover, or an area without a buffer strip next to the river, you’re at a much higher risk of erosion.”


    Wilson pointed out that degraded forestland (without any green plant undergrowth), bare soil crop fields, eroded river banks, and gullies are all places where erosion can take hold. And that erosion will lead to sedimentation and murky brown water in the Zumbro River.


    For more information about this and other ways that the Zumbro Watershed Partnership is work for “Cleaner Water and Fewer Floods” in southeast Minnesota, visit

  • 04 Dec 2013 4:00 PM | Anonymous
    The state of Minnesota has proposed a new strategy to reduce the amount of fertilizer pollution in state rivers and lakes and they want to hear what we think about the plan. You have until Dec. 18 to send mail-in or email comments to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
    You can read a summary and get more "user-friendly" details about the strategy at:
    The full 285 page document is at:

    Questions to think about:
    1. Does the new strategy propose any new approaches, new funding, or new rules to address the ongoing nutrient pollution problems in Minnesota?
    2. Who is "responsible" for addressing excess nutrients under this strategy? Under current practice, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency can identify rivers that are "impaired" by excess nutrients, but they have no authority to regulate non-point sources of nutrient pollution.
    3. A recent MPCA Study identifies corn and soybean fields as the source of 70 percent of the nitrate pollution in Minnesota. Does this strategy take meaningful steps to address this study?  Do you think the strategy is sufficient or do you think it falls short.  What would you propose?

    Tips for Writing Effective Public Comments
    1.  Review and outline. Carefully review proposed strategy and make an outline of both your concerns and support for the proposed strategy. If you have more than one major concern about the strategy, begin with a summary of your "Major Concerns" and then provide details.
    2. Use headings and sub-headings to separate your points. Highlight your headings with some combination of spacing, color, capital letters, or bold, italic, or underlined font.

    3. For specific concerns, order your comments page-by-page to make it easier for the reviewer to locate the places in the document that you are referencing. Whenever possible, back up a concern with a solid example (either real or hypothetical). 

    4. Phrase your comments as statements, not questions. Use respectful language.

    5. State what you support as well as what you disagree with. The agency could revise parts of a document that you agree with, as well as parts that you don’tundefinedso it is a good idea to note the sections you support.


    6. Offer helpful solutions. Whenever possible, offer suggestions for how the document’s authors can address a concern or solve a problem (such as timing, design, etc.).

  • 21 Nov 2013 4:19 PM | Anonymous

    Healthy headwaters: Open house set on strategy to reduce nutrients in waters

    Nutrients post a threat to water resources such as the Mississippi River and Lake Pepin, and several agencies in Minnesota have drafted a statewide strategy to reduce these pollutants.


    The draft strategy is open for public review and comment through Dec. 18. The statewide plan aims to get various agencies and groups working together to increase current efforts to reduce nutrients in Minnesota waters and those downstream.


    Southeast Minnesota residents will have a chance to learn about the strategy and visit with scientists working on it at an open house Tuesday, Dec. 3, from 4-6 p.m. at the St. James Hotel. Refreshments will be served.


    Phosphorus and nitrogen are the primary nutrients that in excessive amounts can pollute lakes, streams, wetlands and groundwater.


    Surface water leaving Minnesota flows north to Lake Winnipeg, east to Lake Superior, and south to the Gulf of Mexico. The initial targets are a 35-percent reduction in phosphorus and 20-percent reduction in nitrogen by 2025 in the Mississippi River basin, as well as reductions for the Red River/Lake Winnipeg and Lake Superior basins. The ultimate goal is a 45-percent reduction for the Mississippi River.


    Agencies and organizations can use the strategy to focus and adjust state-level and regional programs. Watershed managers and local water planners can also translate strategy ideas and priorities into the best practices on the ground to meet the goals.


    Agencies involved in developing the strategy include:  Board of Water and Soil Resources, Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources, Metropolitan Council, Pollution Control Agency, Public Facilities Authority, Department of Health, University of Minnesota-Extension, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and U.S. Geological Survey.


    Minnesota's state-level strategy will be completed by the end of 2013. Involvement of interested citizens and organizations is vital. Success depends on actions from many people around the state. For more information on the strategy development process and opportunities to provide feedback, visit the website:, or email

  • 13 Nov 2013 12:34 PM | Anonymous
    news release

    For release: November 12, 2013
    Contact: Cathy Rofshus, 507-206-2608

    Note to editors: This is the fourth of six news releases featuring clean water projects funded by the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment. The amendment was approved by voters five years ago this month. View past news releases at

    Local partners brave the elements to detect pollutants in rivers

    Rochester, Minn. -- When it rains in southeastern Minnesota, select watershed staff are packing their sample bottles along with their umbrellas. They’re working to detect the level of pollutants being flushed into rivers with rain water or snow melt.

    When snow melts or rain falls, the water picks up pollutants as it drains across land to a stream. Measuring that flush of pollutants can be tricky because some stream water levels rise and fall so quickly – in a matter of hours. It’s also important work, because the bulk of pollutants in a season can come from a single major storm.

    Staff are checking several sites on the Cannon, Zumbro and Root rivers – all tributaries to the Mississippi – for water temperature, clarity and other conditions. Staff will also take water samples for lab analysis to determine levels of nutrients and sediment. These are the two most common pollutants in Minnesota waters, with nutrients fueling algal blooms and sediment clouding the water.

    With funding from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), via the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, this important monitoring work is being done by the Cannon River Watershed Partnership, Fillmore Soil and Water Conservation District and Zumbro Watershed Partnership.

    While these local partners regularly monitor the health of rivers, this water monitoring is special because it captures the level of pollutants in runoff. Water picks up soil, fertilizer and other pollutants as it runs off the land to a stream, lake or wetland.

    “Pollutant loads are typically highest during and after high precipitation events because many pollutant concentrations are often highest during periods of elevated stream flow. Concentrations can also vary between events as the source of runoff and contributing pollutant sources differ with rainfall intensity, areas of bare soil, and other factors,” said Pat Baskfield, hydrologist with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) groundwater and load monitoring unit.

    “Capturing data from all major events during first flush and the ensuing high flow period is essential to determining the health of rivers across Minnesota. Each bit of data helps to fill in a picture of water quality,” he said.

    To accurately determine a pollutant load, the local partners will also check the rivers during typical flow conditions – when no rain or snowmelt occurs – to establish a baseline of pollutant levels. These checks will provide a comparison point to determine the amount of pollutants flushed in during high water periods.

    The data from southeast Minnesota will flow into a statewide water monitoring network, along with four other groups in southern Minnesota. Earlier this year, the MPCA awarded more than $900,000 in grants to these local partners to do this monitoring.

    These points of data will provide long-term information to help fill in the picture of water quality across the state. This effort is part of agency-led Watershed Pollutant Load Monitoring Network, which collects data to provide information about the health of Minnesota watersheds – our rivers and what feeds into them. The information helps identify where excessive pollutants are entering river systems, from both direct and runoff sources.

    Because this network is statewide and long-term, it can help identify trends over time and compare one part of the state to another. It is also useful to evaluate the effectiveness of remedial activities and to identify waters that need protection.

    For more information visit

    Broadcast version

    When it rains in southeastern Minnesota, select watershed staff in southeast Minnesota are packing their sample bottles along with their umbrellas. They’re working to detect the level of pollutants being flushed into rivers with rain water or snow melt.

    The project, one of many funded by the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment, will give water professionals a better idea of how the Cannon, Zumbro, and Root Rivers are being affected by runoff. Over time, the information will help to identify where pollutants are entering river systems and give clues about how to target cleanup efforts. 

    More information is available at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency website.




    The mission of the MPCA is to protect and improve the environment and enhance human health.

    St. Paul • Brainerd • Detroit Lakes • Duluth • Mankato • Marshall • Rochester • Willmar • Toll-free and TDD 800-657-3864 

Contact Us:

Mailing Address: Zumbro Watershed Partnership, Inc.
12 Elton Hills Drive NW
Rochester, MN 55901

ZWP Executive Director Contact Information 
Phone Number: 507-226-6787

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