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NRCS in MN Providing Technical Assistance to Urban Farmers and Landowners!

August is water quality month and what better way is there to celebrate but to highlight outstanding outreach efforts happening within the metro area of MN.   More and more agriculture is being done on a smaller scale within the Twin Cities metro area; therefore, there is a growing demand for technical resources involving water quality. 

NRCS Staff from Minnesota Area IV offices participated in the 27th annual Waterfest celebration held at the Lake Phalen Regional Park in St. Paul. The event, which is free and open to the general public, was held on Saturday, June 3rd from 11Rainfall Simulator, modified to reflect traditional urban landscape covers/soils, and a portfolio of soils demonstration apparatus to demonstrate that soil and water are inextricably connected am to 4 pm. This event continues to set attendance records, reflecting the public’s ongoing concerns and growing demand for more knowledge on water quality in Minnesota.  This was the NRCS’s second showing at this educational and community out-reach event reaching about 3,000 people. The team of Rodney Aaron, John Crellin, and Tom Petersen utilized the Rainfall Simulator, modified to reflect traditional urban landscape covers/soils, and a portfolio of soils demonstration apparatus to demonstrate that soil and water are inextricably connected. That is to say… to have clean water you need healthy soils.  Healthy soils filter and store more water, reducing runoff and cleaning the water before it reaches surface or groundwater resources.  “We work each day to help agricultural producers plan and implement conservation practices that sequester carbon and benefit our natural resources, enabling producers to improve their bottom line while rising to the challenge of today.” Says NRCS Acting Chief Leonard Jordan.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Minnesota has developed a two pageSoil Health Factsheet fact sheet on how Soil Health impacts Clean Water within urban landscapes. The publication guides a landowner through the basics of each of the four soil health management principles and how those management philosophies could improve overall water quality for surface and groundwater.  Soil is a natural filter or cleaner of water; therefore, the more water that can infiltrate through the soil the better.   The opening quote of the publication states “When it comes to conserving and protecting water resources in urban environments, it’s important to consider the role of healthy soils.  Soil and water are interconnected.  Maintaining healthy soils enhances the quality of the water resources that our communities and ecosystems depend on.”  For more information on how healthy soils can contribute to clean water go to the MN NRCS website:  Soil Health   or contact your local USDA Service Center Office. 

For additional information regarding soil health or water quality related issues, please contact Kristin Brennan, State Soil Health Coordinator (Kristin.brennan@mn.usda.gov), or Shannon Carpenter, State Water Quality Specialist (Shannon.carpenter@mn.usda.gov)