Clean water starts here! The Freshwater Society is using innovative and effective programs to value, conserve and protect our water.
The Freshwater Society educates and inspires people to value, conserve and protect all water resources.
Lakes, rivers and groundwater in Minnesota, the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” are part of our natural heritage, but we have taken water for granted. Many of our streams and lakes are contaminated by fertilizers, pesticides, industrial chemicals and human and animal wastes. Some areas of the state do not even have enough water supply and given Minnesota's drought conditions, all areas of the state could be at risk.
FACT: Soils, manure, fertilizer and other chemicals run off farm fields and feedlots in many of Minnesota’s rivers eventually end up in the Mississippi River. Nutrient pollution from rivers in the Midwest are cited as a major cause of the “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico, now encompassing over 5,840 square miles—roughly the size of Connecticut!
WHAT WE’RE DOING ABOUT IT: Through Minnesota FarmWise, we have been working for the past two years to identify conservation-minded farmers and build a network of leaders in the Cannon River Watershed who can lead water quality initiatives. The program has also worked to convene and gather input about the successes and challenges of implementing agricultural conservation from agricultural and environmental leaders around the state.
FACT: Water pollution and supply issues are not unique to Minnesota. At least three in four Americans surveyed in Gallup’s 2011 Environmental poll on March 28, 2011, said they worried a great deal or fair amount about pollution.
WHAT WE’RE DOING ABOUT IT: Through our Moos Speaker Series, we have partnered with the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences to offer free lectures for both citizens and scientists on timely, cutting-edge water issues.
Over the last year, we have hosted lectures by Purdue University agricultural economist Otto Doering on the pollution of water and air by excess human-created nitrogen; by National Geographic Freshwater Fellow Sandra Postel on climate change and world water sustainability; by U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist Don Rosenberry on the complex interaction of groundwater and lakes and streams and by USGS research biologist Duane Chapman on the threat of Asian carp.
On Nov. 5, David Schindler, one of the world’s most respected freshwater ecologists will speak on the tension – sometimes conflict – between environmental science and public policy.
For people who cannot attend the lectures in person, we offer the presentations in streaming video, and we maintain an archive of past lectures.
And, we have just finished the first class of the Master Water Stewards program which arms community volunteers with information and skills needed to reduce stormwater runoff that carries pollutants to nearby lakes and streams. These Master Water Stewards worked with their neighborhoods and local and state governmental agencies to meet local water quality, education and outreach goals. This program is all about taking action to stop pollution of our waterways!