For Cleaner Water
       & Fewer Floods  

Area Events & Workshops

  • 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 

  • 06 Nov 2013 4:57 PM | Anonymous
    ZWP and History Center Grant To Use History to Understand the Present

    Zumbro Watershed Partnership (ZWP) is working with the History Center of Olmsted County (HCOC) to develop an "environmental history" of the Zumbro Watershed. The scientific, history, and land use information that they collect will help ZWP and HCOC educate the public about how we have arrived at the river system that is prone to erosion, sedimentation, and downstream flooding.

    Both organizations will use the collected information for displays, programs, and other educational outreach.

    Read the whole article at:
  • 06 Nov 2013 4:54 PM | Anonymous
    Zumbro River Voted "Best Tubing River"

    It's not often the that Zumbro River gets much recognition. But recently, it was voted "Best Tubing River". Check it out.
  • 09 Sep 2013 9:39 AM | Anonymous

    Schad-Tracy Signs of Oronoco donated $800 of highway signs for the May Zumbro Watershed Partnership Rain Barrel Sale.

    "The signs made it a lot easier for people to find our rain barrel sale this year," said Zumbro Watershed Partnership Education Coordinator Kevin Strauss.


    Business donations are a major source of funding for Zumbro Watershed Partnership's projects for "Cleaner Water and Fewer Floods" in the region. If your business would like to support our programs, please contact ZWP Executive Director Lawrence Svien at

  • 23 Aug 2013 2:53 PM | Anonymous
    Zumbro & Friends Flood Mitigation Town Hall Meetings

    Zumbro & Friends is a coalition of watershed and community groups working to reduce or eliminate destructive flooding in the Zumbro Watershed. To better understand how and where flooding happens in the watershed, the group has been working with Dr. Steve Druschel from Minnesota State University Mankato to develop a watershed model. These public meetings will give residents a chance to learn about the model and how it can help guide flood mitigation planning and projects in the future.

    1. Mazeppa Sept 17, 6:30-8:30

    Community Room 121 Maple Street NE Mazeppa, MN 55956


    2. Mantorville Sept 19, 6:30-8:30

    Mantorville Senior Citizen’s Center (Old Catholic Church) 601 Clay St. Mantorville MN 55955 


    3. Wanamingo Sept 24, 6:30-8:30

    Community Room (Old Fire Hall) 401 Main St. Wanamingo, MN 55983


    4. Oronoco: Sept 26, 6:30-8:30

    Oronoco Community Center 115 2nd St. NW, Oronoco, MN 55960


    Meeting Format:

    6:30 to 7 - coffee & meet Dr. Druschel, Sarah Green and members of Zumbro & Friends.


    7 – 7:30 - Dr. Druschel & Sarah Green present findings of a Zumbro watershed modeling study that has been completed by civil engineering students.


    7:30 to 8:30 – Public questions, input and suggestions regarding flood mitigation in the Zumbro Watershed.

    For more information, contact John Homme of the Zumbro & Friends citizens group. Homme can be reached by phone at 507-206-0177 or by email at 

  • 11 Jul 2013 4:15 PM | Anonymous

    Thanks to a Community Partnership Grant from the Southeast Libraries Cooperating and funds from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, ZWP received a grant to develop two new programs for watershed libraries and schools.

    Using "Mr. Wizard Style" science experiments and cool science demonstrations, Education Coordinator Kevin Strauss gets children and adults excited about science, and taking care of the Zumbro River Watershed.

    The Amazing Water Science Show: introduces participants to all the amazing things that water can do, and how we can keep our waterways cleaner. 

    The Amazing Rock Science Show: introduces participants to the rocks under our feet, the amazing volcanic and glacier history of Minnesota, and how we can all keep our rivers and groundwater clean.

    Other programs include our "Amazing Animals" and "Zumbro Zoe" shows.

    All programs are open to the public, come out and watch. Also if you know of a school or library who has funding to bring these programs to their site, contact Kevin Strauss at

    Tues., July 16, 10:30 a.m., Kasson-Mantorville Public Library, Kasson  “Amazing Animals of the Zumbro River Valley”

    Tues., July 23, various times, Zumbrota Public Library, Zumbrota,

                            10:30 a.m. “Zumbro Zoe’s Amazing Clean Water Show”

                            1:00 p.m. “Amazing Animals of the Zumbro River Valley”

    Tues., July 23, 7:00 p.m., Lake City Public Library, Lake City

                            “Amazing Water Science”

    Wed. July 24, 10:30 a.m., Kasson-Mantorville Public Library, Kasson 

                            “Amazing Water Science”

    Wed. Aug. 7, 1:00 p.m., Rochester Public Library, “Amazing Water Science”

    This project was funded in part or in whole with money from Minnesota's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

  • 08 Jul 2013 4:46 PM | Anonymous
    Rochester residents have watched our flood control system shrug off storms and high water that have pulverized downstream communities. But that's not by accident. Community leaders worked hard to protect the Med City, and they did it while reducing the water flow leaving Rochester. Today the river releases 18 percent less water, even during high water events, that it did in the 1970s. Find out how these changes happened in this article from the Rochester Post-Bulletin.
  • 06 Jun 2013 1:16 PM | Anonymous

    Simulation games give participants a chance to practice skills that they need in the real (nongame) world. They also teach participants about new and innovative ways to solve problems like river pollution or flooding.


    Join the Zumbro Watershed Partnership on Thursday, June 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the Cascade Meadow Wetlands and Environmental Science Center (2900--19th St. NW, Rochester) to play "The Watershed Game" a game where participants need to work together to solve pollution problems in their region. Chocolate is involved. 


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

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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