For Cleaner Water
       & Fewer Floods  


  • 18 Apr 2013 9:19 PM | Anonymous
    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 because the bulk of pollutants can come from one major storm in a season.

    Seeking to detect that flush of pollutants, staff from the Zumbro Watershed Partnership is heading out into the elements this year to check the river for pollutants when snow begins to melt or rain starts to fall. These checks include measuring the water temperature, its 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.

    While the Zumbro Watershed staff and local partners regularly monitors the health of the Zumbro River and it's tributaries, 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 Zumbro watershed staff will also check the river 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 Zumbro watershed will flow into a statewide water monitoring network, along with six other groups in southern Minnesota. The MPCA recently awarded more than $900,000 in grants to these local partners to do this monitoring. The Zumbro Watershed Partnership received some of that funding to help pay for staff time, lab analysis, and equipment for monitoring four sites on the Zumbro River.

    These points of data will provide long-term information to help fill in the picture of water quality across the state. The Zumbro staff will combine these water quality data with stream flow information to estimate overall pollutant loading from a watershed or drainage area.

    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 the network’s website (

    For the recent funding round, the MPCA also awarded grants to:
    · Cannon River Watershed Partnership;
    · Chippewa River Watershed Project;
    · Fillmore Soil and Water Conservation District;
    · Hawk Creek Watershed Project;
    · Minnesota State University-Mankato Water Resources Center; and
    · Redwood Cottonwood Rivers Control Area.

    These grants are funded by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. The next funding round for this program will be in August 2013 and target northwestern, north-central, and northeastern Minnesota.

    Source: Zumbro Watershed Partnership and the MPCA
  • 18 Apr 2013 8:50 PM | Anonymous
    Are you wondering how a small nonprofit is going to promote "Cleaner Water and Fewer Floods" in our almost million-acre watershed? Check out the ZWP Interim Watershed Plan, the product of hours of board member and staff planning and discussion led by Zumbro Watershed Planner Paul Wotzka.

    Click here to read the plan: ZWP Interim Watershed Plan 

    Please send comments about the plan to Paul at ""
  • 12 Apr 2013 1:27 PM | Anonymous

    Lawn care can have a big impact on our rivers and lakes. Find out how Somerby Golf Course maintains healthy and environmentally friendly lawns, and how you can do the same thing on your lawn. Eric Counselman will give you the know-how to keep your lawn green and our rivers clean. 


    This talk is part of the Zumbro Watershed Partnership's monthly "Water Ways Speaker Series," 6:30 p.m., Thursday, April 18, at the Cascade Meadow Wetland and Environmental Science Center, 2900--19th St. NW, Rochester. For more information, contact Kevin Strauss, Education Coordinator, Zumbro Watershed Partnership, at 507-993-3411 or "".

  • 11 Apr 2013 11:20 AM | Anonymous
    If you want to avoid the long lines at the Saturday, May 4, 9:00 am-3:00 pm Zumbro Watershed Partnership Rain Barrel and Composter Sale, you can pre-order your rain barrel or composter online and then bring your receipt to the sale and go to the front of the line.

    To order your rain barrel or composter, just visit          and click on "Zumbro Watershed Partnership" and follow the directions. Print your receipt and bring it to the "Pre-Orders" express line at the sale on May 4 at Graham Park (Olmsted County Fairgrounds).

    If you have any questions, contact Zumbro Watershed Partnership Education Coordinator Kevin Strauss at 507-993-3411 or via email at
  • 11 Apr 2013 11:09 AM | Anonymous
    The April 11 "Water Ways" Speaker Program: Healthy and River-Friendly Lawn Care, and the Zumbro Watershed Partnership Board of Directors Meeting has been postponed due to wintery weather.

    We are working to reschedule both the speaker and the meeting on a future Thursday evening in April. Once we have set a date, we'll update this announcement and publicize the rescheduled events.
    If you have any questions, call Zumbro Watershed Partnership Education Coordinator Kevin Strauss at 507-993-3411 or via email at ""
  • 01 Mar 2013 12:50 PM | Anonymous

    We all know how rainfall in urban and suburban landscapes quickly flows to area streams and rivers. That "fast water" can increase water pollution, erosion, and downstream flooding. You can do your part to "Slow the Flow" of rain water by buying a rain barrel to capture and use rain water in your own yard. And once again, ZWP is making it easy to do just that.


    Our one-day truckload sale with EnviroWorld lets us sell high-quality rain barrels at $70 each and compost bins for $60 each. Similar products cost $120-$200 at stores or online. What's more, a portion of each sale helps to fund ZWP "Clean Water/Safe Water" projects.

    If you'd like to "pre-order" a rain barrel or composter online, so you don't have to wait in long lines, then visit  and pay with a credit card.


    This ZWP Fundraiser takes place on Saturday, May 4, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at Graham Park (Olmsted County Fairgrounds), near the intersection of of Highways 14 and 63 in Rochester. For more information, contact Kevin Strauss, 507-993-3411 or

  • 16 Jan 2013 2:38 PM | Anonymous
    As part of the update for the Zumbro Watershed Plan, the Zumbro Watershed Partnership Board of Directors spent an hour on Thursday working with ZWP staff members Paul Wotzka and Laurie Svien to review past goals and accomplishments and chart the path for future projects. 
    The board will meet on February 2 to continue this important work. 
  • 11 Dec 2012 2:33 AM | Anonymous
    Paul Wotzka has been hired as the new Zumbro Watershed Partnership Watershed Planner. He will oversee an update of the 2007 Zumbro Watershed Plan due out in June, 2013.

  • 17 Jul 2012 2:41 PM | Anonymous
    With the near completion of the the Zumbro Watershed TMDL implementation Plan for sedimentation the next phase is the Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan.  The Comprehensive Zumbro Watershed Management Plan looks forward beyond the content of the current Sediment Reduction Plan, while building on its content and integrating material from the original 2007 Zumbro Watershed Management Plan developed through a USDA-NRCS grant.

    Zumbro Watershed Planning Meeting

    7:00 – 9:00 p.m., July 26, 2012

    Cascade Meadows Wetland and Environmental Science Center


    7:00 – 7:20          Zumbro Watershed Plan Development to date

    o   Norman Senjem, ZWP Planning Coordinator


    7:20 – 8:00         Breakout Group Discussions of New Elements


    o   Additional pollution problems

    §  Nitrogen & phosphorus, E-coli

    o   Groundwater protection

    o   Selection criteria for priority sub-watersheds

    o   ZWP connections to local government

    o   Improving public access to the Zumbro River corridor

    o   Other


    8:00 – 8:15         BREAK


    8:15 – 8:45         Breakout session reports (5 minutes each)


    8:45 – 9:00         Future Steps in Planning Process

    o             Norman Senjem, ZWP Planning Coordinator


  • 01 Jun 2012 3:44 PM | Anonymous

    Ron Fuller, Chairman of the Zumbro Watershed Partnership (ZWP) recently announced that Lawrence Svien has accepted and will be assuming the position of Executive Director.   As director, Svien will supervise a grant project to identify “erosion hot spots” in the watershed, among other projects to clean and protect the Zumbro River.

    Before coming to the ZWP, Svien worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service as regional staff support and as the District Conservationist in Wabasha County. 

    “Svien’s experience working with farmers and other landowners to implement soil and water conservation projects will be critical as we work to implement projects to keep the Zumbro River cleaner and safer for today and tomorrow,” said Fuller. 

    Former Watershed Coordinator Lisa Eadens is returning to Denver, Colorado.


    The Zumbro Watershed Partnership is a non-profit organization comprised of local citizens and organizations whose common goal is to protect and improve the waters of the Zumbro River and its tributaries.  For more information about the ZWP and its programs, contact ZWP Education Coordinator Kevin Strauss at 507-993-3411 or at


Contact Us:

Mailing Address: Zumbro Watershed Partnership, Inc.
1485 Industrial Drive NW, Room 102
Rochester, MN 55901

Office Address: Education Coordinator Kevin Strauss
   Olmsted County Soil and Water Conservation District Office
2122 Campus Drive SE, Suite 200
Rochester, MN 55904

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

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