2018 Cedar River Annual Report

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2018 Annual Report Cedar River State Water Trail Austin, MN

2018 CRWD Board of Managers

Jim Gebhardt

Kevin Kiser

Mower County Chair

Mike Jones

Susan Olson

Dodge County Vice Chair

Steele County Treasurer

Mower County Secretary

CRWD-Mower SWCD’s Justin Hanson (lower left) joins in August 2018 members of the Cedar River Watershed Partnership from Land’O Lakes; Hormel Foods; CFW Cooperative; MN Dept. of Agriculture; and Environmental Initiative at a field day.

Partnering for progress Mike Merten

Steve Kraushaar

Jason Weis

Mower County

Freeborn County

Mower County

Cedar River Watershed District’s purpose is to reduce flooding and protect and improve water quality in the streams.

2018 CRWD/SWCD staff

Justin Hanson

Jeanne Crump

Cody Fox

James Fett


Admin. Assistant

Project Manager

Watershed Tech

Steve Lawler

Paul Hunter

Tim Ruzek

Larry Callahan

Resource Specialist

Watershed Conservationist

Public Outreach & Water Plan Coordinator

District Tech

Cedar River Watershed District

1408 21st Ave. N.W.

By Justin Hanson, CRWD Administrator Partnerships always have been at the heart of Mower SWCD’s work since our start in the 1950s. In 2018, though, Mower SWCD — which also performs the work of the Cedar River Watershed District — took partnerships to a much higher level than ever before thanks to new initiatives. We helped launch the Cedar River Watershed Partnership (CRWP) in early 2018 to better help farmers while also improving water quality. It has been an honor to work closely with new partners from Hormel Foods; Land’O Lakes; CFS Cooperative; Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture; and Environmental Initiative. This summer, our new partnership with Riverland Community College only continued to grow stronger as Mower SWCD launched its three-year soil health research project, with support from the college through the use of its soils lab. Our partner farmers also continued to grow in 2018 thanks to a couple of initiatives — cover covers/soil health and our CRWD Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for upland stormwater storage. For cover crops and soil health, we remain very grateful for our ongoing partnership with area farmer Tom Cotter to work together on Cover Crops 101 classes and other outreach events to raise awareness of soil-health practices. Under CIP, we would have had no projects to report in 2018 if not for CRWD’s partnering landowners. We have been fortunate to work with a great group of landowners and farmers on our initial CIP projects to reduce flooding and improve water quality. Partners are helping us make progress, and we expect those relationships to grow more in 2019.

Austin, MN, 55912

507-434-2603, ext. 5

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CRWD launches revamped citizens advisory In June 2018, CRWD’s newly revamped Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) began meeting to learn about and advise the district on its projects and practices. With the new lineup, the CAC expanded from eight to up to 20 citizens, including representatives of local groups that have connections to the local natural resources. Part of the CAC’s new focus includes fostering better communication and networking among the local groups doing natural-resources work in the watershed. This new CAC also is serving as a permanent home for the projects and focus areas of the Vision 2020 Waterways Committee created in 2012 to seek ways of improving the local waterways. CRWD accepted applications for five seats on the CAC for the general public for one-year terms. Each watershed district is required by the state to have a Citizens Advisory Committee that meets at least once per year. “We hope this new arrangement will strengthen partnerships and create new ones that support our local natural resources,” said Tim Ruzek, CRWD outreach and water planning coordinator. CRWD expects at least six CAC meetings per year, with a chair Members of CRWD’s Citizens Advisory Committee meets Nov. 28, 2018, for a meeting at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center in Austin. The committee aims to meet about every wo months. and recorder chosen by CAC members at their first meeting.

Progress made toward completing Cedar 1W1P Collaborative efforts continued in 2018 to get closer toward a final draft of the planning document for the Cedar River One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P) aimed at protecting and improving local waters. CRWD/Mower Soil & Water Conservation District staff are helping to lead the Cedar 1W1P planning process with county and SWCD staff from Dodge and Freeborn counties along with state agency staff. Officials aimed for a final draft being ready for public review and comment in 2019 along with final approval votes by involved boards. Overall, the Cedar River 1W1P boundaries cover 462,295 acres, with about 57 percent of the land in Mower County. The Policy Committee — board members from SWCDs, watershed districts and counties within the watershed along with the City of Austin — has been meeting regularly since March 2017. Under 1W1P, the state aims to create water-management plans based on watershed boundaries rather than smaller, political boundaries to ensure the biggest threats to a watershed’s water resources are addressed with practices providing the greatest environmental threats.

A conservation-minded perspective has guided Rod Moe in farming for years no matter whether it involved his own land or acres rented for growing corn and soybeans in Mower County’s Waltham Township in the Cedar River watershed’s upper region. Moe, who farms about 800 acres, has made changes to his farm that stand differently than other area farms and the way his late father, Richard, approached farming. “Rod is a bit of a different cooperator by quietly adopted conservation practices and transformed his farms into a sustainable model for what he thinks is the right thing,” CRWD administrator Justin Hanson said. For these efforts, the Rod Moe Family was the 2018 Conservationist of the Year for Mower County as chosen by Mower SWCD’s Board of Supervisors.

(Left) One of the Rod Moe family’s conservation fields in Waltham Township in the upper region of the Cedar River Watershed. Rod (right) is shown with his daughter, Rachel, and wife, Colleen, at their farm.

Moe along with his wife, Colleen, and daughter, Rachel – who all help with farm work in spring and fall – were honored at the Mower County Fair as well as at the Minnesota Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts’ annual convention. Especially since 2011, Moe has been

involved significantly with conservation programs and practices, including nutrientmanagement planning; cover crops; strip tillage; and native grass buffers. “I like the trial-and-error part of working with the land,” Rod Moe said. “Figuring out other ways to make things work.”

An Austin-led educational program that uses the Cedar River watershed in its focus on conservation received a statewide teaching award in December 2018. Known as Project E3, the inter-district program received the 2018 Teacher of the Year Award from the Minnesota Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts. Project E3 (“Engineering & Environmental Science for Everyone”) annually serves about 80 students in grades 4-6 from the Austin, Albert Lea, Hayfield, Lyle and Southland school districts. Students gather monthly on Saturdays at Austin’s Holton Intermediate School. Arik Andersen, an Austin Public Schools teacher who helps lead Project E3, said students come voluntarily after writing on why they would like to participate in the program. “They’re just so excited about what they

get to do,” Andersen said. “These kids are looking toward their future. They want to be involved. They understand they’re citizens and they are a part of our state and cities.” MASWCD’s teaching award is given to an educator/professional teacher or teaching team in kindergarten through 12th grade who has created innovative conservation education activities for reaching students and has worked with an SWCD office. “Our office has enjoyed supporting Project E3, and we’re excited to continue our partnership with what is an exceptional program for youth,” CRWD-Mower SWCD outreach coordinator Tim Ruzek said. CRWD-Mower SWCD have supported Project E3 by giving presentations, including their interactive, watershed demonstra-

tion table; coordinating a farm field visit for students to view a newly built saturated buffer in the upper Cedar River watershed; and providing ideas and resources to Project E3 staff. Started in the 2014, Project E3 involves project-based learning and, as much as possible, tries to use the outdoors as its classroom and provide hands-on learning. Some lessons have included studying the Cedar River and Shell Rock River watersheds; mapping the watersheds from southern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico; researching reasons why the Cedar River has waterquality impairments; designing systems to clean and filter polluted water; and developing an action plan for communities to improve water quality.

CRWD watershed technician James Fett (left) pulls up a water sample May 1, 2018, from Roberts Creek in Lansing Township. Jacob Geller (right), a MN GreenCorps member for the CRWD, gets a sample from the Cedar River during a high-flow period Oct. 10, 2018, east of Blooming Prairie in the upper area of the watershed.

CRWD continues water-monitoring efforts at sites CRWD staff continued in 2018 to conduct regular water sampling at 10 designated stream crossings throughout the watershed. In 2008, CRWD — formed just a year earlier — established monitoring sites throughout the watershed for testing water quality, a top priority of the district along with flood reduction. With the program, CRWD staff collect water samples at 10 sites, with each getting tested about 10 times per year. With every visit, stream water collected is analyzed for total suspended solids; turbidity; total phosphorus; ortho phosphorus; nitrates; E. coli; temperature; dissolved oxygen and conductivity. CRWD aims to determine if water quality is improving or degrading over time; what streams are contributing the most pollutants to the Cedar River; and what watersheds should be targeted for conservation to improve water quality. Trend data from recent years of the water-monitoring program

is expected to be reported in 2019 by CRWD. During 2018, CRWD staff also worked with Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) staff on planning for an intensive water-monitoring program in 2019 in the Cedar River watershed. This will be in addition to the CRWD’s monitoring program. Rotating on a 10-year cycle for watersheds, MPCA’s Intensive Watershed Monitoring Plan is designed to assess the aquatic health of the entire, major watershed through intensive biological and water chemistry sampling. MPCA is expected in 2019 to finalize two studies on the Cedar River watershed. Those are the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study and the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS) report. The companion documents quantify pollutant levels, identify pollution sources, propose ways to return water quality to an acceptable level and describe protection.

Water quality and farming operations in the Cedar River watershed are mutually benefitting from the efforts of a new publicprivate partnership involving CRWD-Mower SWCD staff. In January 2018, the partnership unveiled its collaboration at an event at the Hormel Foods’ sales cabin in Austin for local agricultural producers who work with CFS Cooperative, an ag retailer. CRWP members then organized a field day in August 2018 on farm land in the Cedar River watershed’s upper area near Blooming Prairie for area farmers, state officials and others. Aimed at increasing farmers’ knowledge of soil health practices, particularly tillage and cover crops, the field day focused on the costs and benefits of adopting different land-management practices that improve the soil, water and economic health of farms. Described as a “first-ofits-kind,” the Cedar River Watershed Partnership (CRWP) aims to improve water quality and address the watershed’s water-resource challenges, such as flooding and sedimentation (excess Rainfall simulator used on several farm landsoil in streams). It includes management types for an August 2018 field day. Mower SWCD; Hormel Foods; Land O’Lakes; CFS Cooperative; Minnesota Department of Agriculture; and Environmental Initiative, a nonprofit CRWD administrator Justin Hanson said the partnership aims to help provide a better bottom line for farmers while making positive gains for water quality. “It’s unreasonable to expect that we’ll address all our waterresource issues through cost-sharing programs alone,” Hanson said. “This partnership shifts the traditional service model for government and ag retail to instead empower landowners and producers with tools, information, technical assistance and financial resources to make the best decisions on their land.” Through the partnership, farmers in the Cedar River watershed – which covers parts of Dodge, Freeborn, Mower and Steele counties – can work with CFS, Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN and Mower SWCD to help implement precision ag practices that address water -quality issues. Farmers, in turn, voluntarily can get certified in the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Area farmer Justin Krell (left) talks at an August 2018 field day near Blooming Prairie about his farming operations in the upper Cedar River watershed.

Area farmers hold field signs in January 2018 for being certified through the state’s Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program under the new Cedar River Watershed Partnership. Also pictured are members from the CRWP’s partner groups.

CRWP members continue to seek ways to connect with farmers to discuss how they can increase agricultural productivity and profit while protecting and improving local water resources. Interested farmers in the Cedar River watershed are encouraged to contact and work with partners like CFS, CRWD-Mower SWCD and Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN to pursue information, services and resources that help them adopt practices that are the most effective and practical for their operation.

Troms honored for lifetime of conservation benefiting wildlife About a dozen wild turkeys made their way through former cropland in August 2018 while Ken Trom walked a portion of his newly seeded conservation land. After renting land to area farmers for more than 50 years, Trom was seeing the green of oats and more than two dozen oth-

er plant species starting to sprout. In 2017, Trom and his wife, Gloria, enrolled the last 96 acres of their cropland in Udolpho Township into the federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to convert it back into prairie in spring 2018, providing a large area of new habitat for numerous types of animals, birds and insects. “I always had a vision for this land,” said Trom, who bought it in 1961 as part of 120 acres overall and saw the benefits of prairie a few decades ago when about 60 acres was enrolled for a time in a state conservation program. For their history of conservation, the Troms were honored as the 2018 Outstanding Wildlife Conservationist for Mower County by Mower Soil & Water Conservation District’s Board of Supervisors. Located northeast of the village of Lansing, the Troms’ property consists of 152 acres overall, including former crop and

pasture land; their home property; and about 45 acres of woods along the Cedar River that attracts lots of wildlife. Trom also worked several years ago with CRWD staff to construct two stormwater-water retention ponds along the Cedar River to stabilize deep ravines and treat runoff water.

Progress made on initiative to build When flood-inducing rains hit Mower County, the Cedar River Watershed’s upland areas of Dobbins Creek now have more ability to capture and slowly release large amounts of stormwater. Improved water quality and reduced flooding, along with more wildlife habitat, are the benefits of five projects completed in late 2018 by the Cedar River Watershed District (run by Mower SWCD staff) in upland areas of the Dobbins Creek subwatershed. Dobbins drains into Austin’s Jay C. Hormel Nature Center and East Side Lake before flowing to the Cedar River. To date, CRWD now has completed nine of 25 projects planned under its nearly $8.4 million Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) focused on improving water quality and reducing floods. CIP’s overall goal is to reduce flooding by 8 percent at the Cedar-Dobbins confluence in southeast Austin. Under the 2018 work, CRWD hired contractors to build water-detention, earthen berms to control and treat stormwater flowing off more than 1,000 acres of mostly farmland in the nearly 25,000-acre Dobbins subwatershed. CRWD has focused in recent years on Dobbins due the watershed being prone to flash floods. CIP projects are funded by a $3.2 million grant from The Hormel Foundation with nearly $4 million thus far in funding

“By slowing stormwater, these CIP structures keep a lot of soil and excess nutrients from entering our streams while reducing flood damage to buildings, roads, bridges and farm fields.” Cody Fox

CRWD project manager from state grants and state bonding. Up to $1 million from a CRWD local project levy is available, if needed. In 2019, CRWD plans to build up to six more CIP projects in the Dobbins watershed, treating another 1,000 acres. CIP focuses on upland water storage as it decreases the amount and speed of stormwater flow, which reduces the potential for significant downstream streambank erosion. “By slowing stormwater, these CIP structures keep a lot of soil and excess nutrients from entering our streams while reducing flood damage to buildings, roads, bridges and farm fields,” CRWD project manager Cody Fox said. Dobbins 1 – one of the largest CIP pro-

jects planned – was finished in 2018 after several years of preliminary work with numerous landowners and complex designs. Treating more than 810 acres, Dobbins 1 consists of two, large berms in the upper areas of Dobbins Creek’s north branch (Red Rock and Dexter townships). At capacity, Dobbins 1’s storage will cover more land (more than 50 acres) with stormwater than Austin’s 40-acre East Side Lake – a reservoir created by a dam on Dobbins Creek. “It feels great to have Dobbins 1 completed and ready to help with issues in our watershed,” Fox said. “Lots of work went into it, and we were fortunate to work with great landowners.” At maximum capacity, Dobbins 1 should temporarily hold about 250 acre-feet of

Two graphs show high stormwater flows at Dobbins 1 before and after construction. The outlet shown during mid-construction in September below both Dobbins 1 berms. CRWD project manager Cody Fox (above) calls a project partner after heavy rain in September 2018 hit the Dobbins 1 structures in mid-construction.

upland stormwater storage on fields stormwater (81.5 million gallons), with some spots being more than 15 feet deep. One acre-foot is like covering a football field with one foot of water. At capacity storage, Dobbins 1 will release stormwater over two days rather than the typical eight to 12 hours at the site. Under the project, 80 acres of farmland also were enrolled in the federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), keeping the land from being farmed for a decade. With rainfall amounts that typically produce major flooding, Dobbins 1 will reduce peak stormwater flows by more than 80 percent at its site. The berms are expected to keep an estimated 134 tons of sediment out of Dobbins Creek along with 218 pounds of phosphorus equal to more than 65,000 pounds of algae. Sediment is loose particles of sand, clay, silt and other substances mostly from eroding soils on land or streambanks. It makes streams cloudy, which is harmful to fish and plant life, and fills in lakes and streams. Most sediment is contaminated by pollutants, particularly phosphorus, which, in excessive levels often from pastures and cropland, can cause water pollution by promoting significant algae growth. Water quality can be harmed further when bacteria consume dead algae and use up dissolved oxygen, suffocating fish and other aquatic life. Three other projects built by CRWD in 2018 also are in the Dobbins headwaters areas of Dexter Township. Each project will reduce on-site, peak stormwater flows by 90 percent or more. Those CIP projects are: • Project #8 – Just north of Interstate 90, CRWD built a grass waterway and earthen berm to minimize on-site gully erosion and reduce the risk of heavy rain overtopping Mower County Road 20 directly downstream.

Project #13 – This project built an earthen berm west of Dexter that will enhance the lifespan of a downstream, grass waterway while directing rain water into it. Prior to the work, heavy rains often led to water cutting through several areas of a fence line, causing erosion, including by skirting water outside of a grass waterway. Project #15 – Crews built an earthen berm west of Dexter along fence lines to minimize obstructions in the farm field and reduce the amount of cropland taken out of production.

CRWD’s CIP initiative interactive map: www.cedarriverwd.org/capitalimprovement-plan/

Mower SWCD’s Cody Fox, project manager for CRWD, checks on construction progress at Dobbins 1 in fall 2018.

Yellow dots (above) show the Dobbins 1 berms’ locations. Blue outlines the Dobbins watershed. Austin is in the lower left. (Below) A drawing shows the maximum amount of land covered by stormwater at Dobbins 1’s capacity.

Soil-health research partnership starts in Mower County Research into healthier soil that could support new agricultural practices in the region moved forward in summer 2018 with the start of a three-year study in Mower County led by Mower SWCD staff. In June 2018, Mower SWCD staff joined officials from Riverland Community College and The Hormel Foundation to celebrate the start of the soil-health research project that includes many study plots in the Cedar River watershed. A ceremony was in a new soil lab developed by Riverland’s new Center of Agricultural and Food Science Technology in Austin. Lacking an adequate research room at its Austin office, Mower SWCD has been allowed use of the Riverland lab for storing and analyzing soil samples taken from dozens of plots representing different types of farmland in Mower County. The soil-health research is a major aspect of the growing partnership between Mower SWCD, Riverland Community College and The Hormel Foundation to advance agriculturLawler al education and provide resources to farmers. Mower SWCD’s certified soil scientist Steve Lawler is leading the research and soil sampling with paid staff and students from the University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin-River Falls. “The strong support and partnerships we now enjoy with Riverland and The Hormel Foundation have drawn interest across the state,” Lawler said. “Agriculture always has played a big role in Mower County and surrounding counties, and together our efforts will support farmers who are making changes to their agronomic practices.”

A college student prepares soil samples for analysis in Riverland Community College’s new soil lab in Austin.

crops and other soilhealth practices into farm operations. About $200,000 overall, the project will match the Foundation’s grant with state “capacity” funds given annually by the Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources (BWSR) and in-kind services from partner agencies. The study will establish baseline data and start measuring soil-property changes over time as soil-health practices are incorporated. Researchers will quantify typical soil properties in ag use before land-use changes to measure varied conditions. This project also will provide important data that can be incorporated in evaluating farms and the land-use decisions being made for ag land, Lawler said, adding that it also should help the soil-health movement gain traction in the ag community. In March 2018, Riverland hosted the nationally touring speaker Ray Archuleta, known as “The Soil Guy,” for a free cover crops/soil health event coordinated by Mower SWCD and the Land Stewardship College students collect soil samples in June 2018 near Project that drew about 100 people. Elkton for Mower SWCD’s three-year research project. Mower SWCD and CRWD also continInterest in cover crops and other soilued partnering with Austin Township health practices have been increasing in farmer Tom Cotter on providing free Mower County and southern Minnesota but presentations on soil health and cover many local farmers want more data and crops. Cotter, a fourth-generation farmer scientific evidence before making changes who raises crops and beef cattle, partnered in their fields, Lawler said. with TJ Kartes, a Saddle Butte seed compa“Riverland has established a strong tra- ny rep from Blooming Prairie, to offer free dition of partnerships related to agricultural “Cover Crops 101” classes throughout the needs facing our region,” said Adenuga area in early 2018. Atewologun, Riverland president. “As an A free Cover Crops/Soil Health Field educational partner, a research project like Day offered by Mower SWCD in early Nothis incorporates a major step toward our vember also drew about 40 people on a bus overall vision for the Agriculture and Food tour to various sites in Mower County, with Science Technology Center. We are so most in the Cedar River watershed. The grateful to The Hormel Foundation and tour’s start and end was at Riverland. Mower SWCD for making this project possible. Our students will benefit from learning experiences like this.” One soil-health practice is cover cropping, which involves planting a second, unharvested crop in coordination with regular cash crops, such as corn and soybeans. Other soil-health practices include only tilling strips on a field before planting – a type of minimum tillage – and no tilling to reduce erosion. Mower SWCD has been leading a soilhealth initiative since 2015 when it hired Lawler, who has more than 30 years of applied soil science in the field. In a previous role, Lawler also produced a soil survey of Mower County in the 1980s. In 2017, Mower SWCD was approved for a $98,000 grant from The Hormel Foundation to conduct soil-health research to Turnip cover crops on part of Tom Finnegan’s farm fields look at the benefits of incorporating cover just outside of Austin along Dobbins Creek’s north branch.

Canoemobile gets area youth paddling Cedar More than 350 people, mostly Mower County youth in either fourth, fifth or sixth grade, paddled the Cedar River State Water Trail in May 2018 for the Canoemobile program’s first programming in the local watershed. CRWD-Mower Soil & Water Conservation District staff organized four school days of Canoemobile led by the Minneapolis nonprofit Wilderness Inquiry. State funds given annually to Mower County for aquatic invasive species outreach and work covered most of the Canoemobile program, which discussed AIS prevention during water– and land-based segments. This included educating students about the invasive Chinese Mystery Snails found in the Cedar River in Austin, which might have been introduced to local waters from people dumping aquariums. Canoemobile staged its fleet of six 10-person canoes above the Ramsey Dam on Austin’s north edge across from The Old Mill Restaurant. Once equipped with life jackets and given safety training, groups paddled with one Wilderness Inquiry “boat captain” steering from the back up the Cedar River into Ramsey Mill Pond, paddling under the historic, abandoned railroad bridge from 1911. Mower SWCD and Wilderness Inquiry staff led two land-based stations at Ramsey Dam that included a watershed demonstration table and water-quality testing along the river bank. A community day “open house” format was offered on Saturday, May 19, at Ramsey Dam for the public. All public and private schools based in Mower County were invited to participate in Canoemobile. CRWD staff was working in 2018 to work with Blooming Prairie and Hayfield school districts to involve their students, especially with both being located in the Cedar River watershed.

State officials chose Austin in fall 2018 to host the 2019 Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener, with the focus area on private acres within the Cedar River watershed in Mower and Freeborn counties. At the opener last October in Luverne, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr announced Austin as the host community in 2019 for the ninth annual event. Newly elected Gov. Tim Walz will lead it.

Grand Meadow sixth-graders (above) paddle May 2018 the Cedar River State Water Trail at Ramsey Mill Pond. Austin Southgate School fourth-grader (below) prep to paddle.

A local group led by Discover Austin collaborated on the application and is working now on planning for the opener along with Explore Minnesota and DNR staff. CRWD-Mower SWCD’s main roles are helping with outreach and connecting with landowners for private hunting acres. For more information, visit GPHO page at Explore Minnesota’s website at: www.exploreminnesota.com/mngpho

We Are Water MN coming to Cedar Cedar River Watershed is one of eight host sites for the 2018-2019 statewide tour of the We Are Water MN traveling exhibit. Austin will host the exhibit April 27-June 16 at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center, which is co -leading the We Are Water local committee with CRWD staff. Half of the nature center’s classroom space in its new Interpretive Center will be devoted to the We Are Water exhibit featuring local and state water-related displays. Minnesota Humanities Center; Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; and their statewide partners are the lead state agencies. Various other spinoff, water-related events will be part of the hosting period in 2019 thanks to planning by the local committee that also includes Austin Utilities, Mower County His-

torical Society, Discover Austin and Hormel Foods Corp., said Tim Ruzek, CRWD’s outreach coordinator. “We’re very grateful for our state partners’ interest in the Cedar River State Water Trail and bringing their highly educational and powerful exhibit to Austin,” Ruzek said. “Partnering with the nature center staff to host the exhibit in their beautiful, new facility will make for an outstanding attraction for all ages.” We Are Water MN is a traveling exhibit focused on the relationships between people and water – how water connects story, history, faith, ethics, the arts and science. Full details on the Cedar River watershed’s We Are Water MN lineup of events and presentations are available on the CRWD website.

Raising awareness, promoting enjoyment of watershed

Public shows off watershed in second ‘Cedar Scenes’

In April 2018, a loon drew much attention for nearly a week as it stayed at the Skinners Hill lagoon across the road from the Cedar River in Austin.

Children and adults fish in June 2018 at the state fishing pier on the Cedar River State Water Trail at the Austin Mill Pond, created by the city’s dam downtown.

Cedar River Watershed District 1408 21st Ave. NW Austin, MN 55912 507-434-2603 www.cedarriverwd.org