BWSR is preparing a feasibility study and plan for a Working Lands Watershed Restoration Program – a program to provide incentives for landowners to plant perennial and cover crops that will improve water quality. Crops include perennial grasses and winter annual cover crops that keep roots in the soil and vegetation on the land throughout the year, improving soil health, storing carbon, and capturing excess nitrogen. These crops can be grazed, used for livestock feed or processed for electricity, thermal energy, advanced biofuels such as ethanol or biodiesel, renewable chemicals, or similar applications. Some crops can even be grown for food or beverage production.
The study was directed by the 2016 Minnesota Legislature (Laws 2016, c. 189, s. 4) with the goal of improving water quality by increasing living cover on the landscape at a watershed scale. Related benefits include creating or improving habitat for pollinators and wildlife while improving soil health and carbon storage.
BWSR is coordinating this effort with stakeholders and other state agencies, including agricultural and resource conservation interests, commodity groups, watershed districts, soil and water conservation districts, the biofuels industry, landowners, researchers at the University of Minnesota, the Departments of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Health, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
- Interagency Coordination Meeting, Jan. 26, 2017
- Stakeholder Meeting, Feb. 13, 2017
- Stakeholder Meeting, July 28, 2017
- WLWRP Introduction, March 2017
- WLWRP Update, July 2017
- Landowner Survey Design, July 2017
- Spreadsheet Decision Tool, July 2017
Forum on Working Lands for Grazing, Forage, and Feed, April 27, 2017 - click here for presentations
- Perennial and Cover Crops Fact Sheet
- Selected Watersheds for Survey and Modeling
- Maps of Selected Watersheds (new PDFs)