Watershed Academy 101: The Upstream Impacts on Downstream Outcomes

Participants manipulate scenarios for water flow on the Stream Model simulation.

Participants manipulate scenarios for water flow on the Stream Model simulation.

For nearly two years, CURE has developed curriculum in watershed education and explored ways to disseminate those resources. With twelve major watersheds in the Minnesota River Basin, and a total of eighty one watersheds statewide, CURE has a vested interest in providing opportunities for constituents to learn more about this precious natural resource. CURE believes that well-educated everyday citizens will make better choices for cleaner water.

On Saturday, October 24th, twenty-two engaged citizens from around southwest Minnesota and eastern South Dakota joined the Pomme de Terre River Association, the University of Minnesota Extension, and CURE to learn about watersheds and how they function.

The day began with a Land Use and Clean Water presentation by Karen Terry, U of M Extension. Then Jared House from the Pomme de Terre River Association shared with the group information about Aquatic Invasive Species and updated the participants on the Pomme de Terre Watershed Project. Duane Ninneman, CURE’s Executive Director, provided an overview of the work CURE is doing around climate, energy and water. The conversation evolved into developing a deeper understanding of how each of us plays a role in overall watershed health by the choices we make as consumers as well as stewards of the land.

Maeve Maron of Morris, Karen Terry of U of M Extension and Stewart Day of Minnesota review possible outcomes in the Watershed Game.

Maeve Maron of Morris, Karen Terry of U of M Extension and Stewart Day of Minnesota review possible outcomes in the Watershed Game.

Following lunch, the participants broke up into four different teams and engaged in The Watershed Game, which provided the attendees a systemic look at the various players in the watershed, and how what might seem an insignificant impact in an upstream watershed might collectively impact those smaller watersheds downstream.

The day provided information and networking for landowners, farmers, college students and other engaged citizens who want to understand how water moves on the land, and the best practices in managing water resources to improve water quality for all. For more information about watersheds, and how they work, visit our blog post “What is a Watershed, Anyway?” written by Ariel Herrod, Water Program Coordinator at CURE.

Blog post and photos by Peg Furshong, Director of Operations & Constituent Relations and Events & Adventures Program Coordinator.