Diffuser boxes: Comments sought

CWP received this preliminary slideshow from the company that supplied the diffuser boxes that have been in use for the last couple of years on Crystal Lake. Please provide comments on what you think about their use. It may make a difference for future diffuser box operations on Crystal Lake.

You can add your comments publicly in the “Comments” box below, or you can click on the “Contact CWP” button to add comments privately.

_Lake Project PPT1_3_18


Upcoming Farming Best Practices Workshops

The MPCA publishes “Watershed Connections” each month. This month’s article lists several opportunities to learn more about farming Best Management Practices. Six of the workshops are listed below.

To sign up for the MPCA Watershed Connections monthly updates, go to mpca@public.govdelivery.com.

Tillage and cover crop workshop Jan. 22 at Heron Lake
A tillage and cover crop workshop will be held starting at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 22 at the Heron Lake Community Center. The program includes soil health demonstrations; featured speaker-Jodi DeJong-Hughes, U of M Extension speaking on tillage effects on soil structure, erosion, compaction, water infiltration and storage; Dept. of Agriculture and Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Grant research findings; Haney soil test and infiltration test results; and local farmer panel. Lunch will be provided at 12:30 p.m. To register contact Dane Huinker by Jan. 16, 507-662-6682 x3 or email dane.huinker@co.jackson.mn.us. Soil and water management CEU credits available.

Soil health and cover crop program Feb. 21 in Renville
Hawk Creek Watershed Project and Renville SWCD will be presenting a program on soil health and cover crops Wednesday, Feb. 21 at the Renville Community Center. They will be covering steps for implementing soil health and cover crops, the economics of soil health and more. Similar previous programs have been very well attended. Program details will be provided soon.

Freeborn Area Soil Health Team workshop Jan. 23 in Albert Lea
The Freeborn Area Soil Health Team will hosting its 4th annual winter workshop at Wedgewood Cove in Albert Lea on Jan. 23, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. There will be CEU credits available for certified crop advisors. This cost is $20 payable at the door. RSVP by emailing lindsey.zeitler@mn.nacdnet.net or calling Lindsey at 507-373-5607 Ext. 3.

Winter Crops and Soils Days Feb. 7-9 at Extension research centers
The Southwest Research & Outreach Center (SWROC) along with the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) and University of Minnesota Extension will hold Winter Crops & Soils Day programs on Feb. 7-9 in Lamberton, Luverne, and Morris, respectively. Click here to register online.

This public event highlights current University of Minnesota research that is specific to southwest and west central Minnesota. 2018 marks the first year that the Southwest and West Central Research and Outreach Centers are collaborating to share regionally focused research results and recommendations with area crop and livestock producers.

Program presentations and speakers include:

Integrating cover crops and livestock to improve farm profitability – Bradley Heins, Associate Professor, Dairy, WCROC
The good, the bad, and the reality of Minnesota farm profitability – Joleen Hadrich, Associate Professor and Extension Economist, Applied Economics
Do reduced pest management inputs mean increased economic risk? – Bruce Potter, Integrated Pest Management Specialist, SWROC
Interseeding cover crops into standing corn and soybean – Axel Garcia y Garcia, Assistant Professor, Agronomy, SWROC
Opportunities and challenges for supplemental irrigation in southwest Minnesota in record yielding years – Jeff Strock, Professor, Soil Science, SWROC and Tamas Varga, CFANS PhD student, Soil Science
Overview of research conducted at ROCs and how it impacts your farm – Curt Reese, Scientist, Agronomy & Soil Science, WCROC
Pre-registration is encouraged. Registration for the programs costs $35 and includes refreshments, handouts, and lunch. All programs are cash or check only. Registration for all programs begins at 9:30 a.m. with presentations beginning at 10 a.m. and concluding at 3:15 p.m. The program on Wednesday, Feb. 7 is at the Southwest Research and Outreach Center near Lamberton; Thursday, Feb. 8 at Prairie Events Center in Luverne; and Friday, Feb. 9 at the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris. Continuing education units for certified crop advisers have been applied for. Click here to register online.

Winter Crops & Soils Day is sponsored by the University of Minnesota Southwest Research & Outreach Center, West Central Research & Outreach Center, College of Food, Agricultural & Natural Resource Sciences, and Extension. Download a program brochure and registration form here.

Nitrogen, nutrient management conferences in February
Farmers, agronomists and other ag professionals with an interest in nutrient management and water issues are encouraged to attend upcoming conferences showcasing the latest research on fertilizer and manure management, water quality and tile drainage, and more.

The Fourth Annual Nitrogen: Minnesota’s Grand Challenge and Compelling Opportunity Conference will be held Feb. 6 at the Rivers Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, with registration beginning at 8:15 a.m. Attendees can expect to learn more about cover crops, tile drainage and on-farm testing to improve profitability and water quality. Speakers include Dr. Matt Helmers, Iowa State University; Dr. Howard Brown, Illini FS; along with several University of Minnesota researchers. Click here to register.

This year marks the tenth Annual Nutrient Management Conference. Conference will be held Feb. 20 at the Verizon Conference Center in Mankato, with registration starting at 8:15 a.m. Sessions will cover trends in phosphorus and sulfur management, in-season nitrogen applications and cures for phosphorus runoff losses from farmland. Dr. Don Flaten, University of Manitoba and Dr. Emerson Nafziger, University of Illinois will be joined by Minnesota researchers. Click here to register.

Hosted by the Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center and University of Minnesota Extension along with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and several other sponsors, the two conferences continue a partnership effort that has grown in recent years and attracts several hundred attendees. Several presentations will provide updates on research funded by the Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council, an industry-led program funded through an assessment on fertilizer sold in Minnesota. Learn more about AFREC here.

Certified crop advisors will earn continuing education credits in nutrient management and water quality. To register, go to http://mawrc.org/events/. Online registration is encouraged but not required. Conference registration is $20 up to one day prior to the event, which can be paid online (requires a $3.16 service fee) or at the door by check or cash. On-site registration is $25, payable by cash or check. For the latest nutrient management information, visit the UMN Extension Nutrient Management website.

Star Tribune: Alternative Approaches to Farming

This Star Tribune series may be titled “The Future of Food”, but the primary focus of the first article is soil health. Alternative methods for farming, such as planting cover crops, eliminating tillage and rotating crops, are explained. As you read it, also notice how many times water quality is mentioned.

The Future of Food: Soil Health — Star Tribune Article: 12/18/2017


LC receives $59,000 DNR grant for Robinson Park

On June 1, 2017, the city of Lake Crystal learned that it has been awarded a $59,000 grant from the Outdoor Recreation Program of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. This grant will be used for extensive upgrades at Robinson Park.

The project will include:

• A new ADA restroom complete with changing stations. This  part of the project qualifies as the City’s in-kind contribution.

• Nearly 7,000 square feet of native flowers and grasses planted near the shoreline to reduce erosion and reduce to the amount of runoff that reaches the lake. The area will also become a habitat for bees, birds, frogs and other small animals.

• Approximately 600 feet of ADA-compliant trail that will ramble through the new plantings and connect the parking lot with the lakeshore.

• Interpretive signs to educate visitors about the plants, the goals of the restoration and the wildlife.

• 36′ ADA-compliant fishing pier donated by Crystal Loon Lake Recreation Association, Crystal Waters Project and Hewitt Docks.

The work must be completed by the end of 2018.


• $81,000 – City of Lake Crystal: New restroom facility

• $59,000 – MN DNR: trail, plantings, signs

See the poster below for more information.


Free Press Article: Diffuser/Aeration Experiment

Lake Crystal water quality 1
Mike Roll, CWP president, looks at the diffuser/aeration box that is being test on Crystal Lake this summer.

Please click the link below to read this article from June 18 about the diffuser box that is being tested on Crystal Lake. The article also talks about the lakeshore restoration at Robinson Park and the work of the Crystal Waters Project.


CWP receives first ever experimental permit

Crystal Waters Project has received the first ever MN DNR EXPERIMENTAL Aeration permit in MN for a new aeration diffuser system. The system was installed in Crystal Lake and turned on June 1st. DNR, MPCA, BEC representatives were all present for the installation and start up. CWP will be put on a rigorous water testing schedule of Crystal Lake by the MPCA & DNR from July thru August. The local volunteer that was present was instructed by MPCA & DNR representatives on where and how to properly retrieve the water samples, transport them and deliver them for testing. Not only does the water need to be tested at the ” influence zone ” of the diffuser system, but also at several other spots on Crystal Lake. CWP appreciates all of those who were interested in volunteering for sampling. Please continue your support.

CWP President quoted in Free Press Article

The Mankato Free Press of May 27, 2017 used water quality as its featured topic. The article laid out the data about lake water quality and provided an interactive map for lakes in the region. It listed the causes of impaired waters and also suggested some solutions for the problem. The removal of carp from the Crystal Lake and the recent plantings at Robison Park are both mentioned in the article. Area water quality experts are quoted, and Mike Roll, CWP President, is cited extensively.


One drop at a time…