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 bio-jet fuel, renewable chemicals, or similar applications. Some crops can even be grown for food or beverage production.
A draft of this project's final report is now available for review at the link below under Updates.
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.
- Draft Report to the Minnesota Legislature, January 8, 2018
- Appendix 1: Working Lands Survey Summary Report
- Appendix 2: Six Watershed Comparison Spreadsheet - Documentation and Link
- Appendix 3: Farm Bill Opportunities for Working Lands
- Project Update, December 2017
- Interim Report, October 2017
- Interagency Coordination Meeting, Jan. 26, 2017
- Stakeholder Meeting, Feb. 13, 2017
- Stakeholder Meeting, July 28, 2017
- Stakeholder Meeting, September 28, 2017
- Stakeholder Meeting, November 16, 2017
- Stakeholder Meeting, December 8, 2017
Forum on Working Lands for Grazing, Forage, and Feed, April 27, 2017 - click here for presentations
Forum on Market Opportunities for Cover Crops and Perennials, December 15, 2017
- CAAFI Working Lands Oilseeds for Sustainable Aviation Fuel
- ANTARES Biomass Project Development
- Economics of producing advanced oil seeds, perennial crops, and Kernza in Minnesota