BWSR is preparing a feasibility study and plan for a Working Lands Watershed Restoration Program – a program to compensate landowners who grow perennial and cover crops to improve water quality. Crops can be used for livestock feed or processed for electricity, thermal energy, advanced biofuels such as ethanol or biodiesel, renewable chemicals, or similar applications.
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.