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Heartland Regional Water Coordination Initiative

Investigators
Morton, Lois
Institutions
Iowa State University
Start date
2008
End date
2012
Objective
The Heartland Regional Water Coordination Initiative is a collaborative effort among land grant universities in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. The long range goal of the Initiative is maximum integration of land grant university research, education and extension into the efforts of those who implement, assist and regulate agricultural water quality and quantity programs.

The overall objective is to increase the capacity of citizens, landowners, agencies and community leaders to better address their water resource concerns and meet their environmental, regulatory and economic objectives. Institutional capacity building by regional coordination will improve organizational effectiveness through increased integration of regional programs and resources, broadened vision and leadership among staff, improved targeting and achievement of organizational goals and increased responsiveness to stakeholders on priority water issues. Capacity building for citizens and communities will include increased knowledge about scientific, economic and social aspects of water issues, water resource management, and facilitation that allows individuals and groups to act on their own environmental priorities.

The Heartland Initiative addresses four priority water resource issues on a regional basis. These priorities are on farm nutrient management, bioenergy and water resources, watershed management education, and the human dimension or application of social science knowledge to solving water resource problems.

Objectives of the Heartland Initiative include:

  1. Build partnerships and effective regional teams to address the priority issues;
  2. Compile and evaluate research-based information and make it more available to stakeholders;
  3. Facilitate research partnerships to fill identified gaps in the knowledge base;
  4. Increase the ability of educators, agency and independent advisors to assist producers and watershed communities in management planning, targeting, implementation and evaluation of BMPs;
  5. Increase productive linkages among agencies, educators and other stakeholders;
  6. Build capacity for water resources education and community watershed management including development of curricula for colleges and communities;
  7. Continue ongoing and leverage new research that integrates human social dimensions with technical and scientific programs addressing water resource issues;
  8. Increase engagement and participation of 1890 and 1994 institutions in the region in water resources education;
  9. Communicate the progress of CSREES-funded water quality efforts in the region.
More information
Non-Technical Summary: The Heartland Regional Water Coordination Initiative is a collaborative effort among land grant universities in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska to increase the integration of land grant research, education and extension into the efforts of those who implement, assist and regulate agricultural water quality and quantity programs in the region. EPA Region 7 is the principal agency partner. The overall objective is to increase the capacity of citizens, landowners, agencies and community leaders to better address their water resource concerns and meet their environmental, regulatory and economic objectives. The Heartland Initiative creates multi-state, multi-institutional partnerships and implements roundtables, workshops and publications focused on the regional priority issues of on-farm nutrient management, bioenergy and water resources, watershed management education, and the application of social science knowledge to solving water resource problems. Heartland activities partner with and extend the efforts of other water resources research and extension in the region, and of the CSREES National Water Program.

Approach: The Heartland Initiative was developed by extension/research faculty of the regions' land grant institutions - Iowa State University, Kansas State University, the University of Missouri, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln - departments of agronomy, agricultural engineering, economics, forestry and sociology. The Heartland leadership team also includes a representative of the U.S. EPA Region 7 Watershed Planning and Implementation Branch. Heartland activities are implemented by regional "issue teams" made up of technical, regulatory and research specialists from state departments of agriculture and natural resources, NRCS, EPA R7 and Heartland universities. A Regional Stakeholder Advisory Committee provides advice and support on strengthening the Heartland Regional Initiative, shares perspectives on emerging water issues, helps build new partnerships and collaborations, and helps the Heartland Regional Leadership Team communicate its goals and progress. Multiple audiences are targeted for capacity building by Heartland issue teams, including members of land grant research and extension programs, technical and regulatory agencies, non-governmental organizations, advisors to the crop and livestock industry, and citizen watershed leaders. The Heartland Initiative pursues a consistent framework for facilitating partnerships and resource integration within the four-state region as follows. Issue teams conduct periodic roundtables of research and technical experts to share current knowledge/resources available on priority topics and identify opportunities for regional collaboration. Regional workshops for a wider audience are developed from the roundtable topics. Heartland roundtables and workshops both leverage resources and provide support to many water-related research and extension programs in the region. Regional and issue-based websites are maintained to include Heartland multi-authored regional extension publications and white papers on priority issues, archived roundtable and workshop presentations and webcasts, newsletters and links to selected issue resources and research. The regional site also communicates information on the CSREES National Water Program. A regional multi-issue conference will be implemented in the first year to build capacity for water resources education in extension, tribal colleges and minority institutions. The conference will leverage additional support from land grant ANR programs and other water-related research and extension projects within the region. The Heartland Initiative will also continue ongoing and leverage new research that integrates human/social dimensions into technical research and outreach on water resources issues. A book will be published on the "Citizen Effect" that builds on Heartland research conducted from 2003-2008. The Initiative also includes a cross-cutting Outcomes and Accountability effort to support the issue teams in integrating outcomes evaluation activities into their plans and programs, as required by the CSREES National Water Program.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
IOWN-013001
Accession number
215703
Categories
Sanitation and Quality Standards
Education and Training