Funded Project

2022 | Le Sueur River Watershed


Applicant Organization: Minnesota State University, Mankato Water Resources Center

Contact: Kim Musser



In the Le Sueur River Watershed, a collaborative effort led by local farmers, Minnesota State University, Mankato Water Resources Center, and Waseca SWCD propels transformative action to fortify soil health and promote the adoption of cover crops. Since agriculture accounts for the majority of land use activities within the watershed, streams have seen high nutrient levels and high turbidity, as well as hydrological disturbance and lack of habitat.

Le Sueur River Watershed Network farmer leaders identified soil health improvement as an important goal toward improving the watershed. Cover crops provided the answer to these nutrient reduction objectives, but the barriers for farmers were high.

Numerous farmers across Minnesota showed interest in cover crops, but support systems for implementation were lacking. To bridge this gap, organizers committed to minimizing out-of-pocket expenses for farmers, facilitating connections with crop advisors and peer mentors, addressing equipment accessibility challenges, linking farmers to available funding programs, and ultimately assessing the impact of adopting these practices within the watershed.

As part of the long-term vision to support the watershed and advance cover crop adoption, the group formed peer-to-peer support networks. These soil health learning groups convene in small meetings where producers can share successes and learn from each other. These gatherings foster trust among neighbors and forge stronger connections with local conservation partners.
Farmers participating in the program receive cover crop seeds and attend technical planting demonstrations, benefit from mentoring and advising sessions, and experience field days aimed at showcasing industry standards and successful cover crop practices. Through concerted efforts to remove barriers to successful implementation, the Le Sueur Watershed Network aims to mitigate turbidity, nitrogen, and phosphorus levels, ultimately revitalizing downstream habitats and water.