Who we are and what we do

Working With You for Water (PDF)

Learn more about Freshwater and our work.

We are proud of our water in Minnesota. We value our groundwater, even if we can’t see it. And we cherish the lakes and rivers that we see all around us. Freshwater Society members and staff work together to educate and inspire people to value, conserve and protect water resources.

Here’s some of what we do:

The project, new in 2013, is patterned after Master Gardener and Master Naturalist programs. It recruits and trains volunteers who will work in their own neighborhoods to organize people to conserve, protect and clean up water through efforts such as constructing rain gardens.

For now, the Master Water Stewards program is focused on Minneapolis neighborhoods surrounding Minnehaha Creek and the Chain of Lakes. In later years, the program will expand to the rest of the watershed district, and then perhaps to the rest of the metropolitan area.

Thanks to all the Minnesota citizens who are helping fund the program through a Clean Water Assistance Grant from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources.

  • Fred Kirschenmann,

    Fred Kirschenmann, philosopher and organic farmer, delivers a Moos lecture.

    Sponsor thought-provoking and entertaining public lectures on water and the environment. In a partnership with the University of Minnesota’s College of Biological Sciences, we have presented 10 lectures since 2010 on topics such as: groundwater sustainability, water pollution and birth defects in wildlife, agricultural pollution, corporate efforts to achieve sustainability in water use, climate change and the future of water resources, and strategies to protect ecosystems by putting a monetary value on the services they provide to humans.

The lectures honor the late Malcolm Moos, a former University of Minnesota president.

We broadcast the lectures on live streaming video and maintain a video archive of past lectures.

  • Produce information and factual commentary on important public policy issues concerning water and the environment, and convene  conferences and workshops to address those issues.

In 2008 and 2009, we joined the University of Minnesota Water Resources Center in Cover of "Minnesota's Groundwater: Is our use sustainable?"hosting workshops for groundwater professionals on the issue of groundwater sustainability. In 2010 and 2011, we joined the Izaak Walton League in sponsoring conferences on agricultural drainage, watershed district governance and conservation provisions of the federal Farm Bill. In 2012, we hosted a conference on precision conservation, the use of technology to target places on the landscape where conservation measures can be most effective in fighting erosion and pollution.

In 2013, we produced an influential special report on groundwater sustainability.

On a Saturday morning in October 2012, some 27,000 Girl Scouts, parents and adult volunteers protected  lakes, rivers and streams by conducting clean-ups in in 49 counties across Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin. They cleaned up 2 million pounds of leaves and soil that, otherwise, would have flowed into storm sewers and then into surface waters. In 2013, Girl Scouts from the Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys council again will conduct clean-ups.

  • Fight the chloride pollution of groundwater, lakes and streams by hosting a series of annual conferences on road salt as a street and bridge deicer. The conferences, now in their 12th year, have helped educate hundreds of public and private snow-removal workers and their supervisors on strategies for clearing roads with less impact on the environment.

In 2013, we are working with Rochester-area planners and officials to develop a chloride-reduction plan for the community.

  • Work in partnership with the National Park Service and participating farmers  to develop MN FarmWise, a farmer-led program aimed at encouraging conservation practices that  will reduce erosion and fertilizer runoff.  At present, the program is working with the Cannon River Watershed Partnership and farmers in the Rice Creek watershed near Northfield.

The FarmWise program aims to develop a  model process that can be replicated by soil and water conservation districts, watershed districts and others. The goal is to engage local farmers voluntarily to make land management decisions that meet both economic and water quality goals.

Thanks to the Mosaic Company Foundation for its support of FarmWise.

Please join us in this important work. Become a Freshwater Society member.