The Root River Field to Stream Partnership is a water monitoring effort in southeast Minnesota that combines data collection, strong personal relationships, and conservation action. Administered by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, this project conducted intensive surface and groundwater monitoring in order to determine the effectiveness of agricultural conservation practices. By working closely with water conservation districts and farmers, and because of that relationship-building, 98% of farmers in the study area participated in on-farm walkovers to identify critical conservation needs. As a result, thirteen new water and sediment control basins and catchment ponds were installed, 200 acres of cover crops have been planted, a total of 90 grass waterways spanning more than 65,000 feet have been installed in high priority areas, along with many other protections.

Honorable Mention

Southeast Minnesota Wastewater Initiative

Southeast Minnesota Wastewater Initiative is an effort to help communities without municipal sewage treatment improve wastewater handling.

About the Rural Vitality Category

The Rural Vitality Award recognizes a partnership working to solve environmental challenges on a community scale in rural areas. This could include grassroots efforts in revitalization or beautification, alternative land use strategies or policy initiatives that contribute to economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and improved quality of life.