Water Education/STEM

Continuing Education Study Materials for Certified Crop Advisors
Water availability for irrigation in the Western United States is often limited, and in many cases, declining. Below-average snow pack, drought, interstate conflicts, ground water pumping restrictions, and declining ground water from non-renewable aquifers have all contributed to declining water supplies for irrigation. These water shortages have been occurring in many western U.S. irrigated watersheds and ground water basins to some degree for the past several years. Combined with water transfers from agriculture to municipal and industrial uses and increasing recreational and environmental demands for water, the relevance of irrigation management with limited water supplies has greatly increased.

In response to these growing demands on available water and the necessity of focusing on agricultural water use and conservation today and in the future, the NPM Regional Water Program partners has developed a series of training modules for Certified Crop Advisers (CCA) and other agricultural management professionals, intended to build upon concepts and suggestions for limited-irrigation management, provide updates on research projects relevant to the topic of limited water irrigation, and suggest further resources and techniques for managing irrigated cropping systems under tighter water supplies.

CCAs wishing to study the content of these modules and apply for certification renewal credits should access the modules and quiz questions through the CCA web page of the American Society of Agronomy’s web page.

 

Well Educated

Well Educated:  Well & Septic Educational Videos

Well & Septic File Folders

foldersKeeping good records is essential to helping households protect the health of their family and the environment. These folders provide a useful format to keep private well and septic records. The folders also contain a description of typical systems, suggestions for maintenance, tables for critical dates, and other essential information to help private well and septic owners keep their systems operating efficiently.

Folders are available through your state’s Water Quality Coordinator, though supplies are limited. If you wish to order larger quantities, please click here (sets of 20 are $20.00).

Support for Offering an Educational Program

Are you interested in offering a well testing program in your community? If so, all of the resources listed on this page are available for your use. Depending on your programming needs, resources are either free of charge or available at a reduced cost. Please contact your state’s Water Quality Coordinator for more information.

Access a comprehensive guide to offering a Well Testing Program.

Hispanic Serving Institutions
The NPM Regional Water Program plans to develop partnerships with Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) that are actively working on water related research and teaching and will actively seek funding opportunities which are mutually beneficial to the HSIs and state coordinators in the NPM Region and beyond. Current HSI’s in the NPM Region include:

Tribal, Hispanic Serving Institution, and 2-year College WQ Curriculum Capacity Building

No less than 23 uniquely identified Native American populations, five Hispanic serving higher education institutions, 17 Native American higher education institutions, and 40 two-year and vocational education/technology colleges presently address educational needs of underserved populations of the region. Many underserved communities face water quality impairment issues, including access to safe drinking water. While there is often significant desire within and from outside these underserved communities to address water quality needs, in many cases there is lack of knowledge among community members about how to characterize and address these issues. Additionally, although 1994 institutions, Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) institutions and locally-attended 2-year and vocational education/technology institutions provide the venue for improving the knowledge base of underserved community members, a critical mass of faculty and instructors with water quality expertise and experience is often lacking. Partnerships facilitated between faculty of Tribal, HSI, and 2-year colleges and Land Grant Universities through the USDA-NIFA National Water Program can help bridge the gap between science and community implementation adapted to specific community needs.

Montana State University Extension’s Water Quality Program worked with Salish Kootenai College and the NPM Regional Water Program to develop a water quality teaching package. The package provides materials to support a college level water quality course to enhance water science education capacity at tribal colleges.

Tribal Outreach
The NPM Region water quality project partnered with the Tribal Colleges and Universities National Facilitation Project for Increasing Tribal Involvement in the Water Quality Network, to help facilitate capacity building among 1994 institution faculty. The NPM regional project team developed, in collaboration with the national facilitation project leader and selected tribal faculty, collegiate-level, classroom-ready instructional materials for a 25 to 30 lecture-format water quality course, introducing basic hydrology and water law and covering the primary parameters used in the characterization of physical, chemical, and biological water quality criteria. The materials developed include lesson summaries, suggested reading resources, PowerPoint lectures with instructor notes with each slide, assignment possibilities and test questions.

The course content and instructor-ready resources and materials were reviewed by regional program water quality coordinators for science content accuracy. Subsequently the materials were reviewed by 1994 tribal college instructors and modified accordingly to include attention to cultural relevancy and tribal instructor and student background knowledge. Workshops were then arranged with 1994 tribal college instructors to provide them opportunity to review course materials and to provide additional insights and mentoring to tribal instructors using the course materials. The curriculum materials have now been introduced to 1994 tribal college instructors throughout the NPM region and plans are being developed to work collaboratively with these same instructors to make modifications to the curriculum based on initial teaching and to develop jointly additional curriculum that will support capacity building among the 1994 Tribal Institutions.

As a continuation of this collaborative project, NPM regional water quality coordinators have committed to serve as the direct link to water quality personnel at 1994 Institutions for collaborative program development and implementation. Additionally, the coordinators will provide consultation on curriculum and will participate in water quality training as requested by Tribal Colleges on issues related to drinking water quality, watershed protection and restoration, energy development, as well as nutrients and pesticides.

Montana State University Extension’s Water Quality Program worked with Salish Kootenai College and the NPM Regional Water Program to develop a water quality teaching package. The package provides materials to support a college level water quality course to enhance water science education capacity at tribal colleges.

Tribal Waters Videos

Montana State University Science and Natural History Film Making Program and Salish-Kootenai College have partnered together to produce a film about water quality management on Montana reservations. The video contains footage of interviews with members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT), the Apsáalooke (Crow) Tribe, and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe concerning water quality work they are involved in. The intention of the video is to outline the Clean Water Act structure that supports water quality work completed on reservations and what is happening on the ground in Montana under this structure.

In a subsequent video, Clayton Matt with CSKT talks about the legal framework surrounding Indian water rights. The discussion covers the legal framework at the federal level with additional insights from the CSKT experience. Topics covered include prior appropriation, federal reserved water rights, Winters Doctrine and aboriginal water rights.


USDA-NIFA
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) – USDA Water Quality Program was authorized under section 406 of the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 for an Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program. This program provides the flexibility necessary for NIFA to bring the resources of researchers, instructors, and extension educators to national initiatives and programmatic partnerships that target evolving water quality needs.