Location: Statewide, Minnesota
Client: Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council
Minnesota has 81 major watersheds and is adopting watershed restoration and protection strategies (WRAPS) for all of those major watersheds with the goal of meeting water quality standards to make waters fishable and swimmable. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency guides the watershed restoration and protection strategies (WRAPS)/total maximum daily load (TMDL) process. While outcomes of the process affect many producers and landowners, there is often a disconnect between the policy and practical applications.
Minnesota farmers have a big role in water quality, but the statewide process of WRAPS and TMDLs can be overwhelming and intimidating to participate in. Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI) saw this disconnect and worked to change it through a collaborative project with Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council.
In 2015, our team worked to create a handbook and series of workshops to help producers better understand the process and how it affects them for both policy and practical implications.
The interactive handbook de-mystifies the process by simplifying dense existing information into user-friendly language. In addition to simplified text, the handbook’s design employed graphics and callouts to make the information as approachable as possible.
The guide has been well received as a bridge between farmers and state agencies. Ultimately, it will help farmers and producers become more involved in the State’s water quality improvement process. HEI is in the process of leading workshops at locations around the state.