Pekarek, K.1
1Extension Educator-Water Quality, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, Lincoln, NE, 68583-0996


Effective restoration and protection of water resources occurs only when changes in human behavior and social norms make water quality improvements sustainable. Effective education, outreach and communication, therefore, is critical to initiate and facilitate changes in behaviors of land managers that lead to adoption and maintenance of water quality management practices to improve and conserve water resources.

Extension has been at the forefront of educating agricultural producers across disciplines, including water quality, for decades. In recent years, broad partnerships between producers, Extension, local and state organizations, agencies, and government have resulted in an ever-evolving outreach and education model for watershed management in Nebraska.

The objective of Emphasizing Outreach & Education in Watershed Management through Partnerships programming is to enhance the weight of outreach and education in watershed management planning efforts across Nebraska.  This has been accomplished through 1) revising the Nebraska Non-Point Source Management Plan 2) enhancing outreach and education in 319 watershed management plans and associated projects 3) partnering with local watershed groups to implement watershed projects 4) developing outreach methods with producer groups for the USDA National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) and Source Water Protection Initiative and 5) encouraging faculty and staff partnerships with the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE), local Natural Resources Districts (NRDs), USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and others as appropriate.

This program has resulted in state planning guidance that emphasizes partner collaboration in watershed management programs, watershed management plans with robust outreach & education plans, several local partnerships, and a stream delisted for Atrazine after 20+ years of outreach & education.

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