Cultivating Solutions: Reducing Bacteria in Waters


♪ Instrumental piano music playing ♪ In Southeastern Minnesota dozens of
streams feed the whitewater river as it flows o the Mississippi near Winona. In all 419 thousand acres drain to the
whitewater river. This program focuses on bacteria and how
a farmer lead counsel is working to reduce bacteria in local waters and the Mississippi downstream. First of all bacteria in itself it’s common in the environment and it’s for the most part harmless but there are
certain types of bacteria that can pose a health risks for people and can cause
illness and fecal coliform for example if that is in area streams it is an
indicator of the presence of fecal matter and so some forms of fecal coliform can cause illnesses and it can also be associated with pathogens
that do. Primarily the bacteria in the whitewater
comes from agricultural runoff from septic systems that are improperly maintained and also from wildlife. Lynn and Karen Zabel own and operate a dairy farm near Plainview in Southeast Minnesota. They raise sweet peas and other crops along with milking about 50 cows. Lynn works the same land his great
grandfather worked. Carrying on that legacy is important to him. Bacteria isn’t really a bad thing I mean it’s like insects, it’s necessary part of the environment but when things
are too concentrated then it gets to be a problem . What we have done is always try to keep our outside lot scraped especially if there forecasts for ran and keep grass buffer strips between the cow yards and where it runs and just generally cleanliness and keeping up with things. We’re finally now wanting to build a free stall so the cows won’t have to be outside at all that will stop us from having
troubles when it rains but person financially is
only able to do so much I mean if you can’t stay in business or make a living for your family well then
its all for not. This free stall will afford us the opportunity to make at least out little corner of the world a much better place it’ll be much cleaner and it is, it is a good thing for the
environment. As part of the farmer lead counsel for the whitewater river area the Zabel’s are cultivating solutions to
achieving and keeping healthy waters. I guess I saw it as a good opportunity
to get my viewpoint out to the outside world more and get to talk
to some people from like soil conservation or the pollution control and let them know
what my perspective is and how things should be to try to make
everything work better together I guess. By being a part of the farmer lead counsel
it’s allowing us the opportunity to meet from other counties to talk, to
understand what their best practices are to possibly employ those best
practices like why reinvent the wheel when it’s already been invented by
somebody out there you just have to figure out who has it and how can it help you. [ Unintelligible. Kids jumping in water ] Bacteria can make rivers and streams unsafe for recreational activities such as swimming. By working together farmers in the
whitewater river area are taking steps to reduce bacteria in the river and
downstream waters. They’re working with nutrient management
specialists to apply manure more efficiently to reduce run-off to streams or leaching to groundwater. They’re
promoting rotational grazing and cover crops. Along with septic systems inspections.
Their making the waters healthier for everyone. Other sources of bacteria include waste
water and pet waste. You can help reduce bacteria in your
waters in the following ways: ♪ Instrumental Music Playing ♪

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