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OneNOAA Seminar Series mini-symposium seminar #2: The Watershed Game: Using interactive simulations to engage communities, provide effective education, and enhance the skills and solutions leaders have to achieving clean water goals

NOAA: National Centers for Environmental Information logo

June 27, 2018
11:00 a.m. to noon

Remote Access via Mymeeting webinar uses phone or internet.

Phone (audio only) toll-free from US or CAN: 1-877-708-1667. Enter code 7028688#  
Webcast: http://www.mymeetings.com. Under "Participant Join," click "Join an Event," then add conference number: 744925156. No passcode is needed for the web. Be sure to install the WebEx app when logging in; the temporary webex application works fine.


John Bilotta: Water Resource Management and Policy Extension Educator for Minnesota Sea Grant and University of Minnesota Extension, based in St. Paul, Minnesota
John’s work focuses on providing education programs for elected and appointed community leaders and training for the advancement of water resource professionals. He leads the NEMO or Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials and The Watershed Game programs that provide interactive learning experiences for community leaders to enhance their knowledge about water management and land use. John also provides and supports professional training programs for colleagues in water resource education, management, and policy. His background includes 18+ years in extension education at the University of Minnesota and 6+ years in other public and private capacities in soil and water resource management. John has a B.A. in environmental studies and natural resources with an emphasis in soil resources and M.S. in soil science with a focus on fertility and nutrient management.

Cindy Hagley: Environmental Quality Extension Educator for Minnesota Sea Grant, based in Duluth, Minnesota
Cindy’s work centers on sharing the science and management of lakes and streams with coastal communities, property owners, educators, and resource managers. Primarily, she develops and implements professional development programs for educators, often involving week-long workshops aboard ships on the Great Lakes. Much of her work involves the relationship between land use and water quality. Cindy holds a M.S. in aquatic ecology/ limnology from the University of California Davis and a B.S. in biology from the University of Minnesota.

Both are presenting remotely from Minnesota.


The Watershed Game is an interactive tool with a record of success in helping local government officials, students, and others understand the connection between land use and water quality. Participants learn how a variety of land uses impact water and natural resources, increase their knowledge of best management practices (BMPs), and learn how their choices can prevent adverse impacts. Participants apply plans, practices, and policies that help them achieve a water-quality goal for a stream, lake, or river. The Watershed Game has been used throughout Minnesota and in other areas of the country to build the knowledge base of local leaders, providing sound science and easier understanding of their role in achieving Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), which is a regulatory term in the U.S. Clean Water Act, describing a plan for restoring impaired waters that identifies the maximum amount of a pollutant that a body of water can receive while still meeting water quality standards.

The Watershed Game has been a resource of the Minnesota Sea Grant Program and Minnesota Extension and an effective tool for extension educators from land-grant and sea-grant institutions for more than ten years. In 2017-18, a comprehensive evaluation of its use revealed the positive impacts it has had for many communities and our colleagues who use it as a water-education and community-engagement tool for critical conversations around sustainable water and land use planning. The Watershed Game for Local Leaders is available in three models — lake, river, and stream — and their use is focused on elected and volunteer community leaders. The Classroom Version was designed for middle school youth and is intended for use by formal and informal educators. This presentation will describe the Watershed Game activity and how it has been used, highlight how it has been used to train more than 150 facilitators in 15 states, and share some of the evaluation results. The presenters will also discuss ongoing advances, changes, and new adaptations for nitrogen and climate scenarios.


  • NOAA's Ocean Service (NOS) Science Seminar Series and the NOS National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS). Seminar Host is Tracy.Gill@noaa.gov



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