The Future of Agriculture and Water: Yahara Watershed, Wisconsin

Thu, Mar 18, 2021, 12:30 pm

Among human activities, agriculture is a large emitter of greenhouse gases, the largest user of freshwater, and the largest polluter of water. Yet food is a necessity, and people want food to be inexpensive. In the Great Lakes region, North America’s breadbasket and water tower, conflicts around agriculture and water are ongoing.  The Yahara Watershed around Madison, Wisconsin exemplifies these conflicts. Yahara2070 ( integrated the skills of social, physical, and ecological scientists, artists, writers, and a diverse cross-section of residents of the watershed to study and discuss plausible futures of the region to 2070. These discussions have created new partnerships for sustainable agriculture and water resources. However improvements in land management practices have been offset by climate change. Pollutant loads to surface waters have not declined as erosion has increased due to rising annual precipitation and frequency of extreme rainfall events. Yahara2070 scenarios are widely discussed and suggest pathways for sustaining food and water, if climate change can be mitigated.

Open to the public.

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