Green Lands Blue Waters Banner



GLBW Staff:

Erin Meier, Director, tegtm003@umn.edu, 612-625-3709 or

Aaron Reser, Associate Director, areser@umn.edu, 612-625-4806

Resources for Continuous Living Cover

Green Lands Blue Waters shares research, tools, information about events and field days, case studies and stories of from our wide network of partners working to advance Continuous Living Cover across the region. Green Lands Blue Waters also creates resources such as our Continuous Living Cover Manual. Thank you for your patience in accessing these resources while we update our website. In the meantime, here is a sampling of OUR CLC resources:

Perennial Farming Systems to Protect Groundwater Supplies

Nitrate is one of the most prevalent contaminants of public and private water systems in rural agricultural areas of the U.S. Upper Midwest. Current strategies to address agricultural contamination of groundwater have focused on 1) removing nitrate from contaminated water, 2) installing new wells or infrastructure to use surface water, 3) taking farmland in a WHPA - wellhead protection area - out of production, or 4) changing how nitrogen fertilizer is managed in the WHPA.

Another option is to convert farmland in the WHPA from summer annual crops to perennial crops, pastures, and agroforestry systems. These perennial farming systems keep the land in production, require less or no added nitrogen, and can significantly reduce nitrate leaching relative to conventional annual cropping systems. Furthermore, with perennial farming systems, the agricultural industry takes a leadership role in fixing the problem.

Perennial Farming Systems for Source Water Protection

Kernza for Wellhead Protection Fact Sheet




Continuous Living Cover Manual

Our CLC Manual was originally created in August, 2015 by a dedicated team of advisors, trainers, farmers, GLBW staff and others. Since 2015, additional chapters have been added, including:

Strategies for Transforming Sensitive Lands and Marginally Productive Row Crops to Pasture or other Perennial Crops. (2017)

EQIP, CSP and CLC; Using Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) to advance Continuous Living Cover. 2016)

If you’d like to receive a print copy of our full Continuous Living Cover Manual, please email glbw@umn.edu




NRCS Opportunities for Increasing Continuous Living Cover

Since the above EQIP, CSP and CLC chapter above was written in 2016, an update document exploring opportunities for using Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs to increase Continuous Living Cover has been written by Green Lands Blue Waters, linked here:

NRCS Opportunities for Increasing Continuous Living Cover. (2018)

In 2019-2020 Green Lands Blue Waters will be working with partners to implement a regional strategy to increase funding for CLC practices through EQIP and CSP based on the following action brief:

Recommended Actions to include Continuous Living Cover Farming Systems in the Environmental Quality Incentives and Conservation Stewardship Programs. (2018)

If you are interested in partnering with Green Lands Blue Waters to implement these opportunities in your state please contact Green Lands Blue Waters Director Erin Meier at tegtm003@umn.edu.




Environmental Benefits of Continuous Living Cover Cropping Systems

Consumers and food companies are growing increasingly interested in sustainable ingredient sourcing, and research is advancing on the environmental benefits of cropping systems including agroforestry, perennial grains, and other CLC strategies. It is important to accurately communicate the environmental benefits of CLC cropping systems.

The following document includes research-based background text and plain-language talking points on the environmental benefits of ingredients/ crops grown in CLC systems. These talking points are written for a general audience and are intended for uses such as food business marketing materials and consumer-facing communications. See below for talking points and an example of how these talking points are being used to promote Midwest hazelnuts:

More than just a delicious ingredient! Environmental Benefits of Continuous Living Cover (CLC) Cropping Systems.

Upper Midwest Hazelnuts