Water Resources Center

The Water Resources Center is affiliated with the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and University of Minnesota Extension.

Welcome to the WRC

Deb Swackhamer’s Water Resources Center legacy comes from talent, dedication…and what she calls “luck”

 Although she’s stepped down from the co-directorship of the University of Minnesota’s Water Resources Center (WRC), don’t expect Deb Swackhamer to fade away. She remains a University professor of science technology and environmental policy at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, a professor of environmental health sciences with the School of Public Health and leaves a legacy of water protection literally, on the books. Read full article>>

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Swackhamer grew up in Whitehouse Station New Jersey, in an educated household in which there were “no boring discussions."


The Water Resources Center (WRC) has an annual competition for research funds provided by Congressional appropriation to the Water Resources Research Institutes through the US Geological Survey. We are pleased to announce the WRC research grant competition for 2015. Proposals should emphasize innovative approaches to advancing the scientific understanding and/or imaginative strategies for solving important water resource problems of Minnesota that are relevant to the nation. Proposals are invited from researchers from any college or university in Minnesota, and are sought on a wide range of subjects related to water resources science and engineering. Topics of interest for this year include but are not limited to:

• Groundwater protection, management, sustainability
• Agricultural drainage
• Controls and treatments of agricultural drainage and runoff to reduce sources and impacts of nitrogen and phosphorus
• New technologies for assessing water quality
• Contaminants of emerging concern
• Urban stormwater
• Innovations in wastewater and drinking water treatment
• Valuation of water resources
• Water recycling/reuse
• Water-energy nexus
• Impacts on water quality from climate change

Proposals will be evaluated on scientific merit and relevance to state and national needs, on their potential to attract follow-on extramural funding, and on clearly articulated and relevant impact of the research. All proposals will be peer-reviewed by both in-state and out-of-state reviewers, and an Advisory Panel will select the proposals for funding. We especially encourage proposals from junior faculty. The submission deadline is NOON, Friday, October 242014. Decisions will be made by early December, 2014. Funding is contingent on the appropriation of our funds by Congress, and will likely be available March 1, 2015. Complete proposal request pdf.

The WRC expects to have approximately $80,000 available for this competition, and will fund 2-3 projects with total awards of approximately $25,000 to $30,000 in total direct costs. Projects periods may be for one or two years; all of the funds for two-year projects are taken from this round of funds so multi-year project requests must still be on the order of $30,000 total. Investigators submit proposals to the WRC, and we ultimately submit a package of selected projects to our national office for funding. Thus proposals should not be routed through Sponsored Projects Administration. The WRC takes care of that if you are selected for funding.

This program requires a 2:1 funding match; however, the WRC covers half of that match with the IDC. Thus all grants require matching funds on the order of 1:1. However, interested investigators are encouraged to contact the WRC if they are having difficulty meeting the match requirement. Details of the budget requirements are provided in the grant application instructions. We encourage the use of these funds for the support of students. However, you may not use our funds for graduate RA tuition – you must find support for tuition elsewhere (and you can only use this as part of your required match if they are non-Federal funds). The WRS graduate program has funds to provide the tuition and match for up to 2 WRS students – please let Cheryel know if you wish to be considered for this match. 

All grant applications must be submitted on-line, at niwr.net. Guidance is provided below, in the Appendix. For assistance with the grant submission process and with budget questions, contact Cheryel Konate at the WRC (cheryel@umn.edu). Questions involving technical issues such as the suitability of a proposed topic or scope of proposed work can be directed to Deb Swackhamer (dswack@umn.edu) or Faye Sleeper (fsleeper@umn.edu). All three can be reached at 612-624-9282. Full Request for Proposals with appendix

Funds for this competition come from two programs within the WRC, the Water Resources Research Institute Program (funded through the US Geological Survey) and the Center for Agricultural Impacts on Water Quality (funded through the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station). 

MinnAqua educator Roland Sigurdson brought fun to environmental education and everything else

By Christine Hansen, Minnegram editor

“Remember, the goal is to have fun.”
Roland Sigurdson, MinnAqua education coordinator with the DNR.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources press release, April 24, 2014, “How to introduce a kid to fishing.”

For fifteen years, DNR MinnAqua supervisor Roland Sigurdson occupied an office cube at the Water Resources Center. A scan of his desk and walls reveals a life in balance. The displays are remarkably focused, reflecting his love of family, friends, fun, education and fishing. His wife Stacey and daughter Natalie beam from multiple photos, there are childhood pictures of Roland and his siblings on the farm, images of Roland the educator before groups of fascinated children, and lots and lots of fish.

When Roland died suddenly on April 30, he left behind a legacy so far-reaching it is difficult to imagine it being generated by a single person. In his work as DNR MinneAqua program supervisor, his influence radiated like water ripples from a bobber, as he mentored interns, fished with Minnesota governors and University presidents, taught city kids the joy of fishing and became the go-to fishing guy for local media. Read full article>>

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Minnesota Water Sustainability Framework

Learn more >>

Watershed Specialist Training>>

News and Upcoming Events 

Building Minnesota's Capacity for Climate Adaptation
Second Conference on Climate Adaptation

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November 6, 2014
Hyatt Regency Minneapolis
Registration open>>

Watch The Cost of Climate Change on TPT  this fall