Minnegram Spring 2013

Director's Corner

Features

  • Two research projects were awarded funding by the WRC in the 2012 grant competition.

    The projects tackle water challenges in Minnesota and the Gulf of Mexico. Pinpointing the sources of excessive nitrogen in the Gulf and creating a framework for sustainable water management in Minnesota will be explored by the projects’ Principle Investigators (PI’s).

  • About 300 people crowded into a University of Minnesota theater Tuesday, February 12, 2013, to hear a stimulating, informative – and, ultimately, inspiring — lecture by Sandra Postel, an author and advocate for protecting and conserving the world’s water.

    The Freshwater Society interviewed Postel about her work, her goals for the lecture and her hopes for the future. The following is a transcript of the interview, edited for clarity and brevity.

  • The project will first develop a protocol for system assessment and then implement the assessment on five sites. The assessment will include evaluating the current system components, identify any deficiencies and provide recommendations for improvements, if needed. Initial grab sampling of wastewater characteristics including flow and effluent quality will be obtained, if accessible, and a sampling protocol developed for the system operator. The first five sites to be evaluated will help develop a risk-based assessment model focusing on site and wastewater characteristics specifically for the MnDOT sites. The remaining 46 sites will be evaluated based on the procedures developed and prioritized based on the risk-based assessment model.

  • University of Minnesota Extension educator Randy Pepin, a former livestock industry consultant, hopes to make grid soil sampling a common practice among farmers who choose to use livestock manure. Grid soil sampling can be a cost effective way for farmers to target their nutrient application while reducing the amount of phosphorus entering the watershed.

  • In 2008, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) piloted a 14-month training program for Dakota County snowplow drivers aimed at improving operator effectiveness and reducing the amount of sodium chloride entering nearby lakes and streams. The training program was developed by Connie Fortin of Hamel-based Fortin Consulting, an environmental consulting firm that specializes in water quality projects.

    As part of the project, the MPCA turned to Water Resources Center senior researcher Karlyn Eckman, an expert the Knowledge, Attitude and Practices (KAP) study method, to evaluate the effectiveness of the training.