Spring 2013 Director's Corner

WRC FayeThe energy was palpable in the room of 125 water specialists who had gathered at the Watershed Research Symposium on the St. Paul campus February 21 to discuss research needs and determine the water research agenda for the next five years in Minnesota. A panel of speakers had just talked about research needs from their perspectives, very different perspectives. Throughout the day, a number of attendees commented on how well the panel set the stage by addressing both urban and rural perspectives, while also presenting broad research as well as specific topics. I believe that the energy in the room came from new understanding of issues other sectors are facing as well as hearing their own issues presented. Participants also knew that the day was designed to gather information from them. It can be energizing to take a break from the day to day challenges to think more broadly and to hear about others’ challenges.

Here at the Water Resources Center, we are privileged to see the diversity of issues and research on a daily basis. This issue of the Minnegram highlights just a few of areas of recent work here at the WRC. We look forward to the results of several small grants we have awarded to University researchers. You will see that this year there is a stronger emphasis on the human dimension and policy issues. Our own staff are working on very interesting and diverse projects, and we highlight several of those in this issue: the OSTP team will assess the onsite treatment systems at selected Minnesota Department of Transportation rest areas, we report on the effectiveness of road salt training for Dakota county snowplow drivers, and manure management workshops that combat excess phosphorus runoff.

Near the end of April or early May, you can expect to see the final research agenda from the Watershed Research Symposium. The issues are wide ranging, and will keep us all busy over the next five years