Winter 2013 Community News

John Bilotta (UM Extension, Minnesota Sea Grant), Cindy Hagley, and Jesse Schomberg (Minnesota Sea Grant) received the Great Lakes Outreach Programming Award for their work with the Watershed Game in the Great Lakes Region. The award is given by program leaders from across the Great Lakes Sea Grant Programs. Bilotta also partnered with Leslie Yetka (Minnehaha Creek Watershed District) and Tim Kenny (Minnesota Landscape Arboretum) and received an award for Excellence in Leadership for their role in leading the 2012 Clean Water Summit -The Essential Role of Soil.

Larry Baker (WRS Faculty, BBE) presented "Towards a Circular Economy for Phosphorus", co-authored with Heidi Peterson at the Research Coordinating Network on Urban Sustainable Cities workshop, YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park, CO, August 16-19, 2012. Baker also presented a seminar “Developing Drought Resilience in Cities: A Research Agenda" at the Interdisciplinary Center for Global Change, October 19, 2012, in Minneapolis, MN. Baker also presented "The Intersection Between Vegetated Landscapes and Engineered Infrastructure: Flowpaths of Water and Nutrients" at the Greening of Cities-International Research workshop, Auckland, New Zealand, December 10-13, 2012, and "Can Biogeochemists Help to Enhance Urban Resilience?" at the American Geophysical Union, Symposium on Urban Biogeochemistry December 6, 2012.

Karlyn Eckman (WRS Faculty, FR) presented the following papers: “Eight Lessons from the Meta-Analysis of Minnesota KAP Studies," at the NEMO U8 conference in Duluth, MN, October 1-3, 2012, with co-authors Mary Blickenderfer, Jesse Schomberg and John Bilotta. "Meta-Analysis of the KAP Study Evaluation Method in Environmental Projects" at the American Evaluation Association national conference in Minneapolis on October 25, 2012, with co-authors Lynne Kolze, Kimberly Nuckles and Valerie Were. "Snap the Gap with KAP," at the University of Minnesota Extension Summit, October 9, 2012. Eckman also received a One Health grant titled "Tackling the Complex Problems of Land Degradation, Deforestation, Water Scarcity, Shifting Cultivation and Food Insecurity in Mizoram India." A UM team will travel to Mizoram in January 2013 to conduct interdisciplinary research with local scientists, and will include Joe Magner, (WRS faculty, BBE) Dean Current and Michele Schermann. Chongthu Chawnghnuna is the Mizoram superintending engineer and will join the field studies. Chongthu was a visiting Fulbright Fellow to the U of M in 2011. The One Health initiative is a collaboration between CFANS and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Jacques Finlay (WRS Faculty, EEB) presented “Importance of Hydrologic Pathways to Urban Nutrient Loading and Implications for Current Stormwater Management Practices,” with Ben Janke, Sarah Hobbie (WRS faculty, EEB) and Larry Baker, at the Water Resources Conference, October 16, 2012, in St. Paul, MN.

Efi Foufoula-Georgiou (WRS faculty, CE) is the lead researcher on a $4.3 million Water Sustainability and Climate grant from the National Science Foundation to lead a five-year study on the interactions between climate, water and land-use systems. The grant will specifically examine impacts of land use and climate change on water quality and ecosystem health using the Minnesota River Basin as a prototype. The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is the lead institution for this grant that involves researchers from institutions across the country such as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Johns Hopkins University, Utah State University, University of Washington, Iowa State University, and the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Led by Foufoula-Georgiou, there are several researchers on the project, including WRS faculty Jacques Finlay, associate professor of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota and Karen Gran, assistant professor of Geological Sciences, University of Minnesota-Duluth. The researchers will develop a framework for identifying and predicting processes, locations and times that are most susceptible to accelerated change. This framework is envisioned to guide decision and policy making toward a healthy and resilient environment. The research team has chosen the Minnesota River Basin as a location for their research because it encompasses an extremely broad spectrum of natural and human-induced rates of change and sensitivity to land-use practices.

John Gulliver (WRS Faculty, CE) has been selected to be a Resident Fellow at the Institute on the Environment. His responsibilities will be to expand his outreach activities on the treatment of urban drainage and to work with the Acara Challenge in educating students to discover, design, develop and deliver solutions to problems faced by the poor in India.

Sarah Hobbie (WRS Faculty, EEB) presented “Quantifying Nutrient Load Reductions Through Targeted, Intensive Street Sweeping - A Field Study by the University of Minnesota in Partnership with the City of Prior Lake,” with Larry Baker, and Paula Kalinoski, at the Water Resources Conference, October 17, 2012 in St. Paul, MN.

Ray Hozalski (WRS faculty, CE) is on sabbatical at the University of Vermont in Burlington, VT working with Jane Hill on a novel approach for pathogen detection that involves analysis of volatile compounds emitted by the microbes using GCMS

The DNR’s MinnAqua staff, including Roland Sigurdson, presented several sessions at the 2012 Aquatic Resource Education Association (AREA) conference October 22 – 25, 2012, Phoenix, AZ. The AREA conference provides training and information exchange once every two years for representatives of State, Federal, industry, fisheries and educational professionals involved in aquatic resource education programs.

John Nieber (WRS Faculty, BBE) presented "Whole-Watershed Phosphorus Balance as Practical Tool to Achieve TMDL Goals," with Larry Baker, Sarah Hobbie, and Jay Ulrich at the Water Resources Conference, October 17, 2012 in St. Paul, MN.

Extension Educator Randy Pepin is the lead educator on two Water Resources Center-managed grant projects. He will present case studies on grid soil sampling for phosphorus in workshops for livestock producers and agricultural professionals. The case studies analyze the environmental and economic benefits and costs of grid soil sampling to modify manure applications. The grant was provided by the McKnight Foundation. Pepin will also begin a new 319 project, conducting phosphorus balance analyses on dairy and beef farms, with the objective of reducing excess phosphorus build-up in soils in high livestock density areas. Opportunities for adjustments in livestock rations and fertilizer phosphorus will be examined and written into case studies for delivery at workshops and field days. The grant was provided by the EPA through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Deb Swackhamer (WRC co-director) gave an invited presentation to a closed meeting of the National Academies of Science (NAS) Advisory Board of the Division of Earth and Life Sciences (DELS) and the Water Science and Technology Board October 26, 2012 in Washington, DC. The subject was Hydrofracking and the Water Cycle.