Minnegram Winter 2014

Director's Corner

Features

  • An environmental engineer who investigates how infrastructure can protect public health and the environment, LaPara’s recent work has zeroed in on the most pressing threat to modern medicine—the rise of antibiotic resistance in the environment. 

  • In the land of 10,000 lakes, one lake has been the starting place for research with implications for big lakes around the world. According to a study published online this week in Science, University of Minnesota researchers, building from studies of nitrogen levels in Lake Superior, uncovered a good news/bad news scenario for lake health that has long-term, global implications for pollution control efforts.

  • The policy and economics of hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico, management of surface and groundwater, and the political polarization of science were on the topic menu at the 2013 Minnesota Water Conference, held October 15 and 16, at the St. Paul RiverCentre. The conference opened with the presentation of the Dave Ford Award. Civil Engineering Professor Emeritus Heinz Stefan, a former Dave Ford Award winner, presented this year’s award to Professor John Gulliver (WRS faculty, CE). The award recognizes individuals whose lifetime accomplishments contribute to improving Minnesota's water quality. Stefan enumerated Gulliver’s many professional achievements in studying surface gas transfer early in his career, up to his current role in investigating aeration on turbine blades and in turbine draft tubes to raise dissolved oxygen levels downstream from hydropower stations. Recently, Gulliver and his students developed urban stormwater best management practices that remove nutrients, chemicals, and sediments from urban stormwater runoff. Stefan also noted Gulliver’s significant role as mentor in the lives of his students, “He has had an impact on the development of many engineering students, and has advised over 70 graduate students to the completion of their degrees. Some of them are here with us today.”

  • At the inaugural Preparing Minnesota for Climate Change: A Conference on Climate Adaptation, climatologist Mark Seeley brought home the effects of climate change by making it personal. Seeley opened conference at the Science Museum of Minnesota, November 7, 2013. He told the 250 plus audience members that we can see the effects of a warming climate in our own backyard. More disease and pests are surviving our warmer winters. Roads deteriorate faster as the asphalt thaws and freezes more frequently throughout the winter season. Minnesotans sensitive to mold and allergies are enduring longer allergy seasons.

    Summer is bringing more heat wave episodes, which directly affects our lives and livelihoods, as stressed livestock are less productive, lakes create an overabundance of algae blooms, stressing water wildlife, while air conditioning bills soar.

  • The Water Resources Training and Education website is under initial development to inform prospective students in the U.S. of training opportunities in the field of water resources, from government-sponsored short courses to graduate studies.