A memo from the WRC Interim Director Faye Sleeper

Faye SleeperThe Water Resources Center (WRC) has been busy this fall with conferences that highlight research, outreach and implementation and also providing workshops for professionals so they can achieve certification. The Water Resources Conference included some new features, which helped to add new energy to the two days. In addition, a number of people commented on the high quality of presenters in both general sessions and in break-out sessions. The conference is also one time of year when the water community can come together and interact with each other and meet people who are new to the field. I was surprised and pleased when a colleague told me that this was his one annual request for professional development, because of the opportunity to interact with water professionals and hear a wide range of excellent presentations, including the latest research and implementation. View posted water conference presentations>>

This year we hosted the second Climate Adaptation Conference, which drew professionals and citizens from across the spectrum of climate change concerns, from natural resources to construction of eco-friendly infrastructure. Again, the energy was palpable throughout the day and many commented on the high quality of the breakout sessions. The conference also featured two very different speakers in the morning and over lunch, which appealed to different segments of the attendees. Finally, it was nice to recognize a few people/organizations for their important contributions for climate adaptation.

It is easy to let the big events overshadow the ongoing and equally impressive professional training at the Water Resources Center. Annually, through our planned workshops we train over 1700 onsite treatment system professionals, as well as professionals seeking certification in wetland delineation. The Onsite Sewage Treatment Program prepares participants to test for the certification they need to practice in the state of Minnesota, and they ground the training in the latest research done both here at the WRC and in other states. The Wetland Delineation program educates approximately 460 wetland professionals both through regularly scheduled workshops and an annual conference. These are long standing programs which are a core of our outreach and education programming at the Water Resources Center. In addition, we now offer a 14 week online course for those professionals who want to improve their skills in leading watershed and other water projects focusing on integration of social and natural sciences as well as project management skills. Designed for professionals, this 14 week course also offers undergraduate and graduate credits, so students are getting high quality training at a very affordable price.

We believe that the outreach and education programs of the WRC are right in line with the mission of being part of a land grant institution and Extension, as well as being the Water Resources Research Institute in Minnesota. We thank all of you who continue to strengthen all these programs through your research and engagement at these events.

Faye Sleeper
Interim Director, Water Resources Center