Minnesota Water Resources Conference returns to the banks of the Mississippi

For the first time since 2019, the Minnesota Water Resources Conference will be an in-person event at St. Paul’s RiverCentre. “After two years of Zoom rooms and emails, this is a long-awaited opportunity for the community to interact face to face,” said Water Resources Center director Jeff Peterson.

The 2022 program covers topics including wetlands, agriculture, stormwater and nutrients in surface waters. Special sessions will highlight the benefits of winter cover crops and the role of the arts in transforming water management.

bridget ulrich

Bridget Ulrich is the first recipient of the Deb Swackhamer award. Ulrich is developing an Environmental Analytical Chemistry facility that specializes in analysis of many of the contaminants that Swackhamer focused on, as well as other emerging contaminants that are highly relevant to Minnesota, including poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances.

New this year is the presentation of the Deb Swackhamer award. The Minnesota Water Resources Conference committee approved the creation of a new award to be given in Swackhamer’s name after her death in 2021. The award spotlights early career scientists and professionals who personify Swackhamer’s dedication and care for water resources. The inaugural award recipient is Bridget Ulrich, who knew Swackhamer personally and directly benefited from her support when Ulrich was a student. Ulrich’s career has taken her across the US, abroad to Switzerland and back to Minnesota to research work at the Natural Resources Research Institute.

Rebecca Flood and Andrea Hendrickson are the joint recipients of the 2022 Dave Ford award. Flood was recognized for her many water resources contributions during her 40 -year career, including her key role in decommissioning small non-compliant wastewater treatment plants and putting in place an effective regional wastewater treatment systems. Hendrickson was honored for her innovative work in transportation hydraulics, specifically her oversight of designs and guidelines for bridges, culverts and stormwater drain systems. The Dave Ford award honors DNR hydrologist Ford who was highly regarded by his water resources colleagues, who honored him with an award to be presented to others in the field who have made an indelible impact on Minnesota’s environmental landscape and water resources.

Awards will be presented during Tuesday’s luncheon session.

Tuesday’s morning plenary will be a multi-speaker session on climate change adaptation featuring panel speakers:

  • Dana Vanderbosch, Assistant Commissioner for Water Policy and Agriculture, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
  • Mindy Granley, Sustainability Officer, City of Duluth
  • Heidi Roop, Director of the University of Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership and an Assistant Professor of Climate Science and Extension Specialist at the University of Minnesota

Wednesday morning features Minnesota’s Clean Water Fund - Creating the legacy for today and tomorrow. a\A panel of state leaders will discuss the impacts and future directions of the Clean Water Fund. Panel members will review the origins of the amendment and provide a look forward to the ongoing work and future projects of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.

Wednesday luncheon Keynote presentation: PFAS and the implications for Minnesota’s Water Resources, Matt Simcik, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Minnesota

The Minnesota Water Resources Conference is sponsored the Water Resources Center and the College of Continuing and Professional Studies, University of Minnesota. Co-sponsors are:

  • Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering, College of Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota
  • Minnesota Section, American Society of Civil Engineers
  • Minnesota Sea Grant College Program, University of Minnesota
  • Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota