Fall 2019 Director's Corner


It was wonderful to see so many of you at the Minnesota Water Resources Conference. While we have no shortage of water problems in Minnesota and beyond, I always walk away from this conference inspired by the dedication of Minnesota’s water resources professionals.  For the fifth consecutive year, conference attendance exceeded the previous record and has now hit a new milestone of over 900 participants. We’ll have a full recap in the next Minnegram, but for now I invite you to browse the conference history page, where you can look through five decades worth of programs and leave your thoughts on how the conference has impacted you and your work. 

This Minnegram issue highlights some recent research and upcoming events on several timely water resources topics. A feature article previews the upcoming Climate Adaptation Conference, to be held January 22, 2020 on the St. Paul campus. This will be the sixth such program hosted by the Water Resources Center in collaboration with the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership. The 2020 conference will have the theme Crossing Boundaries - Sparking Collaboration and will feature Beth Gibbons,executive director of the American Society of Adaptation Professionals.

In another article, Jodi DeJong-Hughes summarizes the results of a four-year study on the impacts of tillage on corn and soybean yields. The study included site comparisons over several growing seasons, focusing on the cool and wet soil conditions that are prevalent in many parts of western Minnesota and North Dakota. Results indicate that farmers in these areas can obtain the benefits of reduced tillage without sacrificing crop yields. Results like these -- and other research on tillage and soil health -- will be presented at the upcoming Conservation Tillage Conference, December 17-18 in St. Cloud.

Elsewhere in this issue you’ll find updates on emerging monitoring approaches using various types of sensors. Vasudha Sharma and Anne Nelson describe their research assessing soil moisture sensors to improve irrigation management.  Pat Brezonik provides an update on a new system to monitor water quality in over 14,000 Minnesota lakes from satellite imagery. Finally, an article that originally appeared on the University of Minnesota-Duluth News page explains a major project to monitor convective cells in Lake Superior, led by WRS faculty member Jay Austin.

As this year draws to a close and we see a new decade on the horizon, we can all take time to reflect and reimagine the future. We look forward to staying in touch with you all about our work in 2020 and beyond.