Summer 2021 Director's Corner

joel

For many of us, especially in the educational world, August brings the end of summer and the start of a new year’s worth of activities. The University of MInnesota’s St. Paul campus is still quiet, but the WRC and our partners have been busy. 

This summer drought has come to much of the state, and as of mid-August almost the entire state is below normal rainfall, with more than half in extreme drought or higher. To help address challenges brought by the drought, members of the Extension water team have shared information on how to protect your private well, water your lawn, and irrigate crops during dry conditions.

Despite the drought, we are also helping to prepare our communities to manage stormwater; the long-term trend for Minnesota is that we will be wetter and warmer. One way we have done that is a partnership with the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory to host a monthly seminar series for stormwater professionals. The seminars have covered topics ranging from Restoring pavement hydraulicsbest practices in removal of urban stormwater contaminants and inspiring community involvement in stormwater management. On average, more than 170 people attend them each month.

We are also looking forward to a fall full of projects and gatherings (both virtual and in-person). The Minnesota Water Resources Conference will be held online October 19-20. While we had considered returning to an in-person or hybrid event, the coronavirus and its variants have continued to challenge our daily lives. However, we have an exciting set of keynote speakers and concurrent presentations, including a special session on water equity and justice. 

Finally, and most importantly, our work could not be done without talented and experienced people. We are happy to announce that Maggie Karschnia has joined us as an Extension educator. She is working with both us at the Water Resources Center and Minnesota Sea Grant in Duluth, and her work will include developing Extension programming for urban stormwater management and community resiliency.

I hope that the fall will bring precipitation, declining COVID cases, increased immunizations, and continued collaboration with our friends and partners. In the meantime, be safe and take care.

joel