Fall 2018 Director's Corner


Autumn never fails to bring new energy to the university campus as students arrive and classes begin. It’s particularly exciting to see new students begin the next chapter of their lives. We are delighted to welcome nearly 20 students who entered our Water Resources Science (WRS) program this semester. We also welcomed a new WRC staff member in August, Sondra Larson, who will be assisting with the growing portfolio of projects in our Onsite Sewage Treatment Program.

The WRC has reached its own major milestone this summer as we completed our Strategic Plan. Over the span of more than a year, we gathered input from a variety of stakeholders and developed a framework to guide our future direction. As Joel Larson explains in an article in this issue, we hope the completed plan will spark conversations about how we can leverage our unique strengths to work with our collaborators toward common goals.

The arrival of autumn means that the Minnesota Water Resources Conference is just around the corner. This year’s program will feature nationally known keynote speakers on the topics of soil health, behavioral change, and traditional ecological knowledge. We are excited to add a new Wetlands Workshop track this year, thanks to the collaboration between the Wetlands Professionals Association and the WRC’s Wetland Delineator Certification Program. The new track will include content similar to that presented at previous Minnesota Wetlands Conferences. Another new feature will highlight our posters in short pop-up presentations at the end of each parallel session. You can find out more about the conference by reading a feature article in this issue. Then, if you haven’t already, register online to experience it all for yourself.  

Another event I’m looking forward to is the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Conference, to be held November 14 on the University’s St. Paul campus.  An article by Shahram Missaghi previews the program and explains the history of the conference. This year’s conference will be the fourth such gathering since 2013, all of which have brought together diverse voices to address the different facets of adapting to climate change. The conference agenda and a link to registration are available on the conference website.

Other articles in this issue highlight the impact of place-based technical tools, ongoing storm water research and education programs. Ann Lewandowski writes about her work with the Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF) model to help local conservation professionals identify sites where conservation practices will be most effective. John Bilotta and Karen Terry write about two of their successful community-oriented, active learning Extension programs and John Chapman updates us on the collabortive stormwater research team studying what may be hiding in your stormwater pond.

We hope you enjoy the always beautiful fall season in Minnesota, and I look forward to connecting with you at upcoming events.