Minnegram Fall 2019
Upcoming Climate Adaptation Conference keynote speaker Beth Gibbons brings climate adaptation into the mainstream
In an Ann Arbor MI appearance earlier this year, Beth Gibbons emphasized what is possible when confronting climate change. “We have a lot of control over how those impacts will feel for our community,” Gibbons said. “The choices in our policies, our land use, the way that we pave or don’t pave, the preservation of green space, the way that we manage our cities has a tremendous effect on the impacts of climate change.”
Arsenic in Minnesota’s Drinking Water Wells: When Natural ≠ Healthy
by Melinda L. Erickson, U.S. Geological Survey Research Hydrologist and UMN Adjunct Associate Professor Emily C. Berquist, Minnesota Department of Health Hydrologist
Well owners, well contractors, and drinking-water managers need to know where and why high-arsenic groundwater is likely to occur in order to take measures to protect public health. The U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Health and University of Minnesota, has been assessing the spatial distribution of groundwater arsenic concentrations in Minnesota, identifying factors affecting arsenic mobilization, and identifying ways to drill domestic drinking water wells with a lower risk of high-arsenic.
Satellite imagery for lake water quality assessments
by Patrick Brezonik
The use of satellite imagery to measure water quality conditions in lakes and other surface waters has made tremendous advances in the last 20 years – from a technique typically viewed by limnologists as more a curiosity than a viable measurement approach to a sophisticated technique now producing critical and detailed data on major water quality characteristics, such as chlorophyll, suspended solids, colored dissolved organic matter and water clarity, at spatial scales impossible or impractical to achieve by conventional land-based sampling approaches.
Four years of tillage research wraps up
by Jodi DeJong-Hughes
Less tillage on cropland allows the soil to take in more intense rainfall before runoff begins, thereby reducing soil loss. Advantages to the crop producer include better economics, less wear and tear on equipment, better water holding capacity of the soil, and improved biological populations and diversity in the soil.
Using Soil Moisture Sensors and ETgage as a Guide for Irrigation Management
by Anne Nelson and Vasudha Sharma
In Minnesota almost 600,000 acres of cropland is irrigated, only about 3% of total cropland. However, the soils in these areas are highly susceptible to nutrient leaching and water loss. Using irrigation management tools can improve yields, grain quality, conserve water and energy, and reduce nutrient leaching. One of the easiest and most effective ways to improve irrigation efficiency is to implement soil moisture sensors and other tools in irrigation scheduling.
In an attempt to answer novel and complex questions, UMD’s LLO deploys equipment designed to take data from Lake Superior
by Cheryl Reitan
Reprinted with permission from Currents in Motion
In May 2019, about 30 miles from the Minnesota shoreline, eleven people — UMD students, staff, faculty, and ship’s crew — began assembling, as Jay Austin from UMD's Large Lakes Observatory (LLO) says, “an enormous horizontal mooring” to gather data about convective cells in Lake Superior. The crew built it piece by piece on deck, and as the components were ready, lowered them deep into the lake. When they completed the endeavor, the structure dwarfed Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge.