Spring 2018 Community News

John Bilotta (UMN Extension, Sea Grant) is working with Sea Grant colleagues to draft a ten year vision on Sea Grant efforts in community flooding. He hosted a workshop February 2018 in Miami, Florida and  will synthesize the information and draft the ten year vision by August 2018.  

Melinda Erickson (WRS faculty, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering & U.S. Geological Survey) has a new adjunct appointment in the Department of Soil, Water, and Climate. Erickson’s work was highlighted in the "Lake Superior Project" series produced by WTIP North Shore Community Radio. The January 2018 feature "Arsenic in our groundwater?" is available as an audio archive on the WTIP website.

John Gulliver (WRS faculty, CE) and John Nieber (WRS faculty, BBE) received a grant from the Minnesota Local Road Research Board for their project Design and Construction of Infiltration Facilities. The grant is funded July 2018 through June 2021.

WRS faculty Crystal Ng (Earth Sciences) and Byron Steinman (Earth and Environmental Sciences) have been named McKnight Land-Grant Professors. Ng investigates sulfur cycling in wetlands, social-biophysical perspectives on wild rice aquatic habitats, sources and consequences of arsenic contamination, and eco-hydrological modeling. Steinman is principally focused on improving methods for identifying climate signals in observational data and refining interpretations of paleoclimate records. The McKnight Land-Grant Professorship Program advances the careers of new assistant professors at a crucial point in their professional lives. 

Ben Page joined the Water Resources Center as a research fellow in April 2018. Page is a remote sensing specialist  and will work with Leif Olmanson (Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis Laboratory) and David Porter (Minnesota Supercomputing Institute=MSI) on WRC-housed grant projects related to remote sensing and mapping of lake water quality.  These projects will contribute to the emerging Digitial Water Initiative, a joint effort of the WRC and MSI.

Tony Runkel (WRS faculty, Minnesota Geological Survey and Department of Earth Sciences) and colleagues are combining borehole instrumentation and testing with mapping of fractures in the Platteville Formation to improve our understanding of flow. Understanding this common but poorly understood phenomena is essential to effective ground water management.  The project is funded by the Environment and Natural Resource Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative and Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources.

Karen Terry (UMN Extension Water Resources Team), Toby Spanier (UMN Extension), the Heron Lake Watershed District and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency conducted an educational meeting at Key Largo near Slayton, MN February 12, 2018. for Minnesota small towns experiencing failing sewer and water infrastructure. Attendees included city and county representives as well state and federal officials. Terry provided information about water, watersheds, stormwater, and practices to slow runoff.  Other topics addressed were watershed restoration, community water infrastructure needs and funding for education and and water utility upgrades.

Bob Tipping
  (WRS faculty, Minnesota Geological Survey) and colleagues are investigating the role of geologic setting in the variation of temperature in trout streams.  Distributed temperature sensing (DTS) is measured with fiber optic cable laid over 1 to 2 km stream reaches, and the findings are compared with geologic conditions and trout populations to better understand critical habitat for native brook trout- the most temperature sensitive population of these streams.  The project is funded by the Environment and Natural Resource Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative and Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources.