Upcoming MN Water Resource Conference promises wide-ranging, indepth topics and research-based solutions

The 2021 Minnesota Water Resources Conference remains virtual this year, with organizers promising to build on last year’s Zoom conference success. Dates for the conference are October 19-20, 2021.

The conference schedule includes several special sessions, including a wetland workshop featuring keynote speaker Scott Milburn, President and principal botanist/ecologist at Midwest Natural Resources. Milburn will present a visual presentation about fens. Fens are wetlands that are fed by a steady source of groundwater. Successive sessions will go deeper into the topic, discussing specific projects demonstrating the complexity of fens. Additional presentations cover wetland functions, seeds and restoration, and an update on wetland mapping technology.

Facilitating Challenging Conversations in the Context of Water Equity and Justice

Workshop participants will explore the intersecting urgencies of water resource challenges and environmental/social justice. University of Minnesota’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion staff will introduce tools for noticing and naming biases and developing empathy and active listening skills. University researchers will offer examples of their social justice and equity work within the context of their water research work. Small group breakout sessions will explore equity action steps appropriate for personal and professional situations.

PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) Across Minnesota

Moderated by Stephanie Johnson, the workshop highlights Minnesota’s PFAS Blueprint, with presentations on priorities and challenges that come with decision-making, treatment and remediation and shared research vignettes. There will be ample opportunity for questions and discussion. 

Plenary session keynote speakers include Crystal Ng (Earth Sciences, WRS faculty) and Kris Johnson ( The Nature Conservancy, national ag coordinator).

The conference will feature several successful aspects of last year's virtual format. Slack again will be used for text-based conversation throughout the conference, including attendee networking and continued interactions with speakers and poster presenters. Live interactive sessions will be held during lunch periods for informal discussion. 

"While we will miss seeing everyone in person, the planning committee has worked hard to make the virtual experience even better than last year. New this year, poster presenters will have individual virtual "rooms" with live video and audio, where they can interact with interested attendees during the poster session," said WRC Director Jeff Peterson. 

The Minnesota Water Resources Conference is sponsored by the Water Resources Center and the College of Continuing and Professional Studies, University of Minnesota and co-sponsored by:

Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering, College of Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota
Minnesota Section, American Society of Civil Engineers
Minnesota Sea Grant College Program, University of Minnesota
Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota

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