Feature Stories

Building Minnesota’s Capacity for Climate Adaptation Conference was held Thursday, November 6, 2014 at the Minneapolis Hyatt hotel. The 250 plus attendees heard about the effect of climate change on weather events from speakers Harold Brooks, National Severe Weather Laboratory, NOAA, and climate resilience strategies from Steve Adams Senior Program Advisor U.S. Climate Adaptation, Institute for Sustainable Communities.

The 2016 Climate Adaptation Conference: Transforming Awareness into Action, was held January 28, at the Minneapolis DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel. Over 250 participants attended the conference which through panel discussions and breakout sessions, explored a variety of critical issues affected by climate change, such as water quantity and quality, energy grid resiliency, impacts on tribal communities and effective communication strategies.

The Water Resources Center awarded funding to three research projects for 2016. Researchers will investigate cost-effective methods of controlling sulfate levels in Minnesota waters, protecting well water from arsenic infiltration and creating best management practices for farmers that balance agricultural production and water quality.

You might be surprised at just how much your favorite Minnesota company is doing about climate change. And I’m talking about some big corporate names. Best Buy. General Mills. 3M.

University of Minnesota Extension Educator Eleanor Burkett is heading up an intensive boots-on-the-ground approach in the battle to slow the spread of invasive species in Minnesota—she’s donning waders in a multi-partner, University-led effort to train hundreds of citizen scientists to become certified Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Detectors.

Based in Extension’s Brainerd regional office, Burkett is one of six Extension educators specializing in water resources who report to the Water Resource Center’s (WRC) Associate Director and Extension Program Leader Faye Sleeper.

 The state of Minnesota and Land O'Lakes announced a partnership Wednesday to improve water quality in farm country, leveraging the farmer-owned cooperative's retail network to help expand a state program that encourages farmers to voluntarily implement conservation practices.

Land O'Lakes will promote the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program through its seed and crop protection business, WinField US, using its remote sensing technology to map the topography of fields to reduce erosion and better manage runoff. The network has more than 300 agricultural retailers in Minnesota that reach 25,000 farms.

This summer, hundreds of leaders from many Minnesota communities will take to the water, but instead of fishing, water skiing, or recreating they will be participating in a Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO)-sponsored educational workshop. NEMO Workshops-on-the-Water have been educating local officials for more than 10 years providing hands-on learning to local policy-makers, building their knowledge of various plans, practices, and policies involved in water and land use management. 

WRS Faculty Joe Magner and Karlyn Eckman are working with faculty from Mizoram University (MZU) on water resources, agroforestry and shifting cultivation in the remote northeastern Indian hill state of Mizoram. It is extremely isolated geographically, and is landlocked between Bangladesh to the west and Myanmar to the east.

Over 700 water professionals attended the Minnesota Water Conference at RiverCentre in downtown St. Paul, October 12 and 13. Plenary presentations and concurrent sessions offered information on topics ranging from the history of Minnesota water policy, corporate/environmental partnerships that benefit water quality and economic bottom lines, and possible solutions to the problem of spent water from the oil fracking process.

For decades, scientists have been researching the cycling and sequestration of carbon in forests and other terrestrial ecosystems. More recently, the process of carbon burial in lakes and other inland waters has caught the attention of water and climate researchers.  

As part of his doctoral research, Water Resource Sciences PhD candidate Robert Dietz has brought a Minnesota focus to the research in his exploration of the long-term historical relationships between land use and carbon burial in 116 Minnesota lakes spanning multiple ecoregions.