Minnegram Spring 2019

Director's Corner

A message from Director Jeff Peterson

Features

Providing critical water quality information for Minnesota lake management using satellite imagery
by Benjamin Page and Leif Olmanson
Routine monitoring of Minnesota water quality using conventional field sampling is challenging and expensive due to the over 10,000 freshwater lakes spread across nearly 87,000 square miles. On the other hand, the University of Minnesota’s Water Resources Center and Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis Laboratory have been utilizing the capabilities of satellite imagery to estimate optical water quality parameters from space for over twenty years.

Enlisting volunteers to bridge shoreline restoration gaps
by Karen Terry, Associate Extension Professor
Itasca Waters, a non-profit group in northeastern Minnesota, is building a program with the long-term goal of having healthier shorelines on -- and cleaner water in -- Itasca County’s 457 lakes. To achieve that goal, people will need to change the way they manage their lakefront properties: shorelines restored to native vegetation, surface water runoff redirected away from the lake, septic systems upgraded to meet modern-day standards, smaller lawns and no fertilizers. These are not new ideas … but it’s been hard to implement change on a large scale. How does Itasca Waters plan to get it done?

WRS student and fellowship recipient Kirsten Rhude searches for clues in the disappearance of Diporeia
by Kirsten Rhude
Editor's note: Kirsten Rhude is the first recipient of Water Resources Center Graduate Student Fellowship. 
Diporeia are vital to the Great Lakes food web as they are rich in lipids and are eaten by commercial species like whitefish as well as smaller fish. They are one of two invertebrate species that drive the food web in Lake Superior along with the zooplankton Mysis. But Diporeia have been disappearing in all of the Great Lakes except for Lake Superior and researchers don’t yet know why.

Center for Changing Landscapes leads effort to understand Minnesotans’ views on state water quality spending
In 2018, the UMN Center for Changing Landscapes, in partnership with the IonE Natural Capitol Project, conducted the first-ever statewide survey of Minnesotans on water values.  The survey was created by co-PIs Mae Davenport (FR, WRS faculty) and Bonnie Keeler. The mail survey asked residents about their values, beliefs, and behaviors associated with the state’s waters, and their priorities for water quality spending from the Clean Water Legacy Funds (CWF). Nearly 1500 people across the state responded to the survey. 

The Extension Water Team; new programs and boots on the ground benefit water resources
by Joel Larson, WRC Associate Director
With more than 11,000 lakes, 69,000 miles of rivers and streams, 10 million acres of wetlands, and complex groundwater hydrology, Minnesota’s water resources are diverse. Those resources have a correspondingly complex set of challenges. Over the past several months, the WRC’s Extension water resources team has grown to help ensure that we have the background, technical knowledge, and relationships to respond. In this article, we want to share some examples of activities that the team has lead over the past few years, changes in the recent months, and the direction we will head in the future.


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