Winter 2016 Community News

William Arnold (WRS faculty, CE), Daniel Engstrom (WRS faculty, St. Croix Watershed Research Station and Science Museum of Minnesota), Kristopher McNeill, Jill Kerrigan and Matthew Grandbois (UM) were part of a team project funded by the National Science Foundation investigating the connection of human activity to levels of contaminants in San Francisco Bay. Project collaborators included the San Francisco Estuary Institute, ETH Zurich, and Pace Analytical.

Chris Lenhart (WRS faculty, BBE), and his research on the effects of the Ford Dam on the Mississippi River were featured in the November 13, 2015 Minneapolis Star Tribune.

John Gulliver (WRS faculty, CE) and Sara Heger (OSTP, WRC) have received $497,000 in funding from the LCCMR for the proposal, "Salt Impacts on Minnesota Lakes, Rivers and Groundwater.” The project will assess the effect of water softening and road salts on Minnesota water bodies and create strategies for local governments and citizens to reduce the amount of salt moving through the soil.

Nathan Johnson (WRS faculty, CE UMD) and colleagues from Gustavus Adolphus College, University of Toronto Scarborough, and UW LaCrosse, recently began a project supported by MPCA to study Mercury transport and bioaccumulation in several watersheds of the state that have exceptionally high mercury in fish tissue.  The project will seek to identify consistencies among watersheds in characteristics that affect mercury cycling including: landscape to stream delivery of mercury, processes that increase the rate at which mercury is transformed into the bioaccumulative form (methyl mercury), and rates of bioaccumulation in the food web.  

Jeff Peterson (WRC Director) participated in two recent panel discussions on water resources. He served as moderator for the panel discussion at the November 3, 2015 Moos Family Lecture, sponsored by the Freshwater Society and the university's College of Biological Sciences. The panelists represented local governments, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and the Minnesota Department of Health, and responded to audience questions following Bill Stowe's presentation on "Protecting Surface Waters in Agricultural Watersheds."  Peterson was also a panelist at the Agri-Growth Council annual meeting November 12, 2015 where he joined representatives from industry, the nonprofit sector, and government agencies to discuss partnerships to protect water resources. The panel discussion followed the Keynote Address, "Leading Shared Solutions on Water Sustainability," by Michael Reuter, director of The Nature Conservancy's Water Program in North America.

The 2016 Onsite Sewage Treatment Systems (OSTP) Certification and Continuing Education Schedule is now available and open for registrations.  A new online registration system has been implemented and workshop enrollments are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.  OSTP is pleased to announce a new, 12-hour workshop for High Strength Waste (HSW) on January 7-8, 2016 in St. Cloud.  This class will focus on HSW treatment, design, troubleshooting and much more.  Intermediate Designers and Inspectors needing more knowledge about HSW will find this continuing education valuable.

Workshop schedules and registration are available at .OSTP staff can answer questions about workshop availability, publications, and technical assistance at or 800-322-8642.