Director's Corner


My first few months on the job have been full and engaging. It’s hard to believe autumn has already gone by and a new year has begun. I have continued to learn and have been pleased to make many new acquaintances at several meetings and events throughout the fall. I look forward to many more such opportunities in 2016. One of the highlights of my first few months was the Minnesota Water Resources Conference in October. This year’s conference was a great success, setting a new record of over 700 registrants. I am thankful for all who served on the planning committee and worked to make the conference happen, including the speakers, poster presenters, and vendors. Thank you also to those who completed feedback forms, which the committee considers carefully. One topic that has arisen repeatedly in conversations I’ve had is the pace of water quality improvements in the state, in particular the contribution of nonpoint sources. Many Minnesotans I’ve talked with are anxious to see a faster rate of of progress on this issue. This is a persistent and complex problem, of the sort that requires sustained focus while also taking a long term view of progress and results. I have found many reasons to be optimistic, though, including the level of public/private commitment, engagement, and innovation capital devoted to this issue in the state. Minnesota is regarded as a leader in improving water quality with good reason, and with continued effort we can leave a water resources legacy we can be proud of. Another long-term issue facing the state is climate change. This is a multifaceted issue that intersects with water quality as well as water quantity issues. With greater variability comes greater risk of both drought and flooding. Business sectors and communities must adapt to these changing conditions. To further this important discussion and help bring about the necessary changes, the WRC is sponsoring the conference Climate Adaptation Conference: Transforming Awareness into Action, organized by Faye Sleeper, our associate director. Registration is now open - I hope you can attend. On behalf the staff at the WRC, I wish you a fulfilling and productive 2016.