Winter 2014 Director's Corner

Deb SwackhamerI can already feel the spring breezes blowing, in spite of the cold weather and December date….The reason is that I feel the growth and change that is being brought about by years of investments by the WRC in bring science to public engagement and policy in Minnesota - to the “real world”.

The Minnesota Water Sustainability Framework, commissioned by the state Legislature in 2009 and presented to them in 2011, is being implemented in nuanced but very discernable ways. I believe that this is due to the fact that the Framework initiated, facilitated, and pushed conversations (at times, uncomfortable conversations) about our water issues and their potential solutions. In my many interactions with water professionals across the nation, Minnesota is admired and envied for its progress and dedication to solving water resource issues. This success must be shared by our state legislators, our state agencies and local governments, our engaged citizens, and yes, the Framework. We as a state are moving, perceptively, towards sustainable water resources management.

We also held two highly successful conferences this fall – the annual Water Resources Conference at RiverCentre in St. Paul, and an innovative conference on Climate Adaptation Strategies for Communities. The latter is perhaps the inaugural of a series of future conferences that link scientific expertise to real-world approaches for local communities to deal with the inevitable climate change and uncertainty of the next several decades. This is a striking example of how research and science has informed public decision-making and planning, and grew out of the investments made by a dedicated partnership including the WRC, Extension, the Science Museum of Minnesota, state agency folks, and others over the last several years.

May your days be merry, and bright!

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