Spring 2018 Director's Corner

Warm spring greetings from the WRC staff. In this time of new growth and beginnings, we are pleased to bring you several articles about recent developments in the WRC as well as seasonal water management topics.jeff

We welcomed Joel Larson as our associate director in January. You can find out more about Joel and his take on his new job in an interview with Minnegram editor Chris Hansen.  More recently, we welcomed Ben Page as the latest addition to our research staff. Ben is a remote sensing specialist and will be working on a major enhancement of the Minnesota Lake Browser.

One of the WRC’s core missions is to convene events that connect frontier knowledge from multiple fields. This year, we hosted the first ever Water Resources Assembly and Research Symposium, which brought the University of Minnesota water community together to discuss emerging science topics. One focus area of the event was the growing potential for collaboration at the interface of data and water sciences. The event also launched another speaker series, the Headwaters Lectures, which will continue as stand-alone seminars featuring internationally known researchers throughout the year.

Speaking of convening events, save the dates for the 2018 Minnesota Water Resources Conference: October 16-17 at the RiverCentre in St. Paul. The call for abstracts is already out, with submissions due on May 4. Visit the conference website to submit an abstract, register as an exhibitor, or nominate a distinguished colleague for the Dave Ford Award.

The next few months are a period when a large share of the annual nutrients losses from cropland work their way into surface waters, contributing to the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico and more localized harmful algal blooms (HABs). Lucy Levers summarizes some of the ongoing research on continuous living cover cropping systems to reduce nutrient losses. An active group of researchers in Minnesota is contributing to the science based management of HABs. A workshop on March 29 highlights some of this recent work, and you can learn much more about HABs at the Extension webpage curated by Shahram Missaghi.

Other feature articles give you tips for reducing outdoor water use in the summer months and fills you in on a program where WRS graduate students teach and interact with elementary and middle school science students.  

Best wishes for a warm and productive spring.