Summer 2017 Director's Corner

Summer greetings to our Minnegram readers. In this the second issue of our enhanced format  you’ll find an array of news and updates on recent activities.jeff 

The past few months have been a busy time with events, staff transitions, and preparations for future activities. One of the most memorable events for me this spring was a public forum hosted by the the Water Resources Students in Action (WRSIA), featuring graduate student research and a panel of state agency leaders to discuss water issues in Minnesota. The event was inspired by Governor Dayton’s call for a Year of Water Action and was open to the public. In case you missed it, you can view a recording of the panel discussion online.

Another notable event on campus was a workshop on harmful algal blooms (HABs) organized by Minnesota researchers working on the topic. HABs are a persistent issue in the midwest that come to the fore every summer. In this issue, Shahram Missaghi and Marte Kitson explain the causes and risks of HABS, briefly summarize the new science at presented at the workshop, and provide some resources for you to get involved in helping to protect Minnesota’s water resources.

Elsewhere in this issue you’ll find articles about recent work on urban stormwater and on water quality issues related to agriculture.  These are both priority topics for the WRC and we are working to develop new initiatives to accelerate research and education in both areas. You’ll hear more about those in future issues.

As announced in the Minnegram previously, Faye Sleeper retired in from her job as associate director in April. During her last week on the job we had a gathering on the Saint Paul campus to honor her career of service to the water resources of Minnesota. In his issue you’ll find an interview with Faye’s reflections on her years of work. Fittingly, she also was recognized in May for her formative contributions to the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership.

In another staff transition, we bid a grateful farewell in May to Susan Harris, who retired from her position as finance professional in our office. We wish Susan well on her future endeavors including time with her family.

We were thrilled to learn that Deborah Swackhamer, co-director of the WRC from 2002 to 2014, was awarded the Warren A. Hall Medal at the Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR) annual meeting in June. The Warren A. Hall Medal is a national career achievement award to honor exceptional contributions to research, teaching, and public service in the water resources. Deb joins a group of distinguished past recipients, including Patrick Brezonik who served as WRC co-director immediately prior to Deb.

Looking ahead, please save the dates for the Minnesota Water Resources Conference on October and 17-18. An exciting program is taking shape thanks to many hours of work the planning committee already has invested. Program details to be released soon on the conference website, where you can also register now. Early rates are available now and end on September 22.

I look forward to seeing you at the conference in the fall or wherever our paths may cross in the future. In the meantime, I hope you have some time this summer to personally connect with some of Minnesota’s iconic water resources.