Summer 2019 Community News

WRC to host UCOWR/NIWR 2020 Conference in Minneapolis, MN
The Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR) and the National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR) will host their joint, annual conference Water. Place. People.
June 9-11, 2020
Conference organizers are accepting calls for special sessions.

Bill Arnold (Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering,  WRS faculty) gave a CSE public lecture: Stuck in the Muck: Our Household Chemical Footprint Revealed in Sediment Cores, highlighting the presence of household chemicals in the environment and the potential long-term impacts on aquatic systems. Arnold was also the keynote speaker at the spring meeting of the Minnesota Chromatography Forum, May 7-9, 2019, Minneapolis, MN.

Jeff Havig (Earth Sciences, WRS faculty) joined collaborators from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and the University of New South Wales, Australia, for a sampling expedition to study hot springs in the Taupu Volcanic Zone on the North Island of New Zealand. 

Ingrid Schneider (Forest Resources, WRS faculty) presented posters at the National Outdoor Recreation Conference in Rapid City, SD May 6-9, 2019: Differentiating displacement: Visitor’s onsite & intended actions and Optimizing social media platform engagement among visitors with student Elena Tsakakis. Schneider is continuing her work on the St Croix National Scenic Riverway with visitor observations and surveys to understand Riverway visitor behaviors to improve visitor experiences and inform management decisions.

Brandy Toner (Soil, Water and Climate, WRS faculty) was awarded promotion to professor at the spring meeting of the Board of Regents.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture awarded a contract to the Minnesota Office for Soil Health staff to develop a Minnesota Cover Crop Guide. This project expands existing cover crop information by focusing on Minnesota research and summarizing guidance for Minnesota conditions. The guide will explore impacts of cover crop adoption, and management challenges such as selecting cover crop species, establishing and terminating covers, and managing weeds and nutrients in rotations that include cover crops. Approaches to each of these issues vary with the species, soil and landscape characteristics, and farm operation. The initial web version of the guide is expected in spring of 2020, with new information added as it becomes available.


OSTP's Sara Heger explains the basics of septic system management at a recent homeowner training class.

The UMN Onsite Sewage Treatment Program (OSTP) received a second round of funding through a grant from the Minnesota Department of Health to offer educational homeowner septic classes in 2019 and 2020 across Minnesota.  Classes cover septic system and well function maintenance. The class provides basic information on chemicals of emerging concern (CEC) including pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCP) and the potential impact on septic systems and groundwater. The UMN collaborates with local programs including counties, wastewater management districts, homeowner associations, or other similar organization who host and marketing the homeowner classes. 

Training program information or contact Sara Heger at

 OSTP and the North Central Region Water Network received the UCOWR Education and Public Service award at the UCOWR annual meeting in Snowbird, UT June 11-13, 2019. The award recognizes educational institutions, individuals, groups, or agencies that have made significant contributions to increase public awareness of water resources development, use, or management covering any one or a combination of the natural, biological, and social sciences.