Summer 2015 Community News

Steve  Kloiber (WRS alumni 2002) was the project manager for the National Wetland Inventory update for Minnesota This newest release is based primarily on 2011 spring aerial imagery and LiDAR elevation data as well as other modern ancillary data. The updated NWI classify wetlands according to the Cowardin system, and the data also contains a simplified plant community classification and a simplified hydrogeomorphic classification. The new data covers 36 counties in southern Minnesota. The project updates Minnesota’s 1980s NWI data in geographic phases, with data released for each region as it is finalized. Data is also available for 13 counties in east-central Minnesota.

NWI data are used at all levels of government and by private industry and non-profit organizations for wetland regulation and management, land use and conservation planning, environmental impact assessment, and natural resource inventories.

Deborah Swackhamer (former WRC co-director) has been named Chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC) of the US EPA. The BOSC provides advice, information, and recommendations to EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD) on technical and management issues of its research programs by reviewing the quality of on-going science being conducted at the agency. Swackhamer was appointed March 31 by the Administrator for a three year term. Swackhamer has also been appointed to the National Academies of Science Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology (BEST), one of the NAS permanent boards within the Division of Earth and Life Sciences. BEST organizes and oversees studies of environmental pollution problems affecting human health, human impacts on the environment, and the assessment and management of related risks to human health and the environment. The board’s overall mission is to improve the scientific and technical basis for environmental decision making and public understanding of environmental issues. Swackhamer’s three year term begins September 2015.

Multiple UM departments hosted a luncheon recognizing Deb Swackhamer’s nearly thirty years of service to the University of Minnesota in the atrium of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs June 8, 2015. State agency heads, fellow water researchers, and former graduate students thanked Swackhamer for her leadership in crafting water policy, engaging in research, and mentoring future water scientists. CFANS Dean, Brian Buhr, acknowledged Swackhamer’s role in setting Minnesota on the path to protecting its waters and “making us all advocates for water resources across the state.” 

In her remarks, Swackhamer recounted her response to people who inquire why she is choosing to retire:  “My heart is full; I am sated. I’ve had a very rich career. I’m not retiring; I’m graduating.”
The luncheon was co-sponsored by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences, and the School of Public Health.