Conference showcases soil health, social attitudes and indigenous traditional knowledge against the backdrop of the Water Resources Research Act

The 2018 Minnesota Water Resources Conference returns October 16-17 to the St. Paul RiverCentre. The annual conference presents innovative water resource engineering solutions, management techniques, and current research. This year’s conference plenary speakers will address the impact of the Water Resources Research Act through the work of nationwide network of water centers, how social attitudes and behavior affect the environment, how healthy soil is essential to a healthy planet and the role of indigenous traditional knowledge in informing mainstream environmental science. Concurrent sessions throughout the day will offer information on engineering projects, water research, best practices in design and application of water resource management methods, water policy and emerging issues. There will be a poster session on the first day of the conference and industry vendors will again staff exhibits throughout both days.

Plenary speakers are:


Earl Greene
, Director, Water Resources Research Act Program, U.S. Geological Survey

Water Science Direction and Perspectives of the Water Resources Research Act Program and Water Mission Area, US Geological Survey

Earl Greene is a hydrologist providing science support to the Chief Scientist for Water and the Associate Director for Water on National Research Program issues since 2005. Greene began his federal career with the Research Branch of the US Forest Service in 1983 and moved to the USGS South Dakota Water District Office as a Research Hydrologist and Project Chief in 1986. From 1995 to 1998 he worked with the National Research Program, with a focus on modeling flow and transport of water in karst and fractured rock terrain.  From 1998 to 2005 Greene was the Hydrogeology Section Chief and Groundwater Specialist for the MD-DE-DC Water Science Center. In 2005 he moved to USGS Headquarters staff position in the Office of the Chief Scientist for Hydrology where he provides coordination for hydrologic research and science within the Hydrologic Research and Development program and the Hydrologic and Networks Analysis Program.

Amit Pradhananga, Senior Research Associate, Department of Forest Resources, UMN


Achieving Clean Water through Relationship Building: A Social Scientist's Water Restoration and Protection Strategy

Pradhananga's research focuses on the human and policy dimensions of natural resources in the context of water resource, invasive species, and parks and trails management, climate change adaptation, as well as understanding the drivers and constraints of conservation behavior and the community engagement in natural resource management. He is especially interested in investigating constraints and strategies to engage racial and ethnic community members in natural resource issues.


Ray Archuleta, Soil Health Consulting and Soil Health Academy, NRCS (Retired)

Soil: The Birthplace of a Healthy Planet

Ray Archuleta is a Certified Professional Soil Scientist with the Soil Science Society of America and has over 30 years experience as a Soil Conservationist, Water Quality Specialist, and Conservation Agronomist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). During his tenure with the NRCS Archuleta served in New Mexico, Missouri, Oregon, and North Carolina. After his retirement from the NRCS in 2017, he founded Soil Health Consulting, LLC and Soil Health Academy, LLC to teach Biomimicry strategies and Agroecology principles for improving soil function on a national scale. Archuleta owns and operates a 150-acre farm near Seymour, Missouri

Rosalyn LaPier, Associate Professor, Environmental Studies Program, University of Montana


Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Rosalyn LaPier is an award winning Indigenous writer and ethnobotanist with a BA in physics and PhD in environmental history. LaPier studies the intersection of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) learned from elders and the academic study of environmental history.

As an activist, her longtime passions include the revitalization of Indigenous languages and traditional ecological knowledge.  LaPier is working on her third book "Plants That Purify: The Natural and Supernatural History of Smudging." She is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe of Montana and Métis.

The Minnesota Water Resources Conference is sponsored by the Water Resources Center and the College of Continuing & Professional Studies, University of Minnesota, and co-sponsored by the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo-Engineering, College of Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minnesota Section, American Society of Civil Engineers Minnesota Sea Grant College Program, University of Minnesota and the Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota.