Winter 2020 Director's Corner

joel larson

In the depths of winter, we often find ourselves gathering as friends, family, and colleagues to reminisce about events past and look forward to warm(er) weather. This issue of Minnegram is no different.

Jodi DeJong-Hughes writes about Life in the Pits, a soil health field day that highlighted the relationships between slope, soil texture, crop management, and soil quality. Participants gathered in soil pits near Granite Falls to see how erosion, tillage, and other factors affect a farm’s ability to produce.

Moving inside, the Water Resources Center hosted two major conferences: the Minnesota Water Resources Conference and the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Conference. The Water Resources Conference opened with remarks from Joan Gabel, the University of Minnesota’s newly inaugurated president. Due to a strong program and partnerships, we had record-breaking attendance, with nearly 900 people registered. We have already started planning for the 2020 conference, and the call for proposals and special sessions will be released in mid-February.

The WRC also hosted the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Conference, in partnership with the Minnesota Climate Adaptation partnership. We will share more highlights in the next issue of Minnegram, so stay tuned to see what this standing room only crowd learned.

Looking forward, Brad Carlson writes about Nitrogen Smart, a partnership between UMN Extension and the Minnesota Corn Growers Association. The program is entering its fifth year, holding meetings across the state to help farmers, crop advisors, and other better understand how to manage nitrogen for better economics, crop production, and water quality.

In fairer weather, the WRC is co-hosting the annual meeting of the University Council on Water Resources and National Institutes of Water Resources this coming June. Stay tuned for more information on the program and registration.

Although it is cold and we spend much of our time gathering, our other work has not stopped. The Watershed Game has followed the snowbirds, and John Bilotta documents how the WRC and Minnesota Sea Grant are working with partners along the Gulf of Mexico to develop coastal versions to help those communities respond to their unique water management challenges. In addition, the WRC and Freshwater are exploring how aquifer recharge can be used to help Minnesota manage our limited groundwater resources.

We continue to focus on our mission “To advance the science of clean water for Minnesotans through innovation, workforce development, and knowledge exchange,” and we are looking forward to where that bring us in this new decade.

joel larson