Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Water Sustainabiliy: Minnesota

Water and Watersheds
Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

Earth Journal (MinnPost) held a program at Hell's Kitchen on January 22, 2016 featuring the UM's Emeritus Professor Dr. Deborah Swackhamer, a widely acknowledged authority on water in Minnesota. Her presentation was titled "Land of 10,000 Lakes: Can We Achieve Water Sustainability?"

Challenges Minnesota faces with Water Sustainability

In an Earth Journal column following the event, Ron Meador drew attention to why this is such an important question in Minnesota. After all, we are blessed (or have been) with plenty of water, both above and below ground, of seemingly good quality and quantity.
Yet, Meador notes, "this state is experiencing significant problems with this most fundamental of natural resources, and can look to even larger challenges on the not-so-distant horizon — including fundamental scarcity.
By Mykl Roventine from West Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States
(Elbow Lake Uploaded by Gary Dee)
[CC BY 2.0 (],
"Some of the better known problems concern degradation of surface waters by agricultural runoff and other polluting inputs. Less well known are issues of groundwater supply, as consequences of usage and management practices that have treated this out-of-sight, out-of-mind source as limitless."
In a word, Dr. Swackhamer's career has been notable. She held dual appointments at the University of Minnesota in the School of Public Health and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. For more than a decade preceding her retirement in summer 2015 she was the head of the Water Resources Center. Her feet were firmly planted in two worlds: science (e. g.,water chemistry and toxicology) and public affairs (e.g., Minnesota Water Sustainability Framework), the latter with an emphasis on how science can and must inform public policy.

Swackhamer's Talk & Presentation slides

In Meador's first column, Swackhamer's comments on water quality and water quantity are discussed. This column also includes some embedded videos from the talk. In the second column, the focus was on how well Minnesota is doing (or not) in planning for the management and stewardship of a resource that tends to be taken for granted. This column includes a link to the full video of Swackhamer's talk (30 minutes) with a longer question-and-answer (45 minutes). Meador refers to the two of them as a "double feature." And it is. In addition, there is a link to the slides used to illustrate and inform the talk.
Thanks to MinnPost for hosting this event as well as a thank you to Earth Journal columnist for his thoughtful summaries and to Dr. Swackhamer for her permission to Mr. Meador to include links to the talk and slides.

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