U of M hosts Minnesota Water Conference

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Motivating Minnesotans, the business of clean water and eco-friendly perennial crops are headlining topics at the 2017 Minnesota Water Resources Conference on Tuesday, Oct. 17 and Wednesday, Oct 18 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre.

Sponsored by the University’s Water Resources Center (WRC) and College of Continuing and Professional Studies (CCAPS), the annual conference draws more than 700 scientists and practitioners from around the state to share the latest in research and policy affecting Minnesota's lakes, rivers and groundwater.

This year’s conference speakers include Amy Skoczlas Cole, managing director of The Water Main, American Public Media’s national water initiative; Greg Page, retired chairman and CEO, Cargill, Inc.; Michael Sadowsky, University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences soil, water and climate professor and director of the University’s Biotechnology Institute; and Nancy Schuldt, water project coordinator with the Fond du Lac Environmental Program.

Cole, who will speak on “Communicating Science to Action,” aims to challenge researchers to be audience-centric and emotionally resonant in their communications with the general public on water issues. “We can’t expect cold hard research alone to convince people to take action on water issues,” said Cole. “Instead of preaching to the choir, we need to be reaching beyond it to make a real impact.”

Page will speak on water quality and agriculture from a systems perspective that links policy choices to business decisions and environmental impacts; Sadowsky will discuss water quality’s impact on recreation and public health; Schuldt will address the water resource issues facing Minnesota’s tribal communities.

Day one will offer a special session featuring researchers from the University’s Forever Green Initiative working on the development and end uses of new wave continuous cover and perennial crops like Camelina and Kernza.  The conference will also include vendors exhibits and nearly 100 presentations on a wide range of water issues by leading experts from more than 35 federal and state agencies, colleges and universities, local and national environmental organizations and engineering firms from around the Midwest.

The conference is co-sponsored by the University’s Department of Civil Engineering, Minnesota Sea Grant, the Natural Resources Research Institute and the American Society of Civil Engineers Minnesota Section.

The WRC provides national leadership in freshwater management through cutting-edge research, educational opportunities for students and professionals, and community outreach.

Established in 1913, CCAPS strives to provide its students with high-quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for professional development, personal enrichment and career transitions.

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