This project goal is to conduct water chemistry monitoring at seventeen stream locations, to record and submit all data collected through this process, and to provide the information necessary for the calculation of water quality pollutant loads using the FLUX32 program.
This project will accelerate production of County Geologic Atlases (part A). An atlas is a set of geologic maps and associated databases for a county that facilitate informed management of natural resources, especially water and minerals.
Aquatic invasive species pose critical ecological and economic challenges for the entire state and beyond. They can cause irreparable harm to fisheries and aquatic habitat as well as damage to infrastructure. The problems posed by aquatic invasive species continue to grow as existing infestations expand and new exotic species arrive, most of which are poorly understood. New ideas and approaches are needed to develop real solutions.
Through various means, human produced chemicals can make their way into surface waters where they can have adverse effects on the function of ecological communities. Of particular concern are antibiotics and other antimicrobial substances because they have the potential to create increased antibiotic resistance. While there is a background level of naturally occurring antibiotic resistance in the natural world, elevated or persistent levels caused by human activities have the potential to harm human, animal, and overall ecosystem health.
There is a critical need to understand how our natural resources are already responding to climate change in order to develop tools for projecting natural resource responses into the future and to devise plans for actions that can be taken in reaction to observed and predicted changes. Phenology – the timing of seasonal biological events such as budburst, flowering, bird migration, and leaf coloring – provides a tested indicator of climate change response by plants and animals.
Silver carp are migrating north up the Mississippi River and pose threats to the native fish and aquatic ecosystems of Minnesota rivers and lakes where they can become established. Additionally, the unique jumping ability of silver carp also places recreational boaters in danger of being injured during collisions with airborne fish. However, it is believed that this jumping ability could potentially be exploited as a weakness to help detect, manage, and control silver carp populations. Researchers at the University of Minnesota – Duluth, in cooperation with the U.S.
Invasive carp species, including silver carp and bighead carp, are migrating north up the Mississippi River and pose threats to the native fish and aquatic ecosystems of Minnesota rivers and lakes where they can become established. While individual carp have been found in Minnesota, it is not presently believed that there are established breeding populations in the state.
Brown marmorated stink bug is a terrestrial invasive species in Minnesota that was first discovered in 2010 and has been expanding its range since. It is a generalist plant pest that attacks more than 300 species of plants in natural, agricultural, and horticultural settings and is known for its unpleasant odor, large numbers, and propensity for home invasion. Proactive management approaches are available and in development that can be used to slow and potentially control brown marmorated stink bug populations.
On many public lands in northwest Minnesota, cattail growth has far exceeded the distribution recommended for optimum wetland wildlife habitat and a need for cattail control has become recognized. Cattails have also recently been demonstrated to have bioenergy potential.
The goals of the program are to evaluate the effectiveness of agricultural conservation practices, identify underlying processes that affect water quality, and develop technologies to target critical areas of the landscape. Funded projects provide current and accurate scientific data on the environmental impacts of agricultural practices and help to develop or revise agricultural practices that reduce environmental impacts while maintaining farm profitability.
Minnesota ranks #2 in hog production and #1 in sugar beet production in the U.S., generating about 11 million tons of pig manure and over one million tons of sugar processing wastes annually. Presently there are not cost-effective methods available to deal with these waste streams other than land application, which usually results in nutrient runoff into ground and surface water resources.
Though they are a relatively unnoticed group of species, native freshwater mussels are a critical part of river ecosystems because they provide a variety of important functions including improved water clarity, enhanced streambed stability, reduced downstream transport of contaminants, and creation of habitat for other aquatic life. However, mussel populations in Minnesota have declined in recent decades as a result of habitat destruction, pollution, land-use change, over-harvesting, and the introduction of exotic species.
The goal of this project is to develop a core team of wastewater professionals and academics engaged in understanding and solving wastewater-related problems in Minnesota, with national relevance. The team will promote the use of new technology, designs and practices to address existing and emerging wastewater treatement challenges, including the treatement of wastewater for reuse and the emergence of new and unregulated contaminants.
Each year Minnesota municipal wastewater treatment plants generate large amounts of oily scum, concentrated liquid called centrate, and sludge. These waste streams are disposed of either in landfills or by burning or subjected to additional treatment. However, new technologies have shown potential to capture resource values from these waste products while lowering the treatment costs for these waste streams.
Minnesota’s natural resource professional workforce is much less diverse than its citizenry and many other professional fields. The benefits of a more diverse workforce are many, including the ability of organizations to increase innovation and creativity, attract higher qualified candidate pools, and ensure services that meet the diverse interests and needs of all citizens.
Mine stockpiles are unproductive due to soil deficiencies of organic matter, nutrients, and soil organisms, which are essential to supporting healthy plant growth, diversity, and succession. Waste products, including biosolids, composts, and dredged materials, have the potential to be used to address some of these deficiencies and make the lands productive again.
Pollinators play a key role in ecosystem function and in agriculture, including thousands of native plants and more than one hundred U.S. crops that either need or benefit from pollinators. However, pollinators are in dramatic decline in Minnesota and throughout the country. The causes of the decline are not completely understood, but identified factors include loss of nesting sites, fewer flowers, increased disease, and increased pesticide use. Fortunately, there are known actions that can be taken to help counteract some of these factors.
Wastewater treatment plants discharge effluent that contains contaminants of emerging concern, such as estrogens. Estrogens have been shown to cause ecological effects such as fish feminization and fish population collapses. Presently the treatment and discharge of estrogens into the environment via wastewater treatment is not regulated. However, it has been found that the extent of estrogen discharge from wastewater treatment correlates with how and how well nitrogen, which currently is regulated and will likely be more so in the future, is removed during the treatment process.
The focus of this project will be on protection efforts to maintain or improve the water quality of Forest Lake by reducing phosphorus loads to the lake, especially from storm water. The two main objectives of this project are to compile and make minor updates to a large body of diagnostic work that already exists for Forest Lake, and to develop a comprehensive, site-specific implementation plan for best management practices (BMPs).
Moose, one of Minnesota's prized wildlife species, are dying at much higher rates in Minnesota than elsewhere in North America. Recently observed increases in mortality rates amongst some moose in northeastern Minnesota have led to concern that the population there may be entering a decline like that seen in the northwestern part of the state, where moose populations fell from over 4,000 to fewer than 100 in less than 20 years. Additionally the specific causes of increased mortality amongst individual moose remain under investigation.
The University of Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) identified opportunities for industrial water users in the North and East Metro Groundwater Management Area (N&E Metro GWMA) to reduce their water consumption as part of the Department of Natural Resources strategies under the GWMA plan. The source of water in this delineated region is almost exclusively groundwater. Several approaches were used for this effort in order to reach, inform, and interact with a broad range of industrial users.
The Metropolitan Council, in conjunction with the University of Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP), are exploring opportunities for water conservation by businesses in the eleven county metropolitan area. Opportunities for water conservation will be defined for three businesses through the dedicated resources of three MnTAP interns. The interns will analyze water conservation opportunities through full time work on site over the summers of 2014 and 2015.
Space and water heating and cooling consume 48% of all energy used in an average U.S. residence, and usually that energy is supplied by natural gas or fossil-fuel derived electricity. Geothermal heat pumps can reduce energy requirements for heating and cooling by up to 75%. However, traditional geothermal heat pumps are expensive and their performance is difficult to predict before installation.
Funding supports an Irrigation Specialist to develop guidance and provide education on irrigation and nitrogen best management practices (BMPs). In this position, Dr. Vasu Sharma provides direct support to irrigators on issues of irrigation scheduling and soil water monitoring. She is collaborating on the development of new irrigation scheduling tools that help irrigators manage water and nitrogen resources more precisely. These tools help reduce nitrogen leaching losses in irrigated cropping systems.
Woody biomass energy systems have shown themselves to offer more locally-based, stable energy supplies for some communities. Itasca Community College is using this appropriation to design a renewable energy system based on woody biomass that will serve as a demonstration and educational tool in the region.
This project will dentify critical pathways and areas on the landscape that contribute a disproportionate amount of sediment stressors to selected streams located in LS South and/or LS North HUC 8 watersheds. Unlike other HUC 8 watersheds with one mainstem stream and nested tributaries to the mainstem, LS South and North consist of numerous individual streams flowing to Lake Superior. Each of these streams has a mainstem, tributaries flowing to the mainstem and a surrounding watershed.
The MDA used Clean Water Fund dollars to enhance manure applicator training and education. Funding was used to improve training manuals for site managers and develop curriculum and online certification training for Commercial Animal Waste Technicians (manure applicators).
Many types of bacteria perform critical ecological functions, such as cycling carbon and other nutrients, which enable life to exist. In fact, humans harness these types of bacteria in certain engineered systems, such as wastewater treatment plants and landfills, to provide various benefits such as protecting surface waters from excess nitrogen, decomposing solid waste, and treating wastewater.
Terrestrial invasive species are species that are not native to a location and that pose critical ecological and economic challenges once they become established in that location. They come in the form of plants, animals, insects, pathogens, and microbes that can cause harm to natural habitat, urban landscapes, and agricultural systems. The problems posed by terrestrial invasive species continue to grow as existing infestations expand and new exotic species arrive, many of which are poorly understood.
Native to the western United States and Canada, mountain pine beetle is considered the most devastating forest insect in North America. Trees usually die as a result of infestation and an unprecedented outbreak in the west is currently decimating pine forests there. While mountain pine beetle is not presently believed to reside in Minnesota, there are risks posed by an expanding species range resulting from warming climate and the potential for accidental introduction via lumber imports from infested areas.
Septic tank systems aim to treat sewage generated by homes and facilities that do not have access to centralized wastewater treatment plants. Currently 25% of the U.S. population relies on these systems as their primary means of wastewater treatment. However, the treatment capabilities of these systems are limited and so byproducts can contribute to degradation of water resources and other environmental problems and the systems emit instead of collect powerful greenhouse gases such as methane.