On a recent trip to take sediment core samples from Solem Lake in western Minnesota, reporter Dan Olson of Minnesota Public Radio joined our scientists to produce a segment that aired this week. Part of the “Minnesota Sounds and Voices” series, the program illustrates how the research station is seeking to understand the effectiveness of conservation farming practices to improve water quality.
Regular water quality monitoring provides snapshots of what is happening in a lake. Collecting sediment cores provides diatoms, a type of algae with cell walls made of silica, that can be identified to the species-level and used to re-construct the composition of a lake’s algae communities going back hundreds of years.
Since 1989, the St. Croix River Research Rendezvous has been a significant forum for the presentation and discussion of scientific investigations centered on the watershed of the St. Croix River. We are inviting the submission of papers for oral or poster presentation at the 2015 Rendezvous.
This dry spring, there were few opportunities to safely set fire to the research station’s prairie. State and local fire wardens at least twice called off the station’s plans due to too much wind or too little humidity. One day, the skies blocked the plans, as a wet snow dropped in the morning, and the grasses weren’t quite dry enough by afternoon.
Andy Kramer of Marine on St. Croix was boating on the river near William O’Brien State Park recently when he saw something he thought was suspicious: mats of floating algae. It seemed early in the year to be seeing such a sight. Knowing that algae is often caused by excessive nutrients in runoff, he was worried about what it meant for the St. Croix.
The research station has just announced the selection of the summer 2015 Artists at Pine Needles: Soyini Guyton, Seitu Jones and Joshua Cunningham of St. Paul, and Tara Shukla of Grinnell, Iowa. Here is information about what they will work on.
For the second year in a row, Jill Coleman-Wasik, assistant professor at University of Wisconsin – River Falls, brought her Environmental Analysis students to the research station for an afternoon of hands-on learning.
Lake of the Woods is the vast body of water that makes up most of the spur on Minnesota’s northern border. Sprawled across the U.S.-Canada border, it is 70 miles north-south and 60 miles east-west, contains more than 14,552 islands, and boasts 65,000 miles of shoreline. It is the size of Rhode Island and a good candidate as the “sixth Great Lake.”
The citizens of Minnesota spend $90 million each year to slow runoff from farm fields and other lands that are filling their lakes and rivers with nutrients and sediment. If where you put your money shows your true priorities, water is clearly important to people in the Land of 11,842 Lakes.