September 2011 Archives

Snow studies and flooding, what gives?

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Snow isn't always thought of when we think of flooding, that is until spring rolls around. A new project coordinated by the National Weather Service and NDSU scientists is engaging citizens and students in flood research. This research is timely as the NWS has issued a preliminatry warning for a record fourth straight year of flooding for the spring of 2012.

Of course everyone understands that the more snow we have in the winter, the more water we'll have on the ground in spring. But it's not quite that straight forward. Snow falls have different percentages of water in them, thus the term 'wet snow' and 'dry snow.' This moisture content can actually be measured and its called 'snow water equivalency.' This is one of the parameters scientists are hoping to collect information on using volunteers.

Another factor in how much water stays on the land in spring is frost depth. Related to snow depth, frost depth can vary from zero frost in areas that are well insulated with snow and vegetation to several feet of frost. If the ground is frozen, very little water is going to infiltrate (sink in) into the soil in spring. Knowing where and how fast (infiltration rates) snow melt will be absorbed can help scientists understand spring runoff patterns, and perhaps, get a better grasp on flood patterns.

NDSU and River Watch are working with schools and individuals to set up monitoring sites for this upcoming winter. For more information on this project contact Wayne Goeken at

Cleaning Minnesota's water...

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Check out Minnesota Public Radio's new piece on 'Cleaning Minnesota's Water' through the Ground Level project. Water quality is not an issue that is going to go away anytime soon. The stories and local projects highlighted here show what's being done at the community and individual level. Do your part, stay informed and take a moment to browse their site at Cleaning Minnesota's Water

Measuring farm pollution, cleaning up rivers, using new technology and managing shorelines are just a few of the actions taking place across the state. This website is a window into the various activities Minnesotan's are involved in to create a sustainable and healthy water supply. Lots of resources and links too!

River Rendezvous!

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Water on the Web

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School started today across much of the Red River Valley. For educators looking to incorporate lessons about water into your curriculum a great place to start is Water on the Web! This website is most applicable to high school and college level students. Started by an NSF grant in 1997, the site has enough information and data to keep you busy for a full semester.

For teachers of younger grades, Project Wet and Minnesota's Aquatic Education Program - MinnAqua offer curriculum and activity guides for water education. Laura Bell is a Project Wet Facilitator and can be reached through the University of Minnesota Crookston if you have a group of teachers interested in a workshop. Nadine Meyer with the Minnesota DNR is the coordinator for the MinnAqua Program.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from September 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

August 2011 is the previous archive.

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