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Save the date: Sept. 18
A fascinating lecture

You can’t see groundwater when it is in the ground. But you can measure it. And, it turns out, you can even measure it from outer space.

Jay Famiglietti

Jay Famiglietti

Don’t miss a fascinating lecture Sept. 18 by Dr. Jay Famiglietti, who has led research exploring declines in Earth’s stores of groundwater measured over the last decade by an orbiting NASA satellite. Register to attend.

The satellite sensing, known as the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment or GRACE, detects changes in the mass of water entering or leaving a region on the Earth’s surface. And the news is not good.

 “Results point to the harsh reality that groundwater in most of the world’s major aquifers — in India, the Middle East, China, and even in the High Plains and Central Valley aquifers in the United States — is being rapidly depleted, likely never to be replaced” Dr. Famiglietti says. “The global pattern of groundwater depletion also raises important concerns about the potential for heightened conflict, and about climate, water, food and economic security.”

The lecture, sponsored by the Freshwater Society and the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences, is free and open to the public. It will be delivered at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18, in the Student Center of the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus.

Dr. Famiglietti is a hydrologist and professor of Earth System Sciences and Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. Learn more about the lecture and Dr. Famiglietti. 

Take our water quiz

Are you a groundwater expert? Do you know all there is to know about wetlands, lakes and rivers? Are you up on pollution and invasive species?

And do you know your beer jingles?

Step right up, and see how good you really are. Take our water quiz.

Master Water Stewards

View a new video on the Master Water Stewards program, a partnership of Freshwater and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District. Read a Star Tribune article about the program. Learn more about the program.

Extra, Extra
Read all about it

Check out our June-July electronic Facets newsletter. Read a summary of some pretty extensive action on water laws and water appropriations enacted by the Minnesota Legislature this year. There also is information about  University of Minnesota Extension classes on septic system installation and maintenance, a teaser for some new Met Council research on the water quality in Twin Cities streams, and an update on a Michelob Golden Light contest that is going to award $50,000 to a deserving Minnesota lake. Download a PDF of the newsletter.

Celebrate Your Lake!
Win $50,000 to improve it

The Freshwater Society is partnering with Michelob Golden Light to bring you the Celebrate Your Lake contest. Thirty lakes will compete this summer and the winner will receive a $50,000 conservation grant! Read more about the contest and find out how to vote for your favorite lake.

Test your knowledge
of environmental trivia

What did the release of  Zero Dark Thirty and comprehensive changes in Minnesota’s water planning statutes have in common?
The answer is: They both happened in 2012.

And what about the collapse of the I-35 bridge and the passage of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment?

Or John Glenn’s orbit of the Earth and Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring?

Check out a surprising mix of cinema, popular culture and Minnesota and federal environmental law. Steve Woods, Freshwater’s executive director, created it several years ago for a class he taught.

New DNR report outlines
sustainability wish list

What would it take for Minnesota officials to do a significantly better job of assuring our groundwater is used sustainably and protected for future generations?

To do that, the Department of Natural Resources says in a new report, the Legislature should:

  •   Require many owners of high-capacity wells to install new tamper-proof meters to accurately record the more than 200 billion gallons of groundwater they pump each year.
  •  Give the DNR authority monitor those meters to ensure  well owners accurately report their water use and pay required fees.
  •  Allow the DNR to impose civil fines, rather than seeking criminal prosecution, against well owners who fail to seek  permits.

The DNR’s recommendations for law changes are include in a Jan.  15 report to the Legislature.  Many of the law and policy changes closely parallel recommendations that the Freshwater Society made in a special report on groundwater sustainability last year.

Read a fuller account of the DNR’s report, including an update on the agency’s success in tracking down unpermitted irrigation pumping.

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A little patience while we move... Freshwater Society staff are saying goodbye to the Anoka area (and its three bakeries). We’re packing, moving, and unpacking now through July 23. We have a rock solid plan for minimizing disruption, but are realistic enough to know we may have some “communication issues”. We’ll be back on line and productive from our Excelsior facility next week.   moving_truck1