The world’s water experts come to you!

Since early 2010, the Freshwater Society and the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences have co-sponsored a stimulating lecture series on water and the environment. The lectures, known as the Moos Family Speaker Series on Water Resources, honor the late Malcolm Moos, president of the university from 1967 to 1974. Each lecture pairs a nationally known speaker with a panel of Minnesota experts.

Register for this upcoming FREE lecture: 

Protecting Surface Waters in Agricultural WatershedsStowe photo 1

William (Bill) Stowe, CEO and General Manager, Des Moines Water Works

November 3rd – St. Paul Student Center

  • 5:30pm Reception (Larson Art Gallery)
  • 7:00pm Lecture (Auditorium)

November 4th – Mankato

  • 3:00pm Lecture (City Center Hotel)
  • 4:30pm Mankato Brewery


Bill Stowe, CEO and General Manager of Des Moines Water Works [Des Moines, Iowa], will speak on the central Iowa utility’s mission to provide safe, affordable and abundant drinking water to 500,000 customers and the challenges faced in an agricultural watershed. Iowa’s EPA-mandated Nutrient Reduction Strategy states that 92% of total nitrogen sources are currently not regulated; however, the strategy to reduce nutrient pollutants by 45% has no timelines, commitments to measurements and relies on voluntarism. Iowa’s capital city’s drinking water utility recently filed a federal complaint against three upstream counties in their capacities as trustees of 10 drainage districts, for the discharge of nitrate pollutants into the Raccoon River (the utility’s source water), and failure to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit in violation of the Clean Water Act.

Read a Q&A with Bill Stowe here!

Past Speakers

*Please be patient while we update the videos below.

Moos Family Speaker Series on Water Resources has brought influential experts to Minnesota on a broad array of topics. They present the latest research on timely and important issues to audiences in an accessible — and sometimes humorous — presentation. Coupled with a panel of local experts you have the best collection of experts on issues important to Minnesota’s water resources available.

Is there a lecturer you would like to hear, or a subject you would like addressed? Send us your suggestions.

Click on each speaker below for archived video

Dr. Robert Sterner

Title: “The Outsized Role of Earth’s Largest Lakes’”
April 30, 2015
Roughly two thirds of the planet’s available surface freshwater is contained in just twenty lakes. Scattered around the globe, and diverse in almost every measurable respect, these immense “dimples” in Earth’s surface have shaped human society and history. Their value continues to grow as freshwater scarcity increases. This talk will explore Earth’s largest lakes, some of which are in our backyard, from the standpoints of hydrology, biogeochemistry, biodiversity, and geopolitics, using these approaches ultimately to ask what role these twenty places play in our lives.
Special thanks to:

Dr. Peter Wilcock

Title: “Sediment, science, and stakeholders – clearing the muddy waters of the Minnesota River’”
January 20, 2015
The Minnesota River cuts a vast valley through southern Minnesota before merging with the Mississippi River. It crosses fertile lands– and transports volumes of sediment. The geologic history of the Minnesota River makes it a large source of sediment, and land use with climate changes have greatly increased this supply.
Special thanks to:

Jay Famiglietti

Title: “Dwindling Groundwater Reserves as Viewed from Space.”
September 18, 2014
Dr. Jay Famiglietti, a leading researcher at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, uses NASA satellites to measure changes in the Earth’s stores of groundwater.
Special thanks to:
Citizen Advisory Committee

Citizen Advisory Committee

Barr logo--color

Robert Jackson

Title: “Fracking: What we know and don’t know about its impacts on water"
January 30, 2014
Dr. Robert Jackson, an environmental scientist at Stanford and Duke universities, and his Duke colleagues research the impacts of fracking on drinking water.

David Schindler

Title: “Letting the Light In: Providing Environmental Science to Direct Public Policy"
November 5, 2013
Dr. Schindler, an emeritus professor at the University of Alberta, combined research and advocacy during a distinguished 45-year career. He speaks on the tension – often conflict – between science and public policy.

Duane Chapman

Title: “The Biology and Management of Asian Carp: Lessons for Minnesota"
October 8, 2013
Duane Chapman is a national expert on the Asian carp species that pose the biggest threats to Minnesota lakes and rivers. Chapman was the science lead for the United States in a U.S.-Canadian assessment of the risk the Great Lakes face from the carp.

Don Rosenberry

Title: “Not Just for Scientists Anymore: Why the Public Should Care About the Connection Between Groundwater and Lakes, Streams and Wetlands"
May 1, 2013
Don Rosenberry, a U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist with Minnesota roots, discusses the physical, chemical and biological processes linking groundwater and surface water and their impact on humans in floods and droughts.

Sandra Postel

Title: “Will We Have Enough Water? Adapting to a Warming Water-Stressed World"
February 12, 2013
Sandra Postel, National Geographic Fellow and founder of the Global Water Policy Project. She has written or co-written three books on water. Her Last Oasis: Facing Water Scarcity was published in eight languages and was the basis for a PBS documentary. She works with the National Geographic Society in a public campaign to restore the flow of the Colorado River. The Mosaic Company Foundation supported her lecture.

Otto Doering

Title: “Excess Nitrogen: A Confounding Problem for Energy Use, Food Production, the Water We Drink and the Air We Breathe"
October 4, 2012
Dr. Otto Doering, a Purdue University Professor who chaired a team of scientists that researched the problem of excess nitrogen for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory board, delivered an intriguing lecture on nitrogen’s impact on the environment, surface and ground waters and human health.

G. Tracy Mehan III

Title: “The Clean Water Act After 40 Years: What Has It Accomplished? How Do We Fulfill Its Promise?"
June 25, 2012
G. Tracy Mehan III, an environmental consultant who was the top water-quality official in the Environmental Protection Agency from 2001 to 2003, delivered a lecure on the Clean Water Act’s successes, work to be done and avenues to progress.

Mindy Lubber

Title: “Investing in Sustainability: Building Water Stewardship into the Bottom Line"
March1, 2012
Mindy Lubber, an international leader in efforts by investors to lead and pressure multinational companies to adopt environmentally sustainable business practices, spoke on corporate sustainability and how capital markets can help achieve it. Lubber is president of Ceres, a coalition of investors, environmental organizations and public interest groups.

Fred Kirschenmann

Title: “Water and the Challenges Facing U.S. and World Agriculture in the 21st Century"
November 10, 2011
Dr. Fred Kirschenmann, distinguished fellow at Iowa State University’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and a farmer, philosopher and national leader in the organic farming movement, lectured on water, agriculture and food.

Gretchen Daily

Title: “Harmonizing People and Nature: A New Business Model"
June 13, 2011
Dr. Gretchen C. Daily, a Stanford University ecologist and co-founder of the Natural Capital Project, spoke on ecosystem valuation, a blend of ecology and economics that enlists both public policy and the marketplace to protect the environment.

Craig Cox

Title: “Taking the Pollution Out of Agricultural Production"
Feb 24, 2011
Craig A. Cox, senior vice president of the Environmental Working Group and a longtime advocate for soil and water conservation, lectured on agricultural practices and policies that can reduce erosion and runoff from farm fields.

Louis Guilette

Title: “Contaminants, Water and Health: New Lessons from Wildlife"
Sept. 14, 2010
Dr. Louis Guillette, an internationally recognized reproductive biologist who has spent 25 years studying alligators and other wildlife living in polluted waters in Florida and around the world, lectured on a growing body of research that shows environmental contaminants are causing birth defects, both in animals and humans.

Hedrick Smith

Title: “Rural and Urban Pollution"
April 27, 2010
Hedrick Smith, the producer of the highly acclaimed PBS Frontline documentary “POISONED WATERS,” lectured on the pervasive pollution that still afflicts our waters, 40 years after the Clean Water Act. Smith, a Pulitzer Prize- and Emmy-winning reporter and producer, delivered a tough-minded report card on U.S. water policy.

Robert Glennon

Title: “Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What to Do About It "
February 22, 2010
Robert Glennon, Professor of Law and Public Policy in the Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona and author of Water Follies and Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What to Do About It, spoke on threats to the sustainability of our water supplies.
Every speaker is accompanied by a panel of Minnesota experts who join the lecturer in taking questions from the audience. From left, David Schindler; Robert Sterner;Ellen Anderson; Darby Nelson and Robert Elde, dean of the College of Biological Sciences.

Speakers are accompanied by a panel of Minnesota experts who join the lecturer in taking questions from the audience. From left, David Schindler; Robert Sterner; Ellen Anderson; Darby Nelson and Robert Elde, Dean of the College of Biological Sciences.