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Conference to Focus on Managing Minnesota’s Waters in a Changing Environment

March 15, 2002

Environmental changes in Minnesota and throughout the world are challenging our ability to manage the state’s precious water resources. A conference, “Working Together in a Climate of Change to Manage Minnesota’s Water Resources,” April 17–20, in St. Cloud, MN, will explore how trends in the global environment, economy, technology, and policies, impact decisions about rivers, lakes, and water use.

Citizens, local government representatives, water professionals, educators, and researchers are invited to learn about and collaborate on key water management issues. The first two days of the conference will feature technical presentations on a variety of topics; the last two will focus on citizen-oriented water resource topics and will include a special track for local units of government.

Keynote speaker Tom Johnson, director of the University of Minnesota Large Lakes Observatory, will open the conference with information on global climate change based on his work with lake sediments. Ted Mondale, chair of the Metropolitan Council, will give a luncheon speech, “A New Regional Growth Strategy -- Blueprint for 2030,” in which he will discuss the changing growth patterns of the seven-county metropolitan area and the challenges to management it provides.

Other noted speakers include Dennis Anderson, outdoor columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune who recently wrote a series about Minnesotans, their values, and water resources, “The State We’re In;” and the Honorable Gaylord Nelson, former Wisconsin Governor, Senator, and Earth Day founder.

“Building stronger public and private partnerships is key to protecting Minnesota’s water resources,” said Paula West with the Minnesota Lakes Association. “We’ve designed this conference to have a stimulating mix of citizens and professionals participating together who will help strengthen partnerships, which will play a critical role in future protection.”

Other conference highlights include a shoreland conservation bus tour, where participants will view some of Central Minnesota’s premier restoration activities; an evening “Celebration of Minnesota’s Lakes and Rivers;” and a communications workshop designed for citizen activists.

Conference hosts are the University of Minnesota Water Resources Center and Sea Grant Program, the Rivers Council of Minnesota, and the Minnesota Lakes Association. This is a first-time collaboration between these groups, and combines the Minnesota Water 2002 and the Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Conference.

Sponsors are the Initiative Foundation of Central Minnesota and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Co-sponsors are the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Metropolitan Council, and We-No-Nah Canoe.

The conference will be held at the St. Cloud Civic Center. The registration deadline is April 3. Space is limited! Cost is $45 per day and includes a continental breakfast, lunch, breaks, and materials. Other necessary fees and discounts as well as a comprehensive schedule are described on the University of Minnesota Water Resources Center conference Web site.

You may also call (612) 624-9282 for more information.

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