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Eastern SD Water Conference, planning for future

Building a framework for the future that helps maintain and improve water quality in South Dakota’s surface and groundwater resources will be the focus of the Eastern South Dakota Water Conference Nov. 8. The conference, titled “South Dakota's Water Resources: Where Are We Headed and How Will We Get There?" will be from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the University Student Union’s Volstorff Ballroom at South Dakota State University.

"The framework will be unlike past meetings as the South Dakota Water Resources Institute at SDSU will host its first stakeholder working conference," explained David Kringen, SDSU Extension water resources field specialist. The goal is to develop a plan to address the state’s water quality issues.

To register, go to https://www.sdstate.edu/water-resources-institute/eastern-south-dakota-water-conference. The registration fee through October 25 is $65, while from Oct. 26 to Nov. 1, it is $100. Registration for graduate students is $35. The event is free for undergraduate students, but they must check in at the conference registration desk.

Rebecca Perrin
Rebecca Perrin

Sharing success stories

Conference keynote speaker Rebecca Perrin, agriculture adviser for the Environmental Protection Agency Region 8, will share examples of successful collaborations that can be applied to water quality issues in South Dakota, as well as how the EPA has supported states to address water pollution issues. Perrin said, “Together, South Dakotans have to find the path that works for them when it comes to addressing water quality concerns.

“It’s helpful to have examples within the region and externally, but in the end, after identifying potential resources that can help, you have to blaze your own trail,” Perrin said. “One thing I’ve learned working with diverse organizations is that people working together can overcome what may seem like formidable obstacles.” However, she emphasized, “You need diverse viewpoints at the table.”

Reviewing water quality, planning for future

The morning session will begin with a comprehensive review of the current state of water quality in eastern South Dakota. This session will include information on what is assessed and monitored, how the data is gathered, how it is reported and any long-term trends that may be evident. Both surface and groundwater resources will be discussed.

More than 20 posters featuring university and private industry water quality research projects will be on display during the 10:15-10:45 a.m. break.

Moderated roundtable discussions will take place in the afternoon to discuss the effectiveness of monitoring strategies, future priorities and specific actions that may be taken to address the topics discussed in the morning session. The goal is to compose a white paper summarizing the conference and the roundtable discussions.

Feedback from attendees will be used to help draft an action plan.

“This action plan will help guide the direction of future research opportunities as well as actions that can be taken as a group to sustain and improve our water resources in South Dakota,” Kringen said.