North-Central Section - 39th Annual Meeting (May 19–20, 2005)

Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 11:00 AM


ALEXANDER, Scott C.1, ALEXANDER Jr, E. Calvin1, PFANNKUCH, Hans-Olaf1 and ARCHER, Greg2, (1)Department of Geology and Geophysics, Univ. of Minnesota, 310 Pillsbury Dr., SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455-0219, (2)Environmental Health and Safety, Univ. of Minnesota, W140 Boynton Health Services, Del Code 1171, Minneapolis, MN 55455,

University, and school, campuses face many of the same environmental issues as the whole of society. Students can actively participate in local environmental issues while gaining first hand experience in sustainable land management. These efforts can be placed in the larger context of human impacts to watersheds from regional up to continental scale activities.

At the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus storm water runoff and ground water recharge issues are beginning to be addressed in conjunction with cold weather climate issues. Student participation in the design, construction and operation of storm water systems is an integral part in their success. Projects range from rainwater gardens fed from a single street intersection up to sediment retention ponds receiving urban runoff from a one square mile area to wetland reclamation. Quantitative and analytical skills are used to analyze storm water hydrographs and ground water sampling results. Distinct class projects can be built around delineation of different land use types, monitoring and sampling techniques, ground water recharge potential, identification of potential contaminants and applicable remediation efforts. Students learn how their individual efforts within one sub-watershed play a role in much larger issues including clean drinking water and hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. The interaction of surface and ground waters with geologic materials is cornerstone that ties geologic, environmental and human factors together into a three-dimensional model of a sustainable urban watershed.

A key component in these geologic and environmental studies is coordinating individual student and class projects with facilities managers towards an overall goal. On the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus classes in general hydrogeology, geographic information systems, surface water hydrology and undergraduate research projects have been combined with professional engineering to promote learning while mitigating environmental impacts.