UMD Research Takes Place From Satellite Height To Ground Level Observation

By KBJR News 1

August 6, 2010 Updated Mar 13, 2008 at 8:35 AM CDT

The University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment gets research in the field to the general public on everything from biofuels to water quality.

And at UMD, that research is taking place from satellite height to ground level observation.

Justin Ware reports.

To study lakes and streams, researchers like Tom Hollenhorst and Lucinda Johnson used to spend a lot of time in the field.

"We've done a lot of work developing environmental indicators for the Great Lakes.

They're still doing that same work the only difference is the tools they now use.

"It really does give us a very good indication if our efforts are effective.

Inside the University of Minnesota Duluth's Natural Resources Research Institute, Hollenhorst, Johnson and a number of graduate students are studying computer data from satellites.

Then, they take that data out into the field.

"This is Miller Creek and it's sort of the headwaters of the stream that we're going to follow..."

Using the computer data in the lab and their own eyes in the field the researchers are able to determine what impact development is having on the many streams that flow through Duluth, into Lake Superior.

"We're picking up all kinds of pollutants that are coming up off the parking lot, it's altering the flow that's coming off of the parking lot."

Then, Johnson and her team of researchers share that information with the city of Duluth, officials at the state and federal level, and finally, members of the public so that everyone knows how they can help keep the water in northeastern Minnesota is as clean as possible.

At the University of Minnesota, Duluth, I'm Justin Ware, for the Northland's Newscenter.