Freshwater Society (2016-2018)


Completed Projects


Advertising Portfolio (COJO 368), Craig Bryan
Fall 2016


Project Overview

The Freshwater Society’s (FWS) Master Water Stewards (MWS) program develops, certifies, and supports community volunteer leaders to manage stormwater at a neighborhood scale to improve water quality. After a successful pilot, FWS will expand the MWS program to watershed districts and cities state-wide.  As the program expands, the FWS needs to develop and refine recruiting materials and messaging for cities and watershed districts to attract community members to enroll in the program. Students in COJO 368 will develop messaging and recruiting materials for the MWS in various formats (possibly including flyers, website material, informational sessions, photos, videos) using FWS’ style guide.

Systems Analysis and Design II (CISC 321), Tim Meyer
Fall 2016


Project Overview

The Freshwater Society’s (FWS) Master Water Stewards (MWS) program develops, certifies, and supports community volunteer leaders to manage stormwater at a neighborhood scale to improve water quality. After a successful pilot, the FWS is preparing to expand the MWS program to watershed districts and cities state-wide.  As the program expands, the FWS needs to provide a means for Stewards to keep track of their work (e.g., hours, who they interact with, projects they develop) as well as the effects of their work on reducing stormwater runoff and improving water quality.  The FWS would also like to document and deliver these results to participating governmental units in a way that adds value to their current system for stormwater reporting/permitting.  Students in System Analysis and Design II will 1) use a user-centered design approach to capture requirements and create a prototype application for Stewards to track their work and projects, and 2) conduct interviews with staff and external groups to ensure the prototype is able to be integrated with existing stormwater calculators and other tools to track effects of projects on stormwater runoff. This tracking app will also contribute to FWS’ broader goal of providing evidence that education to the public about water quality improves water resources.


Partner Outcomes
  • FWS is now working with an app developer to complete the project.
  • Students’ work on the prototype saved FWS an estimated $15,000, and the project is now a year ahead of schedule.

Plants, Food, and Medicine (BIOL 315), Amy Verhoeven
Spring 2017


Project Overview

The Freshwater Society’s (FWS) Master Water Stewards (MWS) program develops, certifies, and supports community volunteer leaders to work for the health of their water at a neighborhood scale to improve water quality. Urban gardens and urban agriculture have become increasingly popular in the Twin Cities area and beyond.  However, stormwater may still runoff from these gardens, carrying soil and other nutrients to our lakes, streams, and rivers.  Students will design perimeter plantings for urban agriculture plots that both capture/reduce stormwater runoff and attract pollinators.  MWS volunteers can use these designs for their capstone projects in their neighborhoods to improve water quality.


Project Outcomes

Urban Ecosystem Ecology (BIOL 490)Chip Small
Spring 2017


Project Overview

The Freshwater Society’s (FWS) Master Water Stewards (MWS) program develops, certifies, and supports community volunteer leaders to manage stormwater at a neighborhood scale to improve water quality.  As part of the training program, MWS complete a capstone project in their watershed to infiltrate stormwater into the ground.  MWS can use the MIDS calculator to determine reductions in stormwater volume and pollutant loads for stormwater BMPs they install.  FWS would like to examine how urban agriculture (which is becoming increasingly popular in urban areas) may function as a stormwater BMP and how it could be integrated into the MIDS calculator.


Project Outcomes

Writing for Strategic Communication (COJO 344), Craig Bryan
Spring 2017

The Freshwater Society’s (FWS) Master Water Stewards (MWS) program develops, certifies, and supports community volunteer leaders to work for the health of their water at a neighborhood scale to improve water quality. FWS has implemented the MWS program with many watershed districts and cities and is in the process of expanding state-wide.  To date, MWS messaging has focused on stormwater and stormwater management; however, MWS would like to broaden their messaging about what the MWS program does and what it means to people.  Students will create a strategic communications plan and materials/messaging for different audiences and communication outlets to achieve this goal.

Summer Research, Center for Applied Mathematics, Magdalena Stolarska, Associate Director
Summer 2018

The Center for Applied Mathematics supports and funds summer student research that applies mathematics to real-world problems. The Freshwater Society would like to examine the potential effects of mining in the UMore development on groundwater in Dakota County. Student researchers will investigate the question:  How will the removal of sand and gravel impact water reaching the Vermillion River, specifically stretches where trout depend on cold-water discharge from groundwater to thrive? Student researchers will create a simulation tool based on the finite difference method to model changes to groundwater temperature and the driving forces that affect its flow from the mined area to the Vermillion River. Findings will inform the Freshwater Society’s water policy efforts.