Volunteers help hatch eggs and raise Piping Plover young.

Environment and Sustainability

Environmental research at the University continues to focus on key areas including water quality, forest conservation, sustainable cropping systems, controlling waste water and agricultural run-off, and exploring opportunities presented by renewable energy sources.

For information on the latest environment and sustainability research please visit the features and impacts page.


U of M research is focused on defining a balance between food production and environmental impact. From converting wind energy to increasing biodiversity to animal waste management, University scientists are exploring the best ways to utilize sustainable practices that will work for producers and consumers. 


Minnesota is home to over 17 million acres of forest. Research pertaining to forestry affects two key economic sectors in Minnesota: tourism and forest products.

Water Quality

Researchers test agronomic, ecological, and engineering approaches to manage agricultural run-off and chemical usage. Water resources research helps identify best practices and new technologies to implement across Minnesota and beyond.

Climate Change

University scientists explore the issue of climate change in a variety of ways from floods to droughts to forests and wildlife. Our long-term research project in the Boundary Waters Recreational Area is now complemented by research at the Cloquet Forestry Center and the Hubacheck Research Center.

From our ten thousand lakes to the great Mississippi River, water has been a key economic strength throughout Minnesota's history and has helped to shape the state's identity. Here we provide an overview of research highlights from fiscal year 2018. 

Peter Sorensen and his team discovered some of the highest densities of common carp documented in North America in the Six Mile Creek-Halsted Bay Watershed as well as evidence they are causing significant ecological damage to this system. Now, this information is being used to help restore the watershed. 

About 50 Minnesota water bodies have chloride levels that exceed state water quality standards. To help determine sources of chloride in MN, Sara Heger and her team performed a mass budget for wastewater treatment plants to estimate chloride discharged from household and commercial water softeners.