Much of the world—including the United States—faces increasing conflict as Earth’s human population continues to grow but the supply of good, clean water decreases. Water shortages and the struggle to determine how much should be allotted to agriculture, industry, recreation, wildlife, and drinking uses have sparked legal and policy battles. In addition, pesticides, pollution, invasive species, and climate change and droughts threaten the availability of good, clean water. Resolving these complex issues requires the best scientific information and training of natural resource scientists, managers, engineers, and policymakers.
The National Science Foundation established a National Research Traineeship (NRT) program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to meet this need. As stated by the National Science Foundation, NRT programs are "dedicated to effective training of STEM graduate students in high priority interdisciplinary research areas, through the use of a comprehensive traineeship model that is innovative, evidence-based, and aligned with changing workforce and research needs."
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is using its NSF program to train master’s and doctoral students in understanding resilience of agro-ecosystems, particularly the Platte River Basin in Nebraska. The NRT students come from multiple disciplines—the natural, computational, engineering, agricultural, and social sciences—to study panarchy theory, adaptive management, novel sensing technologies and modeling, and policy interventions. They strive to develop tools that can collect, synthesize, and analyze data to inform decisions and policies for managing water resources. They hope to keep the Platte River Basin and other agro-ecosystems healthy and resilient for all who depend upon them now and for generations to come.
Dirac Twidwell, Conor Barnes, Julie Fowler and Alison Ludwig presented "Advancing Fire Ecology of the Great Plains" at the 6th Annual Nebraska Prescribed Fire Conference in Kearney, December 6, 2018.
Robin Craig, professor in the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, visited the NRT November 7 to 13 for discussions and collaborations.
Ahjond Garmestani, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, visited the NRT October 29 to November 4 to collaborate with professors and discuss current issues with students.
Daniel Rico, master's student in Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering, presented a poster, "Power-Tethered UAS Network for Indefinite Data Acquisition to Increase Agricultural Resilience in the Platte River Basin,” at the Water Resources of the U.S. Great Plains Region: Status and Future regional symposium of the National Institutes for Water Resources, held at the Nebraska Innovation Campus in Lincoln, October 24-25, 2018.
December 24-January 1
Holiday break. University offices closed.
University offices reopen.
Spring semester starts.
Photo credit: Of the world’s population of 600,000 cranes, 85 percent come through Nebraska. The birds stage on the Platte River and use leftover corn to gain weight for their flight farther north. The NRT thanks Emma Brinley Buckley for granting us permission to use the above photograph of cranes dancing on the Platte River as part of their mating ritual.