NRRI Projects Funded by Legislative LCCMR Appropriations in 2021
Thank you for supporting NRRI research. Your legislative support is critical to help NRRI meet our mission of delivering integrated research solutions for Minnesota challenges. We’re delivering for the challenges ahead. Here's an update on the projects you funded in 2021.
Minerals and Water
Appropriation End Date: June 30, 2023
Demonstration of 3 Sulfate Reduction Technology Applications $300,000
Status: Ongoing engagement with state and federal agencies and local communities to initiate 2022 deployment of mobile pilot test units to demonstrate sulfate reduction in mine pit waters.
Next-Generation Technologies and New Iron Products $450,000
Status: Exploring new frontiers for Minnesota’s iron industry. Completed mineral characterization of oxidized ore formations to support process technology evaluation.
Forest and Bioeconomy
Appropriation End Date: June 30, 2023
State-wide Expansion of Forest Management Tool $500,000
Status: Acquired data to permit expanded state footprint for tool architecture. Currently engaging state stakeholders to customize tool for 2023 deployment.
Accelerated Biochar Development Capability $380,000
Status: Defined investment in pilot biochar kiln for installation and commissioning in 2023 to support rapid development and demonstration of new biochar products.
2021 Legislative Appropriation
Higher Education Budget: Infrastructure and research support $500,000
Status: Targeted investment at NRRI Coleraine to replace and expand characterization, mineral processing and metallurgy capabilities to increase service to Minnesota’s iron industry
Seven Cross-platform Research Projects Funded by the LCCMR in 2021
M.L. 2021 Projects (2021)
- Trout Stream Habitat Restoration Success $319,000
A study to evaluate the effectiveness and durability of previous trout stream habitat restoration projects to improve the success and cost effectiveness of future projects. With funding received in August, 2021, researchers collected pre-restoration data from two northern Minnesota streams scheduled for restoration in summer 2022. This summer (2022) researchers will evaluate several streams that were restored in past years. Because of the complexity of this project, it will continue until June 30, 2025.
- What’s Bugging Minnesota's Insect-Eating Birds? $199,000
A study to examine the relationship between insect abundance, timing of insect availability, and breeding success of bird species across land-use intensities to develop comprehensive guidelines for conserving bird and insect diversity.
M.L. 2021 Projects (2020)
- Bobcat and Fisher Habitat Use and Interactions $400,00
A study to identify potential solutions to reverse the fisher population decline through better understanding of habitat, diet, and activity patterns of bobcats and fishers.
- Conserving Black Terns and Forster's Terns in Minnesota $198,000
A study to assess the distribution, breeding status, and habitat needs of Black Tern and Forster's Tern to make restoration recommendations to increase and improve breeding habitat for these two bird species of conservation concern in Minnesota.
- Emerald Ash Borer and Black Ash: Maintaining Forests and Benefits $700,000
Use of ongoing experiments to determine statewide long-term emerald ash borer impacts on water, vegetation, and wildlife to determine optimal replacement species for ash, identify practices for forest diversification, and develop criteria for prioritizing mitigation activities.
- Testing Effectiveness of Aquatic Invasive Species Removal Methods $110,000
Research to test how well boat-cleaning methods work, to provide the Department of Natural Resources with a risk assessment, and to provide recommendations for improving boat-launch cleaning stations to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Funding became available in late summer, 2021, too late to begin work on this project until 2022. Currently the research team is working with the Minnesota-based CD3 waterless cleaning station company to retrofit one of their cleaning stations so that the amount of material removed from test boats during cleaning can be scientifically quantified and improvement recommendations made. Testing of this waterless cleaning station is expected to begin in late summer of 2022.
- Lignin-Coated Fertilizers for Phosphate Control $250,000
Research to test a new, natural, slow-release fertilizer coating made from processed wood to decrease phosphorus runoff from farmland while also storing carbon in soils.
Research Project Highlights
NRRI delivers integrated research solutions which impact greater Minnesota. Here's what we have been up to:
- Energy Storage Report | Minnesota's potential for large-scale, non-battery energy storage
- From Rolf Weberg: Legislative Funding Update | NRRI continues to push forward in fulfilling our mission to Minnesota and the region
- Statewide Atlas Launch | The Minnesota Natural Resource Atlas (mnatlas.org) is now launched statewide and ready to use.
State Special Projects
- Iron of the Future | Changing ore bodies and expanding ore products require research and development.
- Great Lakes Research | Decades of NRRI research spans all five Great Lakes
Federally-funded Research Projects
- Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands | NRRI receives $2.33M from the EPA to support research teams that monitor shorelines from Thunder Bay to Green Bay.
For More Information
NRRI: Focused on the Future
NRRI was created in 1983 to assist the Minnesota Legislature in making sound, long-term natural resource decisions. Our charter still guides us today.
The Natural Resources Research Institute was established by the state legislature in the early 1980’s. At that time, the state and the nation was in the grip of a severe economic recession with significant impacts on Minnesota’s natural resource economies.
NRRI was created to assist the Legislature in making sound, long-term natural resource decisions. It was placed within the University of Minnesota system to leverage the UMN research enterprise and contribute to the mandate of the University’s land grant mission. The charter we continue to follow today is to foster the economic development of Minnesota’s natural resources in an environmentally sound manner to promote private sector employment.