Online Eastern South Dakota Water Conference set for Oct. 20

South Dakota State University Extension
Ag News

Brookings, S.D. - The 2021 Eastern South Dakota Water Conference, sponsored by the South Dakota Water Resources Institute, will be held virtually Wednesday, Oct. 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. CDT. The theme for this year’s conference is “Ground Truth – Water Resource Management and Remote Sensing.”

“Each year, whether it is held virtually or in-person, the Eastern South Dakota Water Conference attracts attendees from academia, as well as local, state and federal agencies,” says John McMaine, Assistant Professor and South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension Water Management Engineer. “We aim to cover the latest strategies and research updates for water managers and water users of the Northern Great Plains.”

Below is the full schedule for this year’s event:

8:30 - 8:40 a.m. — Welcome

8:40 - 8:55 a.m. — “Precision Water Management Vision for SDSU,” Van Kelley, SDSU Department Head, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering 

8:55 - 9:20 a.m. — “Climate Variability and Water Management,” Laura Edwards, SDSU Extension State Climatologist

9:20 - 9:40 a.m. — “Impacts of Directional Land Cover Change on Runoff Across Reference Basins in the Conterminous United States,” Kul Khand, Research Scientist, United States Geological Survey 

9:40 - 10:05 a.m. — “Measuring Change on the Red River,” Stephanie Day, Associate Professor of Geology and Geography, North Dakota State University

10:05 - 10:30 a.m. — Break

10:30 - 11 a.m. — “Drought Impacts to Outdoor Recreation and Big Sioux River Watershed Habitat and Access Opportunities,” Kevin Robling, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department Secretary

11 - 11:30 a.m. — “Impacts of Sedimentation on Missouri River Reservoirs and Free-Flowing Segments,” Tim Cowman, State Geologist and Director, South Dakota Geological Survey

11:30 - Noon — “South Dakota's Rotating Basins Assessment Process: Lessons from the First Effort,” Jay Gilbertson, Manager, East Dakota Water Development District

Noon - 1:30 p.m. — Lunch

1:30 - 2 p.m. — “Remote Sensing to Support the Intersection of Land Use, Water Use and Water Availability,” Terry Sohl, Research Physical Scientist, United States Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Science Center

2 - 2:30 p.m. — “A ‘Grass for Water’ Blueprint for the Big Sioux River Basin,” Kristen Blann, Freshwater Ecologist, The Nature Conservancy

2:30 - 3 p.m. — “Advanced Remote Sensing Methods for Automated Lake Water Quality Mapping,” Leif Olmanson, Research Scientist, University of Minnesota

3 - 3:15 p.m. — “Willow Creek Watershed Project - Every Practice Counts,” John McMaine, Assistant Professor and SDSU Extension Water Management Engineer

The 2021 conference is free; however, you must register on the Eastern South Dakota Water Conference Registration page ( 

The mission of the South Dakota Water Resources Institute is to coordinate research and training at South Dakota State University and other affiliated educational institutions and agencies across the state in the broad area of water resources and reach out to stakeholders and citizens of South Dakota to address water-related topics and problems.

It administers the funds received from the U.S. Department of Interior, as made available through the Water Resources Research Act of 1984 as amended and from the state of South Dakota. Funds received through these sources targeted for research are directed toward solving state, regional and national water problems. Graduate research training, technology transfer and information transfer are services provided through the Institute.

For questions regarding the event, contact David Kringen, SDSU Extension Water Resources Field Specialist, at 605-995-7378 or or John McMaine at 605-688-5141 or