BSU Adds New Minor in Water Science to Center for Sustainability Studies

Uniting the Departments of Environmental Science, Economics, Geography, Geology and Indigenous Sustainability Studies, Bemidji State’s Center for Sustainability Studies is focused on creating a sustainable world. Starting Spring 2022 the center will offer a new water science minor for students who want to study issues around water quality and availability.

Breanna Keith, graduate student of environmental studies at Bemidji State, and Demey Everett, undergraduate student at Augsburg College

Carl Isaacson, chair associate professor of environmental studies and center chair, said students pursuing the new minor will gain an in-depth understanding of both water quality and water quantity management issues that our global and local communities face.

“Water drives the presence and abundance of life on Earth, and human actions have greatly impacted the quantity and quality of water resources,” he said. “By enrolling in this minor, students will complete courses that focus on the impact of human activities on the presence of nutrients and pollutants in our waters, as well as courses focusing on how water is distributed and managed across the surface and within the Earth.”

With increased pressure on water resources from environmental and man-made stressor paired with increasing water demands of agriculture and urban areas, there is an urgent need for scientists who understand these needs, Isaacson said.

The water science minor includes courses in environmental hydrogeology, a branch of geology concerned with underground or surface water, chemistry and toxicology. Students may also explore coursework in limnology, the study of fish, soils, wetlands ecology and wastewater treatment.

“Ultimately, this minor will prepare students for careers within non-profit organizations, tribal, local, state, and federal government agencies or private industry,” Isaacson said.

The proposed minor is designed to provide students with maximum flexibility while ensuring they understand the basics of what is impairing water quality and availability, with an elevated focus on human impacts.