Center for Applied Research and Decision Support

IWI’s Research Program interprets and applies basic research results from our academic and research institutions to develop cost-effective solutions to the complex water problems faced by communities. IWI’s research program is delivered through the Center for Applied Research and Decision Support (CARDS). CARDS is a catalyst to assemble teams of scientists from academia, government agencies, non-profit organizations and the private sector to address specific research topics and provide decision support to effectively and efficiently address water and natural resource problems.

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Explore the five applied research initiatives of CARDS:

Big Data for Resource Decision-Making

Understanding the Amount and Quality of Water

Resource Management Investment Decisions

Effective Nonpoint Source Solutions

Building Science Capacity and Critical Reasoning Skills

Big Data for Resource Decision-Making

“Big data” are data that comes from many sources. Big data must be integrated into a single framework to make them useful for decision-making. IWI works to develop and demonstrate functioning frameworks for key components of the big data puzzle through the development and deployment of consumer-facing web applications that communicate flood risk, drought risk, water management, resource management, and ecological risk.

EXAMPLES:
IWI MAP PORTAL

Access, display, and create maps of available geospatial data in the Red River of the North Basin (US).

Map Portal
RED RIVER BASIN MAPPING INITIATIVE

Completed in 2009, this $5.0 million Red RIver Basin (U.S.) project collected and processed ~52,000 square miles of high-resolution Light Detecting and Ranging Data (LiDAR).

Initiative Brochure ND DataMN Data

Understanding the Amount and Quality of Water

IWI is working to describe and characterize how Best Management Practices (BMPs) reduce sediment and nutrient loads downstream; how farming methods affect the amount and quality of surface water runoff; how reservoirs and impoundments alter the movement and retention of sediment and nutrients in a watershed; and long term trends in the quality and amount of surface water runoff.

EXAMPLES:
BRANDT IMPOUNDMENT LOAD STUDY

In 2018, IWI monitored the nutrient and sediment loads entering and leaving the Brandt Impoundment during the spring snowmelt the intention to provide guidance on compliance with the 1998 Mediation Agreement.

Brandt Report
FLOOD DAMAGE REDUCTION

Collection of story maps created to disseminate information on Flood Damage Reduction Projects within the Red River Basin. 

FDR Story Maps

Resource Management Investment Decisions

IWI develops methods and techniques to address complex water and natural resource problems to support local communities and individuals as they make efficient and equitable natural resource management decisions.

EXAMPLES:
A COMMON FRAMEWORK FOR BENEFIT-COST ANALYSIS

Benefit-cost analysis (BCA) guidance for small watershed projects being planned and underway as part of the Natural Resource Conservations Service’s Red River Basin Regional Conservation Planning Partnership.

Common Framework
RUNOFF AND SEDIMENT-BASED CHARGE METHOD

A practical, science-based, and cost-effective Geographic Information System method to charge agricultural drainage system maintenance based on relative contribution of runoff and sediment to a drainage system.

Runoff Report

Effective Nonpoint Source Solutions

Any voluntary approach for managing surface water runoff from diffuse sources (nonpoint) requires acceptance by those who own and use the land. IWI is working with farmers and public and private partners to develop new technology, data and information, water management strategies, conservation market opportunities, and implementation frameworks for managing nonpoint source runoff to improve water quality, reduce flooding and enhance natural resources.

EXAMPLES:
PRIORITIZE, TARGET AND MEASURE APPLICATION

An online tool to estimate location, benefits, and costs of conservation and best management practices.

PTMApp – NDPTMApp – MN
RED RIVER STEWARDSHIP PILOT PROGRAM

A non-profit – private sector partnership to develop a transferable working framework to define and implement measurable standards for stewardship and sustainability.

Project Summary

Building Science Capacity and Critical Reasoning Skills in Communities

Decisions that have the greatest impact on water and natural resources are made locally by lay-people serving in public office and on citizen advisory boards. IWI is among today’s and tomorrow’s leaders, developing and documenting novel approaches and curricula to build science capacity and the critical reasoning skills needed to address the complex water and natural resource problems.

EXAMPLE:
ADULT AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

A series of workshops focused on educating the adult population on topics related to watershed stewardship.

Example Workshops

Please contact us if you have an applied research idea you would like to collaboratively explore, if you are interested in funding a portion or all of one of our research proposals, or would like to become a CARDS visiting scientist.
The IWI is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. All contributions are tax deductible.

Contact Research Director, Mark Deutschman