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The CURA publications library is currently being digitized by the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy. When the project is complete, the entire CURA publications library will be online and fully searchable. Unfortunately, during this process we are not able to honor individual requests for publications . Additionally, we no longer have physical copies of publications to send out.

New publications are digitized daily and the publications catalog on the CURA website is not automatically updated with links to scanned copies, so please search the CURA collection at the Digital Conservancy for the publications you are looking for:


Search for reports, monographs, CURA Reporter articles, and other publications stemming from CURA-supported projects.

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Title Publishedsort icon Author Summary Program Keywords
Crow Wing County’s Lakeshore Impervious Coverage Research Project. 2012 Backes, Robert.

The purpose of the 2012 impervious coverage research project was to determine the amount of impervious surfaces on lakeshore parcels for parcels on lakes over 1000 acres in size. The percent impervious was calculated for the entire riparian lot. The percent impervious was also calculated within 250 feet and 500 feet of the riparian lot. The percent of impervious surfaces was calculated using high resolution Lidar and aerial photography in ESRI’s ArcMap software.

Community Assistantship Program
Jumpstart 4 Kindergarten: An Early Childhood Data Tracking System. 2012 Cruver, Amelia.

The Carlton County CHILD Network (Connected to Helping In Learning and Development) is a collaboration of professionals focused on improving services to young children and families throughout Carlton County. Jump Start 4 Kindergarten is a data collecting and system improvement initiative of the CHILD Network. Family background information is collected for each child enrolled in early childhood development programs supported by the CHILD Network along with the students’ Brigance Screen score, a measure of school readiness.

Community Assistantship Program
Understanding the Importance of Research at Community Colleges and Workforce Centers. 2012 Mulfinger, Evan.

In collaboration with Stearns-Benton Employment & Training Council (SBETC) and St Cloud Technical and Community College (SCTCC), a graduate student was assigned to statistically analyze data containing all individuals who passed through both entities within the last five years. The primary objectives of this project were to describe the population passing through both the SBETC and SCTCC and to identify what variables led individuals to succeed in terms of degree and employment obtained. Due to lack of data on type of employment obtained (e.g.

Community Assistantship Program
Winona County Compost Feasibility Study. 2012 Reser, Aaron

The following feasibility study examines potential scenarios for a small to mid-level composting operation in Winona County. The report stems from interest within the county both to divert organic material from the waste stream and to address soil amendment needs of Stone Point Gardens. These concerns also coincide with proposed changes to state compost facility regulations, potentially resulting in the creation of two new compost levels. The study begins with an investigation into the fundamentals of composting principles and the basic methods and operations of a composting facility.

Community Assistantship Program
GreenStep Cities Internship. 2012 Gurung, Tashi Wongdi. Community Assistantship Program
Toward a Food Hub in North-Central Minnesota: Reframing the Conversation, Examining a Hub’s Regional Economic Effects. 2012 Cureton, Colin.

The report investigates the economic development potential of new local food infrastructure for a five-county region in North-Central Minnesota. This highly rural region is older and poorer relative to the state average, with over one-third of residents living in a food desert. Solutions are needed that both increase the accessibility of healthy produce and generate regional economic growth. The region is at a tipping point of a more robust local food system, but additional infrastructure is needed.

Community Assistantship Program
Focus Group Study: College in the Schools Student Experience in Central Minnesota. 2012 Peterson Malen, Melissa .

Central Lakes College partners with several high schools in central Minnesota to offer college courses to
high school students while they are in high school and on the high school campus. In recent years, the
number of students taking College in the Schools (CIS) courses has increased. However, a trend exists
that demonstrates a decreasing number of students who take CIS courses attend Central Lakes College
after completing high school. This focus group study is designed to develop a deeper understanding of

Community Assistantship Program
Responsive Housing Redevelopment Near North Minneapolis. 2012 Anderson, Kirsten.

This community based research project was intended to:

  • Gather a baseline of data about neighborhood perception of the Near North neighborhood where PPL buildings are located.
  • Gather data on how the rehab of PPL buildings might have impacted the Near North neighborhood.
  • Gather data on what neighborhood residents like and don’t like in terms of the rehab and their neighborhood.

Data was collected through a series of focus groups with residents and neighbors of PPL Near North buildings

Community Assistantship Program
Minnesota River Valley Partners Project. 2012 Brown, Elissa.

The Minnesota River and its valley define the region. It connects all the communities, and its natural and cultural resource base has encouraged many citizen-lead partnerships to enhance and develop the region with an eye to its future.

The partnership of Tatanka Bluffs, Green Corridor, Center for Changing Landscapes (CCL), and the Conservation Corps of Minnesota (CCM) received funds to:

Community Assistantship Program
Two Harbors Band Shell Park Upgrade: Evaluation and Design of Structure. 2012 Amenumey, Felix.

The Two Harbors city band is one of the oldest band in the state of Minnesota (Gregor & Saur, 2012). It has played a vital role of entertaining the Two Harbors community as well as tourists for nearly 115 years. The construction of the Paul Gauche Memorial Band Shell in 1937, coupled with the dedication of band members has over the years contributed rich music production (Friends of the Band Shell Park, 2012). However, the Band Shell is now over 70 years, and this is telling on its current physical structure.

Community Assistantship Program
Crow Wing County’s Lakeshore Impervious Coverage Research Project Phase II. 2012 Backes, .Robert.

The purpose of the 2012 impervious coverage research project was to determine the amount of impervious surfaces on lakeshore parcels for parcels on lakes 500-1000 acres in size. The percent impervious was calculated for the entire riparian lot. The percent impervious was also calculated within 250 feet and 500 feet of the riparian lot. The percent of impervious surfaces was calculated using high resolution Lidar and aerial photography in ESRI’s ArcMap software.

Community Assistantship Program
Mapping the Root River Watershed for Improved Implementation of Storm Water Management. 2013 Hammes, Mary.

I was hired by the UMN Center for Urban and Regional Affairs to work with UMN Center for Changing Landscapes and the Fillmore County Soil and Water Conservation District to create a series of maps detailing stormwater patterns regionally and locally in the Root River Watershed. Locally, I focused on the City of Preston. I used research, interviews, and GIS mapping to investigate stormwater patterns. Findings indicated that regionally, stormwater flow is impacted by the regions steep topography and primarily agricultural landscape.

Community Assistantship Program
Champion Communities Toolkit. 2013 Lange, Susan.

This toolkit is intended to support the Champion Communities in the grassroots work of primary prevention of sexual assault and sexual violence. Communities around Minnesota are realizing that it is our communities themselves that help create the environment in which sexual assault and sexual violence can reside. Only by changing community norms that undergird the acceptance of these behaviors can we create a Minnesota free of sexual assault and violence.

Community Assistantship Program
Value-Added and Scaling Up Local Foods: Navigating Regulations for Processing Local Foods in Commercial Kitchens in Minnesota. 2013 Grewell, Rachel

Brent Olson; farmer, county commissioner, and syndicated agriculture columnist recently opened a licensed community kitchen in conjunction with a town café in Clinton, MN. The impetus for this re-opening of the café and added resource of a community commercial kitchen is in response to challenges this small town faces in addressing food access, food production, and community business growth. The “Inadvertent Café” has received less of a response from local producers than expected.

Community Assistantship Program
A Preliminary Assesment of Impairments to Melrose Lake, MN 2013. 2013 Irving-Hewey, Ruby.

Melrose Lake is a small section of the Sauk River which flows from its headwaters in Osakis to the Mississippi River. In the past the lake has been a source of recreation and has developed into a local scenic point for the City who maintains the park downstream of the dam. Over the course of time Melrose Lake has developed water quality issues dealing with sedimentation, excessive algae and aquatic plant growth, and the decrease of desirable fish species spurning the residents of Melrose to form a lake association.

Community Assistantship Program
Irving and John Anderson Park Master Plan 2013. 2013 Rader, Jody.

Irving and John Anderson Park (Anderson Park) is a 174-acre park located within Isanti County and the Anoka Sandplain. The land was acquisitioned in 2007 as part of funding allocated through the state Remediation Grant Program, the state Regional Parks Grant Program, the Metro Greenways Grant Program, along with donations from the Trust for Public Land, Oxford Township, and the Anderson Family. The park now consists mainly of restored tall-grass prairie, and is adjacent to two lakes (Horseshoe and Horseleg Lakes) with high-quality wetlands and hardwood forest area.

Community Assistantship Program
Opportunities and Constraints for Winona’s Riverfront. 2013 Garnaas-Holmes, Erin.

Located on the banks of the Mississippi River in southeastern Minnesota, the City of Winona’s scenic, ecological, and cultural characteristics are some of its strongest assets. Winona is clearly a community with important connections to its water resources. Some of these connections are utilized effectively; some connections are in need of re-connection, and other connections are less understood or under-developed.

Community Assistantship Program
Cold-Climate Greenhouse Resource: A Guide for Designing and Building a Cold-Climate Greenhouse 2013 Rader, Jody.

The purpose of this research and this guidebook is to document and highlight the successes and lessons learned by small growers across the Midwest who have designed and built cold-climate greenhouses, and are actively growing produce during the winter. The focus here is on the architecture, assembly, materials, and building techniques that have yielded efficient greenhouses. The goal is to provide simple, time-tested techniques, as demonstrated by modern growers within the region.

Community Assistantship Program
Findings on the Economic Benefits of Broadband Expansion to Rural and Remote Areas. 2014 Hupka, Yuri.

Internet access has become vital to a progressive society. Communities with broadband access experience a wide array of economic, educational, and social advantages. However, many rural and remote areas are without sufficient bandwidth to fully and effectively participate in the world economy.

Community Assistantship Program
Local Produce Locker: Exploring the Financial Feasibility of Small-scale Local Food Processing in South Central Minnesota 2014 Meschke, Linda & Sam Johnson

We will explore the Financial Feasibility of a produce locker to gain information that will inform an overall feasibility study for small-scale food processing of local produce.

Community Assistantship Program
Accessory Dwelling Units to Support Farm Transitions 2014 Brandt-Sargent, Bethany

America’s farmers are aging. Not all farmers have family members willing to operate the family farm, leaving them searching for creative ways to transition off the farm, but ensure its continued success. One of these ways is through land use tools, specifically Accessory Dwelling Units. This paper examines the different tools and how they’ve been implemented across the country, and locally. Land use tools to support agriculture are extensive.

Community Assistantship Program
A Sustainable, Localized Food Service Plan: Development Strategies for Lakewood Health System 2014 Myslajek, Lisa

Like many institutional food facilities nationwide, Lakewood Health System (LHS) is developing a sustainable and local food-purchasing program as a means to provide fresher and healthier products while supporting sustainable agricultural systems and the local economy. In spite of the myriad of challenges that many institutions face in developing local purchasing programs, Lakewood is committed to the continuation of increasing amounts of sustainable local purchases.

Community Assistantship Program
The Tallgrass Aspen Parkland Birding Trail: The Stories of the Landscape 2014 Garnaas-Holmes, Erin

The following report serves as a record of research and design work done during the fall of 2013 by the Center for Changing Landscapes and graduate student research assistant Erin Garnaas-Holmes to assist in the Tallgrass Aspen Parkland Birding Trail project. This project is part of a much broader community effort in northwestern Minnesota that seeks to both enhance economic development in the region by bringing more visitors to the area and also inform local residents of the power of their landscapes.

Community Assistantship Program
Itasca Area Community Asset Mapping Project 2014 Davison, Al

The Itasca Area Community Asset Map is a tool meant for youth looking for out-of-school resources, along with economic resources for families. The dataset consists of an Excel spreadsheet (.xlsx), along with a map created with the Google Maps engine. The map was created so it would be available for use by families and youth looking for out-of-school and economic resources in the Itasca area.

Community Assistantship Program
Pioneer Public TV Summer Internship Report 2014 Stermer, Brendan

The power of any history is its ability to unite a country, social class, organization, etc., behind a shared narrative. The story of Pioneer Public TV, as I have written it, is a testament to the power of small rural communities coming together for a common dream. As Pioneer looks ahead to an uncertain future for public broadcasting, and develops plans for big investments in the station’s Appleton facilities, a compelling narrative detailing the station’s origins and growth will be a useful tool for uniting the staff and viewer base behind shared values and stories.

Community Assistantship Program
Creating Public Outreach Information to Support a Culture of Water Quality Stewardship in the Zumbro Watershed 2014 Ayers Looby, Bridget

This project was a combined effort between the University of Minnesota Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, The Center for Changing Landscapes, and The Zumbro Watershed Partnership. The focus of the position was to assist in gathering historic, water quality impairment, and ecological data about the Zumbro River watershed in southern Minnesota.

Community Assistantship Program
Tulibee Refuge Lake Conservation Easement Purchase Targeting: A GIS Analysis 2015 Mueller, Joseph

This project had two primary goals: 1. To develop multiple address tables for a general mailing campaign in northern Minnesota’sAitkin, Cass, Crow Wing and Hubbard Counties to attempt to locate property owners interestedin converting their land under a perpetual conservation easement, and 2. To develop specific maps for the 38 identified Tulibee preserve lakes and their surrounding land,in order to identify specific parcels for possible conservation easement purchase.

Community Assistantship Program
Expansion of Invasive Carp Range in Minnesota: Using Glacial Geomorphology, Digital Elevation Models and Vector Data to Identify Potential Watershed Breaches in ArcGIS 2015 Bevis, Martin

Black, bighead, silver and grass carp (collectively referred to here as invasive carp) present a risk to ecosystem health, functionality, and value in Minnesota’s lakes, rivers and streams. Invasive carp will be able to access to most, but not all, Minnesota watersheds by swimming along river channels. Some watersheds have low susceptibility to invasive carp migration either because they are not tributaries to the Mississippi River or because fish passage is impeded by dams.

Community Assistantship Program
Local Foods Planning and Zoning 2015 Krumel, Thomas

Agricultural Protection Zoning has been enacted to prevent the development of agricultural landsinto non-farm uses. These zoning ordinances are enacted at the county or municipality-level and areoften contained in the comprehensive zoning plan. The comprehensive zoning plans contain thegoals of a community in terms of growth which are created by planners and confirmed through aseries of public hearings run by a Board of Commissioners or City Council.

Community Assistantship Program
In the Heart of Minnesota's Vacation and Recreation Area 2015 Lybeck, Christopher

In the summer of 2015 the city of Akeley, Minnesota sought help from the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) Research Assistant program. There main objective, to aid in the planning & development of a trail system that would connect the Akeley’s downtown to the Heartland State Trail system and encourage economic development for the local community. The City of Akeley was founded during the logging & milling era, but has sense become a tourism-based economy.

Community Assistantship Program