Pete Nowak

John MagnusonProfessor of Environmental Studies
Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies


University of Minnesota, St. Paul
Ph.D., Rural Sociology, 1977

University of Minnesota-Duluth
B.A., Sociology, 1972

Research areas:

Agriculture, soil and water conservation, environmental policy

Selected Publications:

Nowak, P. 2009. The Subversive Conservationist. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 64:4; 113A-115A.

Nowak, P., S. Bowen and P.E. Cabot. 2006. Disproportionality as a framework for linking social and biophysical systems. Society and Natural Resources 19:153-173.

Nowak, P. and P.E. Cabot. 2004. The human dimensions of resource management. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 59:6; 128-135.


Pete Nowak has spent his career engaging with farmers, managers, and policy makers to advocate for thoughtful farming and conservation practices. He has been an active member of the Soil and Water Conservation Society and has published works and spoken around the country to call attention to ineffective outreach and conservation practices and challenge researchers and practitioners to best serve farmers, consumers, and the land.

Pete founded the Wisconsin Buffer Initiative (WBI) which applied an adaptive management approach, based on sound and applicable science, to guide the establishment of policy to implementing buffers to protect Wisconsin's streams and lakes from non-point source pollution.