2018 Annual Water Resources Conference Schedule and Abstracts

November 4-8, 2018
Search by Speaker (listed alphabetically by last name), or scroll down to Session Schedule and access from there.




Session Schedule

  • 04 November
  • 05 November
  • 06 November
  • 07 November
  • 08 November

Poster Schedule

  • 05 November
  • 06 November

Jonathan Abelson

Civil Designer
Stantec Consulting Services Inc.
Achieving Stormwater Resource Management in Californian Communities in the Sierra Nevada,

Co-authors: Yung-Hsin Sun, Jonathan E. Abelson, Maritza Flores Marquez, Rebecca Guo, Kenneth Payne, Sarah Hamilton,

Stormwater is now recognized as an important resource that should be managed within the integrated water management structure to balance socioeconomic development and environmental protection all while considering climate change. This paradigm shift signals a proactive step beyond the recently expanded watershed approach for stormwater and dry weather runoff management, and further departs from the traditionally narrow focus on MS4 permit compliance and flood control. In fact, traditional rainfall runoff models have been erroneous when predicting late-season rain-on-snow runoff events. The recent historic drought in California prompted the State to implement timely adjustments to policy, regulations and guidelines to support managing stormwater as a resource, and to consider investments that provide significant progress in stormwater monitoring, capture, treatment and reuse, low impact development and green infrastructure, and groundwater augmentation in urban areas. Similar philosophy and investments are necessary in foothill areas with emerging urban development and changing landscapes for rural and agricultural communities, but would require capturing different opportunities and accommodating unique constraints presented by steep terrains, vast forest lands with high fire potential, and limited groundwater infiltration capabilities. This presentation summarizes the development of a comprehensive strategy to manage stormwater as a resource in the scenic County of El Dorado while assimilating the aforementioned opportunities and constraints. The resulting plan consists of a multipronged approach that is customized for its foothill setting including regional surface reservoirs, watershed management with a focus on forest fuel reduction, and integration of stormwater management from communities and major highways with wetland restoration. The plan also incorporates prioritized actions, affordability considerations, and nexus to other related resource planning and implementation efforts to support efficient and responsible implementation.

06 November


Sarah Ahmed

Water Resources Engineering Analyst
Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB)
Incorporating Human Impacts into Real-time Streamflow Forecasts for the Potomac River

Co-authors: C. Schultz, A. Seck,

Advances in streamflow forecasts are often made by improving their weather forecast and hydrologic model components, while marginalizing their lack in human activity data. Human activities, such as drinking water withdrawals, however, impact reservoir release decisions. The Washington metropolitan area’s three main water suppliers participate in a cooperative system of water supply management. During droughts they meet demand and maintain environmental flow-by requirements by coordinating their withdrawals from Potomac and off-Potomac intakes and by augmenting natural river flow with releases of shared water stored in upstream reservoirs. This presentation shows how streamflow forecasts could benefit from a real-time 14-day forecast of daily water withdrawals by these suppliers. The Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB) makes the forecast for each supplier by (1) estimating the annual average withdrawal from the previous six months of daily data, which is made available by an open source data portal developed by ICPRB (2) estimating a monthly average withdrawal from the annual average estimate using a factor, and (3) adding daily variations to the monthly average withdrawal estimate using linear regression equations that are fed real-time meteorological data from National Weather Service. ICPRB’s real-time Low Flow Forecast System uses these withdrawal forecasts. The system is built from the Chesapeake Bay Program’s watershed model and Deltares’ flood forecasting system (Delft-FEWS), which imports National Weather data to produce streamflow forecasts within the Potomac River basin. We recommend that these withdrawal forecasts also be used in the Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center (MARFC) continuous API model, which provides online products such as MARFC’s 3-day flow forecasts and the Meteorological Model Ensemble River Forecasts (MMEFS). We discuss our evaluation of the 14-day withdrawal forecasts’ performance compared to the standard 20-day running, monthly, and annual averages of historical withdrawal data for each supplier.

05 November


Stephen Aichele

US Geological Survey
Developing a National Terrain Model and 3D National Hydrography Dataset

For over 100 years, the U.S. Geological Survey produced integrated topographic data in the form of analog maps. These maps became a mainstay of earth science and land and water management. With the advent of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), users sought to apply the analytical power of computers to these problems, and much of the past 30 years has been spent converting cartographic content from the topographic maps to the National Hydrography Dataset and the National Elevation Dataset, among others. A significant amount of time has also been spent correcting and overcoming the shortcomings of these conversions. In 2014, the USGS National Geospatial Program launched the 3D Elevation Program, an effort to collect high resolution elevation data nationwide on an 8 year cycle. In 2018 we are nearly halfway to that goal, and USGS is exploring two new concepts to enhance integration, alignment, and interoperability of national elevation and hydrography datasets: the National Terrain Model, an integrated digital elevation model of the landscape mapped both above and below waterbodies, and the 3D National Hydrography Dataset (3D NHD), the next generation of hydrography mapping for the nation. This presentation will focus on the user needs identified in the several user surveys NGP has executed in recent years, and provide some an overview of the future direction for terrain mapping in the US.

07 November


Khaled Akhtar

Alberta Environment and Parks
A Prototype Serious Gaming tool, Bow River Sim for Integrated Water Resources Management

Co-authors: P. Grover , T. Tang , G. Magnusson , Q. Brander, B. Waddington, M. Desbiens

A Serious Game is a game designed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment and describes a wide variety of interactive digital products from flight simulators to city management games. In recent years, serious games have become an important part of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) as they allow stakeholders to experiment with the impacts of various water management decisions, including to help develop agreement regarding the use of shared water resources. Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) regulates activities related to water, public land, and the environment in the province of Alberta. The Water Resources Management Model (or WRMM) is a computer program that AEP developed over several years to support water resource management planning and incorporating the water allocation rules of the Alberta Water Act legislation. However, the model was not designed as an interactive and educational tool. To address this limitation AEP developed a serious game based on the WRMM. The Bow River Sim, developed by AEP in collaboration with BGC Engineering, displays the inputs and outputs from the actual WRMM program using a gamified interface. Therefore, when one uses the game they can simulate real-world scenarios. The Bow River Sim has three game play modes. The first is the WRMM mode in which a user may adjust numerous variables and then run the model to see the results. Input conditions from the years 1928 to 2001 are available for simulation and interactive graphs are generated showing weekly data for each stakeholder. The second mode, tutorials, provides two step-by-step tutorials that help the player understand water management concepts and the mechanics of game play. The third mode is a challenge mode which provides users with a specific goal to be achieved through water management decisions. Challenges help users to learn about the model by structuring play, limiting the complexity of the system and requiring insight into the model to achieve goals. This presentation will provide an overview of the Game and demonstrate how innovations such as serious gaming can promote dialog and discussion among stakeholders.

07 November


Katherine Antos

Branch Chief
District Department of Energy and Environment
Developing A Chesapeake Watershed Implementation Plan In An Ultra-Urban Jurisdiction: The DC Experience 

The District of Columbia is one of seven jurisdictional signatories to the Chesapeake Watershed Agreement. As part of its commitment to achieving the Chesapeake Bay Program’s water quality goals, the city is developing a Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution and meet the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). However, the District is unique from other states in the watershed in that it is a city, approximately 90 percent of its pollutant load is from wastewater, and the remaining 10 percent is attributable to urban runoff. Projects to manage runoff must address site constraints of an ultra-urban environment and, as a result, can be the most expensive to implement per pound of pollutant reduced. Further, approximately one-third of the District’s land area is federally owned. Finally, almost all of the water bodies in the District are impaired. Many areas of the city where stormwater management and restoration efforts would have greater environmental benefit coincide with neighborhoods demonstrating lower income and higher unemployment levels. This presentation will describe the District’s innovative approaches to developing a Watershed Implementation Plan in light of these unique characteristics. In particular, the District Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) has been a leader in engaging federal facilities as partners in pollutant reductions. It has pioneered a market-based Stormwater Retention Credit program to leverage private capital for stormwater retrofits in areas of the city with greater water quality needs. DOEE has created incentive-based programs to encourage homeowners, faith-based institutions, and organizations not typically focused on the environment to become stewards and implement green infrastructure. The District is also testing innovative approaches to target activities where they can leverage co-benefits for local water quality, habitat restoration, workforce development, environmental education, climate resilience, and improving access to green space. The District of Columbia’s experience offers important lessons on advancing stormwater management, meeting TMDL allocations and cultivating stewardship while also building capacity of community-based organizations that support under-served and under-represented communities.

06 November


Mike Antos

Watershed Manager
Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority
Ethnographically-informed Integrated Water Resource Planning

Co-author: E. Brooks

The Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA), in Southern California, is conducting a Disadvantaged Communities Involvement Program. This state-grant funded effort is occurring throughout California, the goal of which is to ensure members of disadvantaged, economically-distressed, and underrepresented communities are able to genuinely participate in integrated water resources planning. To conduct the first phase, a strengths and needs assessment, SAWPA is supported by the University of California Irvine and the California State University, among a broader partnership. The assessment is employing an ethnographically-informed instrument for engaging community members. Ethnographic research gathers case study evidence about the diversity of social and cultural experiences, and yields generalizable knowledge about social processes, cultural meanings, and the explanatory models people use in their everyday lives. The program partners including agency staff, academic faculty, staff and students, AmeriCorps fellows, and non-profit staff, are conducting ethnographic interviews to collect community members’ narratives of local water-related strengths, needs, and opportunities. These interviews are guided by a shared instrument: a set of carefully crafted, open-ended questions and prompts posed to all subject groups, and designed to elicit narrative responses on broad topics such as “community strengths” and “water stories.” This approach is creating an opportunity for respondents to talk about issues, strengths, and needs not already anticipated by SAWPA and its water-sector collaborators. Based on analysis of this data, recommendations for planning and implementation are made to existing watershed planning contexts. Engaging in this way will result in new relationships and increased trust, and set the stage for long-term engagement. Integrated water resources planning is fundamentally a political exercise requiring collaboration, compromise, and trade-offs. Ensuring that representative decision-makers are knowledgable about water resources opportunities and challenges, while ensuring too that constituents of those decision-makers are genuinely contributing to the decisions is a critical next horizon for IWRM. Drawing tools from the social sciences, like ethnographic interviewing, will greatly benefit efforts at achieving integration and collaboration in water resources management.

07 November


David Arscott

Executive Director and Research Scientist
Stroud Water Research Center
An Open-Source Solution for Using Environmental Sensors to Monitor Water Quality with Real-Time Data Access

Co-authors: S. Hicks, S. Ensign, D. Bressler, S. Damiano, T. Muenz, A. Aufdenkampe, J. Horsburgh,

Scientists and educators around the world have been building their own dataloggers and devices using a variety of open source electronics platforms like Arduino®. Many of these efforts have advanced to the point that high quality scientific measurements can be made using relatively inexpensive and increasingly off-the-shelf components. Here we introduce resources and tools that you can use to build real-time, low-cost data loggers that can form the core of your DIY environmental monitoring system. Material available at http://EnviroDIY.org and http://EnviroDIY.org provide resources, tutorials, and data capture/visualization solutions that make building, deploying, and using a “home-built” environmental monitoring station a viable option for high-quality environmental monitoring. Monitoring stations that we have deployed to date around the world include a solar-powered datalogger connected to radio telemetry that connects to a variety of sensors, such as water depth, temperature, conductivity, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, precipitation, soil moisture, and soil redox conditions. With the development of these innovative systems comes the ability to generate large volumes of high-frequency monitoring data and the challenge of how to log, transmit, store, and share those resulting data. The web-based system, http://EnviroDIY.org was designed to enable citizen scientists and other DIY'ers to stream sensor data from a network of Arduino-based dataloggers. This system enables registration of new sensor nodes through the website. Once registered, any Internet connected device (e.g., cellular or WIFI) can then post data to the website through a web service programming interface. Data are stored in a back-end data store that implements Version 2 of the Observations Data Model (ODM2) and data are registered and made public via the CUASHI Water Data Center and HydroShare. Live data can then be viewed and downloaded from the website in a simple text format. While this system was purpose built to support an emerging network of Arduino-based sensor nodes deployed by citizen scientists in the Delaware River Basin (more than 60 stations installed in the Delaware to date), the architecture and components are generic and can be used by any Internet connected device capable of making measurements and formulating an HTTP POST request to send to data.envirodiy.org.

06 November

07 November


Scott Ator

US Geological Survey
Advances in Understanding Changes in Nutrient Fluxes from the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Co-authors: R. Smith, J.G. Chanat, A.M. Garcia, A.J. Sekellick, J.S. Webber

Water-quality and ecological conditions in Chesapeake Bay have been adversely impacted by nitrogen and phosphorus contributions from the bay watershed, and watershed restoration activities in recent decades have been insufficient to meet established ecological standards in tidal waters. Understanding past changes in nitrogen and phosphorus flux in bay tributaries is critical to effective watershed management, but is substantially complicated by the multitude of watershed nutrient sources and complex conditions affecting fate and transport interacting and evolving over multiple time scales. The continuing expansion and development of water-quality, streamflow, and other environmental data in the bay watershed support the development of innovative hybrid empirical and deterministic techniques to identify and quantify the major drivers of recent water-quality changes in Chesapeake Bay tributaries. In particular, spatially-referenced regression (SPARROW) modeling, which has traditionally been used to evaluate spatial patterns in stream chemistry, has been adapted and expanded to also support inferences about temporal changes. Insights developed from these techniques can be particularly informative to adaptive management intended to improve water quality in the bay and its watershed.

06 November


Matthew Bachman

Water Resources Engineer/Planner
Stantec Consulting Services Inc.
Model Development and Application in Support of Basin-Wide Water Management and Adaptation Planning in the American River Basin

Co-authors: A. Draper, R. Hoang

The American River Basin Study (ARBS) is an ongoing study intended to develop a more detailed understanding of water supplies and demands in American River Basin, as well as identify potential imbalances between supplies and demands under a range of potential future climate conditions. Many water agencies in the study area divert water from the lower American River based upon a mix of water rights, Central Valley Project (CVP) contracts, and wholesale agreements. Regional water management actions must take place within the context of broader, statewide water management operations. Further, CVP operations must be coordinated with State Water Project (SWP) operations such that the two projects can meet both contractual obligations and in-basin needs, as prescribed in their water rights permits. Aligning the vision of water management in the American River Basin and adjacent areas needs to have both the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and local non-Federal Partners agreeing on the assumptions and tools which are intended to be used in the study. For the ARBS, CalSim 3 is being used as the main analytical tool to conduct the integrated surface water/groundwater analyses and regional and system-wide operations. The model has been developed by Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources, and models detailed representation of the water supply portfolio of individual water agencies in the region. Additional key model and data developments for the study have included Global Climate Model (GCM) downscaling and hydrological modeling at an appropriately defined scale for regional modeling, and refining representations of upper watershed operations and infrastructure. The refined model will be used to evaluate the performance of various adaptation strategies under climate change conditions, as well as include the most updated baseline for the coordinated long-term operation of the CVP and SWP. The net result will be a more accurate picture of climate change effects on runoff from upper watersheds and inflow to Folsom Reservoir, allowing evaluation of the effects of climate change on the operation of the CVP, regional water supply reliability, fishery management in the lower American River, and Delta water quality.

08 November


ChangYeon Bae

National Disaster Management Research Institute
Establishment of Measured Based Floods Warning Criteria in Urban Area

Recent casualties and property damages are increasing with increased local floods due to climate changes in urban area. EM-DAT of the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) shows that floods disasters are 74% of 354 natural disasters brought on 2017 in the world. However, floods in Korea is also increased in this century, specially damages of urban area are rapidly increased because existing warning system can not reflect urban floods characteristics well. This study is for enhancing the floods warning criteria to reflect the urban characteristics on floods. Urban flood warning criteria use critical storms data estimated by relation analysis between damages and rainfall obtained from the National Disaster Management System(NDMS). This study estimates critical storm data for 500 local communities of 27 cities and evaluates warning criteria of Jung-Gu and Bupyeong-Gu in Ulsan City and Inchun City with estimated critical storms data which Ulsan City had big damaged by typhoon Chaba in 2016. Evaluation results show that leading time is about 30~60min in Ulsan City which is enough to emergency response such as escaping from flood disaster area. Inchun City also has 5-10min leading time in spite of short duration time of 30min. This study has a limit of water level and discharge data in inundation area to estimate and evaluate the critical storms because measuring points are not enough. So, NDMI establish more water level sensor in Ulsan City and Busan City, Korea to measure inundation depth and water discharges at flood season. In future, if the monitoring points are increased it can be used to establish measured data based warning system.

08 November


Sen Bai

Senior Modeler
Tetra Tech Inc
An Integrated Modeling Approach to Support Resilient Urban Water Management

Co-authors: T. Zi, T. Rafi, J. Ludwig, K. Muhmmad, L. Chen, S. Zhao

Water management faces challenges of flood control, increased water usage, pollutant yield and receiving water quality issues in urban areas along with the quick changes of land uses due to urban development and change of patterns of precipitation due to climate change. In the City of Calgary where the Bow River runs through, the goals of the urban water management not only include flood control, but also controls of loadings from the wastewater treatment facilities and from stormwater runoff to protect fish in the river. Wastewater and stormwater loadings may change dramatically along with the population increase and climate change. To support a resilient water management, all factors that contribute to the impact factors of fish health in the Bow River needs to be considered and feasibilities of achieving loading objectives need to be analyzed. An integrated modeling approach was proposed. In this approach, stormwater model simulates runoff from the entire city area (>800 square kilometer large) including all the stormwater ponds for flood control purposes. A hydraulic model simulates the flow in the river, and a water quality model considers TSS, nutrients, DO, phytoplankton, periphyton, and macrophyte. The water quality model determines the loading objectives of TSS and TP to control concentrations of daily TSS, seven-day average TSS, monthly TSS, and instantaneous DO and daily average DO in the river to the levels that fish is either not hurt or can be recovered after suffering short-term injury. The stormwater model was used to analyzed if the loading objectives of TSS and TP from stormwater runoff can be achieved and the options to achieve the loading objectives both in the near future and long term (2078). Population increase, land use changes, and margin of safety were all considered in the integrated modeling approach to ensure that capturing the potential future conditions to support a resilient water management plan.

08 November


Matthew Baker

University of Maryland-Baltimore County
Development and Application of Automated Channel Extraction From LiDAR in Chesapeake Bay Watersheds: Effects of Physiography and Land-use

Co-author: D. Saavedra

Accurate stream maps are critical for a variety of hydrologic, ecologic, and regulatory applications, yet despite high-resolution terrain models, extracting accurate hydrography remains a challenge. Existing approaches predict channel head locations using channel–forming processes or direct detection of local depressions from digital terrain. Process-based techniques involve thresholds of contributing area, local slope, or both to map stream heads, whereas direct detection methods typically involve terrain curvature or topographic openness. Process-based approaches are relatively easy to implement, but typically suffer from substantial errors of omission and commission, especially where a variety of channel forming mechanisms operate. Direct detection approaches rely upon objective thresholds to identify channel-like depressions and often reduce errors of omission, but also generate substantial errors of commission without subsequent filtering, especially in human-modified landscapes. We present a new method for automated stream channel mapping that relies on the computer vision concepts of line of sight to identify discrete terrain features termed geomorphons. This approach eliminates the need for objective, yet somewhat imprecise, thresholds that define the degree of relative elevation associated with channel features. Instead, our method interprets the pattern of relative elevation (higher, lower, or equal) in eight-directions away from each cell, integrating and analyzing terrain well beyond the local features detected by curvature functions. Unlike other detection approaches that rely on post-detection filtering to reduce errors of commission, we constrain our maps to be contiguous with broader river valleys. This approach is robust in that it is multi-scalar, generic in that it makes no assumptions about channel-forming processes, practical in that it incorporates ancillary information to overcome common routing challenges (e.g. road crossings), and computationally efficient. We summarize case studies from the Chesapeake Bay watershed to compare different delineation approaches and illustrate the complexity of automated hydrographic mapping across a range of physiographic and land-use contexts. Our case studies highlight important limitations in existing methods and the advantages inherent in our approach. However, our studies also underscore the prevalence of human terrain modifications and the challenges they pose for any automated technique.

05 November


Roger Barlow

Physical Scientist
US Geological Survey
Bottom Hat Test Derivation of Hydrography from Lidar Data in the Raritan River Basin, New Jersey

Co-authors: S. Cauller, K Watson

Bottom Hat Test Derivation of Hydrography from Lidar Data in the Raritan River Basin, New Jersey Stephen J Cauller, Kara Watson, Roger Barlow The U.S. Geological Survey, New Jersey Water Science Center with financial and field support from the U.S. Geological Survey, National Geospatial Program (NGP) and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), identified and evaluated an approach to improve the locational accuracy, connectivity, and precision of the existing New Jersey National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) local scale stream network thereby reducing the amount of heads-up digitizing of streams. This new stream derivation method applies raster processing filters to a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) following a series of steps described in Olson (2014), as well as Cho and others (2011). The process steps include creating a bottom hat filter, filling sinks,, and computing flow direction, flow accumulation, and a weighted flow accumulation. The resulting raster is converted to vector delineating the stream lines. Lidar-derived DEMs were used as primary source data for this study. DEMs were subsequently hydro-enforced to remove surface features at stream crossings such as road culverts, small water impoundments, and bridges, permitting unobstructed flow of water across the landscape. A bottom hat morphologic filter was applied to the enforced DEM datasets to derive local-scale hydrography in three 12-digit Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD) basins in three different physiographic provinces within the Raritan River Basin. Stream lines derived in sub-watersheds in the Highlands, Piedmont, and Coastal Plain Physiographic Provinces within the Raritan River basin were compared to existing local scale National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) stream lines. The three sub-basins within the Raritan River basin were used as study areas due to their varied relief and stream characteristics. The local-resolution NHD in New Jersey was digitized by the NJDEP from visual inspection of 1:2,400 scale 1-foot pixel resolution color leaf-off orthophotography acquired in 2002. These datasets provided a unique opportunity to compare stream lines derived from lidar data to local-resolution hydrography derived from orthophotography. Field inspection at 76 verification sites provided ancillary information, such as channel type, width, flow characteristics, and type of control structures, further documenting the accuracy of the approach.

07 November


Amanda Bassow

Director, Northeastern Regional Office
National Fish & Wildlife Foundation
Panel 12: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure, But We Still Treat the Sick Patient

Communities everywhere struggle to find ways to sustain and even increase the delivery of ecosystem services such as clean water, clean air, food, and habitat, while simultaneously under pressure from growing populations, land use change and other stressors. It is easy to make the case that when faced with such challenges the first order of business is to keep what’s good, good – to hold the line. In the specific case of sustaining clean water in the Delaware River watershed, protecting the land that is most critical to delivering clean water from development is clearly a top priority. So is reducing pollution to waters that already are degraded (aka “restoration”). The reasons to invest in pollution reduction and restoration range for the practical to the ethical, and everything in between. On the practical side, some degree of population growth and land use change is inevitable. In order to “hold the line” there must be the equivalent pollution reduction and restoration to offset growth’s impact. This concept is codified in the Clean Water Act. Furthermore, even degraded streams can get worse. Small investments in pollution reduction and restoration can forestall the need for more significant investments in the future. As for the ethical, environmental justice and access to clean water are an essential part of the equation. How to invest cost-effectively in restoration is a question that drives the development of demonstration projects, decision support tools and basin-wide experiments like the Delaware River Watershed Initiative. A combination of natural and social science, field-based local knowledge, and capable champions all are essential to achieve cost-effective, sustainable results. This talk will discuss a few reasons why investments in pollution reduction and restoration are a priority in the Delaware, and the challenges associated with doing it cost-effectively.

07 November


Brenda Bateman

2018 AWRA President & Technical Services Division Administrator
Oregon Water Resources Department
Moderator: Martha C. Narvaez, Water Resources Center, University of Delaware, Newark, DE

Brenda Bateman, 2018 AWRA President, Technical Services Division Administrator, Oregon Water Resources Department, Salem, OR
Sue Lowry, Executive Director of the Interstate Council on Water Policy, Cheyenne, WY
Cristiane Queiroz Surbeck, 2018 President of ASCE/EWRI, Oxford, MS
Lara Fowler, Assistant Director for Outreach & Engagement, Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment, The Pennsylvania State University. University Park, PA
Rebecca (Becky) Mitchell, Colorado Water Conservation Board, Department of Natural Resources, State of Colorado, Denver, CO
Carol Collier, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA

Women make up a significant portion of AWRA membership and water resources professionals and students. Women play significant leadership roles in the water resources field internationally, nationally and at the state-level.This session will include a panel of women who have been actively involved in the water resources field and have proven to be strong leaders in the field as well as in AWRA and other professional associations.

Each panelist will be asked to provide a brief background on their education and professional experience. This will be followed by a Q&A regarding their experiences in the field. This will be an interactive panel and the intention is to provide the audience with a snapshot of their leadership and expertise as well as an opportunity to ask questions to a few of our most outstanding women leaders in the water resources field.

05 November


William Battaglin

US Geological Survey
Hydrologic Conditions in National Parks in the Conterminous US

Co-authors: L Hay, P Norton

The National Hydrologic Model (NHM) infrastructure was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and configured for use with the Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (NHM-PRMS). The NHM-PRMS is a modular, deterministic, distributed-parameter, physical process-based hydrologic simulation code that simulates the temporal and spatial distributions of all components of the water budget for the conterminous US, computing water flow and storage from and to the atmosphere, plant canopy, land surface, snowpack, surface depressions, shallow subsurface zone, deep aquifers, stream segments, and lakes. NHM-PRMS has 109,951 hydrologic response units linked to a stream network of 56,459 segments. There are 417 sites in the US National Park system. Many of these parks contain aquatic ecosystems and some contain threatened or endangered species which may be adversely affected by hydrologic change. Streamflow largely determines stream function, and is critical to sustaining aquatic and riparian ecosystems. The current extent of hydrologic change in the National Parks is unknown and there is a need to understand how within park flow regimes may change in the future. This study focuses on a subset of these parks, excluding those in AK, HI, and US Territories; very small parks; and parks in exclusively coastal settings. We demonstrate an automated procedure to: (1) identify all the gages within each selected park as well as those directly upstream and downstream from the park; (2) pull a subsetted NHM-PRMS model for each park; (3) provide NHM-PRMS model output (e.g., streamflow) for individual park selected components of the water balance for historical (1980-2016) conditions; and (4) provide a summary of CMIP3 and CMIP5 climate change projections of future climatic conditions in 2030, 2060, and 2090 for selected parks.

06 November


Kenneth Belt

Hydrologist/Aquatic Ecologist
Ecohydrological Visions
Stormwater Ecohydrology and GSI Design within the Urban Watershed Continuum

Co-author: S. Kaushal

The nexus of ecohydrological and socio-ecological urban ecosystem research offers a variety of opportunities for novel, collaborative work that could provide actionable science for rapidly expanding networks of engineered green stormwater infrastructure (GSI). Management of urban runoff largely depends on physical hydrological processes driven by large regulatory programs (e.g., TMDLs, MS4, CSOs, etc.) but ecologists could contribute to to strengthening biologically based processes because of their ecohydrological process perspective and collaborative work could greatly facilitate the use of biological unit processes for GSI designs, adding to GSI efficiency and sustainability. GSI systems, however, exist in a unique urban hydrological matrix of green and gray infrastructure. Addressing these is key to creating functional, sustainable urban watershed systems, and both ecologists and engineers would mutually benefit by collaborating to adapt ecohydrological processes to the unique flowpaths, connectivity, and gray infrastructure of the urban hydrosphere. Such innovative, collaborative research, monitoring and experimentation should start with new conceptual models that embrace the ecohydrological complexity of urban systems. Our research at the Baltimore Ecosystem Study LTER project (Long Term Ecological Research) has used concepts like “Urban Karst” and the “Urban Watershed Continuum” (UWC) to guide research and provide a useful vehicle for communicating the complexity of urban water systems to the public, managers and researchers. For example, the UWC considers urban watersheds to be four dimensional features (3 spatial and time). This was prompted by understanding that underground “ghost” stream networks (storm drains with infiltrated groundwater and leaking water and sewage sources) could be as important as surface streams in terms of research and management. We discuss the UWC and how it would be useful for designing GSI networks and systems through the integration of ecohydrological processes into stormwater management practices and planning, and for explaining how urban water ecosystems work to a broad spectrum of people.

07 November


Jennifer Benjamin

Data Analyst
Corona Environmental Consulting
“The law may state whatever...": Methods for Increasing Access to Hazardous Chemical Storage Data for Source Water Protection and Risk Management

Co-authors: M. Kearns, E. Smith, A. McKeagney, J. Rosen

Certain data, such as those related to chemical storage, can significantly improve the effectiveness and efficiency of emergency response and source water protection plans. However, access to these data is hindered by regulatory and other barriers that prevent water utilities from easily leveraging this information. Obstacles include vague regulatory language restricting rights to access data, inconsistency in response to data requests for hazardous chemical storage data under the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), resistance from source agencies concerned with releasing sensitive information, lack of understanding or technical capabilities at some source agencies for managing requests, and use of data formats with little adaptive capacity, among others. As part of an ongoing effort to identify and track threats upstream and to encourage data sharing among agencies involved in source water protection and emergency response, representatives of over 120 drinking water systems pursued hazardous chemical storage and other data from state and local emergency response agencies, with varied levels of success. The collective experiences acquired through the data request process have been used to identify more conducive methods for working with state and local agencies to acquire critical hazardous chemical storage data. These methods, as well as relevant regulatory efforts that may impact data access in the future, will be discussed.

06 November


Steve Bevington

Restoration Program Manager
NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
On the Shoulders of Giants - The Long History of Stream Restoration

Co-author: David M. Bevington

Fluvial geomorphology has been described as the science that seeks to investigate the complex behavior of stream and river channels. As many watersheds experience more or less constant disturbance to hydrology and land cover from human activities, efforts to investigate the natural processes of riverine systems are often linked to the developing practices of river management and stream restoration. Stream restoration practices, and the science behind them, continue to evolve and develop. However, it is clear that there is no consensus on how, or ever if, scientific research can guide the practice of stream restoration towards a set of generally accepted set of design approached and techniques. As with any young discipline, review of history of the development and implementation of stream restoration practice can provide valuable insight and guidance. Wohl et. al (2015) and others have provided reviews of the evolution of the science and practice of stream restoration over the past have century. This paper hopes to compliment this recent perspective with a board survey of art and literature illustrating how ancient texts and works of art contain insight into how critical thinking about river systems by philosophers, poets and artists has long ago begun the study and understanding of riverine systems. Examples drawn from classic Greek texts, medieval art, travel journals and other sources to demonstrating that people have spoken, written and painted intelligently about rivers, river management and fluvial processes throughout much of our history.

08 November


Akta Patel Bianca Santos

AKRF, Inc.
Life Cycle Cost & Asset Management for Green Infrastructure

Co-authors: M. Southerland, S. Devkota, K. Flynn, L. Mastropolo, S. Szalay

For green infrastructure there is inadequate information on life cycle cost to inform decision making. For example, what implications do investments in pretreatment and sediment control have on green infrastructure service life? What reasonable assumptions can we make at this time? What can we do to advance this knowledge? In this talk, we will present methods, tools, and best practices that can be used to support informed, cost-based decision making for the complete life cycle of green infrastructure programs. Case examples will be provided from leading green infrastructure programs, including Philadelphia Water, DC Water, and the Prince George’s County Maryland Clean Water Partnership. We will address the following topics: • Frameworks to evaluate life cycle cost • Planning and design from a life cycle cost perspective • Construction impacts on life cycle cost • Asset management program set up and implementation • Operation and maintenance & replacement / end of life cycle planning

08 November


Claire Bleser

District Administrator
Riley-Purgatory-Bluff Creek Watershed District
Engaging Your Public in Water Planning

Co-author: L. Yetka

Citizen involvement in local water resources management and decision-making has evolved over the past few decades, moving from general ‘raising awareness’ about policies, projects, and programs, to inclusion of perspectives in data collection and planning, to citizen participation as the norm in making decisions. We now find ourselves at a time where many citizens want to play a larger role in helping to identify local water management challenges as well as solutions to the complex issues communities are trying to address. And often, local government needs them to be a part of the process (whether acknowledged or not). Public input for planning and decision-making has a number of benefits: improved quality of information generated through collaborative input, enhanced legitimacy of decisions made to increase local buy-in, and increased capacity of those involved to understand issues and move solutions forward. It can be a powerful tool to build community capacity and create buy-in when initiating change. This workshop will introduce participants to the benefits and best practices for engaging your public in water planning, including tools, strategies, and lessons learned. A case study of the Riley-Purgatory-Bluff Creek Watershed public engagement for a ten-year Comprehensive Water Management Plan update will be used as a backdrop to facilitate hands-on activities demonstrating the important steps in developing and implementing a public engagement plan. These include, a) planning your engagement to meet the needs of you and your public, b) knowing your audience and who/how to engage, c) using effective engagement practices to engage everyone in a meaningful way, d) interpreting information gathered using feedback loops and qualitative data analysis for strategy development, and e) continuing the conversation beyond the formal planning effort. From design to implementation to analysis, participants will leave with concrete steps and tools to use in their own water planning, increasing the chance that planning efforts won’t end up on a shelf. This workshop extends over two sessions; participation in both is highly recommended. Agenda Part 7A: 1. Providing context: introducing a Public Engagement Plan 2. Planning your engagement: identify your need, purpose, principles, and people to determine the structure of your engagement efforts through a design process 3. Knowing your audience: complete a stakeholder analysis to guide your engagement efforts 4. Getting people to show up: craft the invitation and reaching your audience

07 November

07 November


Matt Bliss

Sr. Water Resources Engineer
DiNatale Water Consultants
Hydrologic Modeling Guidelines for Regulatory Permit Actions,

Co-authors: C. Peter, T. Smith

Water developed at set of hydrologic modeling guidelines (HMGs) for regulatory permit actions for the US Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District. The HMGs are designed to assist permit Applicants and Corps project managers in identifying hydrologic analysis and modeling needs and requirements associated with water supply and management permit applications. The project was motivated by frequent differences in expectations between the Corps and its requirements for hydrologic modeling, and water providers who may have already performed hydrologic modeling to obtain a water right or determine the size of a proposed project. The HMGs are intended to add predictability and transparency to the aspects of the Corps' permitting process related to hydrologic modeling. The Corps Regulatory program evaluates hydrologic conditions to inform aquatic resource impacts analyses associated with water supply permit applications. Often, hydrologic analysis requires hydrologic modeling to adequately evaluate hydrologic conditions. Hydrologic analysis and modeling can also be used to develop and support the project need and define the project purpose, determine practicability of alternatives, and evaluate avoidance and minimization opportunities as well as compensatory mitigation strategies. The Corps evaluates permits for various actions including water supply and management projects involving discharges of dredge and/or fill material into waters of the United States. The permit evaluation process must address the requirements of NEPA, Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, Public Interest Review as well as other applicable statutes. The project deliverables included a checklist that allows Applicants and Corps regulators to quickly discern and discuss the important aspects of the hydrologic modeling specific to a proposed project. The project also resulted in a technical report that describes the details and rationale support each of the HMGs and several case studies where application of the HMGs would have helped decrease costs and delays that occurred on these projects. DiNatale Water also conducted two full-day workshops – one to Corps project managers in the Fort Worth District office and another to representatives of several key water providers, environmental non-governmental organizations and other regulatory agencies in Texas.

05 November

08 November


David Blodgett

Hydroinformatics Coordinator
US Geological Survey
Open Water Data Initiative and the Internet of Water Panel Session

Panelists: AWRA Technology Technical Committee

Quantifying the availability, use, and risks to our national water resources is an effort of national importance for the present and the foreseeable future. The Open Water Data Initiative is a charge to federal agencies to design and build a national water data infrastructure of shared data services conveying water information in space and time. Since the Open Water Data Initiative (OWDI) was first featured at an AWRA meeting in 2015, the water information community has been hard at work to achieve the goals of the OWDI charge. Since that time, the broader community has assembled a special collection of papers in JAWRA put forward a vision for an Internet of Water to build on OWDI outcomes and other open water data. In this session, we will assemble a panel of leaders from federal agencies to hear brief status updates and have a discussion about progress on the initiative and their perspectives on the Internet of Water. This panel will provide a view into institutional and technical progress and hurdles related to providing open access to our countries water information.

06 November

06 November


Joel Blomquist

US Geological Survey
A History of Nutrient and Sediment Inputs to Chesapeake Bay, 1985-2016: Three decades of monitoring and coordinated restoration in the Chesapeake Watershed

Co-authors: J. D. Blomquist, R. M. Fanelli, J. L.D. Keisman, Q. Zhang, D. L. Moyer, M. J. Langland

For over three decades, Chesapeake Bay has been the focal point of a coordinated restoration strategy implemented through a partnership of governmental and nongovernmental entities. During this period, bay-restoration strategies have been supported by critically important monitoring programs on bay tributaries as well as throughout the estuary. The ecological condition of Chesapeake Bay and its numerous tributary embayments is largely moderated by external inputs of freshwater and associated nitrogen, phosphorus, and suspended sediments. Since 2012, the U.S. Geological Survey has applied Weighted Regressions on Time Discharge and Season (WRTDS) at stream monitoring locations to report on progress on load reductions from the bay’s contributing watershed. WRTDS results are particularly useful in describing long-term changes in stream loads while accounting for changes in flow by using a metric called flow-normalized load. Conditions in the estuary, however, do not respond to flow-normalized loads as they are regulated by actual nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment inputs in the preceding days, weeks, and months. An ongoing examination of annual estimated loads in relation to reported flow-normalized loads is providing a better understanding of the changes the bay has experienced over the previous three decades. This analysis includes long term trends in annual river loads, changes in point sources, and atmospheric deposition from monitored as well as unmonitored areas. The purpose of this effort is to provide resource managers and estuarine scientists with a clearer perspective in the magnitude of changes in water quality within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed relative to the actual changes that Chesapeake Bay has experienced over this period of restoration.

06 November


John Bolten

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD
Societal Benefits of the GRACE and GRACE-FO Satellite Missions - John Bolten, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

Co-authors - M. Srinivasan, J. Reager, M. Jasinski

07 November


Nathan Boon

Program Officer
William Penn Foundation
Strategic Conservation for a River Basin Under Threat: What is Needed, What Can We Achieve?

Trends shown in over a decade of national satellite imagery have been confirmed by new high resolution data. The Delaware River Basin watershed, drinking water source to 5% of the U.S. population, is losing its drinking water source areas at an unimaginable rate. With a basin-wide forest loss rate of over 4,500 acres annually, the Delaware Basin is losing an area the size of 10 football fields every day, with significant losses to the Delaware Basin’s water supply, its communities, and its ecosystems. Several top universities and research institutes have completed analyses in recent years that further apportion basin-wide forest loss across leading drivers like residential development and fossil fuel pipeline construction. New data tells us more than ever about landscape-scale patterns in forest cover and projections for where forest loss is most likely to occur, enabling the conservation community to pursue increasingly focused preservation and restoration strategies to prioritize the most sensitive and vulnerable landscapes. This data also reveals the extreme magnitude of these cumulative threats, and presents a compelling case for the consideration of new approaches to secure or catalyze watershed conservation at a larger scale. With the rapid disappearance of forested landscapes, conservation practitioners in the Delaware River watershed are already embracing new data-driven approaches to strategically protect and restore lands that provide the greatest ecosystem services among those facing the most urgent threat of conversion. Practitioners are also benefiting from increased integration with advocacy groups that employ complementary policy strategies to protect thousands of forested acres across the basin through regulatory and legislative means. This session will provide attendees with an accessible overview of a selection of cutting edge landcover-based analyses that quantify forest loss rates across the Delaware River Basin, an inside perspective on integrating science and data into the practice of forest preservation and landscape restoration, and several examples of how policy and advocacy play complementary roles in stabilizing the natural landscapes responsible for clean water, and additional nature-based services that include habitat, flood protection, and much more.