TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 21 – 27 March 2015

March 27, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Tarantula_1955I saw this sign (looks like it’s from the UK) on Eric Fitch’s Facebook page and it immediately conjured images of a 1950s horror film, which I turned into a blog post. 

If the sign is Photoshopped, that’s okay with me. Pretty imaginative.

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“A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.” - Doug Larson (thanks to Cyndi Gilbert, who said, ‘Be a weed!’)

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 14 – 20 March 2015

March 20, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Wwd2015-logo
First day of Spring or Autumn. Whichever it is, enjoy! SWP-Banners-with-image

Sunday,22 March, is World Water Day!

Congrats to Rajendra Singh of India, winner of the 2015 Stockholm Water Prize.

Click here to see the weekly summary of water news.

We don’t have a technology problem with water, we have a governance problem.” - Bob Rae at 

 

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 7 -13 March 2015

March 13, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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CWR_2015Running late today after an early morning (2 AM 13 March) return from Ottawa where I attended the Canadian Water Network’s biennial meeting, Connecting Water Resources 2015. Every bit as exceptional as I thought it would be.

Many of the posts below have the hashtag #CWR2015 where you will see the archive of the huge number of Tweets that occurred during the conference – far more than at the 2013 conference (#CWR2013). The volume and quality of the Tweets CWR2015-2enhanced the conference meeting experience for the attendees and those who could not attend.

Speaking of Tweets, the picture at the top shows three wayward Tweeps - Clinton Tonge, some old guy, and Eramosa Engineering - at the informal ‘Tweetup’ event that was held on 12 March before the banquet.

It takes all kinds, including the two shown just above - Katherine Balpataky and Bernadette Conant, Consortium Program Analyst and Executive Director, respectively, of the CWN.

Click here to access the weekly water news and jobs!

“Subsidies are like barnacles; once they attach onto a boat, they are very difficult to remove.” - Margaret Catley-Carson #CWR2015

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 28 February – 6 March 2015

March 6, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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CWRI am headed to Ottawa for the Canadian Water Network’s biennial meeting, Connecting Water Resources 2015. I attended the 2013 meeting and it was one of the best conferences I’d ever attended. It had an excellent mix of high-profile international speakers, oral presentations, posters, networking, Canadian hospitality, and friendliness. I expect #CWR2015 to be more of the same.

Surprise! Pat Mulroy, on the current cover of the High Country News, will be a Mulroyspeaker. I am anxious to hear her speak at an international venue without the burden of being the head of a major Western US water agency.

I will be Tweeting – the hashtag is #CWR2015My poor multi-tasking skills – Tweeting and listening – will be evident.

Click here to access the summary!

Human beings were created by water to transport it uphill.’ - A. Nonnimus

Four-Day Expert on Iran’s Water Issues: My Radio Farda Interview

March 5, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Four days in Iran. Yes, I am now an expert on the Islamic Republic of Iran’swater issues, especially in Iran-flagEsfahan. So none other than Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Persian language outlet Radio Farda interviewed me on that same topic. So here is my interview, a mixture of Persian and English. It’s a little under 11 minutes: click here.

But I must be an expert – I stayed at the Commercially Important Persons (CIP) Lounge at the Tehran Airport!

Enjoy!

“Always listen to experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done, and why. Then do it.” - Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 21 – 27 February 2015

February 27, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Almost out of February!

Interesting when you learn that short pieces you and six other experts wrote in May 2009 years ago are once again seeing the light of day. And with a nifty graphic, too!

I even had a few more strands of hair!

Pic_wheel

Check out the weekly water news summary – click here.

“Don’t you wish there was a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence? There’s one marked ’Brightness,’ but it doesn’t work.” - Gallagher (thanks to Faruck Morcos)

JAWRA, journal, water

The Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) is seeking a new associate editor (AE) in surface water hydrology. The person in this position will evaluate journal article manuscripts about processes and interactions controlling surface water hydrology and about prediction of surface water hydrology. Surface water hydrology manuscripts submitted to JAWRA span a wide range of spatial scales but often focus on reporting large-scale research. AEs serve as primary advisors to the editor-in-chief and their responsibilities fall into two primary areas: 1) supervising reviews of manuscripts and 2) recruitment of journal articles. The new AE can expect to handle 8 to 15 manuscripts per year. All manuscripts are processed online using the ScholarOne Manuscripts™ system, with the AE selecting reviewers and, when reviews return, making a recommendation to the editor-in-chief. AEs are encouraged to seek out qualified authors in their subject areas and encourage them to submit journal articles to JAWRA. These could be individual submittals or featured collections of topically related articles.

Associate editors are volunteers who earn our heartfelt thanks and are invited to our annual AE luncheon. Serving as an AE also offers the opportunity for an individual to make a difference in advancing the publication of cutting-edge multidisciplinary water resources research. The term of an AE is three years, which may be extended by mutual agreement. Interested individuals should e-mail a statement-of-interest and a CV to Dr. Parker (Jim) Wigington, JAWRA editor-in-chief, at JAWRA-editor@awra.org. The position will remain open for applications until at least March 31, 2015.

Jessica Owley, an Associate Professor at SUNY Buffalo Law School, penned this article, Owley‘Preservation is a Flawed Mitigation Strategy’, published in Ecology Law Currents last month.

Good article. Can you spell ‘L-A-N-D  T-R-U-S-T-S’?

Download Preservation-is-a-flawed-mitigation-strategy

  Introduction

The objective of the Clean Water Act is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation’s waters. To help achieve that objective, the Act limits the ability to dredge or fill a wetland. To do so, one must first obtain a section 404 permit. These permits, which the Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) issues with coordination and oversight from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), require project proponents to avoid, minimize, and compensate the harms of any wetland destruction or modification. Compensatory mitigation is a troubling concept in wetlands regulation because it acknowledges that wetland destruction will occur. Thus, instead of preventing wetland conversion, developers in this scenario compensate for wetlands lost. Compensatory mitigation can come in the form of restoration, creation, enhancement, and/or preservation of wetlands and other aquatic resources. Wetlands are preserved by prohibiting their conversion, often through property encumbrances like conservation easements and deed restrictions. This scenario exchanges preservation of certain wetlands for a right to degrade or destroy other wetlands.

This Article urges the Corps to eliminate its use of preservation as mitigation and to improve accountability mechanisms where private organizations, like land trusts and private mitigation banks, remain involved in wetlands permitting programs. As even the EPA acknowledges that preservation results in a net loss of wetlands, preservation is unlikely to compensate for the loss in ecological function from wetlands destruction. Additionally, because private land trusts commonly manage, monitor, and enforce preservation areas with little to no oversight by the Corps or the EPA, concerns of accountability and democracy arise. Although this Article focuses on the Clean Water Act’s section 404 program, the arguments and lessons discussed here apply to state and local wetland mitigation programs as well. Indeed, these same issues arise in all types of mitigation schemes, from endangered species habitat to prime agricultural soils.

Enjoy!

“The impact on industries and farmers of dropping the word ‘navigable’ from the Clean Water Act could be catastrophic.” Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), 2010

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 14 – 20 February 2015

February 20, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Seems to be cold weather almost everywhere in eastern North America. Here is a picture of the Canadian Niagara Falls. Not frozen solid but pretty close.

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Can’t pass this one up – HRH Bonnie Prince Charlie visits the ‘Cathedral of Sewage’ to celebrate 150 years of London’s sewers. Good for you, Charles!
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Here is the weekly water news - click here.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” - Aristotle (thanks @InspiringThinkn)

Why Interdisciplinary Academic Programs Don’t Work The Way They Should

February 18, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Some of us had a meeting yesterday in which the new Marine Studies Initiative was discussed. The MSI is a proposed interdisciplinary (ID) program here at Oregon State University.

As usual, some in the group commented on how tough it is to maintain ID programs, that the academic landscape is littered with failed ID programs, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, I suppose Hpstackthere are some that are well-supported and have done well over time. The Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia comes to mind, established in 1969 by combining the Departments of Geology and Geography. Believe me, as a graduate of the College of William and Mary, I find it tough to toss bouquets UVA’s way. But in this case, ‘The University’ is deserving.

Fortunately, our discussion did not go on for too long. But it prompted me to search for a WaterWired post I wrote a while ago about ID programs. It was prompted by an interview with Jared Diamond in the Financial Times. Diamond addressed ID and academia, among other things. I don’t usually repeat my posts, but I will in this case.

The last part about being ‘so high that there is nothing they can do to you’ is instructive. What that means is that if you are a tenured full professor (or at least a tenured professor) then you can start doing interdisciplinary work without (too much) fear of being fired (assuming you are still produtive, of course). Your dean or department head/chair can still make life miserable for you, however, by burdening you with excessive teaching loads, committee work, assorted menial tasks, giving you a broom closet for an office, etc.

It’s no coincidence that I’ve heard the same mantra from many colleagues when they finally become tenured full professors: ‘Now I can do stuff that really matters!’ Often times, that means exploring other areas.

What all the above means is that you have a lot of OWGs (‘old white guys or gals’) like me doing ID work in academia. Nothing wrong with that (experience does count), but it would be nice to have more young, vibrant, diverse folks tackling the great ID issues.

When I was running an ID program in water resources at the University of New Mexico I once had a department chair tell me, ‘Keep your hands off my young professors, because they need to publish in their disciplinary journals to get tenure.’ Funny thing was, this fellow was an active participant in that same program. He had the power to change the P & T (promotion and tenure) metrics, but didn’t.

On the other hand, while at UNM I dealt with enlightened chairs like Tim Ward of Civil Engineering, who encouraged his young (and old) water faculty to stretch themselves. But ones like Tim were the exception rather than the rule.

Universities seem inclined to promote their interdisciplinary (ID) programs and degrees but seem disinclined to support ($$$) such programs adequately. When budgets get tight, deans and similar administrators often look to cut ID programs to protect their disciplinary programs.

The real dilemma is where you put ID programs in an institution that is organized around disciplines. I once had a dean start a discussion about ID programs with: ‘The problem with ID programs is that…’ That is how he envisioned them – as ‘problems’.

The answer to the dilemma is simple: the message has to come from the very top that these programs are a valued, permanent part of the university and that they will not be sacrificed on the altar of disciplinarity. Deans in particular need to understand this. The problem is that deans are often very powerful and higher administrators (provosts, presidents, chancellors, et al.) are often fearful of them because deans can often marshall the support of powerful alumni and donors.

And lest you think that just because a program is ID in nature that it deserves to exist, think again. Like their disciplinary cousins, ID programs must be monitored and evaluated. Crappy ones need to be canned; good ones nurtured. And remember that you need good disciplinary programs to have good ID programs.

Are things changing? Yes, to some degree things are better. But I have been involved in ID programs for close to 40 years and I suspect that we will still be having these discussions long after I’ve departed the scene.

But I, for one, would not trade in those 40 years for anything. It’s been worth it. Has it ever!

I should note that for the early part of my career I thought doing groundwater and surface water hydrology constituted ID water work. By the time the early 1990s struck, I realized that ‘real’ ID water work also included planning, law, sociology, economics, biology, ecology, anthropology, psychology, public health, etc.

Your thoughts?

Once again, I’ll ask, ‘Your thoughts?’

Check out some of the comments from the previous post.

Oh, BTW, can you spell ‘political will’? And remember that ‘multidisciplinary’ and ‘interdisciplinary’ are quite different animals.

For what it’s worth, ID programs work far better at OSU than at other universities with which I have been affiliated (U of NM, U of NV-Reno) and others that I have reviewed. I attribute that fact to the faculty and faculty leadership here.

“‘Boldly going where hundreds have gone before’ does not make headlines.” - Neil deGrasse Tyson


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