TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 26 December 2015 – 1 January 2016

January 1, 2016 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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TimesSquareBallDrop_460x285Another year is upon us! Happy New Year!

Only a few new jobs this week. Always a slow week between Christmas and New Year’s day.

Some people Tweet 2015 lists – best climate stories, worst this-and-that, etc. The first category provides links to a few of these stories.

Lots of climate, meteorology, California and flood stories.

Pictured here is the celebration at Times Square in New York City. I went to one of these a couple of centuries ago.

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In honor of my Scottish heritage – what else?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne
Auld Lang Syne 
(first verse and chorus), by Robert Burns

TGIF Weekly Water News Summary, 19 – 25 December 2015

December 25, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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MFC_2015My favorite Christmas present – Mary Frances – and Galahad join me in wishing you a Merry Christmas and a peaceful holiday season.

Keep those less fortunate than you in your thoughts and prayers and  consider a financial contribution to your favorite philanthropic or relief organization.

Please remember Josh Newton as he works to make refugees’ futures a little brighter. You can read about his work here.

Back next year!

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“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” - Sir Winston Churchill

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 12 – 18 December 2015

December 18, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Had a great time at the NGWA Groundwater Expo in Las Vegas. MentalDonald Trump even visited trumpour hotel, the Westgate, for a rally the night before the Republican debate. Here’s the sign for his rally, which occurred just across from a crtical mental health meeting. Top that!

Plenty of other news, including a separate listing for the COP21 in Paris.

Here is an interesting doodle from NRDC that purports to sum up what you need to know about the Paris climate deal. See more doodles here.



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“Engineering Sustainable Change” - Slogan on @BrendleGroup‘s PPT slides

AWRA Launches Leadership Institute

December 16, 2015 | Posted by cmccrehin
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State Officials Invited to Inaugural Workshop

Brenda Bateman and Tom Cech

Eighteen state officials from 14 different states met over a three-day-period in November 2015 to participate in the AWRA National Leadership Institute, a gathering place for peer groups of water professionals to share and learn from each other’s experiences in face-to-face venues.

The 2015 Workshop for State Officials was the first event held under this Institute, and was designed for those responsible for developing state water plans. Participants came from Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.

Such workshops fill a critical need, providing a comfortable atmosphere where state leaders can meet their counterparts, compare notes, share experiences, and ask “what if” questions. Facilitators and presenters offered participants the latest in water resources decision-making tools, funding sources, water management policies, and public involvement practices. Presenters provided updates on the U.S. Water Census (US Geological Survey), Clean Water Act (US Environmental Protection Agency), Endangered Species Act (US Fish and Wildlife Service), and the Farm Bill (US Department of Agriculture).

The three-day workshop included a variety of learning techniques, including polling and surveys, panel discussions led by peers, small breakout groups, presentations from nationally renowned experts, and an evaluation of learning objectives and program design.

2015 Participants

2015 State Water Leaders
(l-r) Kelvin Hickenbottom (Nevada), Alyssa Mucken (Oregon), James Vocolina (Connecticut), Denise Ruzicka (Connecticut), Pat Fridgen (North Dakota), Corinne Fitting (Connecticut), Brenda Bateman (Oregon), Tom Cech (Colorado), Michael Downey (Montana), Scott Kudlas (Virginia), Tom Fransen (North Carolina), Gail Cowie (Georgia), Sue Lowry (Wyoming), Steve Wolff (Wyoming), Tim Freed (Nebraska), Kay Whittington (Mississippi), Ed Swaim (Arkansas), and Dave Christensen (Washington)

Much of the discussion focused on opportunities and challenges that have emerged as states have set about developing their water plans. Some states do not yet have such a plan, while others have components that they will build into a long-range plan over time. The resulting content of these efforts also differs greatly, as some have taken a purely water quantity and water supply approach, while others have built water quality requirements and ecosystem requirements into their final products.

Participants found that while they were operating under very different sets of legal, political, and budget parameters, they also had a number of similarities. These public officials are all deeply committed to producing the best water plans possible; all are facing resource constraints in terms of funding, data, and time, and all were interested in learning about effective and improved techniques for public involvement.

“I really enjoyed the workshop,” commented Michael Downey, State of Montana. “It exceeded my expectations and I found it valuable all the way around.”

Some themes that emerged during these discussions involved resiliency of the environment, of public health systems, and economic development. Other common themes focused on collaboration with both public and private sector partners.

Participants were treated to a brief preview of the roll-out of the Colorado State Water Plan. Officially presented to Governor Hickenlooper on November 19, 2015, the Plan represented more than a decade of outreach and communication with water users and stakeholders of Colorado’s river basins. Hailed as Colorado’s first water plan “written by Coloradans for Coloradans,” the document emphasizes and supports the development of water projects, identified by Basin Roundtables, to help meet the state’s water needs by 2050.

James Eklund

James Eklund, State of Colorado

Located on the campus of Metropolitan State University of Denver, this event had access to a state-of-the art Decision Theater with 3-D video technology, and high-tech learning tools. Participants spent quite a bit of time in conversation, and built a diverse but strong network of peers and colleagues that they will be able to call upon for assistance in the future.

“It has been a very valuable experience,” remarked Scott Kudlas, State of Virginia, “to share my own work and to learn other approaches as well.”

AWRA’s National Leadership Institute will welcome a new cohort of state leaders from November 9-11, 2016 in Orlando, Florida, immediately preceding AWRA’s 2016 annual conference. The 2016 Workshop for State Officials will open for registration on May 1, 2016.

Group Discussion

Scott Kudlas (Virginia), Alyssa Mucken (Oregon), Sue Lowry, speaking (Wyoming), Kelvin Hickenbottom (Nevada), Tim Freed (Nebraska), Denise Ruzicka (Connecticut)

Special thanks to Tom Cech and Sarah Harmon of MSU Denver, the Oregon Water Resources Department, and the AWRA staff and Board of Directors, for hosting the group and ensuring the successful launch of AWRA’s National Leadership Institute.

Dr. Brenda Bateman supervises the Oregon Water Resources Department’s scientists, engineers, programmers, GIS specialists, and data center, as the Administrator of the Technical Services Division. Previously, she served as the Department’s Senior Policy Coordinator, developing Oregon’s first Integrated Water Resources Strategy, which was adopted in August 2012. She serves on the Board of Directors of AWRA. Email:

Tom Cech is the Director of the One World One Water (OWOW) Center for Urban Water Education and Stewardship at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Tom wrote Principles of Water Resources: History, Development, Management and Policy, published by John Wiley & Sons – currently in its third edition and recently co-authored Introduction to Water Resources and Environmental Issues, publishing with Cambridge University Press; and Colorado Water Law for Non-Lawyers, publishing with the University Press of Colorado. He has also co-authored histories of the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Colorado State Engineer’s Office. Email:



 Dr. Sharon B. Megdal is Director of the Arizona Water Resources Research Center and one of the sharpest knives in the drawer when it comes to 4x6Megdal20080water resources. I am fond of calling her the ‘Groundwater Governance Goddess’ simply because I don’t know anyone who knows more that she on that topic. She’s also a good friend, and has asked me if I would post this request for help – taking a brief survey on water conservation. It really does take no more than 5 minutes. The survey runs through 8 January 2016.

Conserve2Enhance (C2E) is an innovative program developed by the University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center to encourage individuals and businesses to conserve water and then put the value of those water savings back into their community through locally-developed projects. We are currently conducting a survey to evaluate the C2E program’s potential. Your input will help us make C2E tool that can be used by communities across the United States.

Click here (or copy this link: to take the survey. The survey should take no more than 5 minutes to complete. The survey will end on 8 January 2016.

The survey is mobile device friendly!

We thank you in advance for your time and would be glad to answer any questions you might have. Please help us obtain as much feedback on C2E as possible by forwarding this e-mail and survey link to your list serves and others that are interested in water, environmental enhancement, education, or community engagement!

Best regards,

Thanks very much!

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 5 – 11 December 2015

December 11, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Back from DC; lots of rain on tap for western Oregon. As I drove home from the Eugene airport yesterday there was much standing water and streams at near bankfull stage. More rain on tap for the next week or so.

I’ll be in Las Vegas at the NGWA Groundwater Expo next week. No rain in the forecast. Perhaps I will take in the Republican debate on 16 December at The Venetian. Naaaahhhh.

Check out this neat photo of wave clouds by Brad Peterson at the Snow Basin Resort in Utah. Almost looks faked.


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“Natural Resources – an incredibly effective way of further impoverishing local communities.” - Michael Kleinman  #DevelopmentDictionary

Can ‘Peace in the Valley’ be Valued?

December 9, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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PVMore stream-of-consciousness from yours truly, this time flying at 35,000 feet to Washington, DC. The thin air is having an effect…

Apologies to the Peaceful Valley folks for my unauthorized use of their logo. They have not endorsed my post.

Can ‘peace in the valley’ – the absence of conflict in a place – be valued in the context of a BCA (Benefit-Cost Analysis)? That is the question that arose at the recent AWRA Annual Water Resources Conference Panel Session 41:

SESSION 41: Panel – Integrated Water Resources Management Clashes
Moderator: Michael E. Campana, AWRA and Oregon State University

Jonathan YoderState of Washington Water Research Center, Pullman, WA
C. Thomas Tebb, Washington State Department of Ecology, Union Gap, WA.

The ‘debate’ between Tom and Jonathan centered around the BCA of the YBIP [Yakima Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan] and the issue of a BCA > 1 for the plan as a whole even though some individual sub-plans had BCAs < 1. Should the entire plan be scrapped because all the sub-plans did not have ‘good’ BCAs? Or is there some ‘higher good’ that defies economic analysis?

Below is part of my blog post on that panel (you might want to read the entire post before proceeding, or at least a shorter post by me last winter):

The panel generated lively debate. The upshot was that IWRM is useful, but that perhaps the BCA approach is not the best measure of success or perhaps does not include all costs and benefits. Wayne S. Wright (GeoEngineers and AWRA) and Tony Willardson (Executive Director, Western States Water Council) pointed out that in the YBIP no benefits were assigned to the cessation/mitigation of continued conflict and the avoidance of litigation. As Tony put it, ‘What’s the price of ‘peace in the valley?’”

Tony and Wayne’s point and the phrase Tony used were good ones. The term ‘peace in the valley’ (PITV) refers to the absence of conflict or acrimony. Certainly you can evaluate the cost of litigation and include it in the BCA. But what about the harmony or tranquility that exists because people aren’t fighting over water (or some other resource)? Maybe they are even cooperating! Can that be valued? Could an increase in productivity be an indicator of PITV?  Perhaps that the implementation of the YBIP will usher in ‘peace on the valley’, which defies economic analysis. In that case, all stakeholders might say that the YBIP was worth it. The funders and taxpayers might feel otherwise.

No one at the panel or afterwards offered any advice or enlightenment on the PITV valuation issue. Readers?

The above discussion reminds me of a question I posed to an economist colleague a number of years ago. At that time, in the Middle Rio Grande Valley, I heard a farming advocate speak of the value of the farm lifestyle. Not the goods produced or somesuch, but the values it fostered: community, hard work, friendship, honesty, stewardship, etc. Surely most people would agree that those are valuable traits. But how much ($$$) are they worth? I asked my friend if an economist could value such a lifestyle. He replied that he did not know of any way to do such a thing – not with any credibility, anyway.

In a related issue, the cover story of the  7 December 2015 High Country News is titled, ‘Good Neighbors’ by Brian Mockenhaupt. It’s wonderful.  Reading it spurred me to write this post, which I had been considering for a couple of weeks.

Comments are welcomed.

 ”It’s in your best interests to have good neighbors, and to be a good neighbor.” - Arizona rancher Richard Winkler, Jr., from the aforementioned HCN story

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 28 November – 4 December 2015

December 4, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Willamette-river-overall-mapDid not make it to the COP21 meeting in Paris. It’s above my pay grade. Let’s hope there is no ‘Wait’ll next year!’

I did get the Willamette River report card: B- overall,  (click on the graphic to enlarge it). That’s reminiscent of my first two years in college. Not good!

Thanks to Tara Davis, Executive Director of the Calapooia Watershed Council for sending the information my way - click here.

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“The great thing in this world is not so much where you stand, as in what direction you are moving.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.


December 1, 2015 | Posted by Susan Scalia
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In two companion papers, one by Domagalski and Saleh and the other by Saleh and Domagalski, the authors use SPARROW models to simulate annual phosphorus loads and concentrations and to evaluate the spatial distribution of total nitrogen sources, loads, and watershed yields of streams in California and adjacent states.

Pendergrass et al. examine the influence of bird habitation of bridges on stream bacteria.

Zhang et al. assess long-term nitrogen and sediment trends in non-tidal Chesapeake watershed rivers.

Brody et al. analyze the effects of land use and land cover on flood losses along the Gulf of Mexico coast from 1999 to 2009.

McCandless et al. present bank-full regional curves for the Alleghany Plateau, Valley, and Ridge; Piedmont; and Coastal Plain regions of Maryland.

Pradhananga et al. evaluate landowner motivations for civic engagement in water resource protection.

Hancock et al. develop a geospatial method to identify locations of concentrated runoff from agricultural fields.

Tang et al. use fly ash as a marker to quantify culturally-accelerated sediment accumulation in playa wetlands.

Villines et al. use GIS to delineate headwater stream origins in the Appalachian coalfields of Kentucky.

Petersen-Perlman and Wolf identify strategies for initiating cooperation and enhancing security in transboundary river basins.

Reiter et al. examine spatio-temporal patterns of open surface water in the Central Valley of Calfornia during 2000-2011and evaluate the influences of drought and land use.

Williamson et al. develop a TOPMODEL-based approach to classify ephemeral, intermittent, and perennial stream reaches.

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

November 27, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Heading home from Stockholm in a few hours after an ‘exhilarating’ meeting of the Global Water Partnership Steering Committee. One sad moment was our bidding farewell to Dr. Ursula Schaefer-Preuss, the SC’s dynamic, intelligent, and dedicated SC chair.

WaterAs a memento of her service, she received home-country water samples from SC members, GWP staff, and GWP Regional Partnership memberswhich were commingled in a decanter. In this picture, Rudolph Cleveringa, GWP Executive Secretary, provides a sample. I provided the USA sample, a mixture of water from Oregon’s Cascade Range and the Potomac River basin.

We will miss her leadership.

This bulletin comes from a good friend, Francesca Greco, of the World Water Assessment Program. Please help her if you can. Thanks.

Ends 30 Nov! @UNWWAP Download “water & gender” data collection pub. Gender equality is @UNESCO priority! Help us!

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‘Das Glück hilft dem Kühnen.’ - German proverb (Translation: ’Fortune favors the bold.’)


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