On May 9, 2013, the Consortium of Aquatic Science Societies (CASS) briefed Washington, D.C. policymakers on water resources. The briefing took place on Capitol Hill as the U.S. Senate debated the Water Resources Development Act, the legislation authorizing water resource projects in the United States. More than 30 policymakers representing members of Congress, the Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and nongovernmental organizations attended the event, which is the second annual briefing organized by the Consortium.
Dr. Emma Rosi-Marshall, Aquatic Ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, kicked off the event with a crash course on river ecology which emphasized the dynamic, connected nature of rivers. Drawing on examples from around the country, Rosi-Marshall highlighted the need for management strategies to balance the many societal benefits of rivers such as flood control, hydropower, waste assimilation, and recreation.
Dr. David Strayer, Senior Scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, focused on the interplay between invasive species and water resource projects. Managing and combatting invasive species costs the U.S. more than $100 billion per year. Invasive species can be particularly damaging to water resource infrastructure. At the same time, water resources projects such as canals can create new pathways for invasion.
Colin Apse, Senior Freshwater Conservation Advisory for The Nature Conservancy, presented examples of infrastructure projects designed or retrofitted to meet the needs of people and the environment. In each of the case studies, a slight modification of water resource operations resulted in improved ecological function and in some cases yielded economic benefits as well.
Following the formal presentations, the speakers fielded questions from the attendees and engaged in informal dialogue.
The Consortium of Aquatic Science Societies was formed in 2010 as a means for professional scientific organizations to work together to promote international aquatic ecosystem scientific study, education, and outreach. Current members of CASS are the Association for the Study of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF), the Society for Freshwater Science (SFS), and the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS).
“The Society for Freshwater Science (SFS) will continue to promote collective expertise via collaboration with CASS to deliver workable, sustainable solutions to regional and global water issues,” said SFS President Dave Penrose.
“This was an exciting event at which cooperating science societies could build important bridges to policy makers concerning the functions, values, and policies impinging on aquatic resources,” said John Downing, President of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO).
Ben LePage, past-president of the Society of Wetland Scientists, said “The mission of SWS is to promote understanding, scientifically-based management, and sustainable use of wetlands. Communicating recent advances in wetland and aquatic sciences as well as promoting the social, economic, and ecological value of wetlands to the public and our nation’s lawmakers is a top priority for the SWS and our CASS partners.”
About CASS: The Consortium of Aquatic Science Societies was formed in 2010 as a means for professional scientific organizations to work together to promote international aquatic ecosystem scientific study, education, and outreach. Current members of CASS are:
Association for the Study of Limnology and Oceanography www.aslo.org
Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation www.erf.org
Society for Freshwater Science – http://www.freshwater-science.org/
Society of Wetland Scientists – www.sws.org
For further information, including copies of the speaker presentations, please contact Adrienne Sponberg, ASLO Director of Public Affairs, at sponberg at aslo org