As water supplies become constrained, science can play an important role in managing water conflicts. Recognizing this, the Association of Ecosystem Research Centers (AERC) brought scientists, natural resource managers, and policymakers to Washington, DC, on 14 October 2010, for the organization’s annual Congressional briefing and science symposium. The theme for the 2010 program was: “Using Science to Balance Society’s Needs for Water, Agriculture, and Ecosystems.”

The AERC Congressional briefing is held each year in conjunction with the organization’s scientific meeting. Individuals representing House and Senate offices as well as federal agencies and non-governmental organizations attended the briefing, where they heard from and asked question of individuals working at the nexus of science and public policy.

Dr. Lucinda Johnson, AERC past-president and director of the Center for Water and the Environment at the University of Minnesota at Duluth, moderated the one-hour Capital Hill science briefing. Program speakers were: Dr. Mark Walbridge of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, Dr. Carol Couch of the University of Georgia, Dr. Cliff Dahm of the Delta Science Program and the University of New Mexico, and Mr. Paul Faeth of CNA Corp.

After the briefing in the Rayburn House Office Building, the group moved down the National Mall to the Smithsonian Institution where AERC convened a half-day scientific symposium and reception.

As a member organization of AIBS and a contributor to the AIBS Public Policy Office, AERC received planning and logistical assistance for the congressional briefing from AIBS. For more information about AERC, please visit For more information about the AIBS Public Policy Office and its services for AIBS members and contributing societies, please visit


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