On 9 May 2013, the Consortium of Aquatic Science Societies (CASS) briefed 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. Representatives from congressional offices, federal agencies, and nongovernmental organizations attended the event. This is the second annual briefing organized by CASS.

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 combating 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 Advisor 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.

For further information, including copies of the speaker presentations, please contact Adrienne Sponberg, ASLO Director of Public Affairs, at asponberg@aslo.org.


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