2022 Annual Water Resources Conference Keynotes

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Monday Opening Keynote

Erica Gies
An award-winning journalist and National Geographic Explorer

Erica Gies is the author of "WATER ALWAYS WINS: THRIVING IN AN AGE OF DROUGHT AND DELUGE", a book about how the Slow Water movement can help us adapt to climate change. An award-winning journalist and National Geographic Explorer, she writes about water, climate change, plants, and critters for Scientific American, Nature, The New York Times, The Atlantic, National Geographic, The Guardian, and other publications.


Monday Opening Plenary Panel

Workforce Development

This panel is designed to provide different perspectives on investment in the water sector workforce. The topic focuses on the looming threat of retirements in an aging water workforce and the challenges of training, recruiting, and retaining younger generations with different attitudes regarding the integration of work, lifestyle, social activism, and family commitments. A robust workforce is essential for water resources professions and the public and private sectors will need to adapt to changes in the workforce and its expectations.

Moderators: Owen Mills, Oklahoma Water Resources Board and Member of the AWRA Board of Directors; Denis Qualls, The University of Arizona. Panelists: Sharon Peters, EMA, Inc., and Member of AWWA’s Workforce Strategies Committee; Alex Chen, Seattle Public Utilities, City of Seattle; Todd Helms, Muller Water Products; Melissa Meeker, The Water Tower.

Tuesday Opening Keynote

James Rasmussen
Duwamish Tribal Council Member
Duwamish River Community Coalition Leader

James (He/Him) is a founding member of DRCC/TAG, having represented the Duwamish Tribe on the organization’s Advisory Council for 10 years before joining the staff as Executive Director/Coordinator in 2011. He served as a member of the Duwamish Tribal Council for 26 years, and as the founding Director of the Duwamish Tribe's Longhouse and Cultural Center. Rasmussen has been an active voice in environmental, habitat, and community issues along the Duwamish River and in the Seattle region for over 30 years. Rasmussen has played a fundamental role in the EPA’s formation of the Duwamish Superfund Roundtable, which will inform the next phase of the Cleanup.

Tuesday Opening Panel

What are you Doing to Improve D or E or I or J?

AWRA aims to build a more inclusive culture that reflects disciplinary, human, and geographic diversity. This panel aims to spark meaningful conversation on challenges and barriers some groups face in the water resources management discipline. The panelists will discuss ways employers, organizations, and individuals can remove those barriers and implement practices to ensure an equitable workplace, academia, and allocation of water resources. Furthermore, we will discuss the role of DEIJ advocates and the specific ways advocates can advocate for change.

Moderator: Sean M. Watts, SM Watts Consulting, LLC. Panelists: Sally Gutierrez, Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response, Environmental Protection Agency; Chi Ho Sham, Eastern Research Group, Inc.; Sharon B. Megdal, Water Resources Research Center, The University of Arizona

Download and share the flyer.

Tuesday Night Aquarium Event Keynote

Maia D. Bellon
Cascadia Law Group

Maia D. Bellon is a Partner at Cascadia Law Group PLLC in Olympia, Washington. Her practice focuses on water, tribal, environmental, natural resources, and energy law and policy. Ms. Bellon represents clients on complex projects involving regulatory and permitting challenges, tribal treaty rights, legislative and stakeholder issues, and government actions and approvals. As a consultant of the affiliate Cascadia Policy Solutions she also provides facilitation, strategic process support, policy development, and legislative advocacy services in the areas of environmental justice, water solutions, natural resources management, and intersectional climate action.

Influenced by her Native American roots, Maia was raised with teachings about the importance of water, including drinking water at the beginning and end of ceremonial meals. Maia will share her journey of teaching water conservation as a youngster to her little cousins, to becoming a water lawyer, then running Washington Department of Ecology's Water Resources Program, and eventually being appointed as the first Native American to serve as Ecology's Director and on the Washington Governor's Cabinet.

Download and share the flyer.

Wednesday Luncheon Keynote

John Matthews
Executive Director and Co-founder

John H. Matthews is Executive Director for the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA), co-founded in 2010 with the World Bank. John began work on climate impacts ecology in 2003 before transitioning in 2007 to become a resilience scientist. His work integrates both technical and policy approaches for climate resilience and adaptation. In 2016, John co-chaired the first Water Day at a UNFCCC climate conference. In 2018 alone, he directly advised more than 100 countries on their national climate adaptation commitments. Between 2014 and 2021, he led the development of water resilience criteria for the green and climate bonds market, which have been used to certify more than 15 billion USD to date across investments on six continents. In 2018, UNESCO published a novel water-centric climate risk reduction methodology called CRIDA, whose development over six years was led by John. To date, CRIDA has been implemented in more than 30 countries globally, including its adoption by several US state agencies. Since 2013, he has led or co-led the publication of innovative guidance on emerging approaches, such as resilient nature-based solutions. Current work includes both large-scale technical climate risk assessments, developing ecological resilience indicators, leading the development and implementation of a national climate planning tool, working with businesses to incorporate resilience within operations, and coordinating a program to engage macroeconomic planners and decision makers to blend resilience with traditional economic evaluation approaches.


AWRA Code of Conduct

All conference participants (presenters, moderators, panelists, attendees, etc.) must adhere to the AWRA Code of Conduct and must register at the appropriate registration rate. AWRA Gateway members are not eligible for discounted conference rates. The registration fees are the major source of funding for the Conference, and the sharing of registrations is prohibited - every person attending the conference must register. For presenters, if two or more individuals will be presenting, each individual must register for the conference. This includes: all technical session presenters; all panel session presenters; and all poster session presenters.

Cancelations must be made in writing. We can transfer your registration to someone else by October 19, 2022. Those cancelations received by October 19, 2022 will be subject to a processing fee of 25% of total fees. No refunds will be given after October 19, 2022. If you test positive for COVID-19 three days prior to or on the first day of the conference, AWRA will issue a credit* to your account less a 25% processing fee after the conclusion of the conference. *A note from your physician must be provided to AWRA in order to receive the credit. Abstract submission fees are nonrefundable. Refunds will be processed after the conclusion of the conference.

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