AWRA 2023 Summer Conference

Connecting Land & Water for Healthy Communities

July 17 - 19, 2023 | Denver, CO | Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center

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Monday Plenary Speakers

Opening Plenary Session: Federal Agencies Working Together: The Water Policy Committee

Read the FLOODS ACT SEC13 PL 117-316

Tanya Trujillo
Water Lawyer
U.S. Department of the Interior

Tanya Trujillo is a water lawyer with more than 20 years of experience working on complex natural resources management issues and interstate and transboundary water agreements. She most recently worked as a project director with the Colorado River Sustainability Campaign. Before then, she served as the Executive Director of the Colorado River Board of California. She has served as Senior Counsel to the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and as Counselor to the Assistant Secretary for Water and Science at Interior. A native New Mexican, Tanya attended Stanford University and the University of Iowa College of Law.

Sarah Kapnick, Ph.D.
Chief Scientist
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Sarah Kapnick, Ph.D., is the Chief Scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In this role, Dr. Kapnick is responsible for advancing policy and program direction for NOAA’s science and technology priorities.

Dr. Kapnick has extensive experience at the intersection of climate science and economics. Most recently, she served as a Managing Director at J.P. Morgan in the role of Senior Climate Scientist and Sustainability Strategist for Asset and Wealth Management. While at J.P. Morgan, she supported sustainability and climate action efforts and served as an advisor on new business and investment opportunities and risks.

Previously, Dr. Kapnick was a Physical Scientist and Deputy Division Leader on seasonal to decadal variability and predictability at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL). At GFDL, her work spanned seasonal climate prediction, mountain snowpack, extreme storms, water security and climate impacts. She was an expert and reviewer for NOAA’s Small Business Innovation Research Program, a member of its Eastern Region Climate Team, a science panelist for and the NOAA team lead for the NASA High Mountain Asia Team.

Dr. Kapnick is a member of the American Geophysical Union, American Meteorological Society and American Association for the Advancement of Science. Prior to her graduate studies, she spent two years as an investment banking analyst with Goldman Sachs covering financial institutions. She received a Ph.D. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences with a Certificate in Leaders in Sustainability from UCLA, and an A.B in Mathematics with a Certificate in Finance from Princeton University.

Dr. Karen M. St. Germain
Earth Science Division Director
Science Mission Directorate
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Dr. St. Germain is the Division Director of the Earth Science Division, in the Science Mission Directorate at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Headquarters. She provides executive leadership, strategic direction, and overall management for the entire agency’s Earth Science portfolio, from technology development, applied science, research, mission implementation and operation.

Prior to coming to NASA, Dr. St. Germain was the Deputy Assistant Administrator, Systems (DAAS), for NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service. She guided the ongoing development and deployment of NOAA’s two major satellite programs (the Joint Polar Satellite System and Geostationary Operational Environment Satellite – R series), the COSMIC-2 mission, and the Space Weather Follow-On. She also led the development of the next-generation capabilities that will replenish and augment these systems in the future.

Prior to becoming the DAAS, Dr. St. Germain served as the Director of the Office of Systems Architecture and Advanced Planning (OSAAP) where she led NOAA’s enterprise-level architecture development to define NOAA future spaceborne capabilities. Dr. St. Germain is a leader in enterprise-level planning and multi-organizational programs of national significance. She is also an expert in major systems acquisition, with particular proficiency in transitioning new technology into operational systems. Prior work for NOAA included leading all aspects of system performance during the development of the Suomi-NPP system, from 2006 to 2011.

From 2011 to 2016, Dr. St. Germain served in the Space, Strategic and Intelligence Systems (SSI) Office, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (OUSD AT&L). There, she led the DoD 2014 Strategic Portfolio Review for Space, a special assignment task for the Deputy Secretary of Defense to develop a strategy and implementation plan for adapting to evolving challenges in the space domain. Dr. St. Germain also led the Remote Sensing and Prompt Strike Division within SSI, where she was responsible for acquisition shaping and oversight of DoD strategic missile warning and space-based environmental monitoring portfolio.

Dr. St. Germain had a successful research career at the University of Massachusetts, the University of Nebraska, and the Naval Research Laboratory. She has performed research aboard ice-breakers in the Arctic and Antarctic, flown through hurricanes and tropical storms on NOAA’s P-3 airplanes and measured glacial ice on a snowmobile traverse of the Greenland ice sheet. She also led the modeling and calibration of the WindSat Coriolis mission, the first space-borne radiometer to measure ocean surface wind direction.

Dr. St. Germain holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Union College (1987) and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts (1993). She is also a Distinguished Graduate of the National War College, National Defense University where she earned a Master of Science degree in National Security Strategy in 2013.

Gloria Montaño Greene
Deputy Under Secretary
USDA, Farm Production and Conservation

Gloria Montaño Greene was appointed Deputy Under Secretary for USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) mission area on February 22, 2021. Her experience is focused in government and community work and includes federal policy, politics, advocacy, intergovernmental relations, communications, and management.

As the FPAC Deputy Undersecretary, Montaño Greene leads agencies that deliver farm programs and services to farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers. These programs include farm loans, conservation, disaster assistance, crop insurance and price support.

Montaño Greene is a former State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency in Arizona from 2014-2017. With FSA in Arizona, Montaño Greene led implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill programs across the state.

She previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief of Staff to Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona. Montaño Greene also served as Deputy Director for Chispa Arizona, a program of the League of Conservation Voters focused on the empowerment of Latino voices in Arizona on issues including energy, public lands,and democracy access.

Montaño Greene is originally from rural Arizona. She is a proud graduate of the University of Arizona.

Tuesday Plenary Speakers

Opening Plenary Session: Connecting Land, Water and Worldviews through Reconciliation and Inclusive Engagement

Rachelle Dillon MPlan
Senior Planner, Associate
O2 Planning & Design

Rachelle is an urban planner with over 15 years of experience leading and crafting plans and strategies across Canada and in Australia. Rachelle is interested in how the different facets of city building interact to create welcoming, healthy, dynamic, and resilient communities. This interest is anchored in her experience in many different planning disciplines, including mobility, open space, urban design, flood resiliency, heritage protection, land use and strategic growth planning. In recent years, Rachelle has focused on integrating water management considerations into her practice both while leading a team of planners and engineers for the City of Calgary’s Water Resource’s department and as an associate with O2.

Rachelle holds a Master of Planning degree (Dalhousie University), a Bachelor of Arts in Art History degree (University of Calgary) and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree (University of Calgary). Rachelle has completed additional training in real estate development at the University of Calgary, graphic design at the Alberta University of the Arts, Indigenous history at the University of Alberta and public engagement through the International Association of Public Participation.

Sarah Marshall
Water Resources Planner
City of Calgary

Sarah Marshall is a community and environmental planner driven to help shape resilient and equitable communities in response to complex social-ecological challenges. She works as a Water Resources Planner with The City of Calgary, bringing over 7 years’ experience with projects related to integrated water management and climate resilience. Her work has spanned research, education and outreach and planning projects related to water efficiency, riparian management, drought resilience and flood policy. She enjoys bridging research and practice and seeks to bring an ethic of continuous learning to her work - particularly around nature-based approaches and reconciliation and decolonization in planning and policy.

Sarah holds a Master of Community and Regional Planning degree (University of British Columbia) as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Geography (University of Victoria).

Harpreet Sandhu
Leader, Environmental Planning and Policy
City of Calgary

Harpreet Sandhu is the Leader of Environment Planning and Policy for the City of Calgary, Alberta Canada. Her responsibilities include leading the development of strategic water management and environment plans and policies in the areas of flood resiliency, source water protection, riparian protection, drought management and water security—all areas of work that are closely integrated with municipal land use planning decisions. She was previously the Director of Planning and Community Development for Skamania County, Washington, where she was responsible for various land use and watershed planning functions including salmon recovery efforts along the lower Columbia River.

Harpreet is a Steering Committee member of the American Planning Association’s Water and Planning Network and has recently completed certification from the University of British Columbia in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and has obtained an Anti-Racism Certificate of Excellence. Incorporating principles of truth and reconciliation, equity and social justice in land use planning and water management are her priorities in the next 5 years.


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. Those cancelations received by June 9, 2023 will be subject to a processing fee of 30% of total fees. No refunds will be given after June 9, 2023 but we can transfer your registration to someone else. The transfer must be completed by July 10, 2023. Abstract submission fees are nonrefundable. Refunds will be processed after the conclusion of the conference.


If you actively engage in our community, your career and organization will benefit. We offer multiple opportunities for engagement via conferences, social media, webinars, committees and publications.

TEL • (540) 687-8390 | FAX • (540) 687-8395


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