AWRA 2012 Annual Conference

AWRA requests abstracts addressing a wide variety of water resources topics to share information, discuss common problems, develop unique solutions, and evaluate the state and future of water resources in the world. The deadline for submission of abstracts extended to May 25, 2012.

The following general topics will be considered by the Conference Planning Committee for the presentation of papers and posters at this conference. Special sessions covering specific relevant and timely subjects (some of local/regional interest) are being offered in addition to the general topics.  If your topic does not fit in any of the categories listed below please enter it under the category: "Other Topics Not Listed Above".

Special Sessions (click for description)
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    This session focuses on methods, models and results of ecological flow studies for riverine environments, with particular emphasis on (1) quantifying interactions among streamflow, riverine ecosystems, and such intervening factors as water quality and habitat alteration, and (2) application of scientific understanding of flow-ecosystem interactions to decision-making. Technical presentations will be followed by a panel discussion on the successes and challenges of using ecological flow science to shape policy and management decisions.

    Decision Support Tools for Drought Monitoring, Management, and Forecasting

    As such, this session will highlight the critical steps in developing decision support tools to enhance drought monitoring, management, and forecasting efforts currently being made by various government, academic, and private entities. The relevant areas of research topics and case studies include, but are not limited to, real-time monitoring, integrated drought management, Web-GIS visualization, water and food nexus, short-, mid-, and long-range hydroclimate forecasting, and participatory drought contingency planning.

    Reservoir Science

    Reservoir science can be defined as the study of the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics and processes that affect environmental conditions within a reservoir as well as upstream and downstream from a reservoir. Important topics include, but are not limited to, reservoir sedimentation, suspended-sediment source determination, nutrient loading, internal nutrient cycling, eutrophication, water quality, sediment quality, downstream channel changes, habitat, effects of reservoir aging, and effects of dam removal.

    St. Johns River Water Supply Impact Study (WSIS)

    The Water Supply Impact Study (WSIS), has been a comprehensive examination of the hydrologic and hydrodynamic changes that would occur as a result of water withdrawals from the St. Johns and Ocklawaha Rivers and a wide range of environmental and ecological consequences that could ensue. The detailed analysis of the hydrology and hydrodynamics of the river systems produced the basis for seven environmental workgroups to predict the potential impacts of withdrawals on wetland vegetation, soil biogeochemical processes, plankton communities, submersed aquatic vegetation (SAV), freshwater and estuarine benthos, fish, and wetlands wildlife. The purpose of this special session is to present a summary of the study and its findings, along with the analytical tools that have been developed to address environmental impacts associated with future consumptive use requests from water utilities in the region.

    Wetlands Science and Restoration: the Everglades and the World

    Florida’s Everglades system is among the world’s largest, richest, and most complex, systems of wetlands. Scientists, managers, researchers, and policy-makers in Florida employ some of the most advanced analytical techniques and to solve urgent problems facing our society if we wish to preserve, halt degradation, or restore key portions of this wetlands system. This session focuses on current state of the art, and emerging new scientific techniques, for analysis of wetlands systems: assessment of ecosystem functionality; understanding ecosystem processes to guide restoration decisions; emerging technologies used in Everglades restoration plans, such as aquifer storage and retrieval; and more.

    Reuse of Water

    This session deals with legal and technical issues of water reuse by municipalities, industries, and irrigators, with a focus on allocation rather than environmental issues. Scientists and engineers will explain how the processes work, and legal experts will discuss differences in state law, particularly comparing and contrasting laws of the eastern riparian doctrine states and the western prior appropriation states.

    Payment for Environmental Services

    The Northern Everglades Payment for Environmental Services is a public-private partnership that pays farmers to temporarily store and clean up excess surface water on their lands. With a $7 million investment over 10 years, the eight contracts will provide 4,800 acre-feet of water retention in the Northern Everglades to assist with meeting the storage and water quality improvement goals for the watershed. Within six months, all of the projects will be fully operational and demonstrating these cost-effective water retention services.

    Stormwater is Water, Too

    We scientists and engineers need to use our knowledge as we retrofit our stormwater infrastructure to remember that stormwater is water, too, and rather than just being removed as fast as possible can be used in urban settings in many ways: creating stormwater parks, incorporating it into landscape designs, recharging aquifers and streams. In this session we’ll hear from water resource professionals that are using innovative education and design to manage stormwater and protect water quality. In the long run, by valuing stormwater as a resource, we’ll increase public pride in urban waterways, and reduce the costs for providing safe, clean drinking water.

    BMPs for Reclaimed Water Use

    Reclaimed water is an important alternative water source for crop irrigation and for irrigation of recreational areas including golf courses and residential landscapes. Reclaimed water contains plant available nutrients: therefore users should understand the best management practices for benefitting from these nutrients and the water without risking adverse impacts on water bodies.

    Renewable Energy and Alternative Water Supplies - Amigos o Enemigos?

    With the intricate nexus between water and energy now acknowledged, it is logical to ask -What roles do alternative water supplies and renewable energy sources play in shaping each other’s potential? The goal of this session is to bring together a diverse group of scientists, engineers and policy makers and to initiate a conversation on understanding existing synergies between renewable energies and alternative water supplies and identify key areas that the technical and regulatory communities must focus on as humankind strives and strides towards a drought-resistant, energy-secure future.

    Stream Response to Catastrophic Flooding and Emergency Clean‐up Efforts

    The fall 2011 flooding events caused by Hurricanes Irene and Lee in the northeastern United States were floods of record in many areas as the flood levels exceeded those of the last century. Following these unusual flood events, it is timely to reiterate and further the understanding of stream response to natural and anthropogenic alteration. Much research has been done in the past to predict stream response to a disturbance; however, much remains unknown. Therefore, a goal of the proposed special session is to attract geologists, geographers, ecologists, engineers, and resources managers to collaborate on understanding stream response to catastrophic flooding and emergency clean-up efforts.

    Floodplain Management and Flood Risk Assessment

    In recent years management agencies have realized that floodplain management and flood risk assessments are closely connected with other water resource activities, such as watershed planning, storm water, and weltland protection. The goal of this session is to promote a discussion on floodplain issues among a broad audience that will benefit floodplain managers, scientists, engineers, and stake holders.

    Frontiers in Aquifer Recharge and Storage as an Alternative Water Supply Solution

    Aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) has been considered as a stand-alone alternative water supply (AWS) strategy for many years. However, for a number of reasons, ASR has been somewhat pigeon-holed as an expensive and limited substitute for above-ground storage options. This session will cover the advantages of ASR and Aquifer Recharge (AR) as an integral part of a conjunctive-use strategy to tie together more than one AWS method. AWS technologies can be combined with ASR and AR wells to enhance the effectiveness of new and existing ASR and AR systems, including: 1) seasonal surface-water ASR with minimal pretreatment: a case study, 2) under drain sand filtration and catchment basin pretreatment for ASR: a pilot project, 3) salinity barrier AR of reclaimed-water and a geophysical delineation of a saltwater wedge: a case study, 4) surface-water ASR and enhanced in situ deoxygenation: a case study, 5) enhancing the economic and operational advantages of ASR by conjunctive use with reservoir systems: an old idea in a new light.

    Biomimicry for Environmental Compliance and Ecological Restoration

    This session explores the importance and effectiveness of approaches to biomimicry in achieving solutions to the challenges of environmental compliance and ecological restoration, often resulting in additional benefits of increased revenues (such as from recreational uses of the projects) and reduced costs (such as from reduced water treatment costs). This session will include topics such as the development and use of floating wetland islands, managed groundwater recharge ponds for conjunctive management of stream-aquifer systems by landowners and water user organizations. Speakers are invited to discuss case studies on the use of these technologies, identifying benefits, challenges, and sharing their experiences with these and other biomimicry approaches.

    State of Florida Issues

    This session will showcase the research being conducted around the State of Florida. As Florida is covered in wetlands, lakes, and rivers and is surrounded by salt water there is a diversity of research being conducted via the governmental and educational institutions of the state.

    Nanotechnology in Water Resources: Nano-Enabled Sensors for Water Protection

    Emerging technologies at the nanometer scale promise important capabilities in protecting water resources. One area of intense interest for current research, and with immense future promise, is nano-enabled sensors for water protection. These include smart sensors that not only detect and monitor but perform an action, preventing, reducing, or retarding exposure. A similar area of emerging importance is the broad area of engineered nanoparticles for water treatment.

    The Floridan Aquifer System Under Siege

    This session seeks to bring together water managers, scientists, policy makers to address issues affecting water quality and quantity in the Floridan Aquifer System. Topics to be considered, but are not limited to, include nutrient enrichment in Florida’s surface waters and springs, pumping impacts on groundwater levels and surface-water discharge, wetland impacts associated with groundwater withdrawals, distinguishing between climatic and anthropogenic effects on groundwater and surface water resources, use of brackish water supply, use of groundwater or integrated groundwater/surface water flow models for water resource management, capturing uncertainty and risks in water resource decision making, land use practices affecting water quality, aquifer storage and recovery, aquifer sustainability in coastal areas, climate variability and recharge to the aquifer, and other water protection efforts.

    Homeowner Water Conservation, Nutrient Management and Social Marketing

    The field of social marketing has its origins in public health, as practitioners sought ways to motivate behavior change beyond just providing education and raising awareness. This session will provide case studies of homeowner water conservation and water quality projects in that are utilizing social marketing as an alternative approach for encouraging behavior change. The studies will illustrate how consumers currently manage their landscapes with water and fertilizer while offering an alternative to the education and awareness model with one that is directed at measurable behavior change.

    Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) (Description coming soon)

    Water Resources Stewardship (Description coming soon)

    New Tools for River and Stream Management Related to Fisheries Resources

    Increasing demand for water (drinking, agriculture, energy, etc.), climate change, and severe atmospheric events has forced water and resource managers to develop new and innovative tools to address emerging issues and reduce conflicts between stakeholders. This special session will examine the most current methods, techniques, and tools to manage instream flows, riparian corridors, invasive species, and more related to fisheries ecology.

  • BMP performance, design, implementation
  • Confined animal feeding operations (CAFO’s)
  • Control of non-point contaminant sources
  • Drought sensitive crops
  • Fertilizers
  • Financing BMP’s
  • Impacts on water supply and quality
  • Irrigation demand – present and future
  • Irrigation efficiency
  • Irrigation water reuse
  • Pesticides
  • Waste management and disposal
  • Water requirements for ethanol production
  • Water reuse

Anthropogenic and Education

  • Adult education and outreach
  • Education on water resources at K-12 levels
  • Hydrology and anthropology
  • Hydrology and archeology
  • Hydrology and religion
  • Hydrophilanthrophy
  • Impacts of man-made impoundments on watersheds
  • Indigenous peoples water beliefs and issues
  • Language barriers (cultural, international, interdisciplinary)
  • Licensing or registration of water resources professionals
  • Native American water issues
  • Sociological issues of watershed management and stewardship
  • Water in literature, culture, art, and music
  • Water resources in the future

Climate Change

  • Ecosystem migrations
  • Flooding and droughts:  Severity and frequency
  • Impacts on current water scarce areas
  • Impacts on freshwater availability and supplies
  • Impacts on glaciers and glaciation
  • Impacts on water quality
  • Rain and snowfall issues and distribution
  • Sea level rise

Coastal and Oceans

  • Beach erosion
  • Desalination
  • Development impacts
  • Dwindling fish and marine mammal populations
  • Hypoxia
  • Impacts of natural disasters
  • Impacts of anthropogenic disasters
  • Ocean disposal of wastewater
  • Salt water-freshwater interfaces
  • Salt water intrusion into aquifers
  • Sea level changes
  • Subsidence


  • Balancing human needs with faunal and floral needs
  • Competing uses/needs for limited water supplies
  • Design and performance of buffers
  • Developing partnerships with competing water users
  • Ecosystem restoration
  • Environmental impacts of diversions
  • Environmental impacts of impoundments
  • Financing environmental/ecosystem restoration – environmental economics
  • Instream flows - ecosystem requirements
  • Restoration of mine lands and impacted watersheds
  • Restoration successes and failures
  • Riparian restoration
  • Sediment control in ecosystems
  • Socioeconomic aspects of riparian areas and management
  • Stream ecology


  • Aquifer storage and recovery (ASR)
  • Confined and unconfined aquifers
  • Deep injection of waste water
  • Disposal of brines produced with oil and gas extraction
  • Groundwater movement (flow systems)
  • Groundwater protection
  • Groundwater/surface water relationships
  • Hydrofracking
  • Impacts of mining
  • Natural infiltration, recharge and source areas
  • Storm water infiltration
  • Surface water/groundwater/ecosystem interactions
  • Surface contamination of shallow and deep aquifers
  • Water level declines or rises
  • Water quality in aquifers

International Issues

  • Appropriate technologies for developing areas/Nations
  • Cross-border compacts, transfers, and allocations
  • Globalization of water issues
  • International regulatory conflicts
  • Management principles
  • Privatization of utilities; infrastructure
  • Responsibilities of developed nations to developing nations
  • Technology sharing
  • Water resources security
  • World Water Forums


  • Aging infrastructure
  • Creative financing of infrastructures
  • Distribution systems infrastructure (Source to tap)
  • Drain to disposal infrastructure
  • Harbors and port facilities
  • Impoundments – construction, restoration, removal
  • Levees
  • Locks and dams
  • Navigation in inland waterways
  • River channelization, dredging

Management and Tools

  • Adaptive management
  • Communicating science to policy makers
  • Decision support systems
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Innovative techniques
  • Interdisciplinary Water Resources Management (IWRM)
  • Internet
  • Modeling
  • Real time data
  • Remote sensing
  • Technology information and dissemination

Policy, Planning and Legal Issues

  • Adapting government programs to watershed management and regulation
  • Balancing development and environmental policies
  • Communicating with policy makers
  • Compacts
  • Drought management/conservation
  • Forest planning and management
  • History of water laws/policy
  • Innovative marketing/banking
  • Integrated water resources planning
  • Integration of water quality and water quantity management
  • Land use planning
  • Legislative initiatives, state and federal
  • Market-based solutions to scarcity or overabundance
  • Meeting and managing demand
  • National water vision/strategy
  • Planning and management of water resources in rural areas
  • Political hydrology
  • Range planning and management
  • Reuse
  • Safeguarding water supplies
  • Stateline faults and water policy – a watershed approach?
  • Urban planning
  • Water laws
  • Water transfers- benefits/costs

Surface Water

  • Best Management Practices (BMP) – performance
  • Downstream impacts of mine tailings
  • Energy production
  • Effects of diversions and channel alterations
  • Flood forecasting, warning, preparedness
  • Flooding and floodplain management
  • Fluvial geomorphology
  • Innovative technologies of storm water management
  • Managing competing uses and needs
  • Managing nonpoint source pollution
  • Managing point source pollution
  • Mitigating storm water damage/retrofitting
  • River operations – flow management
  • Storm water – preparation for and management – innovative technologies
  • Stream channel processes
  • System operation and maintenance
  • Watershed planning and management
  • Water and energy


  • Community based restoration and management
  • Financing restoration and volunteer efforts
  • Hydrologic changes – effects on urban streams and floodplains
  • Infiltration and runoff
  • Land use changes
  • Residential land stewardship
  • Reuse of gray water
  • Urban storm water impacts
  • Volunteer restoration and management initiatives
  • Water saving techniques and initiatives

Water Quality

  • Acid mine drainage
  • Agriculture and/or mining impacts on water quality
  • Effects of dredging and other stream management techniques on water quality
  • Emerging contaminants
  • Establishing Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs)
  • Impacts of storm water on water quality
  • Implementing TMDL’s
  • Laboratory methodologies
  • Low flow/high flow/combined TMDL’s
  • Monitoring
  • Nanotechnology
  • Nutrients and nutrient management
  • Pathogens in watersheds
  • Salinity removal techniques; successes and failures
  • Source water quality protection
  • Turbidity and sediment impacts on water quality
  • Water quality standards and regulations

Wetlands and Lakes

  • Conflicting issues
  • Created wetland successes
  • Design and construction of created wetlands
  • Effects of acid rain
  • Eutrophication/nutrient impacts
  • Lake management and restoration
  • Mitigation
  • Regulations
  • Reservoir management and restoration
  • Sedimentation
  • Shoreline maintenance and restoration
  • Tourism and recreation
  • Watershed/wetland/lake interactions
  • Wetland functions and values
  • Wetland restoration and protection

Other Topics Not Listed Above
  • Other