Happy Spring!

President's Message | March/April 2022

As I look out my window, I realize it is time to shift from winter explorations to spring fun. Here in Minnesota, we enjoy our lakes all year round. My family and I go ice fishing as soon as the ice is thick enough to walk on. We have our favorite fishing spots, like “Big Fish Bay.” No need to Google it—yes, it is a real place with big fish, but it is our made-up name. When spring comes around, it is time to pack away the ice fishing gear and get the boat ready for our first outing on the lake, even if it is in the 40s.

Now, if you had asked me to do this over 22 years ago, I probably would have panicked. I grew up in the Paris region, where we got barely any snow, let alone the bone-chilling temperatures we get in Minnesota. My first time exploring a lake was driving over ice on Lake of the Woods in a pickup truck (with lots of heating packs in my boots and gloves) getting ready to core lake bottoms miles away from shore—not terrifying at all. And what did I discover? Exploring lakes is fun! Each lake is unique, and we love them for all the recreational value, calming scenery, and natural habitats for the living ecosystem they provide. They can be small, large, deep, or shallow—each has its challenges that we need to understand.

This issue of Water Resources IMPACT is a sampler of the work water practitioners from across the United States are doing on lakes. You will read about the challenges of managing a new lake, programs instilling stewardship, the impacts of climate change on pluvial and mountain lakes, the mysteries of vanishing lakes, and the Great Lakes.

Finally, spring is a busy season for AWRA. This year we have two Spring Specialty Conferences. On April 25–27, the AWRA Future Risk Committee and the Alabama Water Institute in Tuscaloosa are hosting the conference "Water Risk under a Rapidly Changing World – Evaluation & Adaptation.” The program for the conference is truly spectacular. Plus, this event is a particularly special because it is our first in-person conference in two years. As an organization that has spent the past five decades creating community, conversation, and connection, we feel real joy at bringing people together again.

Next is our biennial Geospatial Water Technology Conference (GWTC) on May 9–12 in Austin, Texas. This conference was formerly known as the GIS Conference but had a name change in 2020. AWRA has been hosting this conference for more than 20 years for the GIS community.

We are especially grateful to be meeting in person, as the pandemic has not been kind to the GWTC Planning Committee! Because this conference is held only in the even years, our last gathering was in March 2018. In March 2020, owing to the pandemic, AWRA made the decision to postpone the conference and held it virtually in August 2020. The conference was slated to be held in March 2022, but the pandemic intervened again. Our scheduled hotel canceled eight weeks before the event as a result of legal obligations, with COVID-19 and state health agencies occupying the hotel. Once again, AWRA and the GWTC Planning Committee did a hard pivot by finding a new hotel and creating a new program. The new program has just been announced, and registration is open, so be sure to register.

Claire Bleser is the 2022 president of AWRA.


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