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Technical Issues Committee Workshops (Sunday, May 20)

The Clean Water Act puzzle: where does freshwater science fit?

Registration for this workshop is closed.

Time: 9:00 - 2:00 pm
Cost: Professional $110; Student $90 FREE!


What is the Clean Water Act (CWA)? What types of freshwater resources are regulated by the CWA, and how does this regulation work? Can the Clean Water Act be changed, and if so how? In this workshop, USEPA lawyers and scientists will address these questions and many others, to provide freshwater scientists a working knowledge of the CWA, its strengths and weaknesses, and the relationship between freshwater science and CWA policy. Topics covered will include: congressional, regulatory, and judicial interpretations of the CWA (and what they mean), permitting and management under the CWA, CWA enforcement, and how science is (and can be) used to inform CWA interpretation and implementation.


Mark A. Ryan is Senior Counsel with the U.S. EPA Region X Office of Regional Counsel, where he has worked since 1990. At the EPA, Mr. Ryan works primarily on CWA litigation and permitting, and he is an adjunct faculty member with the EPA National Trial Advocacy Institute in Boulder, CO. Mr. Ryan has written and spoken extensively about the CWA and serves on the editorial board of ABA's Natural Resources and Environment magazine. He received his B.S. in natural resources from the University of Michigan and studied environmental policy at the University of Tubingen, Germany, as a University of Michigan Tubingen Fellow. Mr. Ryan received his law degree in 1988 from Indiana University School of Law, where he was an editor of the Indiana Law Journal.

Donna M. Downing is Jurisdiction Team Leader and an attorney in the U.S. EPA's Office of Water in Washington, D.C. She works on a variety of issues, with a recent focus on the geographic scope of the CWA in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (SWANCC) and Rapanos v. United States (Rapanos). Much of her time is spent chairing the federal interagency staff workgroup for implementing SWANCC and Rapanos. Ms.Downing has been with EPA since 1998. She previously worked for the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment and in private law practice. She has a B.A. from Harvard University, an M.P.P. from the University of California, Berkeley, a J.D. from Georgetown University, and an L.L.M. in environmental law from George Washington University. Ms. Downing teaches as an adjunct professor at George Washington University Law School, and at EPA's Water Quality Standards Academy.

Rachel Fertik is an Environmental Protection Specialist in EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds in Washington, DC. She’s been there since 2002, working primarily on Clean Water Act jurisdiction issues in preparation for, and in response to the SWANCC and Rapanos-Carabell Supreme Court decisions. She has a B.A. from Connecticut College and an M.E.M. from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Rose Kwok is an Environmental Protection Specialist in EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds in Washington, DC.

Statistics – ‘Я’– Us: Remedial workshop for new R users

Registration for this workshop is closed.

Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Cost: Professional $110; Student $90


This workshop will help those who are facing the daunting and steep learning curve of using R for statistical analysis. R has many advantages over statistical software packages: it is freeware, it is becoming the lingua franca in biomonitoring and other sciences, it is easily modified, it is flexible, it has many highly qualified and specialized contributors, it allows repetitive analyses, it is excellent documentation of analyses, and it is fun (yes, you are among friends). However, without a patient mentor, R can be difficult to pick up. This workshop will get you started with formatting data; basic data structure, downloading libraries/packages; and running analyses that provide output for interim interpretation and for final presentation. We will begin with simple correlations and regressions, with supporting bi-plot graphs. The most fundamental basics may be covered is a pre-meeting webcast. That way we can approach more complex and cumulative analyses during the meeting in Louisville. We would like to demonstrate how R can be used to conduct a series of analyses, prompting for feedback from results from each step, until a final solution is reached. Once the process is established, it can be repeated with new data, data limitations, altered analytical settings, or iterative solutions. The types of analyses that will be of interest to the workgroup will be determined by survey before the meeting.


Ben Jessup has been working with Tetra Tech for 14 years as an ecologist focusing on biomonitoring program support. Most of the support he has provided is in the form of database development, analysis of stressor-response relationships, site classification, multimetric and predictive index development, indicator performance characteristics, and criteria establishment. These analyses are essential to most biomonitoring programs and can be performed in many software programs, including R. Mr. Jessup has recently converted to using R for statistical analyses and graphic displays so the hurdles encountered by beginning R users are still fresh. Mr. Jessup has facilitated training workshops on a variety of biomonitoring topics including biomonitoring basics, database applications, criteria development for biological and physical indicators, field protocols, and specific state and tribal index assessment issues.

Dr. Lei Zheng is a senior aquatic ecologist of Tetra Tech’s Center for Ecological Science. He has been an algal ecologist for 20 years but has recently evolved into a statistician and data analyst. He has extensive experience working on biological monitoring and assessment, statistical modeling, and water quality standards/criteria for both marine and freshwater systems. He supported Nutrient-Scientific Technical Exchange Partnership and Support (N-STEPS) to help numerous states develop scientifically defensible nutrient criteria for lakes, streams, and estuaries. He is also actively involved in a number of high profiled projects, such as BP oil spill analysis, mountain top coal mining/conductivity benchmark development in the Western Appalachian region, and Florida nutrient criteria development. Dr. Zheng was a firm fan of Systat® and SAS before 2003, but became a true believer and a loyal daily user of R since. He has been helping many others to use R for bioassessment related topics.

Freshwater Mussel Identification and Sampling Workshop: Freshwater Mussels of the Central United States

Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Cost: Professional $110; Student $90


Are you a student, academic, or professional that would like to expand your freshwater organism repertoire? Are you a student, academic, or professional that would like to hone your mussel identification skills or survey techniques? Do you simply have an interest and curiosity about the elusive, yet fascinating, Mollusk fauna, particularly Unionidae (freshwater mussels)? The SFS invites you to participate in a full day workshop with leaders and experts in the field of Malacology. The workshop will provide presentations from Dr. John Harris of Welch/Harris, Inc., Dr. Thomas Watters of Ohio State University, and Ms. Heidi Dunn of Ecological Specialists, Inc. Workshop content will cover (1) key characteristics for freshwater mussel identification, (2) methods of sampling mussels (qualitative and quantitative) in a variety of habitats, and (3) species known to inhabit the Mississippi and Ohio River Basins. In addition to presentations, significant time will be allotted for hands-on exploration of museum specimens. The image to the right is just an example of one of the many freshwater mussels you will learn about in this workshop (the federally endangered Epioblasma capsaeformis [Oyster mussel] Photo Courtesy: Karen Couch, http://www.kansasmussels.com/karenbio.htm).


Dr. John H. Harris received a BS degree in Biology from Southern Arkansas University, a MS in Biology from the University of Louisiana - Monroe, and a PhD in Zoology from the University of Tennessee - Knoxville. John has been an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biology at Arkansas State University (ASU) - Jonesboro since 1990 where he has been successful in acquiring grant funding for master’s research, primarily involving freshwater mussel taxonomy and systematics, distribution, and ecology. He is also the Curator of Fishes and Mollusks in the ASU Museum of Zoology. Dr. Harris was employed by the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) in its Environmental Division where he served in a variety of positions including environmental research director and principal investigator for water quality monitoring, construction impact assessment, and wetland ecosystem analysis. At the time of his retirement, Dr. Harris was the Assistant Division Head, AHTD Environmental Division and responsible for directing a staff of ~ 60 professional and support personnel from a variety of environmental disciplines. Dr. Harris and his wife, Wendalyn K. Welch, founded Welch/Harris, Inc in 1990. As a consultant, Dr. Harris has successfully conducted numerous environmental analyses and assessments, faunal inventories, and status assessments dealing with fish, invertebrates, and freshwater mussels, primarily in Arkansas. His current research interests target phylogenetic relationships and phylogeography of freshwater mussels in the southeastern and southwestern United States.

John L. Harris, Ph. D. Malacologist/Ichthyologist/Aquatic Biologist Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biology and Curator of Fishes and Mollusks, Museum of Zoology, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, AR

President, Welch/Harris, Inc., Little Rock, AR


Dr. G. Thomas Watters, is Curator of Molluscs in the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology at the Ohio State University and Science Director of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s Freshwater Mussel Conservation and Research Facility. An Ohio native, he received his BS at the University of Miami, his MS at the University of Rhode Island, and his PhD at the Ohio State University. In addition to freshwater mollusks his other research interests are the phylogenetics of Caribbean land snails and western Atlantic marine gastropods.

G. Thomas Watters, PhD, Curator of Molluscs, Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University, Museum of Biological Diversity, 1315 Kinnear Road, Columbus, OH 43212 USA P: 614-292-6170 F: 614-292-7774 E: watters.1@osu.edu

Ms. Heidi L. Dunn is President of Ecological Specialists, Inc. in O’Fallon, MO, which she founded in 1990. Ms. Dunn received a B.S. degree in Wildlife Science from Purdue University and a M.S. in Biology from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. She is active with several groups involved in management and protection of freshwater unionids; including the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society (Treasurer 1998 to present, Techniques and Guidelines Committee Chair 1998 to 2003), Ohio River Valley Ecosystem-Freshwater Mussel Group, and Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee-ad hoc Mussel Committee and UMR Mussel Coordination Team. She has conducted numerous unionid studies throughout the Midwest for regulatory and management purposes. She is experienced with developing protocols for and conducting surveys, long-term monitoring, unionid relocations, impact assessments, Section 7 (Endangered Species Act) consultation, and regulatory agency coordination.

Ms. Heidi L. Dunn, President, Ecological Specialists, Inc. 1417 Hoff Industrial Drive, O’fallon, MO 63366 P: 636-281-1982 F: 636-281-0973 E: hdunn@ecologicalspecialists.com

Kevin S. Cummings received his B.S. and M.A. degrees in zoology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Kevin has been employed as a research scientist and Curator of Mollusks at the Illinois Natural History Survey in Champaign since 1983. He is also an affiliate researcher at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. His research interests are in the areas of conservation, systematics and ecology of freshwater mollusks and the protection of freshwater habitats; primarily streams. Kevin has conducted fieldwork on mollusks around the world including the Amazon, Orinoco, Zambezi, Congo, and Mississippi river systems. He serves on various state, federal, and professional society committees on conservation of freshwater mollusks including: Illinois Endangered Species Technical Advisory Committee (ESTAC) on Invertebrates, American Fisheries Society, Endangered Species Committee, Endangered Freshwater Mussels Subcommittee, American Malacological Society, Conservation Committee, and the Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee. Kevin is a Past President of the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society and the 2008 recipient of the Illinois Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, Stephen A. Forbes Excellence in Fisheries Award. He is the co-author (with Christine Mayer) of the Field Guide to Freshwater Mussels of the Midwest - Illinois Natural History Survey, Manual 5.

Others Assisting

Mr. Josh Seagraves is an Environmental Scientist for the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department. Mr. Seagraves has a BS degree in Wildlife Management and Ecology and a MS degree in Biology, both from Arkansas State University. Mr. Seagraves has worked with freshwater mussels within the Mississippi River Basin since 2001 and has been an active member of the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society since 2003.

Mr. Josh Seagraves, Environmental Scientist, Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department – Environmental Division PO Box 2261, Little Rock, AR 72203 P:501-569-2083 E: josh.seagraves@arkansashighways.com

Mr. Steve McMurray is a Resource Scientist/Malacologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation. Mr. McMurray has a BS degree in Environmental Resources and a MS degree in Biology (Applied Ecology Option), both from Eastern Kentucky University. Mr. McMurray has worked with freshwater and terrestrial mollusks and water quality research since 1993. Mr. McMurray has been an active member of the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society since 1998, where he is currently co-chair of the Environmental Quality and Affairs Committee, and has been an active member of SFS since 1997, where he is currently a member of the Conservation and Environmental Issues Committee.

Mr. Stephen McMurray Resource Science Center, 1110 S. College Ave., Columbia, MO 65201 P: 573.882.9909, x. 3208 F: 573.882.4517 E: Stephen.McMurray@mdc.mo.gov

Other Pertinent Information

Image source website: http://ecos.fws.gov/docs/species_images/doc3752.jpg

Taxonomy Fair

Cost: Free to Members
Date and Time: TBA

The TIC anticipates approximately 12 taxonomist will participate in this annual event. The taxonomy fair gives NABS members an opportunity to meet with expert taxonomists and discuss identification of sometimes tricky specimens. Each taxonomist will be equipped with microscopes and video equipment to help with the identification. Members are encouraged to bring specimens to the meeting in Louisville for this event.

Instars Orientation Workshop

Education & Diversity Committee

Date & Time: 20 May 2012, 1pm-4pm
Cost: No cost to participants, but contact with organizers before May 1, 2012 is mandatory.


This is the second year that Society for Freshwater Science (SFS) is sponsoring Instars, a mentoring program for undergraduates from under-represented groups who are interested in the study of freshwaters. The program is open to students sponsored through Instars Fellowships and others from under-represented minorities. During the annual meeting opportunities for networking among graduate students, faculty and professionals will be promoted as we strive to encourage diversity in our discipline.

At this orientation workshop new Instars will meet peers who have similar interests in the study of freshwaters, graduate student mentors, and faculty who will guide them through the meeting. We will introduce the themes of the SFS meeting, and explore topics of common interest to participants. Instars participants will be encouraged to present results of undergraduate research as posters during the week of the meeting (deadline for abstract submission, April 1st). Following the meeting they will work as teams to develop summary papers based on chosen themes explored at the meeting.

Interested undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty are encouraged to contact members of the committee for developing pre-meeting discussions and networking.




Judy Li (judyli@comcast.net), Jose Colon-Gaud (jccolongaud@georgiasouthern.edu), Tamara Sluss (tamara.sluss@kysu.edu ), Patina Mendez (patina.mendez@berkeley.edu), and Marcelo Ardon-Sayao (ardonsayaom@ecu.edu)

Cave Ecosystems

Graduate Student Workshop

Registration for this workshop is closed.

Date & Time: 20 May 2012, ~7am-7pm
Cost: $35
Limit: 28


Students are invited to spend an exciting day of learning about the ecology and biology of cave ecosystems in south-central Kentucky. We will interact with cave ecosystem researchers and managers from Mammoth Cave to learn more about its unique organisms, processes, and management challenges. We expect this to be a full day trip, bring clothes that can get dirty. Fee covers transportation, lunches, and a small speakers fee. If you are not a graduate student and would like to participate or if you have any other questions, please contact the organizers.




Thomas Parr (Thomas.parr@maine.edu) and Quenton Tuckett (Quenton_Tuckett@umit.maine.edu)


Digital Photography for Aquatic Scientists

Offered by Freshwaters Illustrated

Date & Time: Sunday, 20 May 2012, 9am - 5pm
Cost: $85 for SFS members, $50 for student members, $100 for nonmembers. Limited to 25 participants.

Brief Description

This workshop is designed for beginning to intermediate photographers who want an aquatic-oriented introduction to photo theory and principles, shooting/editing techniques, and digital workflows. The all-day workshop will include both classroom and field sessions with hands-on instruction and exercises. Details at: http://www.freshwatersillustrated.org/workshop.html

Long Description

Become a more effective educator, scientist, and visual communicator through photography! This 1-day workshop will include both classroom and field sessions designed to cover:

  • The importance of effective photography in aquatic education and outreach
  • Digital equipment, techniques, and workflow
  • Underwater and natural history techniques
  • Photographic sampling and documentation in science

Attendees will meet for a morning classroom session at 9:00am, eat lunch on their own, and reconvene for an afternoon outing to the Louisville Waterfront Park, which will end at 5:00pm.

Participants should bring a digital camera and user manual, spare batteries/cards if possible, laptop computer and photo editing software (e.g., photoshop, lightroom, gimp), walking/wading shoes, and weather-appropriate clothing. Lunch is on-your-own.

Visit http://www.freshwatersillustrated.org/workshop.html for workshop details, and email info@freshwatersillustrated.org with questions.

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