The President's Environment
The President's Environment is published 3x/year. Past Issues of the President's Environment can be found in the archives of The Bulletin.
By President Dave Strayer
Abstract. Your SFS Board, Officers, and Committees have been busy over the past year; Strayer tells you about some of the things they’ve done.
I thought I’d use my last “President’s Environment” message to tell you about some recent SFS activities that you may not have heard about (and there is lots more that I just don’t have the space to cover).
First, we’ve made some good progress implementing the new strategic plan that we adopted last year. The Board, following the helpful advice of the Long-Range Planning Committee, approved proposals from our committees for activities that advance our strategic goals, including (i) the very popular Instars program for undergraduates from under-represented groups; (ii) the Leaf-Pack Experiment workshop for teachers; (iii) funds to our Sponsorship and Development Committee to allow them to cultivate donors to support SFS activities. In addition, we used presidential discretionary funds to help support a special session on Asian fresh waters that John Morse organized for Milwaukee.
The Board has also tried to ramp up SFS activities to meet Goal 1 of the strategic plan (“Given that water resource issues are more important than ever, SFS should be viewed as a key source of information for science-based management and policy decisions. SFS shall provide a collective expertise to deliver information that can be used to help identify workable, sustainable solutions to regional and global water issues”). We are working to improve our procedures for submitting official comments, such as those we provided on the “Waters of the United States” issue this year. We tweaked our meeting planning to encourage more policy-related talks and sessions at our annual meetings, and are working on an RFP for this year’s strategic funding initiative to encourage more policy-relevant proposals. These changes should help us reach Goal 1.
We are also strengthening our links with other scientific societies to work together on policy issues. We belong to the Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP), which has been sponsoring a series of talks on fresh waters at its meetings. Our own Dave Penrose is current Chair of the CSSP Board. We also are a founding member of the Consortium of Aquatic Scientific Societies, where we work with our partners (now including the American Fisheries Society and the Phycological Society of America, as well as ASLO and SWS) to present briefings in DC, hold joint scientific meetings (including – maybe – the next JASM in 2021), and submit comments.
I particularly want to highlight our revitalized link with the American Institute of Biological Sciences. Through AIBS, you can get policy alerts (sign up here), and participate in twice-yearly Congressional visits (sign up here and here). I encourage those of you with policy interests to take advantage of these opportunities.
I’m also happy to report that the SFS chapters continue to flourish. The chapters were conceived by Michael Barbour as a way to grow and diversify our membership and improve opportunities for regional collaboration. We have 7 chapters now, and Chris Swan has taken on the job of Chapters Coordinator. In Milwaukee, we’ll ask you to vote on an addition to the bylaws that was developed by the Constitutional Revision Committee, working with Chris, Michael, and the Board, to formally recognize the chapters.
The Elections and Place Committee, under Randy Fuller’s able leadership, has guided us through the selection and contracting of a new membership services provider (Utah State University’s University Inn and Conference Center). They also helped to find a really great slate of candidates for society offices this year (and thanks to all of you who agreed to run).
We’ve also been working on ways to make SFS operations more efficient. You aren’t likely to see these changes directly, but they will help us over the long term. Following on the hard work of Randy Fuller and especially Mike Paul, we are about to go live with a Google Drive site for SFS records and documents, and we now have (I hope) good procedures in place to regularly update the SFS Operations and Meetings Manuals. These changes should make it easier for our committees and officers to do their jobs.
Our fine journal has also had a great year, but I’ll let Pam and Irwin tell you about that.
Finally, we are about to unveil some new ways to recognize SFS members and their contributions, so stay tuned for news about “Lives in Freshwater Science”
And of course, our hard-working Annual Meeting Committee (the exhausted-looking people you will see in Milwaukee) have spent just a TON of time over the past couple of years working with our indefatigable conference planner Joy Brisighella to plan what looks to me like a great meeting. I hope you’ll be in Milwaukee to see the fruits of their labors (and buy them a beer).
p.s. USFWS is asking for comments on a proposal to list 3 freshwater animals (Clear Lake hitch, relict dace, and western pond turtle) under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. If you’re interested, details are here, and comments are due by 9 June. Please consider using your expertise to help USFWS make a good decision.
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