October Water Resources Conference offers wide spectrum of water management solutions, perspectives

The Water Resources Center will host the annual Minnesota Water Resources Conference at the St. Paul River Centre, October 15 and 16, 2013. Conference attendees can expect to be presented a variety of new water resource solutions, management techniques, and current research about Minnesota’s water resources. Concurrent sessions throughout the day will offer information on engineering projects, best practices in design and application of water resource management methods, water policy and emerging issues. A morning plenary session begins each day of the conference, and luncheon will also feature a speaker. Topics this year will touch on water sustainability for future generations, how conservation practices could affect Gulf hypoxia, and the relationship of politics and science in the United States.

Shawn Lawrence OttoShawn Lawrence Otto is an award-winning science advocate, author, filmmaker, speaker, novelist, artist and humanitarian who also works for smarter politics on a global scale. He is the cofounder and producer of the US presidential science debates, between President Barack Obama and his opponents Senator John McCain and Governor Mitt Romney, which have become the largest political initiatives in the history of science. The presidential science debates have since been emulated in several other nations. In 2012, US congressional leadership also participated and Otto organized and co-moderated a live-streamed presidential surrogate science debate on Capitol Hill. His book FOOL ME TWICE: Fighting the Assault on Science in America, won the 2012 Minnesota Book Award. His message is that science is quickly outstripping our global policymaking apparatus and the gap is posing a serious challenge to democracy. Shawn has served in an advisory capacity for the National Academy of Sciences, and the Union of Concerned Scientists' new Center for Science and Democracy.

Cathy KlingCathy Kling, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a professor of economics, has served as the director of CARD since July 2013, after having served many years as the division head of CARD's Resource and Environmental Policy Division. She received a bachelor's degree in business and economics from the University of Iowa and a doctorate in economics from the University of Maryland. In her work at CARD, Kling is undertaking research to examine how agricultural practices affect water quality, wildlife, soil carbon content, and greenhouse gases.

Jim StarkJim Stark is Director of the U. S Geological Survey’s Water Science Center in Minnesota. As Director he manages the Center’s programs and works cooperatively with federal, state and local governmental partners. Jim began his USGS career in Michigan and also worked in Utah before coming to Minnesota. Prior to becoming Director Jim served as the Center’s Groundwater Specialist as well as directing National Water Quality Assessment and Studies Programs in Minnesota. He has been the author of more than 60 scientific reports and journal articles that focus on groundwater and groundwater/surface water interactions. Jim is a licensed Professional Geologist in Minnesota. He holds a BS degree in geology from UMD, MS degrees in geology and in water resources from the University of Wisconsin, and an MBA from the University of St Thomas.

Rebecca FloodRebecca Flood joined the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in October 2008 as the Assistant Commissioner for water policy matters. In this role, she oversees the agency's programs and activities to maintain and improve the quality of Minnesota’s lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands.

Rebecca chairs the Clean Water Fund Interagency Coordination Team, which is comprised of the seven state agencies that receive legislative appropriations from the constitutionally dedicated sales tax receipts resulting from the 2008 Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment to the State Constitution. The appropriations from this fund supplement the protection and restoration of Minnesota’s water resources. The Team ensures that Clean Water Funded agencies utilize the funds in a coordinated, efficient and effective manner.

Rebecca also serves as the State representative on US EPA’s Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force and is leading the State’s development of its Nutrient Reduction Strategies. She represents the MPCA on a variety of other water-related boards and advisory groups, including the University of Minnesota’s Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center Advisory Board, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority and the Agricultural and Economic Development Board. In addition to being the liaison to the agricultural sector, she serves as the agency’s technical representative to the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program Advisory Committee. This committee is advising the Commissioner of Agriculture on the development of a voluntary program designed to expedite adoption of agricultural best management practices specifically designed to protect water quality.

Prior to joining the MPCA, Rebecca was employed by the Metropolitan Council for 30 years in a variety of clean water programs, most recently serving as the Environmental Compliance Manager for the Council’s municipal wastewater treatment facilities in the seven-county St. Paul/Minneapolis metropolitan area. In this role, she also represented the Council on a wide variety of statewide water policy committees, and led the development of both the Council’s phosphorus and mercury reduction strategies.

Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology from Michigan State University.