waskington state lake images
WATERLINE - December, 2012

Notes from the 2012 WALPA Conference (or how to have a fun time and call it work)

By Jim Gawel

The 25th Annual WALPA Conference on October 24-26 in Wenatchee was a great success thanks to all its sponsors, exhibitors, volunteers, speakers and attendees! For those who couldn’t make it, let me fill you in on what you missed. Nearly 100 WALPA members attended, representing a wide array of federal, state, tribal, county and municipal agencies responsible for lake management as well as university faculty and students, analytical labs, lake associations, consulting companies, NGOs, lake management companies and companies demonstrating the latest monitoring methods and technologies.

WALPA 2012 attendees

Attendees of the 2012 WALPA conference hard at work

This is one of the few conferences I know that brings together absolutely everyone working in, on and for a natural resource issue. That makes the WALPA Conference an outstanding place to network! I always come away from this meeting with new ideas for lake management, new collaborators to work with, new monitoring techniques to try, and new contacts to call after the tables are broken down and we have all driven back to our homes in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

The speakers this year were just stellar! As an educator I like learning new things, and like a kid in a candy shop I like it all! I saw great presentations on beavers, shiners, and algae, floating islands and alum, aquatic plants and nutrients, PCBs, mercury and cyanotoxins, invasive plants and animals, and lakes from Spirit Lake to Lake Chelan to Moses Lake to Lake Ketchum. I really enjoyed the session showcasing student research and the presentations by past WALPA scholarship winners.

And no, it was not all work, but don’t tell the bosses! Everyone knows that if you want to find the people who do the real work of natural resource management, just look for the best watering hole! Thanks to the folks who helped stuff registration packets with one hand while holding their beverage of choice in the other. We definitely supported the local economy by filling the longest and loudest table on Wednesday night, only to surpass that on Thursday by filling half a restaurant! On Thursday we also got a chance to rub elbows, look at posters and lake photos, and chat with the wonderful vendors and conference sponsors while sampling local wine and cider. Thanks to Hach-Hydromet for sponsoring that social event!

This conference also marked my transition into my new position as President of WALPA, trying to fill the VERY big shoes of BiJay Adams and Beth LeDoux. I still get to pick BiJay’s brain as he continues on the WALPA Board for another year (at least!) as Past-President, but we will all miss having Beth there! Beth will take a well-deserved break from WALPA leadership after six years. She is looking forward to attending the conferences and actually getting to listen to talks instead of running around behind the scenes. We also say goodbye (for now) to Moya Joubert and Katie Messick as they end their terms on the Board, but we hope to see both of them at the conferences as well. We say hello to our newest Board members, Thomas Woolf, Susanne Marten and President-elect Curt Carpenter (see bios in this issue), and we welcome back returning Board members Jonathan Frodge and Josh Wozniak. For more info on all your WALPA Board members, please check out our full WALPA website.

While I got to hear from WALPA members at the conference about ideas for the Board to work on this next year, I would love to hear from more of our members as well!  Please email me at jimgawel@uw.edu and let me know what you are interested in. You can also “like” WALPA on Facebook and stay connected to what we are working on and how you can help. Some of the ideas we heard at the conference included advocating for funding for in-lake management options, developing and sustaining volunteer monitoring programs, gathering information on dredging as a management option, and disseminating outreach and education materials to members. While I can’t promise we’ll get around to everything this year, we’ll do what we can, and we will call on some of you to participate as well. We are still working on the location for our 2013 WALPA Conference, but we hope to see you all there. I promise that it will be fun and well worth your time!

IN THIS ISSUE

December 2012 HOME

Turning Back the Clock - A Plan to Restore Lake Ketchum

Notes from the 2012 WALPA Conference (or how to have a fun time and call it work)

Help us welcome the new WALPA Board members!

2012 Scholarship winners announced

Bylaw changes approved at Wenatchee conference in October

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