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WATERLINE - June, 2020

WALPA Board news from the President

BY SALLY ABELLA, BOARD PRESIDENT

First, the great news: we welcome Portland State University Professor Emeritus Mark Sytsma to the WALPA Board, replacing Robin Matthews, who resigned due to a move across the US to Virginia. Mark will be a wonderful addition to WALPA, and we are happy to have his expertise on the Board. He has expressed interest in the legislative and membership committees, both of which will benefit from his perspectives and experience with the Oregon Lakes Association.

Now, the not so great news: the continuing threat from COVID-19 and the state management of the pandemic using quarantines and social distancing have made the possibility of holding an October conference this year look more and more unlikely. The Board has been wrestling with this dilemma since the April 2020 meeting, and we are looking at ways to exit from our contract with the Richland Red Lion/Holiday Inn Hotel by either renegotiating for a new date in 2021 (our preferred plan), waiting to see if restrictions are lifted in time to hold a conference that meets state guidelines (their preferred plan), or paying a release penalty from the contract. The last option is the least desirable, as it leaves WALPA in a difficult financial situation, but may be necessary if the current situation drags on, and we cannot get enough attendance to meet the base contract expenses. Our treasurer Jen Oden is putting together a survey to send out to our membership to get an idea of the number of folks who would be likely to attend an in-person fall conference. We know many agencies and businesses have cancelled their travel budgets, so even if restrictions were lifted, we might not have as many participants as usual.

One alternative we are considering (see related article) is to put together an online conference or webinar in October, so we can have some kind of e-gathering to exchange ideas, share research and program findings, and “see” each other. Please contact Rob Zisette, conference chair, at Rzisette@herrerainc.com if you are interested in participating in an e-conference in October, especially if you might have data to present or ideas for round table discussions. He will be keeping a list of potential participants.

Our organization’s income has been dependent on successful conferences, including the registration fees, auctions and sponsorships. For quite a few years, we have not charged a membership fee, so not holding the conference will have a severe impact on our finances and will impact our work, such as student scholarships and setting up a Western Regional Citizens’ Conference and a program of statewide HOA small grants. We hope to remain solvent and are looking at several ideas for generating some income in the absence of a conference, ranging from reinstating a reasonable membership fee to holding online raffles, selling lake-themed merchandise, or holding a donation drive. At our Board meeting in early June, we hope to get more information from the hotel on what they plan to do with their fall contracts. We will keep members posted as we know more.

IN THIS ISSUE

June 2020 HOME

Water quality education and outreach continue despite stay-at-home orders

WALPA Board news from the President

Update: 2020 WALPA conference may be virtual!

Interesting water plants

Non-stick chemicals in Washington’s urban lakes: new study to look at pathways and sources

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