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  • WATERLINE - December, 2022

    Together again! WALPA reconvenes in person for annual conference

    In late October, WALPA met in Richland for our first in-person conference since 2019! It was truly amazing to see old friends again, and equally great to meet some in person for the first time.

    Activities commenced on Wednesday, October 19, with an invasive plant species workshop presented by Ben Peterson (King County) and Brian Turner (WDFW). With actual specimens on display, the workshop provided a great learning experience. Anyone working on removal of invasives was able to see a variety of these plants  “up close and in person.”

    On Thursday morning, Angela Strecker (WWU), chair of WALPA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, led our plenary session titled “Building a Better WALPA”. Angela presented the findings from WALPA’s 2021-2022 DEI survey. Based on these, the DEI committee’s recommendations focus on making WALPA an organization that is a diverse and equitable space for members and advocates for environmental justice and equity. After the presentation, we were joined by Jerod Grant from Cultures Connecting. Jerod facilitated a conversation among members to discuss how individual members can affect systemic change within our organization. Witnessing this meeting of the minds was truly encouraging, as members shared aspirations and ideas to make WALPA a better, more inclusive organization.

    WALPA’s annual business meeting followed with outgoing President Jen Oden at the helm. She welcomed new board members Corinne Klomann and Bradley Roth, and thanked outgoing board members Beka Stiling, Paula Cracknell, and Rob Zisette. We had the distinct pleasure and privilege of giving Dr. Joan Hardy the 2022 Secchi Disk Award. Presenting the award, Jean Jacoby gave a speech about her colleague and friend that was truly inspiring to everyone who works in this field. Incoming President Matt Colston presented his agenda for 2023, which included more DEI and outreach opportunities with natural resource managers from tribal governments, and a WALPA public lakes guidebook.

    After the business meeting, the Thursday sessions began. These focused on cyanobacteria and arsenic with presentations from Mark Sytsma, Gopal Mulukutla, Theo Dreher, Samantha Fung, and Jim Gawel. A highlight of the cyanobacteria and arsenic session was Samantha Fung’s presentation about arsenic cycling in polymictic lakes. It was very thorough and included extra slides that addressed audience questions: sign of a great researcher and an even greater presenter! The phosphorus management session included excellent presentations from Shannon Brattebo, Jeffery Tepper, Derek Vilar, and Lindsay Chutas.

    On Friday we closed out with two sessions. The first was on monitoring and modeling, which had amazing contributions from Angela Strecker, Curtis DeGasperi, Tim Clark, and Joan Hardy. The final session, presented by Mark Apfelbacher, Julian Olden, Toni Pennington, and Marissa Burghdoff, addressed aquatic invasive species.

    We want to thank our generous sponsors CD3, Aquatechnex, Herrera, Eutrophix, YSI, In-Situ, ESA, and WWU Institute for Watershed Studies. A special thank you to everyone who participated in the raffle, silent auction, and everyone who attended the conference. Finally, I personally want to thank the members of the conference committee who worked tirelessly to put this event together. This great event wouldn’t have been possible without all of you. We’re already looking forward to next year’s conference!