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WATERLINE - March, 2021

New initiatives for a new year: News from the Board

WALPA’s new year started with old and new board members meeting virtually to talk about numerous subjects – the first of which is this year’s in-person conference slated for Richland in October. Jen Oden, as president-elect, is chairing the effort. The Conference Committee is currently working to determine the conference theme and extend a call for abstracts. While WALPA’s virtual conference was a great success, members missed the networking opportunities provided by an in-person event. We all look forward to hosting the annual conference this fall.

A new WALPA committee headed by Angela Strecker will address diversity, equity and inclusion in our organization. Look for a membership survey soon from the committee as they begin their work by learning more about the demographics of our community.

Another new committee has been formed to explore the idea of WALPA offering a small annual grant to groups of lake shoreline owners or lake users. The grant will target volunteer-led projects that aim to improve lakes and nearshore environments, in particular those that address water quality, habitat, shoreline integrity, and hydrology. The committee’s first act will be to survey HOA (Home Owner Association) groups to gauge interest and to compile a list of project types of interest to such groups.

WALPA will award scholarships again this year to undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students in Washington and Idaho. See the related story in this Waterline for information from the Scholarship Committee, led by Mark Sytsma, on how and when to apply. All students interested in limnology and lake management are encouraged to do so. Past scholarship winners have done some remarkable work, and we look forward to continuing to support students, who are critical to the future of lake management in the region.

An ongoing topic for the board is the challenge of getting funding for a volunteer lake monitoring program. Although several proposals have been submitted to funding groups in recent years, none has been successful to date. Current state and federal budget constraints may present obstacles to funding this effort in 2021. Will Hobbs heads this committee.

Finally, WALPA is examining the feasibility of holding a Western Regional Lakes Conference a year from now modeled on the regional conference for eastern Washington held each February in Spokane. Work will begin this summer to hold the conference next spring. 

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