Plenary Speakers

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Dr. Gene E. Likens - Founding Director and President Emeritus, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Talk Title: Insights into Water Quality from Long-Term Studies:  Lessons Learned and Implications for the Future

Professor Gene E. Likens is an ecologist best known for his discovery of acid rain in North America with colleagues, for co-founding of the internationally renowned Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study and for founding the Institute of Ecosystem Studies, a leading, international ecological research and education center.  Dr. Likens is an educator and advisor at state, national, and international levels.  He has been an advisor to two governors in New York State and one in New Hampshire, as well as one U.S. President.  He currently holds faculty positions at Yale, Cornell, Rutgers Universities, SUNY Albany, the University of Connecticut, and was awarded a Chair as Albert Einstein Professor from the Chinese Academy of Science and also named Honorary Professor at Jinan University, Guangzhou, China.  Dr. Likens has been awarded eleven honorary doctoral Degrees.  In addition to being elected a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, Dr. Likens has been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, Austrian Academy of Sciences, and an Honorary Member of the British Ecological Society.  Dr. Likens was awarded the 2001 National Medal of Science, presented at The White House; and In 2003 was awarded the Blue Planet Prize (with F. H. Bormann) from the Asahi Glass Foundation, considered to be the Nobel Prize of Ecology.  Among other awards, in 1993 Dr. Likens, with F. H. Bormann, was awarded the Tyler Prize, The World Prize for Environmental Achievement, and in 1994, he was the sole recipient of the Australia Prize for Science and Technology.  Dr. Likens has served as President of the International Society of Theoretical and Applied Limnology, American Institute of Biological Sciences, Ecological Society of America, and American Society of Limnology and Oceanography.  Dr. Likens is the author, co-author or editor of 26 books and more than 600 scientific papers.

Dr. Jeanne M. VanBriesen - Duquesne Light Company Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Director of the Center for Water Quality in Urban Environmental Systems (Water QUEST) at Carnegie Mellon University

Talk Title: Resources, Rain, Rivers and Regret: Energy and Water System Choices in the Ohio River Basin

Watershed-scale choices on energy development and urban water infrastructure have altered water systems in the Ohio River Basin.  In this talk, Dr. VanBriesen will share some of the challenges in the Ohio River Basin that have implications for the country and the world.

Dr. VanBriesen holds a B.S. in Education and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Northwestern University. She is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Delaware.  Her research is in environmental systems, including biotransformation of recalcitrant organics, detection of biological agents in drinking water and natural water systems, speciation-driven biogeochemistry of chelating agents and disinfection by-products, and impacts of energy extraction.  Dr. VanBriesen has published more than fifty scientific articles and given more than 150 professional presentations.  Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, the Colcom Foundation, the Heinz Endowments, the Packard Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance.  She has supervised eighteen Ph.D. dissertations and six M.S. theses.  Dr. VanBriesen has served on the boards of the Association for Environmental Engineering and Science Professors, the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Sciences, and the Ohio River Basin Consortia for Research and Education.  She is currently serving on the U.S.EPA Science Advisory Board. Dr. VanBriesen has received numerous awards, including the 2015 American Society of Civil Engineers Margaret S. Petersen Award, the 2015 Carnegie Science Center Environmental Award, the 2013 Philip L. Dowd Fellowship at Carnegie Mellon, the 2009 American Society of Civil Engineers Pittsburgh Chapter Professor of the Year, and the 2007 Pennsylvania Water Environment Association Professional Research Award.  Dr. VanBriesen was a selected presenter at the National Academy of Engineering Indo-US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium on Infrastructure in 2008, and an invited speaker at the National Academy of Engineering Education Symposium in 2010.  She was selected as a National Academy of Engineering Gilbreth Lecturer in 2011.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018
UCOWR Warren Hall Medal Recipient (TBD)
Thursday, June 28, 2018
Dr. Donald I. Siegel - Emeritus Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, Syracuse University
Talk Title: The Dismissal of Facts in Water-Related Decision Making: Root Causes and What to do About It
Professor Donald I. Siegel earned his BS in Geology from the University of Rhode Island, a MS in Geosciences at Penn State and his doctorate in Hydrogeology at the University of Minnesota. He subsequently worked for the U.S. Geological Survey as a hydrologist/geochemist, and then joined Syracuse University in 1982 and taught and did research there on topics related to hydrogeology and water chemistry for 35 years. His research interests ranged from topics tied to the hydrogeology of deep basins and hydrocarbon-bearing rocks, methanogenesis in wetlands, organic and inorganic groundwater contamination, and drought-induced recharge in arid wetlands. Dr. Siegel served as Chairman of the National Water Science and Technology Board of the National Research Council (NRC) and participated on many NRC panel related to water resources. He served as associate editor for most water topic journals and as book editor for the Geological Society of America. Geological Society of America’s Hydrogeology Division awarded Professor Siegel its Distinguished Service Award, O.E. Meinzer Award and Birdsall-Dreiss Lectureship, and he is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Geological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union for his contributions to water science. Not retired now but rewired, Siegel now serves as a partner at Independent Environmental Sciences, a consulting group specializing in forensic hydrogeology and geochemistry. He recently competed on the Food Network in 2016 and is developing a secondary career playing solo jazz guitar at coffeehouses, wineries and various receptions in upstate New York.
Mr. Geoff Gisler - Senior Attorney and Leader of Southern Environmental Law Center’s Clean Water Program, Chapel Hill Office
Talk Title: For Better or Worse:  Critical Water Quality Controversies in North Carolina
Industrial activity provides jobs and taxes to communities. Too often, it also brings water pollution. This presentation will focus on two water quality crises in North Carolina that have captured public attention and are likely lurking elsewhere: contamination from coal ash ponds and emerging pollutants. It will explore the issues surrounding coal ash ponds and emerging contaminants as well as legal and policy responses.
Geoff Gisler is a senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. Since joining SELC in 2006, Mr. Gisler has represented conservation organizations dedicated to protecting water quality, wetlands, fisheries, and wildlife habitat, with a focus on eastern North Carolina. His practice has included litigation and regulatory matters under various sections of the Clean Water Act. As the leader of SELC’s Clean Water Program, he oversees the organization’s regional efforts to protect healthy aquatic ecosystems and clean drinking water. Mr. Gisler holds a J.D. from Notre Dame Law School and a B.S. in Ecology from the University of Georgia.
Last modified on Monday, 05 February 2018 20:39