Plenary Speakers

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Anne Castle - Senior Fellow, Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment at the University of Colorado

Anne Castle is a senior fellow at the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment at the University of Colorado, focusing on western water issues.  From 2009 to 2014, she was Assistant Secretary for Water and Science at the U.S. Department of the Interior where she oversaw water and science policy for the Department and had responsibility for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey.

While at Interior, Castle spearheaded the Department’s WaterSMART program, which although not an entirely original name despite best intentions and multiple trademark searches, provides federal leadership on the path toward sustainable water supplies.  She was the driving force behind the 2010 federal MOU addressing sustainable hydropower, the largest, least respected, and most vilified form of renewable energy in the country.  Castle also instituted the federal Open Water Data Initiative in an attempt to make the fragmented world of water data more integrated and accessible.

As a counterbalance to the somewhat old school and traditional culture of water management, she entered the arena of space policy and was a champion for the USGS LandsatProgram, the nation’s longest sequential moderate-resolution satellite imaging system.  She joined the cadre of victims of Landsat love, populated by earth scientists, western water managers, and Google Earth aficionados. Castle also provided hands-on leadership on Colorado River issues and was the Chair of the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Work Group and a champion of Minute 319 between the US and Mexico.The fact that the Colorado River descended further and further into drought during her tenure is generally believed not to be her fault.

Castle is a recovering lawyer, having practiced water law for 28 years with the Rocky Mountain law firm of Holland & Hart.  She was the Landreth Visiting Fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment for the Spring 2015 quarter, and is now working with the Getches-Wilkinson Center on projects relating to implementation of the State of Colorado’s Water Plan and Colorado River management policy.  She received a Bachelor of Science degree in applied mathematics, with honors, from the University of Colorado, College of Engineering, in 1973, primarily to demonstrate to her father that girls could be good at math.  Her J.D. in 1981 was also from the University of Colorado, qualifying her as a Double Buff.

Eric Kuhn - General Manager, Colorado River District

Eric is the General Manager of the Colorado River District, a position he has held since 1996. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering from the University of New Mexico and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine University in California.

Prior to working for the Colorado River District, he served as an engineer officer aboard nuclear submarines in the U.S. Navy and worked as start-up engineer for Bechtel Power Corp.
Eric started employment with the Colorado River District in 1981 as Assistant Secretary-Engineer.  He has served on the Engineering Advisory Committee of the Upper Colorado River Compact Commission since 1981.
From 1994-2001, he served on the Colorado Water Conservation Board representing the Colorado River mainstem. In 2006, Eric was appointed by Governor Owens as an at-large representative on the Colorado Interbasin Compact Committee, a position he continues to hold.
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Morning Session Speakers: Warren Hall Medal Recipients
Deborah L. Swackhamer
John W. Labadie
Authors' Lunch Session Speakers (box lunch included)
Dr. William M. Alley and Rosemarie Alley
Dr. William M. Alley and Rosemarie Alley are a scientist/nonscientist team writing for the general public on environmental and Earth Science issues confronting society. Dr. Alley was Chief, Office of Groundwater for the U.S. Geological Survey for almost two decades and is currently Director of Science and Technology for the National Ground Water Association.  Rosemarie Alley is a freelance writer. Their latest book is “High and Dry: Meeting the Challenges of the World’s Growing Dependence on Groundwater.” They previously published “Too Hot to Touch” on the science, history and politics of nuclear waste.
 John Fleck
John Fleck is Professor of Practice in Water Policy and Governance in the University of New Mexico Department of Economics and director of the university’s Water Resources Program, where he co-teaches classes in contemporary water policy issues, modeling, and technical communication for water managers. A science journalist with 30 years of newspaper experience, he first wrote about water in the 1980s as a beat reporter covering the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. He is the author of the book Water is for Fighting Over and Other Myths About Water in the West, an exploration of solutions to the Colorado River Basin’s water problems, published by Island Press.
Thursday, June 15, 2017
Peter Colohan - Director of Service Innovation and Partnership, Office of Water Prediction at NOAA
Peter Colohan is the Director of Service Innovation and Partnership for the Office of Water Prediction at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). From 2010 to 2016, Peter served as a senior advisor to Obama Administration officials on environmental data, climate, water, and drought, first as a member of the White House staff in the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), then as OSTP's Assistant Director for Environmental Information, then as senior advisor to the NOAA Chief Scientist. From 2002 to 2010, Peter served NOAA as a consultant and program manager in strategic planning and international coordination of Earth observations and environmental monitoring. During this time, he facilitated the establishment of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), an intergovernmental body involving over 90 governments, five United Nations agencies, and more than 50 international organizations. Peter holds degrees from the College of William and Mary in Virginia and American University’s School of International Service. 
Peter will provide remarks on the integrated challenge of managing water risks in a changing climate.  He will describe the interconnected challenges of flood, drought, and water quality,  and need to focus on community needs and questions in response to those challenges.  He will discuss the NOAA Water Initiative efforts to promote holistic delivery of integrated decision support tools based on the latest science and technology.  He will demonstrate one of NOAA's new prediction capabilities, the National Water Model, a prototype operational continental scale hydrology model of the river and stream network of the United States, launched by the National Weather Service in August 2016.
Ted Kowalski - Senior Program OfficerColorado River Initiative
Ted is a Senior Program Officer, leading the Walton Family Foundation’s Colorado River Initiative. In this role, Ted supports work that promotes sustainable management of the Colorado River in order to benefit rivers. Prior to joining the Foundation, Ted was the Chief of the Interstate, Federal and Water Information Section, for the Colorado Water Conservation Board. In this role, Ted represented the State of Colorado in State, Federal, inter-State, and international negotiations. Ted is recognized for his deep expertise in Colorado River water management issues.  He has testified before the U.S. Congress and before the Colorado General Assembly, and he has spoken at dozens of conferences.  Ted started his career in the Colorado Attorney General’s office working on water law issues. Ted has a law degree from the University of Colorado and an undergraduate degree from Cornell University.
James W. Jones - Program Director (ENG/CBET)
Dr. Jones currently is a Program Director with the National Science Foundation for the INFEWS initiative in the Engineering Directorate (CBET Division). He received a PhD degree from North Carolina State University in Biological and Agricultural Engineering. His research area is on mathematical modeling of cropping systems; interactive effects of climate, soil, water, genetics, and management on productivity; climate risk management and decision support for agriculture; and integration of crop and other models for application at field and broader spatial scales. He co-founded the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Program (AgMIP – and the Florida Climate Institute, a coalition of nine universities in Florida conducting research and outreach activities on climate change and sea level rise and associated impacts and societal responses ( He is recognized globally as a leader in modeling cropping systems and applying them for improving agricultural productivity and resource use efficiency. He has organized and taught courses on concepts and applications of agricultural systems models for assessment of climate and management responses during the last thirty years. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and Fellow member of four societies (AAAS, ASABE, ASA, SSSA), and is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the University of Florida.
Dr. Sally Rockey - Executive Director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture (FFAR)
Dr. Sally Rockey became the inaugural Executive Director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture (FFAR) in September 2015. Prior to this role, Dr. Rockey was an award-winning leader in Federal research, overseeing the operations of the extramural programs in both agriculture and biomedicine. She spent 19 years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) where she held a number of positions within the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. Very early in her career she became the head of the competitive grants program, overseeing the extramural grants process and portfolio. In her final years with USDA she was the Chief Information Officer, applying her breadth of government knowledge to information technology. She brought her experience in agriculture research to her 11-year career at the National Institutes of Health, where she emphasized the connection between agriculture, food, and health. As Deputy Director for Extramural Research, Dr. Rockey oversaw the operations of the largest Federal extramural research program and led groundbreaking initiatives and activities that have and will have a lasting positive impact on the research community.
Dr. Rockey received her Ph.D. in Entomology from the Ohio State University and did postgraduate work at University of Wisconsin prior to joining the government. She has devoted her career to improving people’s lives through research and will continue her mission by seeing FFAR become an essential component of the scientific enterprise.
Last modified on Monday, 24 April 2017 16:06