Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
National Assembly of Service Hydrologists - An Alaska Perspective
Alaska Region, May 14, 2004
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National Assembly of Service Hydrologists - An Alaska Perspective

Four Alaska water resource specialists joined other Service hydrologists from around the country at the first ever National Assembly of Service Hydrologists (NASH) workshop. The water rights, river restorations, hydrologic modeling and who's who workshop was held at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) May 11-14. The workshop was the result of a call from the Supervisory Hydrologist in the south Florida Field Office asking if there was anyone else in the Service working in the field of hydrology. As it turns out, there are 53 hydrologists or water resource specialists Service wide. Forty-three attended the workshop along with the Service's water law solicitor. Cheryl Willis, Water Resource Division Chief, Region 6 provided a historical perspective of the origin of the water resource staffs in the western regions and Alaska. Dan Ashe, Science Advisor to the Director moderated the first session, An Overview of Service Water Resource Issues. Guest speakers included: Ralph Morgenweck, USFWS Regional Director, Region 6; Gary Frazer, USFWS Assistant Director for Endangered Species; Brian Richter, The Nature Conservancy; and Bob Hirsch, U.S. Geological Survey Associate Director for Water.

The subsequent technical sessions discussed issues and case studies related to Service Water Rights, Endangered Species, Restoration and Water Quality, and Tools, Modeling, Software and Databases. The Region 7 Water Rights Specialist provided presentations on Water Rights in Alaska and Navigable Waters and Submerged in Alaska and a Case Study of the Black River in Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge.

Posters were displayed for viewing all week and an evening poster session provided time to discuss the wide range of topics and issues presented.

The Nature Conservancy, C&O Historical Canal National Historic Park and the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin hosted a guided tour of the extraordinarily diverse Potomac River Gorge and Bear Island (400 occurrences of over 200 rare species and communities). The unusual hydrology and geology of the region provide this unique ecological setting. Collaborative efforts between the National Park Service, The Nature Conservancy, the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin and others is an excellent example of successful cooperation leading to a comprehensive conservation plan that maintains the exceptional natural resources of this region, while providing domestic water supply to a region populated by some 4 million people.

The workshop concluded with a follow-up discussion of where do we go from here? Discussion topics included communications, organization, career ladders, training, peer review, initiating hydrologic expertise in eastern regions, and increasing Service awareness of the importance of water to the Refuge system and the growing demand of this no longer renewable resource.

For additional information, contact John Trawicki, Chief, Branch of Water Resources at 907/786-3474.

Contact Info: Kristen Gilbert, 907-786-3391, Kristen_Gilbert@fws.gov
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