Urban Riparian Symposium * Feb. 11-13, 2015 * Austin, Tx
The Urban Riparian Symposium in Austin February 11th – 13th of 2015 was a success and provided an opportunity for natural resource professionals to share ideas, discuss management and policy issues, lessons learned in urban riparian and stream planning, assessment, design, construction, and evaluation. The symposium included presentations, discussions, and workshops, and nighttime walks and had over 213 attendees.
A final schedule has been developed and the presentation are linked to the schedule as adobe acrobat files. Wednesday will offer two workshops in the afternoon for those attendees that sign up for them. Thursday and Friday’s events included plenary speakers, concurrent topic sessions with moderated discussion, and a poster session.
Scientists and practitioners are encouraged to share experiences, network with colleagues, and become involved in shaping the future of urban riparian issues in Texas.
Plenary and Keynote Speakers:
Thursday, February 12th Opening Plenary Speaker:
Kevin M. Anderson Ph.D., Austin Water Center for Environmental Research has dedicated a considerable amount of time researching and discussing the resilience of Texas’ novel riparian ecosystems. He will share his observations and ideas and set the stage for the how and the why of riparian restoration.
Dr. Peter MN. Groffman, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. A microbial ecologist, Dr. Groffman’s research focuses on the role of microorganisms in ecosystem function. Much of his work, and there is a lot of it, has looked at riparian areas and what urbanization does to soil and hydrology. Dr. Groffman will be speaking at 10:45 am on Thursday February 12th.
The bio-geo-socio-chemistry of urban riparian zones
Riparian areas are “hotspots” of plant-soil-water-microbial-human interactions in watersheds. Urban land use change has been shown to have dramatic effects on these interactions altering “connections” between streams, riparian zones, upland ecosystems and people. Efforts to restore urban riparian zone need to focus on reestablishing these connections. Geomorphic stream restoration designed to reverse structural degradation can restore biogeochemical functions but also considering the “human element” create positive feedbacks between ecological restoration and human preferences that can be key for achieving specific biological, chemical and social goals in urban and suburban watersheds. In this talk I will highlight results from research on the bio-geo-socio chemistry of urban riparian zones in the National Science Foundation funded Baltimore urban Long Term Ecological Research Project and discuss relevance and applications of this work in more arid regions.
Friday, February 13th Closing Plenary Speaker:
Matt Hollon, Environmental & Conservation Program Manager with the City of Austin, was critical in the creation of the City’s new Watershed Protection Ordinance. Over 2 years in the making with over 350 private and public stakeholders, the ordinance is now in place to better protect creeks and floodplains, facilitate the integration of public trails and greenways, and save the City 100s of millions of dollars in future erosion, flood, and ecological mitigation.
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