2019 Panel Sessions

This year, our Symposium schedule includes two panel sessions. Descriptions below.

Panel 2A: Climate Impacts

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 | 1:00-2:20
Panel Moderator: Xingyuan Chen

Surface Water and Groundwater Resources Under Changing Climate
Climate variability and change has profound impacts to our environment and society. This session will focus on the interactions between climate and surface and groundwater, as well as their regional implications to the Pacific Northwest. We invite contributions that represent emerging research and management practices in assessing and mitigating the impacts of climate change on water resources given the known uncertainty in long-term climate projections. Topics may include the projected impacts of climate change to water resources in the Pacific Northwest, adaptation and mitigation strategy to changing climate, infrastructure and ecosystem resiliency, sustainable watershed management, numerical modeling and long-term monitoring to understand the environmental and societal impacts of climate induced water resources extreme events such as droughts and floods.

Panel Members:

Dr. Xingyuan Chen is a senior research scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Her main research expertise is in multiscale hydrobiogeochemical modeling and data-model integration. She got her PhD degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a Master’s degree in Statistics from University of California, Berkeley. She serves a co-PI on a DOE science focus area project that studies Influences of Hydrologic Exchange Flows on River Corridor and Watershed Biogeochemical Function.

Jon Turk is a licensed hydrogeologist with 18 years of experience providing diverse water resources consulting services throughout the United States. His expertise includes detailed studies and analyses of integrated water resource systems, long range water supply planning, well field management, and aquifer storage and recovery systems. Within the last few years, Jon has contributed to the development of the climate change adaptive management strategy for the island of Oahu, long-range water supply and climate resilience planning in southeast Florida, and optimization of water rights to address capacity and watershed challenges for clients here in Washington State. Jon is currently working with WSU and the Ecology’s OCR on the 2021 Long-Term Water Supply and Demand Forecast for the Columbia River Basin.

Bart Nijssen is the Allan & Inger Osberg Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington (UW), where he heads the UW Hydro | Computational Hydrology group. After he completed his PhD at the UW in 2000, he worked at the University of Arizona and in the private sector, before returning to the UW in 2011. His research group builds tools to simulate and investigate the terrestrial hydrological cycle and uses these tools for a wide range of hydrologic research projects. He and his group investigate the effects of climate change on the hydrologic cycle, perform near real-time monitoring and forecasting studies for drought and streamflow, simulate the interactions between the various components of the climate system in coupled regional climate models, develop and analyze large datasets, and along the way write a lot of code that they are happy to share with others. He and his research group recently completed a study of the hydrological impacts of climate change in the Columbia River Basin for which they received an Award from the Bonneville Power Administration for Exceptional Public Service to BPA.

Bob Mitchell currently serves as the Digges Distinguished Professor of Engineering Geology in the Geology Department at Western Washington University. He has degrees in geology, geophysics, physics, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering. Bob has been a faculty member in the Geology Department at Western since 1996, where he teaches courses in engineering geology, surface-water hydrology, hydrogeology, ground-water contamination. Bob has supervised numerous graduate students on applied research problems in the Puget Sound region including modeling the effects of climate change on snowpack, glacial recession, streamflow, stream temperatures, and hillslope processes in mountainous watersheds. Bob currently serves on the Board of the Environmental and Engineering Division of the GSA, Board of the Washington State Hydrogeology Symposium, and served eight years on the Washington State Geologist Licensing Board.

Jonalee Squeochs currently serves as the Environmental Coordinator for Yakama Nation Fisheries. She is involved with fisheries-related environmental issues throughout the traditional territories of the Yakama Nation, with her primary areas of focus being the Columbia River and Yakima Basin. She is also the project coordinator for the Yakama Nation’s Climate Action Plan, which is being developed to assist in the management and preservation of Yakama Nation Resources in the face of oncoming changes in climate. Jonalee is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, and returned to the Yakima Valley after completing degrees in Natural Resources and Environmental Science from Washington State University.

Panel 6A: Streamflow Restoration II

Wednesday, April 10, 2019 | 1:00-2:20 PM
Panel Moderator: Michael Gallagher

In January 2018, the Washington State Legislature passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill (ESSB) 6091 in response to the Hirst decision. Hirst was a 2016 Washington State Supreme Court decision that changed how some counties issued building permits. The court ruled that the county had failed to comply with Growth Management Act requirements to protect water resources. In general, this decision limited a landowner’s ability to get a building permit for a new home when the proposed source of water was a permit-exempt well and put the burden on the County (and on the property owner) to “prove “ water was “legally available” for the new well.

ESSB 6091 (now codified as RCW 90.94) addresses the court’s decision by allowing landowners to obtain a building permit for a new home relying on a permit-exempt well. The law also directs local planning groups to develop streamflow restoration plans that address the potentially negative impacts from new development.

This panel brings together experts who have been actively engaged in implementing RCW 90.94 by either leading watershed planning units with adopted watershed plans in their respective WRIAs or are chairing Watershed Restoration and Enhancement Committees for those WRIAs without an adopted watershed plan to develop streamflow restoration plans that address the physical and legal availability of water needs from new development of exempt wells within the WRIA over the next 20 years. Representatives from the Department of Ecology, Nisqually Tribe, Whatcom and Spokane Counties will summarize the progress to date in implementing the watershed plan adoption focus of this new law by providing an update on progress made to date in the following watersheds: WRIA 1 (Nooksack), WRIAs 8 (Cedar-Sammamish) and 9 (Green-Duwamish), WRIA 11 (Nisqually) and WRIA 55 (Little Spokane).

Panel Members:

Lisa Dally Wilson is President of Dally Environmental and a licensed civil engineer and professional facilitator with over 25 years of diverse experience in water resources. She provides consulting services in the areas of water resource planning and engineering and water policy, and often facilitates stakeholders addressing complex water and natural resource challenges at a watershed scale. She recently worked with the Nisqually Indian Tribe, serving as facilitator of the Nisqually (WRIA 11) Planning Unit, co-project manager and author of Nisqually Watershed Plan Addendum to meet the requirements of RCW 90.94. The Nisqually ‘Hirst Response’ is the first plan to gain approval under Washington’s new streamflow restoration law. Lisa holds a BS from Cornell University and a master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Washington.

Mike Gallagher is the Section Manager of the Southwest Regional Water Resources Section at the Washington State Department of Ecology. Mike has been with Ecology for over 34 years. For the past eleven years, Mike has worked for the Water Resources Program in the Southwest Regional Office in Olympia, first as a unit supervisor/hydrogeologist and for the past eight years as the section manager for the SWRO Water Resources Section. Mike holds a BS in Geology from the University of Puget Sound, a MS in Geology from Western Michigan University, and a Masters in Public Administration from The Evergreen State College.

Michael Hermanson is the Water Resources Manager in the Spokane County Environmental Services Department. He managed the development of the Little Spokane Water Bank and is leading the development of a watershed plan update in WRIA 55 to meet the requirements of RCW 90.94. Over the last 12 years at Spokane County Mr. Hermanson has been involved in the development and implementation of watershed plans for WRIAs 54, 55, and 57. He has been involved in numerous water resource investigations, both as a project manager and scientist. He graduated from Western Washington University in 1994 with a degree in Environmental Science.

Stephanie Potts is an Environmental Planner in the Water Resources Program at Ecology’s Northwest Regional Office in Bellevue. She is the Chair of the WRIA 8 and WRIA 9 Watershed Restoration and Enhancement Committees. Stephanie has a background in environmental and transportation policy and most recently worked as a grant manager for community planning and development programs at the Seattle office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She has also worked for Smart Growth America in Washington, DC. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies and Anthropology and a Master of Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington. From 2013-2015 she served in the Peace Corps as an agriculture volunteer in Ghana.

Gary Stoyka is the Natural Resources Program Manager with the Whatcom County Public Works Department. Mr. Stoyka has over 25 years of experience in the natural resources and environmental field. Mr. Stoyka has been managing Whatcom County’s response to the ESSB 6091 (RCW 90.94). He has been with Whatcom County for over five years. Prior to coming to Whatcom County, Mr. Stoyka worked at the Skagit County Public Works Department for eleven years, most recently as manager of Skagit County’s Clean Water Program, where he oversaw salmon recovery, watershed planning, lake management, marine resources committee, the water quality program, and management of closed landfills. Before coming to Skagit County, he spent nearly ten years in the environmental consulting field in the Puget Sound region managing and conducting hydrogeological and environmental site investigations and remediation at sites throughout the Northwest. Mr. Stoyka has a BS and MS Degree in Geology and is a Licensed Hydrogeologist in Washington and a Registered Professional Geologist in Oregon.