The 2013/14 Southwest Florida Water Resources Conference focuses on climate change and its effects on ecosystem services. As our climate is changing, what effects will there be on our infrastructure, food and water production and areas of habitation?
We all benefit from a multitude of resources and processes that are supplied by ecosystems. These benefits are referred to as ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are raw materials and processes that are the basis from which we derive clean drinking water, clean air, processes of waste decomposition, food production, minerals that power our cell phones and computers, and the list goes on. As human populations grow, ecosystem services are stressed. Add to that, changes in climate that can affect food production, availability of fresh water for drinking, trees to buffer CO2 in the atmosphere and encroachment and damage to our infrastructure. We have a host of new challenges to meet in coming years.
The conference will be held Friday, January 31, 2014
in the FGCU Ballroom at the Cohen Center in Ft. Myers
. Lunch is included as part of the conference and there will be a mixer after hours to follow the technical sessions. On Saturday, February 1, conference attendees are invited to participate in field trips.
Chaired by Karen Bickford, the Conference Host Committee is composed of American Water Resources Association (Florida Section), American Society of Civil Engineers (Florida Section), Audubon Society of Southwest Florida, Florida Engineering Society (Calusa Chapter), Florida Gulf Coast University, Southwest Florida Association of Environmental Professionals, Southwest Florida Watershed Council, University of Florida, and Caloosahatchee Riverwatch Citizens Association – Riverwatch Members. This year’s event will once again be outstanding, keeping with the conference’s long tradition of bringing forward experts from a diversity of disciplines to provide relevant and timely research and professional perspectives on contemporary issues.
Helping organize student participation in the conference is the Florida Gulf Coast University Student Chapter of AWRA (officer, FGCU AWRA Student Chapter) and the FGCU student chapter of ASCE.
Students are strongly encouraged (and subsidized) to attend. Students are eligible to win poster session awards of $400 and $200 as well as a $500 on-the-spot scholarship given out during the sessions by random drawing. Students are also invited to participate in the always-popular “Lunch with a Professional.” In 2013, a half of all attendees were students, making for an excellent mix of participants. Limited student housing is available for nominal cost at the scenic FGCU Vester Field Station, a short walk from Barefoot Beach on Bonita Beach.