Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lecture at NAU on January 26

Flagstaff Earth Sciences Seminar Series,  Co-sponsored by AHS

  • When: Thursday, January 26, 4:00 p.m.
  • Where: NAU – Physical Sciences Bldg (19) – Room 103
  • Speaker: Dr. Ed Harvey, 2017 Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lecturer, Hydrogeology Division, Geological Society of America, National Park Service

A reception will follow the talk.

Water Resource Stewardship in the U.S. National Park Service

On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service, a new bureau in the Department of the Interior. This “Organic Act” directed the Park Service “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” This conservation, enjoyment and protection mandate also applies to water resources within parks.

Unlike most park resources that are located largely within park boundaries or are completely under the management control of the NPS, park water resource issues and management often involve greater challenges. These challenges arise from the fact that surface water and aquifer boundaries often extend beyond park boundaries and because the legal authority to allocate and manage water resources typically resides with the states. Thus, parks often need to consider resource issues at a larger landscape, or seascape scale, and manage collaboratively with neighbors and partners to protect, manage and restore water resources. In addition, water resource expertise is not always available within a park, resulting in the need to partner with other agencies, universities, friends groups, or regional and national offices. Lastly, many park water resource issues have broader legal, political, socioeconomic, and cultural implications, requiring park managers to consider more than just the science alone when making a water resource management decision.

The lecture, using a series of examples from various parks across the U.S., will explore the process of how parks identify water resource needs, issues and concerns, and how they develop and apply the necessary scientific information needed to make decisions.

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