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AGU Fall Meeting is Virtual (Mostly) and Remains Global (Always)

We are excited to announce that #AGU20 will be mostly virtual. “Mostly” because if science and health professionals tell us it is safe for groups to convene, AGU would like to host a regional gathering in San Francisco. If we decide that is feasible, we will let you know by August. In addition, depending on where you’re located (and if it’s safe), you can create your own mini-#AGU20 watch party of hub. We’ll share guidance if you’re interested in being a convener of one of these mini-#AGU20 regional events.

No matter if we are 100% virtual or if regional gatherings are possible, #AGU20 will remain the global convening meeting for the Earth and space sciences community. And this year, we will be able to engage the wider global community.

For more information, click here.


ASCE Developing New Sustainability Standard

In civil engineering design, sustainability is too important to merely be implied or suggested.

So, ASCE’s Committee on Sustainability is creating a performance-based, life-cycle sustainable infrastructure standard.

The committee’s Standards Executive Committee has been developing “Standard Requirements for Sustainable Infrastructure” for nearly a year, aiming to have an innovative and essential industry standard ready for use in 2021.

“As we move toward a civil engineering industry that’s based on sustainability, you now have to be able to answer the question: ‘What is and what isn’t sustainable?’” said John Frauenhoffer, P.E., M.ASCE, secretary for the Sustainable Infrastructure Standard Committee.

“What threshold of sustainability do you need to accomplish? It’s important. And this will give civil engineers a benchmark as to what is sustainable as we attempt to move the industry to sustainable construction.”

The proposed standard will be applicable across all infrastructure sectors, providing coherent and consistent performance-based objectives that can be included in procurement documents by owners, regulators, stakeholders and policymakers.

To read more, click here.


2020 Annual Water Resources Conference

We are excited to announce that AWRA will hold its 2020 Annual Water Resources Conference as planned this November, though with major changes due to extraordinary circumstances. We will be 'meeting' completely virtually. The Call for Abstracts has been extended until June 30, 2020. Stay tuned for more details on registration price and program so you can take part in the conference that has earned a reputation as one of the most diverse and inclusive conferences in water resources management.

AAFA has updated its Webinar Center making it easier to find the virtual content you need and want. Containing more than 25 recorded and live webinars, the AAFA Webinar Center houses information you need on a variety of water resources management areas. New webinars are added monthly!


American Society of Landscape Architects Creates Activity Book to Help Kids Learn About Landscape Architecture

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, ASLA created a fun activity guide to help children who are stuck at home during nationwide quarantines due to social distancing.

While many parents and guardians are adjusting to the changes these quarantines have made towards academic learning, ASLA is providing families with a way to keep kids busy by introducing them to the world of landscape architecture. This free, downloadable activity book provides children ages 9-12 "the opportunity to see and sketch the many drawings, places, and landscapes created by landscape architects."

For more information, click here.


Update on The Geological Society of America’s 2020 Annual Meeting

The Geological Society of America’s 2020 Annual Meeting, formerly scheduled for 25–28 October in Montréal, Québec, Canada, has been recast as a 100% online scientific exchange, taking place over five days, 26–30 October.

GSA 2020 Connects Online will retain many of the traditional features of the in-person annual meeting, including field trips, short courses, technical sessions, poster sessions, the Presidential Address, Feed Your Brain sessions, networking events, GeoCareers opportunities, and the exhibit hall (rebranded as the GSA Resource and Innovation Center)—along with elements that will elicit the flair and feel of the original Montréal location.

For more information, click here.


Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management (IEAM) Calls for Papers Addressing UN Sustainable Development Goals

Integrating Science in UN Sustainable Development Goals

The 2020s will be a transformative decade for human interaction with the earth’s environment, largely inspired by the United Nations’ call for global action through 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Scientific research and environmental management practices can lead the way to sustainability in all sectors of our society. Several SDGs, in particular, aim to reduce our environmental footprint on the planet and preserve, protect and restore the planet’s ecological well-being, notably:

•    SDG #2 - Progress towards sustainable food production
•    SDG #6 - Sustainable management of water
•    SDG #11 - Nature-based solutions in the built environment
•    SDG #13 - Strategies responsive to climate change
•    SDG #14 - Focus on oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development
•    SDG #15 - Actions to protect and restore biodiversity

These six SDGs are the focus of IEAM’s call for papers. To promote understanding of the science–policy nexus and enhance global awareness of the value of sustainable use of the planet’s resources, IEAM is inviting papers describing cutting-edge environmental research and policy solutions relevant to promoting sustainability. Scientists and professionals are invited to present their work from the perspective of how the science community contributes to SDG implementation through new technologies, assessment and monitoring methods, management best practices and scientific research. Papers may describe case studies, regulatory policies, business strategies and science-to-policy assessments aimed at sustainability in various economic and social sectors around the world. Papers may focus on different aspects of issues concerning the conservation and sustainable use of land, air or water resources at the global, regional and national levels.

Successful submissions will benefit from international visibility through publication as examples of thought leadership. Online publication anticipated for late 2020.

For more information, click here.



Report finds that upstream dams have caused low water conditions in the lower Mekong basin

The Mekong River turned blue in the December-January dry season of 2019 and 2020. This postcard-pretty hue was not good news, however. The color change, from its regular muddy brown to a clear aquamarine, was the result of unusually low flows coupled with a lack of sediment in the water. The change occurred as the river at many points sank to lowest-ever recorded levels, threatening riverbank agriculture, irrigation for rice paddies and fishery yields.

The Mekong’s ebb and flow – high in the Northern Hemisphere winter, when snow and glacial melt joins with precipitation to swell the river, and low in the summer, as the waters recede from the banks – creates a hydrological “flood-pulse” that is the heartbeat of this river system. High water levels each year trigger huge migrations of freshwater fish to spawn. Mangroves along the Mekong’s tributaries are nurseries where the juveniles feed and grow, before moving on to be harvested in a multitude of local fishing and processing operations. The Mekong is one of the world’s largest and most productive freshwater fisheries, and the flood-pulse is its driver.

Many observers have linked these unwelcome changes to the presence of large hydropower dams on the Mekong mainstream – and the search for solutions is on.

Using technical tools to support Mekong cooperation

In 2019, the Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership (SIP), which Pact manages, invited climatologist Alan Basist to show how historic data on Mekong river levels can illuminate the search for solutions. Basist and his team at Eyes on Earth, a consulting service that monitors food security and water resources around the world, applied proprietary software to predict the quantity of water that should have arrived in the Mekong downstream that year – but did not.

The Eyes on Earth report, Monitoring the Quantity of Water Flowing Through the Upper Mekong Through Natural (Unimpeded) Conditions,  published this week by Pact, shows that deviations from normal flow patterns began to occur with the operation of the first large hydropower dam on the Upper Mekong mainstream in 2012. Using satellite data on the Upper Mekong from 1992 to 2019, matched against daily measurements of river height downstream at Chiang Saen, Thailand, the research shows unusual fluctuations in recent years. The report concludes that cooperation between China and the Lower Mekong countries to simulate the natural flow cycle of the Mekong could potentially improve low-flow conditions and benefit all communities in the Mekong River Basin.

Read the news release from Pact here.


UN World Meteorological Organization

Flagship UN study shows accelerating climate change on land, sea and in the atmosphere

A wide-ranging UN climate report, released on March 10, shows that climate change is having a major effect on all aspects of the environment, as well as on the health and wellbeing of the global population.

The report, The WMO Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2019, which is led by the UN weather agency (World Meteorological Organization), contains data from an extensive network of partners. It includes input from national meteorological and hydrological services, leading international experts, scientific institutions and United Nations agencies.

It documents physical signs of climate change – such as increasing land and ocean heat, accelerating sea level rise and melting ice – and the knock-on effects on socio-economic development, human health, migration and displacement, food security, and land and marine ecosystems.

To read a summary of the report, click here.

To download the full report, click here.

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