Upper Oconee Science and Policy Summit

The Upper Oconee Watershed Network in partnership with UGA River Basin Center, UGA Office of Sustainability, ACC Stormwater,  and ACC Water Conservation will host the fourth biennial Upper Oconee Watershed Policy Summit.  “Exploring the Intersection of Science and Policy in the Upper Oconee Watershed” will occur on Wednesday February 15, 2023. 

The summit will bring together scientists, policymakers, activists, students, managers, and community members from across the region to explore the intersection between water resource science, management, and policy in the Upper Oconee Watershed.

Register for FREE Here! The deadline to submit an abstract has been extended to February 5, 2023. There is no deadline for registration.   

Oral presentations will:

  •      Educate attendees on the water resource activities occurring in the watershed
  •      Highlight the integral connection between science and policies and management
  •      Identify research and policy needs as well as opportunities for collaboration and action in the watershed
  •      Introduce decision makers and managers to some of the brightest student researchers at UGA

Aquatic research programs can yield valuable knowledge to inform policies and management decisions.  Frequently, much is lost in the translation between scientific research and policy development. The summit seeks to address this challenge by: (1) highlighting effective ways in which science can inform policy development, (2) foster a collaborative environment where scientists, policy professionals, and community members can share needs and interests, and (3) identify gaps in research that are needed to support effective watershed management.


8:30      Registration, light breakfast and coffee provided by Sips Cafe

9:00      Welcome and Introduction to Summit

Science Track

Session 1:  UOWN Research 

9:15      Erin Lipp                         TBD

9:30      Megan Robertson         Aeromonas Prevalence in the Upper Oconee Watershed

9:45      David Wenner               What Continuous Stream Monitoring Can Tell Us About Sampling

Session 2:  Local Water Quality Research

10:00   Seth McWhorter           Quantifying and Communicating the Risk of “Eagle Killer” Toxin   

                                                    Persistence in Aquatic Environments

10:15    Laura Naslund               Characterizing Spatial and Temporal Variability in Greenhouse Gas    

                                                     Emissions from Small Impoundments

10:30    Mid morning break

Policy Track

Session 3:  Athens Clarke-County/Education

10:45    Todd Stevenson            Stormwater Runoff Reduction

11:00    Stacy Smith                    Litter and Illegal Dumping in Athens-Clarke County

11:15    Sheridan Soileau            Keeping the Flow in our Watershed

 11:30   Ella Filston                      Trash Traps at UGA

11:45    Liz French                       PreK-12 Environmental Education for Watershed Stewardship

Lunch – provided by Taqueria La Parrilla

Session 4: Water Policy in the Upper Oconee

1:00      Karen Porter                  Oconee Rivers Greenway: A Collaboration Between Citizens and Government

1:15      Gail Cowie                      Flow-Dependent Benefits and Uses of Water Resources in the Oconee River Basin                                             

1:30      Amy Rosemond             Sustainability of Stream Health in the Upper Oconee Watershed Requires

                                                     Engagement with the Upper Oconee Regional Water Plan        

1:45      Andrea White               The #1 App for Exploring Georgia’s Rivers (live via Zoom)

2:00      Wine, Beer and Water Quality

3:00      Closing Remarks