Program & Agenda

President's Address and Video Presentation: Chasing Water by Peter McBride

Date: Monday, 6 June 2016   Time: 11:15 - 12:00
Location: Sweeney Ballroom E-F

The opening plenary session for the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography’s summer meeting will include a brief talk by ASLO’s president, Jim Elser, and a film by Peter McBride, “Chasing Water.” The session will take place Monday morning, 6 June, at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center.

Peter McBride is an award-winning photographer, writer, and filmmaker who spent over four years documenting the Colorado River. His work focuses on watershed issues and related stories around the world to raise awareness about freshwater challenges.

Peter McBride will not be able to attend in person, but this film is being shown as one of the outstanding highlights of his work.

Opening Remarks:

James J. Elser, ASLO President, Director, Flathead Lake Biological Station, University of Montana, Polson, Montana, and Research Professor, School of Life Sciences & School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

Presentation: ASLO 2.0 Is Underway: On A Steady Course for Productive Waters

Presentation Description: -In this talk, ASLO President Jim Elser will bring meeting attendees up to speed on all of the exciting developments that have flowed during the past few years as ASLO comes into a new era, including the society’s publishing platform with Wiley, the new journal Limnology & Oceanography Letters, and the ASLO Fellows program, as well as continued emphasis on excellence in its flagship journals and meetings.

Biographical Information: James Elser is Bierman Professor of Ecology and Director of the University of Montana’s century-old Flathead Lake Biological Station with a joint appointment as Research Professor in the School of Life Sciences & the School of Sustainability, Arizona State University. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a foreign associate of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters. Elser holds a BS degree from the University of Notre Dame, an MS degree from the University of Tennessee, and a Ph.D. (in Ecology) from the University of California – Davis. Recipient of ASLO's 2012 G. Evelyn Hutchinson Award for research accomplishment and its 1990 Lindeman Award, he now serves as ASLO’s President. Author or co-author of more than 220 scientific articles, co-author of the book Ecological Stoichiometry, and co-editor of the recent book Phosphorus, Food, and Our Future, Elser is co-founder of ASU’s Sustainable Phosphorus Initiative and leader of an NSF-funded Research Coordination Network (RCN) on Phosphorus Sustainability.

About Peter McBride:

Peter McBride has spent two decades studying the world with a camera. A self-taught, award-winning photographer, writer, and filmmaker, he has traveled on assignment to over 70 countries for the publications of the National Geographic Society, Smithsonian, Outside, Esquire, Audubon, Stern, and GEO and companies like Patagonia, Microsoft, The Nature Conservancy, and more. After a decade working abroad and completing a Knight fellowship for journalism at Stanford University, Peter decided to focus his cameras closer to home on a subject closer to his heart. Combining his passion for aviation and his belief in conservation, he spent over four years documenting his backyard river — the Colorado. This journey culminated in a coffee table book: The Colorado River: Flowing Through Conflict, and a series of short films “Chasing Water,” “I AM RED,” and “Delta Dawn.”

Peter now focuses his lenses and energies on watershed issues and related stories around the world to raise awareness about freshwater challenges. His work as a photographer, writer, and filmmaker have garnered awards from the Banff Mountain Film Festival, North American Society of Journalists and Lowell Thomas Travel Writing and many more. American Photo Magazine named Peter as one of the top five water photographers in the nation and in 2014, after he completed a story following the length of India’s Ganges River, The National Geographic Society named McBride a “Freshwater Hero.” When not lost on assignment or doing public speaking, you can find McBride exploring the creeks and mountains in the Rocky Mountains or practicing mandolin on his back porch in Colorado.

About The Colorado River:

The Colorado River is the seventh largest river in the U.S., supplying water to over 40 million people. It is also one of the most diverted, silted, and heavily litigated rivers in the world. The farmers and residents of the rapidly growing western states rely on the river for irrigation, drinking water, and electricity. This demand has permanently altered the river's ecology. The Colorado River: Flowing Through Conflict shows us the river's entirety--from its headwaters in the Colorado Rockies to the dry riverbed that once reached the Sea of Cortez--in an oversized, full-color, photo essay format.

In order to bring awareness to these issues in a unique way, Peter McBride shot much of the book's photography from the air. As McBride explains, "The aerial perspective shows where we as humans have been, how we connect to the earth, and how nature relates to itself." Jonathan Waterman, at times joined by McBride, spent approximately 100 days paddling the river's 1,450 miles from its source in the Rocky Mountains. He completed the final leg of his journey, accompanied by McBride, with a 10-day walk, carrying packrafts over the 90 miles of dried up riverbed. He lends his valuable expertise and personal experience to the book with informative text that illuminates the water debate from all sides.

Santa Fe and their Dependency on the Colorado River:

Water conservation is a way of life in Santa Fe. The Colorado River delivers some of Santa Fe’s freshwater supply, but the concern surrounding the Colorado River’s stability becomes an ever growing issue. The Colorado River delivers almost half of Santa Fe’s drinking water, which is a concern if this water resource becomes unreliable. With water conservation efforts already in place, Santa Fe is putting forth their own attempts to help alleviate some of the Colorado River’s growing water demands. Peter’s work in documenting and exposing the alterations of this massive water highway shows that our dependency on the Colorado River is beyond what the river is capable of delivering.

As the Colorado River dwindles, Santa Fe has outfitted their community to reduce water usage through public education and other water conservation initiatives. With as many as 40 million people in seven Western states depending on the Colorado River, the stakes are substantial if conservation efforts are not successful. Of those 40 million people, 1 million New Mexicans and 100,000 acres of farmland are at risk of seeing their water resource disappear. Peter’s work sheds light on how serious the water conservation issues are surrounding the Colorado River, and how broad the concern should be. Peter has made an everlasting impact and an important contribution in helping bring awareness to the challenges the Colorado River faces and the communities it serves.

The Colorado River – Impact Through Film:

The Colorado River supports many communities through seven Western States, but the impact of the Colorado River goes much farther. Through his short films, Peter has captured the river’s growing transformations and addresses concerns we all face if we are not proactive in saving the Colorado River.