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Managing Rivers in Changing Times: Training Tomorrow's River Professionals


The River Management Society (RMS) hosted Managing Rivers in Changing Climes: Training Tomorrow’s River Professionals April 14-18, 2014 in Denver.  This 12th biennial training symposium provided a unique opportunity to meet and learn from professionals who work on rivers for a wide array of organizations.  Comparing notes with federal and state river managers and planners, recreation specialists for utilities, professors conducting river study projects and rive conservation advocates….offered a ‘boat full’ of river-specific experience and connections.

Nashville Mayor Karl DeanJeff Shoemaker, The Greenway FoundationJane Polansky - Program Co-ChairKen Ransford - Chair









Sponsors included engineers who have restored rivers and built whitewater parks that have withstood 100 year floods. Our first morning keynote speaker Jeff Shoemaker, the Denver-based Greenway Foundation’s Executive Director,walked us through the restoration and rediscovery of Denver’s birthplace from the mind-numbing flood of 1964. Thursday's keynote speaker Mayor Karl Dean from Nashville kept us spellbound as he told the hour-by-hour story of his city’s devastating flood in 2010.  RMS members hailing from Colorado fueled much of the event preparation, notably our Chair, Carbondale resident Ken Ransford and Rob White from the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Park Manager in Salida.

Current and past RMS leaders and sponsors Robin Fehlau, Lynette Ripley, Bunny Sterin, Coriat Waters, Lelia Mellen, Cathi BaileyBill Hansen, National Park ServiceWorkshops on hydropower relicensing, collaboration and project funding were led by representatives of private, state and federal agencies. A training was held or those who write National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) assessments and comment on Environment Impact Statements (EIS). A multi-day workshop taught by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) helped agency and other hydropower project stakeholders understand what will be expected from the information provided in the the FERC Form 80, due April, 2015.  
Professional development sessions included advice and suggested strategies from the Southwest Conservation Corps and Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education. Other topics included
  • River Studies and Leadership Certificate
  • Leave No Trace awareness 
  • Personal Safety training, invaluable for all who work with the public
  • Recreational Whitewater: Keys to Successful Management
  • Techniques for using chain saws in and on the water
  • Paddlesports instruction for adaptive needs paddlers.
  • River management law and floodplain management (continuing education credits offered)


Joy Lujan, National Park ServiceColin Maas, MT Fish, Wildlife and ParksField demonstration during 'Chainsaw In/On W0ater' TrainingExhibitors included Bureau of Land Management, CXT Concrete Buildings, McLaughlin Whitewater Design Group, Wild and Scenic Rivers, Jack's Plastic Welding, and Recreation.gov

Scott Bosse, American Rivers 









See more images from the symposium at the RMS Facebook page, and read on to review the program abstracts and presentations...