Ohio River Basin 2020 Summit and Symposium


Ohio River Basin Consortium for Research and Education  logo  
UofL Logo 
Ohio River Basin Alliance logo

The Ohio River Basin Consortium for Research and Education (ORBCRE) and
the Ohio River Basin Alliance (ORBA) Present:

Bridging Visions to Protect Our Health, Economy and Environment in the Ohio River Basin

Wednesday, September 30th - Friday, October 2nd, 2020
University of Louisville, Louisville, KY

PLEASE NOTE: We have made the decision for the conference to be virtual with the exception of the Ohio River Celebration on 9/30 at the Waterfront Botanical Gardens*.  

Important Dates

Conference Registration Deadline: 9/27/20

Registration Deadline for Ohio River Celebration and Seize the Day for Ohio River Restoration: 9/30/20

Please register for multiple events at https://ohioriverbasinsummitandsymposium2020.eventbrite.com

Invasive species, HABS, Land Use, Populations, Ecosystem Services and Economics, Nutrients, Policy, Citizen Science, Contaminants of Emerging Concerns, Connectance between Streams and Rivers, Anthropological and Archaeological Research, Outdoor Recreation and Therapeutic Effects, Scientific Communications, Ecosystem Restoration, Abandoned Mine Impacts, Ecological Economics, Invasive Species, Aquatic Biology, ArcGIS Applications, Drought Management, Environmental Policy, Flood Management, Food, Energy and Water Nexus, Geological Science, Hydrological Modeling, Social Hydrology, Stormwater Nutrient Removal and Mitigation, Stormwater BMPs, Watershed Management, Water Quality Impairment Studies, Water Resource Engineering and Management, Story-telling and Ethnography.

The Ohio River Basin Alliance (ORBA) will be hosting a series of implementation workshops for the Ohio River Basin Plan 2020 on Wednesday September 30th. The six workshops are based on the goals of the Ohio River Basin Plan:

  • Reliable Flood Control and Risk Reduction
  • River Transportation Corridor
  • Healthy, Productive Ecosystems
  • World-Class Recreation Opportunities
  • Abundant Clean Water
  • Knowledge-Informed Decisions
Fishing in Ohio River: photo by John NationPicking flowers near Ohio River: photo by John NationKayaking in the Ohio River: photo by John Nation

Photos by John Nation


Wednesday, September 30th


Ohio River Strategic Plan Virtual Workshops 

The Ohio River Basin Alliance (ORBA) will host a series of workshops focused on implementing the goals 2020 Ohio River Basin Strategy including: Reliable Flood Control and Risk Reduction; River Transportation Corridor; Healthy, Productive Ecosystems; World-Class Recreation Opportunities; Abundant Clean Water and Knowledge-Informed Decisions.  

8:30 – 8:45 AM
Welcome with Chuck Somerville

8:45 – 9:00 AM
Comments from the Hill with videos from legislators

9:00 – 9:30 AM
Overview of the Ohio River Basin-wide Plan with Harry Stone

9:30 – 10:00 AM
Goal: Abundant Clean Water with Richard Harrison

10:00 – 10:30 AM
Goal: Flood Control & Risk Reduction with Sarah Hippensteel Hall

10:30 – 10:45 AM

10:45 – 11:15 AM
Goal: Healthy & Productive Ecosystems with Jordan Lubetkin

11:15 - 11:45 AM
Goal: Knowledge Informed Decisions with Heather Mayfield

11:45 AM – 1:00

1:00 – 1:30 PM
Goal: Nature-Based Recreation with David Wicks

1:30 – 2:00 PM
Goal: Transportation & Commerce with Marty Hettel

2:00 – 2:15 PM

2:15 – 3:15 PM
Open, Moderated Q & A; ORBA Business Meeting with Chuck Somerville

3:15 – 3:30 PM

3:30 – 4:30 PM
Working Group Leader Debrief with Harry Stone

5-8 PM

Ohio River Celebration

Location: Waterfront Botanical Gardens*
Join us to learn how researchers, conservation groups, and recreation enthusiasts collaborate to restore and protect the Ohio River and its tributaries. Inspirational exhibits will be arranged across the Gardens, with music featuring local artists.

At 6:00 PM, we’ll pause in our explorations to hear short presentations from representatives of the City of Louisville, Ohio River Basin Alliance (ORBA), and Ohio River Consortium for Research and Education (ORBCRE).

Also, we will present the 2020 River Keeper Award to Dr. Michael Miller, Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Cincinnati. Read more about Dr. Miller.

This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required (the number of participants is limited due to Covid-19 spread prevention guidelines, and all must wear masks). This event is also sponsored by River City Paddle Sports, Salt River Watershed Watch, and the Ohio River Recreation Trail.

To register, please use this link https://ohioriverbasinsummitandsymposium2020.eventbrite.com

Thursday, October 1st

9:00-10:00 AM

Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Katrina S. Korfmacher

Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center

Dr. Katrina S. Korfmacher standing in front of silos


"Bridging the silos of environment and health: Local collaborations to improve environmental justice"

During this virtual plenary session, Dr. Korfmacher will compare several case studies of communities working together to address challenges at the interface between public health and environmental quality. Her presentation promises to inspire us to plan collaboratively with community-based organizations as we work to provide clean drinking water and healthy waterways for all Ohio River Basin residents and visitors.

Dr. Korfmacher is Director of the Community Engagement Core, Environmental Health Sciences Center; Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center; and author of Bridging Silos: Collaborating for Environmental Health and Justice in Urban Communities (MIT Press, 2019).

10:00-10:45 AM

Dr. Brad Collett
Associate Professor, UT Department of Plant Sciences

Brad Collett

"The Tennessee RiverLine: A vision for North America’s next great regional trail system"

Tennessee River Line logo

11:00-12:00 AM

Bridges Toward Healing Troubled Waters: Strategies for Collaboration

Moderators:  Perry Thomas, Kentucky Division of Water and Dr. Christopher Lorentz, Thomas More University

During this virtual panel, we feature case studies of collaborations that bridge traditional divisions among organizations. The focus will be on how to build and sustain effective inter-organization partnerships. Featured projects address water quality and quantity in rural, suburban, and urban areas. Panelists include representatives from a county health department, county fiscal court, watersheds alliance, and state agency. Brief presentations by panelists will be followed by a lively Q & A session. Participants may submit questions before or during the workshop.

Mahtaab Bagherzadeh

Mahtaab Bagherzadeh
Mahtaab Bagherzadeh is an environmental scientist with the Kentucky Division of Water. Mahtaab serves as a river basin coordinator and provides technical assistance to communities integrating hazard mitigation plans with watershed management plans. She is an alumna of Virginia Tech's Biological Sciences program (B.S., 2015) and the University of Kentucky's Integrated Plant and Soil Sciences program (M.S., 2018).

Rebecca Trueman

Rebecca Trueman
Becca Trueman is the Watershed Coordinator for Oldham County, responsible for building partnerships within the community for the purpose of addressing water quality impairments in the Currys Fork Watershed. Additionally, Becca serves on the board of two local organizations with parallel objectives to conserve natural resources through expanded community engagement; the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Salt River Watershed Watch. Becca holds a B.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Connecticut and an M.S. in Biology and Environmental Science from the University of Rhode Island. She currently resides in Louisville with her partner and two cats.

Charlie Ward

Charlie Ward
Charlie has worked at the Oldham County Health Department for eight years and is currently the environmental health director. He also serves as president of the Kentucky Onsite Wastewater Association and president of the Kentucky Environmental Health Association. Charlie is a 2007 graduate of the University of Louisville.

Ward Wilson

Ward Wilson
Ward has been an active member of the Kentucky Waterways Alliance (KWA) for much of the
organization’s 25 years. He was on KWA’s board of directors for several years, then became Executive Director in 2017. For 30 years, Ward worked as a consulting ecological engineer with specialty in watershed management and ecological restoration. He holds an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Virginia Tech and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Kentucky. Ward is licensed as a Professional Engineer and is board-certified by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists. Of collaboration, he says, "It is more effective and more fun to work with others on resource issues—it is where I find the most joy in my work and have made many friendships."

1:00-2:00 PM

James Parrott, Rochelle Holm, Jay Garland


Covid-19 Risks through the Aquatic Environment

Moderator:  Russell Barnett, University of Louisville Envirome Institute

Panel Presenters:

  • James "Tony" Parrott, Executive Director Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District
  • Dr. Rochelle Holm, University of Louisville Envirome Institute
  • Dr. Jay Garland, Senior Research Scientist, US EPA Center for Environmental Solutions and Energy Response, Cincinnati

2:00-6:40 PM


ORBA and ORBCRE Research Presentations

Concurrent Sessions 2:00-4:15 PM.
Participants may choose a presentation from one of the concurrent sessions that run during the first five time slots.




Future Fund Land Trust: Protecting tributary streams
Future Fund Land Trust

Harmful Algal Blooms in the Ohio River
Bevin Hardy, Urban and Public Affairs


Nine Mile Run Environmental Equity Study
Michael Hiller, Assistant Director, Nine Mile Run Watershed Association

Mike Miller Presentation




Environmental Justice and the Ohio River
Russ Barnett, University of Louisville Presentation

Impacts of Climate Change on Urban Stream Water Quality
Jason Ingram, Researcher


Diminution of Authority and Tools for Protection of Water Quality in the Ohio River Basin
Dr. Eric J. Fitch, Director Environmental Science Program, Marietta College, Marietta, OH

Developing Watershed Watch as a Platform to Build Local Engagement with Water Resources
Becca Trueman, Salt River Watershed Watch


National Rivers Project, fueled by the National River Recreation Database
Risa Shimoda, Executive Director, River Management Society

Investigating the Diversion of Water Salinity due to Routing of Blackbrook Creek using Watershed Model
Suresh Sharma, Youngstown State University

Poster Session



Modeling The Impact of Climate Change on Dissolved Organic Carbon in The Ohio River Basin
Uwakmfon Ibekwe, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University


96-Hour Acute Toxicity Test of Agricultural Runoff to Green Algae (Selenastrum capricornutum)
Hailey Oldfield, Coastal Carolina University


Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Stream Assessment of Twelvemile Creek, Campbell County, Kentucky
Michael Brett, Thomas More University

5:30-5:40 Gut Content Analysis of Ictalurus punctatus (Channel Catfish) in the Ohio River 
Alexis Brandenburg, Thomas More University

Is Fragment Size or Fragment Number More Important to Moth Biodiversity in Iowa Prairie Fragments?
Andrew Seiler, University of Louisville


Gut Content Analysis of Benthic Fish: How a fish's habitat effects their diet
Sawyer Lorentz (Thomas More University)


Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis
Daphne Schaaf, Thomas More University


Prevalence of E. coli in Urban Streams of Cabell County WV
Abigail Dropik, Department of Biological Sciences, Marshall University and Koontz, Bethany, Department of Biological Sciences, Marshall University


Fish-Host identification of Louisiana Fatmucket, Lampsilis hydiana
Jonathan Frommeyer: Thomas More University Ohio River Biology Field Station


Advancement in Cumulative Sampling Methods For Fecal Contamination Profiling and Success Monitoring in Streams
Sam Kessler, University of Louisville, Water Professionals Chapter and Dept. of Geography & Geoscience

Friday, October 2nd

9 AM

Keynote Speaker:
John Austin
Director of the Michigan Economic Center

John Austin

Reclaiming the Waters of the Ohio

How Restoring the Ohio River Watershed Can Build a Thriving “Blue Economy”         

John Austin, 58, recently completed 16 years elected service on the Michigan State Board of Education, serving 6 years as President. Austin directs the Michigan Economic Center www.MECReports.org a center for ideas and network-building to advance Michigan’s economic transformation.  He also serves as a Non-Resident Senior Fellow with the Brookings Institution, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and the Upjohn Institute where he leads these organizations efforts to support economic transformation in the American Great Lakes and Midwest region. 

In 2006 Austin created and directed the Great Lakes Economic Initiative for the Brookings Institution where he authored key Brookings reports that directly shaped the region’s economic development agenda including  “Healthy Waters, Strong Economy” which spurred federal support for Great Lakes clean-up and restoration. Austin coined the term “Blue Economy” to describe how water innovation, reclamation and access supports new economy activity and community revitalization. Mr. Austin also Lectures on the Economy at the University of Michigan. Austin received his Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and a Bachelors from Swarthmore College in Economics & Political Science, with High Honors and Phi Beta Kappa. 

10 AM-Noon

Seizing the Day for Ohio River Restoration

A vision for science-based ecosystem restoration integrated with equity and justice

Join staff from the National Wildlife Federation in an interactive discussion about a proposed science-based framework for ecosystem restoration that considers threats – including habitat loss, climate change, and others – to the Ohio River and its tributaries, impacts from those threats, and potential approaches to restoring the aquatic environment in the basin.

We believe we have a historic opportunity to engage many diverse stakeholders in crafting a visionary ecosystem restoration plan for the Ohio River that leads to a strong restoration economy, supports people who have historically borne the brunt of pollution and environmental degradation – people of color, rural and low-income communities, and tribal nations – and benefits fish, wildlife, and many other species in the basin.

Come prepared to offer ideas, energy, and insight.

It’s going to take all of us to restore the Ohio River and the rivers, wetlands, and habitats in the 15-state region that contribute to a healthy and productive ecosystem. Working together, we can make a difference. So please join in the discussion and participate in the crafting of a visionary ecosystem restoration plan from Day 1.

Meeting participation information:


Meeting ID: 999 3210 4471

Password: 378873

One tap mobile

+16465588656,,99932104471# US (New York)

8884754499,,99932104471# US Toll-free

Poster and Presentation Student Awards

Contact Information

Dr. Tamara Sluss, Conference Chair, at , or at 502-529-1602
Dr. David Wicks, Conference Community Activities, at , or at 502-671-3595

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Dr. Tiao J. Chang, Executive Director of ORBCRE at chang@ohio.edu

*In-person activities at the Waterfront Botanical Gardens will be based on the current guidelines of the Jefferson County Health Department and Commonwealth of Kentucky Health Department.