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Welcome to the 2009 Briefing Series for Members of Congress and Staff

This year's theme is "USGS Climate Change Science: Exploring the Past, Observing the Present, Forecasting the Future"

Previous Congressional Briefings

Fourth in the 2009 series

Accounting for Water Use and Availability

Water is our single largest commodity, but we don't account for our water resources as we do for other important commodities. How has our use of water across the United States changed in the past 50 years? USGS and its partners will teach us what they know-and don't know-about the Nation's use of water. At the request of Congress, USGS is assessing current water resource availability and use, and looking at climatic trends. We will learn about the 2005 Water Use Report, as well as the National Water Census. Come learn how the pilot project from the Great Lakes Basin will be used in the National Water Census and also how state water managers can use USGS data to develop water management tools in their respective states. Hear about how the Secure Water Act, passed in the 2009 Omnibus Public Land Management Act, will build upon existing programs.

Date: December 4, 2009
Time: 10:00 a.m.

366 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC


USGS identifier Matt Larsen
Associate Director for Water
U.S. Geological Survey

USGS identifier Robert Hirsch
Research Hydrologist
U.S. Geological Survey

David Naftzger
Executive Director
Council of Great Lakes Governors

USGS identifier Jim Nicholas
Director, USGS Michigan Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey

Jon Allan
Executive Director
Environmental and Laboratory Services for Consumers Energy, Michigan

USGS identifier Eric Evenson
Coordinator, National Water Census
U.S. Geological Survey


Powerpoints: Climate Change: Impacts on the Colorado River 
PDF (2 MB)

For more Information:

Congressional Sponsors:

Speaker Biographies

Dr. Matt Larsen was named Associate Director for Water in 2008 and is responsible for USGS water-related research and activities to provide reliable, impartial, timely information that is needed to understand the Nation's water resources. Prior to this duty, he was the Chief Scientist for Hydrology and led the USGS National Research Program in hydrology. From 2000 to 2003 he was the USGS Caribbean Water Science Center Director and supervised USGS water resources programs in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. During that period he also served as a coordinator and researcher on a USGS international mission that responded to the December 1999 landslide and flash flood disaster in Venezuela.  Dr. Larsen was the Luquillo, Puerto Rico, Water, Energy, and Biogeochemical Budgets (WEBB) project chief from 1990 to 2000. Dr. Larsen began his USGS career in 1977 with the Branch of Pacific and Arctic Marine Geology, Geologic Division, Menlo Park, California, where he served as a physical science technician in a study of natural hazards to petroleum development in the Northern Bering Sea, Alaska. He is currently the Chair of the U.S. National Committee for the UNESCO International Hydrological Programme and is the author of 67 scientific reports and journal articles.  Dr. Larsen earned a B.S. in Geology from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and a Ph.D. in Geography at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Robert M. Hirsch is a Research Hydrologist at the U.S. Geological Survey. In his current position, Dr. Hirsch focuses on methods for better documenting and understanding long-term changes in water quantity and quality in rivers. From 1994 through May 2008, he served as the Chief Hydrologist of the USGS. In this capacity, he was responsible for all USGS water science programs. He began his USGS career in 1976 and has conducted research on water supply, water quality, pollutant transport, and flood frequency analysis. Since 2003 he has served as the co-chair of the Subcommittee on Water Availability and Quality of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources of the National Science and Technology Council. He has received numerous Federal and non-government honors and has twice been conferred the rank of Meritorious Senior Executive by the President of the United States. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an active member of the American Geophysical Union and the American Water Resources Association. He holds a bachelorís in geology from Earlham College, a masterís in geology from the University of Washington, and a doctorate in geography and environmental engineering from The Johns Hopkins University.

David Naftzger is the Executive Director of the Council of Great Lakes Governors. Mr. Naftzger oversees six foreign trade offices promoting State exports, the regional biomass energy program, and the regional tourism partnership. He also facilitated the negotiation of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact and coordinates the Governors’ broader efforts to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Previously, he was the National Conference of State Legislatures’ director for agriculture and international trade in Washington, D.C. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from DePauw University and a master’s degree in economics from the London School of Economics, and he studied at the University of Freiburg, Germany.

Jim Nicholas has been Director of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Michigan Water Science Center since 1998. He and his staff work closely with state, county, and municipal agencies to provide scientific information needed to support decision-making. He helped lead recent statewide, regional and bi-national research efforts to better understand the relationship of groundwater and surface water in support of the Great Lakes –St. Lawrence River Basin Compact and related Michigan legislation. Jim is a frequent technical advisor to several state and regional groups that deal with the application of science to policy, regulatory, and resource management issues. He holds a B.S. in Geology from Wheaton College, an M.S. in Geology from Northern Illinois University and an M.S. in Civil Engineering—Water Resources from Stanford University.

Jon Allan is Executive Director of Environmental and Laboratory Services for Consumers Energy Company, where he has responsibility for development of the Utility’s environmental strategy and management of compliance programs related to air, water, land, waste and remediation. He also manages the Companys analytical testing laboratory which specializes in analytical chemistry, non-destructive and materials testing, metallurgy and instrument calibration.  Jon was previously Manager of Next Generation and has served as Director of Environmental Services, Land and Water Management and as Department Head of the Analytical Chemistry Laboratory for Consumers.

He is the former chairman of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce’s Environmental Quality Committee, served as advisor to the Great Lakes Compact negotiations and was co-chair of Michigan’s Groundwater Conservation Advisory Council.  He currently serves on the Water Resources Advisory Council and the Environmental Advisory Council for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and recently served on the Michigan Climate Action Council and the Midwest Governor’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord Advisory Group. Jon holds a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife, an M.S. in Zoology (Aquatic Ecology) from Michigan State University, and completed substantial additional post-graduate work in Environmental Policy and Law at MSU.  He is a published author on topics related to wetlands, stream ecology and impact assessment.

Eric J. Evenson is the USGS Coordinator for the National Water Census, one of the six major themes in the USGS Science Strategy Plan, that focuses on investigating various aspects of water availability.  Eric started with USGS in 1992. Prior to his current position, he served as the Regional Program Officer of the USGS, Northeastern Region Water Programs and in the New Jersey Water Science Center as the Associate Director and Center Director.  Before joining the USGS, Eric worked for the environmental consulting firm of Metcalf & Eddy, Inc., and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Water Resources, where he served as an alternate commissioner representing the State of New Jersey on the Delaware River Basin Commission and as a member of the Management Committee of the Delaware Bay National Estuary Program. Eric is a native of Nebraska and a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln with a B.S. in Zoology and a M.S. in Ecology.

For information on the Briefing on Capitol Hill, please call 703-648-4455.

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