Thursday May 19 at 1pm ET
François-Nicolas Robinne, a research scientist at the Canadian Forest Service, shares his expertise utilizing wildfire and freshwater data to identify watershed risks on May 19th.
Webinar description: Water security risks are at an all-time high, as various aspects of global change combine to wreak havoc on communities and ecosystems around the world. For the past 10 years, wildfires have emerged as an additional threat to sustainable water supplies; Canada, a fire-prone country well-known for its mighty rivers, is now taking a stronger stance to address this issue. Building risk knowledge conducive to sound policies is not an easy task, especially for emerging risks for which data, scope of study, and a well-defined terminology might be lacking. Focusing on wildfire-watershed risks, Robinne will review the existing risk terminology and suggest appropriate uses so that studies on this topic are properly framed. He will also discuss the importance of data, especially data openness, for the creation of much-needed baseline knowledge. Finally, Robinne will address several gaps and opportunities to advance wildfire-watershed risk research in Canada in the near-future.
Bio: François-Nicolas Robinne is a risk geographer whose research focuses on the relation between wildfires and water security. After completing his Master's of Risk & Disaster Management in France, he worked several years in the forestry and conservation sectors as a GIS and remote-sensing analyst. After moving to Canada, he received is PhD in forest biology and management in 2017 from the University of Alberta, and he did his postdoc as part of the Global Water Futures research program.
He is now a research scientist at the Canadian Forest Service, where he combines available wildfire and freshwater data to identify watershed risks and to protect Canadian water resources.
forWater is featured in Climate Atlas of Canada's video - Quality Control: Wildfire, Water, and our Health Monica Emelko and Francois Robinne explain the connections between wildfire, water, and the health of Canadians.
Wednesday May 25 at 1pm ET
Emma Blackburn, a recently graduated Master's student, forWater member, and part of the Water Science, Technology & Policy group at the University of Waterloo, presents her work on biofiltration and techno-ecological nature-based solutions.
Webinar description: Climate change-exacerbated landscape disturbances, such as wildfires and floods, are increasingly challenging drinking water treatment. They result in more runoff and lead to more variable and deteriorated source water quality. Dissolved organic matter (DOM) can be especially challenging to treat because it can be smaller and more aromatic after disturbance. "Green" or nature-based solutions are increasingly proposed to address these challenges; however, they have not yet been defined, making it difficult for stakeholders to communicate priorities. Additionally, their resilience in response to landscape disturbances have not yet been investigated.
This research presents a framework to evaluate green technologies in the water industry and its implications specifically to drinking water treatment. Biological filtration treatment resilience was investigated post-disturbance, specifically post-wildfire, because wildfire disturbances result in especially severe consequences for water quality. This work provided a proof-of-concept demonstration that biological filtration can buffer elevated source water DOM after wildfire, although its resilience may be challenged under certain conditions.
Bio: Emma received her MASc with the WaterSTP group in the department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Waterloo in Spring 2022 before recently starting her PhD. Her research is focused on green biofiltration technologies for treatment resilience. She received her B.Sc. in Earth and Environmental Sciences (Co-op) from McMaster University in 2019 and has previously worked as an environmental assistant for the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and in environmental consulting.
Kelsey Kundert, Senior Project Process Engineer at the City of Calgary, and Nik Knezic, current PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo, won first and second place in the American Water Works Association Academic Achievement Awards for best Master’s thesis, respectively. This award is part of an international competition with theses submitted from around the globe.
Kundert submitted his thesis focused on coupled chemically-assisted filtration (CCAF) investigating approaches for increasing filter resilience and performance during drinking water treatment. He was solely supervised by Dr. Monica Emelko. Knezic, who was co-supervised by Dr. Mike Stone and Dr. Monica Emelko submitted his thesis on the addition of coagulant for managing sediment-associated phosphorus bioavailability to prevent cyanobacterial blooms in drinking water reservoirs.
Both award-winners studied with the Water Science, Technology & Policy research group at the University of Waterloo and are members of the forWater Network, a pan-Canadian interdisciplinary network focused on drinking water source water protection in forested landscapes. The two researchers indicated that the unique cross-disciplinary focus of the WaterSTP group and the forWater Network supported their innovative research projects resulting in their award.
“The Academic Achievement Award encourages academic excellence by recognizing contributions to the field of public water supply. All masters theses and doctoral dissertations that are relevant to the water supply industry are eligible.”
The competition is represented by many of the top universities. The awards will be presented at the AWWA Annual Conference and Exposition in San Antonio, Texas June 12-15, 2022, during the plenary session on Monday, June 13. Both award-winners receive complimentary conference registrations, a plaque, and a $3,000 or $1,500 US award, respectively.
The forWater Forum will bring together the forWater Network to build on 4+ years of cross-theme collaborations and synergies.
The forWater Forum agenda included:
Chris Williams the former Highly Qualified Professionals (HQP) Coordinator reflects on his 4+ years working with the forWater Network.
As many of you may know by now, I am (sadly) leaving my role as the HQP coordinator with the forWater Network. I have accepted a position as the Regional Aquatic Specialist for the BC Public Service in the Kootenay Boundary Region. While I am excited for the new opportunity a little closer to my home in the Okanagan, it is tough to know I will no longer have as much interaction with the forWater community.
I will especially miss working with the bright group of students who have come through the Network, some of whom I have not even had a chance to meet in person. However, I am very grateful we were able to get together for a couple of in-person ST3 weeks before the pandemic.
If the last couple of years have taught me anything, it is that there is no adequate analogue for face-to-face interaction. While there are plenty of opportunities to learn about the connections between forest management, disturbance and drinking water treatability, the best part about my experience with forWater, to me, is the opportunity to meet new people doing similar water-related things across the country. That said, I’d like to encourage the students (HQP) to get involved with the student committee and network with those around you at ST3 week, whether it is with other students, researchers, partners or stakeholders.
The forWater Network presents a truly unique opportunity for students - you never know when you will have an interaction that leaves such an impression that you will remember it for years, even if it seemed unimportant at the time. I would very much like to see many of you on Vancouver Island this August but, if not, then I hope we meet again further on down the line!
The Network provides insights into new scientific research for safe, secure drinking water---globally---which starts with resilient forests