2019 Agenda & Speakers

Kick-Off Agenda

Water Summit 2019- August 14, Kick-Off

When: August 14th Where: Conner Prairie
Our Water World – a workshop on the Basics, the Connections, the 101 of Indiana’s Waters
5:00 pm Ask-an-Expert Welcome Reception and Networking
6:00 pm Welcome Address – Senator Victoria Spartz
6:10 pm How Water is Organized and Assessed in Indiana – Watersheds, Sampling Efforts, Studies, Listings/Uses
How Water is Regulated – Federal, State, and Local Water Laws
7:00 pm What are the Greatest Threats to Our Water – Key Pollutants and Risks, Land Use Connections, Critical Resources Protection 
What Activities are Needed for a Sustainable Water Future – Introducing Indiana’s Road Map and Water Dashboard 
8:20 pm Closing Remarks 

Action Forum Agenda

Water Summit 2019- August 15, Action Forum

When: August 15th Where: The Athenaeum
Our Water Foundation
8:30 am Welcome Senator John Ruckelshaus
8:40 am In the Watershed:  A Journey Down the Maumee River Ryan Schnurr, Author
9:00 am Here a Plan, There a Plan, Everywhere a Plan Plan:  How Texas Taps into Local Expertise to Meet Future Water Needs Robert Mace, Water Policy Officer, Texas State University
9:40 am Advancing Indiana’s Water Planning:  Designing a Road Map and Dashboard for Our Shared Water Future Indiana Water Summit Leadership
10:00 am Break
10:20 am Legislative Initiatives, State Funded Water Studies, and Leaders Panel
  • Jim McGoff, Indiana Finance Authority
  • Senator Sue Glick
  • Representative Carey Hamilton
  • Senator John Ruckelshaus
11:15 am Our Water’s Regulator Framework Erica Spitzig, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP
12:00 pm LUNCH  —
Our Water Landscape
Three Farms on the Forefront of Sustainable Agriculture
  • Mike Starkey
  • Mike Werling
  • Rodney Rulon
How Does Widespread Agricultural Change Happen – Panel Discussion
  • Producers
  • Farm Bureau
Prioritization Activity – Indiana Water Roadmap Moderated by Jill Reinhart, NRCS
Climate Change and Our Water:  Future Tangible Implications Alan Hamlet, University of Notre Dame, Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment
A Case Study with a Solution Set:  Learning from the Kankakee
  • Siavash Beik, Christopher B. Burke Engineering LLC
  • Robert Barr, IUPUI, Center for Earth and Environmental Science
Prioritization Activity – Indiana Water Roadmap Moderated by Mali Jeffers, Ambrose Property Group
2:40 pm Break
Relationships Between a Healthy Environment and Healthy Communities: When will our waterways be safe to play in again? Gabriel Filippelli, Indiana University,  Center for Urban Health
3:00 pm Data Cooperation: A Look at Current Knowledge and New Opportunities
  • Indiana Water Monitoring Council
  • USGS
3:00 pm Prioritization Activity – Indiana Water Roadmap Moderated Emily Wood, Indiana Wildlife Federation
4:00 pm Video Highlights from the Three Regional Planning Forums
4:10 pm Learning from Minnesota:  The Water Main’s Effort to Build Public Will and a Water Ethic Amy Skoczlas Cole, Managing Director, The Water Main
4:45 pm Summary and Next Steps for State and Regional Planning
5:00 pm Happy Hour Networking and Live Music


Ryan Schnurr
Ryan Schnurr is the author of In the Watershed: A Journey Down the Maumee River (2017) and a PhD student in American Studies at Purdue University. His essays and reportage have been published by Atlas Obscura, Terrain.org, Old Northwest Review, Midwestern Gothic, and Belt Magazine, among other publications, and have been included in the anthologies Rust Belt Chicago (Belt, 2017) and Voices from the Rust Belt (Picador, 2018). He was born and lives in northeast Indiana.
Robert Mace
Robert Mace is the Interim Executive Director and Chief Water Policy Officer of The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment and a Professor of Practice in the Department of Geography at Texas State University. Robert has over 30 years of experience in hydrology, hydrogeology, stakeholder processes, and water policy. Robert has a B.S. in Geophysics and an M.S. in Hydrology from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and a Ph.D. in Hydrogeology from The University of Texas at Austin. His residential consumption of water is under 30 gallons per person per day (and would be lower if his wife was more cooperative!).
Erica Spitzig
Erica Spitzig is an Associate at Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP in Cincinnati. Erica has significant experience representing clients on Clean Water Act matters, and has worked extensively with municipalities on clean water legal and regulatory issues. Her work includes counseling clients on NPDES permitting, compliance, and appeals; stormwater permitting; and enforcement defense. Prior to joining Taft, she served as Deputy General Counsel for the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) in Washington, DC. She also served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Ohio. Erica received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Franciscan University of Steubenville.
Siavash Beik
Siavash Beik is the Christopher B. Burke Engineering, LLC (CBBEL) Vice-president and its Principal Engineer, with 40 years of professional experience in water resources engineering, planning and management, hydrology and hydraulics, and project management. He is a national leader in promoting flood resiliency, flood risk management, and emergency action/emergency response planning for flooding from natural causes or dam and levee failures. He is active in many national and state professional organizations and currently serves as the ASFPM National Technical Policy Committees’ Coordinator.
Amy Skoczlas Cole
Amy Skoczlas Cole currently leads the Water Main, American Public Media Group’s groundbreaking new effort to redefine Americans’ relationship with this most vital of resources. The Water Main builds public will for clean, affordable, accessible water by catalyzing content, dialogue, and engagement designed to raise understanding and spur action. She currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Great Plains Institute for Sustainable Development, the co-Chair of the Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition, and on the expert advisory board for Ensia media. Amy holds an MBA from George Washington University and a BA from Vanderbilt University.
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Dr. Gabriel Filippelli
Dr. Gabriel Filippelli is a Professor of Earth Sciences and Directs the Center for Urban Health at Indiana University. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief for the journal GeoHealth. Filippelli is a Fellow of the International Association of Geochemistry, is an Air Quality Fellow for the Pakistan Embassy for the U.S. Department of State, and is a former National Academy of Sciences Jefferson Fellow, where he served as a Senior Science Advisor for the State Department. He was the State Department’s chief contact for the Interagency Working Group on Marine Debris and Plastics. In addition, he served as a delegate to several Marine Debris Meetings of the United Nations Environment Program and conducted an Education and Outreach mission to U.S. Embassies in South Africa and Namibia.
Robert Barr
Robert Barr is a research scientist (fluvial geomorphology and hydrology) at the Center for Earth and Environmental Science at IUPUI. His primary research focus is on understanding the physical processes necessary to achieve and maintain healthy stream systems. Bob has participated in numerous large-scale stream assessments, including the Kankakee and Maumee Rivers in northern Indiana, and Eagle Creek and White Lick Creek in Central Indiana. Bob’s current projects include the Indiana Fluvial Hazard Mitigation Program, the School Branch National Water Quality Initiative, the Kankakee River Basin Restoration Initiative, and the Indiana Silver Jackets low head dam initiative. In addition to his academic research interests, Bob has served as a consulting hydrologist and fluvial geomorphologist for over 16 years.
Alan Hamlet
Dr. Alan F. Hamlet is an Associate Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences at the University of Notre Dame. He is a specialist in the integrated computer modeling of climate, hydrologic systems, water resources systems, and ecosystems. These activities include construction of historical hydrometeorological data sets, statistical and dynamic downscaling of climate model output, large- and small-scale hydrologic modeling of surface and groundwater systems, analysis of hydrologic extremes, water resources modeling, and ecosystem modeling of oceans, rivers, estuaries, wetlands, and lakes. Dr. Hamlet has also participated in modeling studies of regional energy systems, agricultural systems, as well as urban heat-related deaths stemming from changing temperature and humidity regimes. He has been involved extensively in integrated modeling studies in western, central, and southeastern U.S, as well as at the global scale.
Rodney Rulon
Rodney Rulon is a partner with cousins Ken and Roy in Rulon Enterprises LLC, a fourth generation family farm near Arcadia, Indiana. Rodney has both B.S. and M.S. from Purdue University in Agricultural Systems Management. He has been responsible for leading the farms development of a production system focused on Maximum Economic Yield through conservation and technology. He manages the farm’s VRT and GIS programs and equipment, drainage system design, soil sampling and fertility, and conservation programs. In 2011, the farm received No-Till Farmer Magazine’s, National No-Till Innovator Award for efforts focused on improving soil health and the economics of conservation production practices. The farm also received the ASA National Conservation Legacy Award in 2012, as well as many other local and national honors. Rulon Enterprises also serves as one of 12 host farms around the state for the Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative (CCSI) which involves hosting educational meetings and cooperative research plots.
Mike Starkey
The sixth-generation Starkey family farm lies in an urban area just west of the metropolitan area of Indianapolis. M&J Farms drains to the School Branch stream which is the third largest tributary feeding Eagle Creek reservoir, a primary drinking water source for Indianapolis. Mike practices no-till agriculture with his cash crops and plants cover crops in the off-season. He says both of those practices have virtually eliminated flooding on his fields and simultaneously improved water retention enough to weather extreme drought conditions like those experienced in 2012. In addition, university research has shown that water leaving his farm is now cleaner than when it enters his land. Starkey may be a conservation success story, but he’s clear that he didn’t get there overnight, and he didn’t get there alone. “My legacy as a conservationist is to improve and protect the borrowed living soil that God has given us and to keep our clean and pure as the raindrops that fall from the sky.”
Mike Werling
Werling is a multi-generation farmer on his grain operation.The farm is located six miles northwest of Decatur. He uses a three-year rotation following corn with soybeans then wheat or oats. He practices no-till and uses cover crops because he doesn’t like soil erosion. It pays off because he was a 2012 winner of the River Friendly Farmer of the Year Award for his conservation efforts. The biggest benefit from his no-till / cover crop mix has been an increase in organic matter in the soil, and improvement in soil life and health. Mike says healthy soil has better water infiltration, less run off, and he uses less fertilizer, and sees better yields. Werling has plans for test plots to measure the value of no-till, conservation tillage and cover crops. The on-farm research is exciting because “that’s real life. These are practices that could be used on a larger scale.”

Past Water Summits