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WATERS Network News--October 2007

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WATERS Network News--October 2007 Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                         Upcoming Events
                                                      October 2007
In this issue                                                            Town Hall Meetings
                                                                         The WATERS Network Project Office will
    q   ES&T Publishes Feature Article on WATERS Network                 be holding community town hall meetings
    q   NSF Funds WATERS Network Planning for Third Year                 and making presentations at upcoming
    q   Meet the WATERS Network Management                               conferences. For updates on specific
                                                                         times and locations, please visit the
    q   CUAHSI Regional Meetings Will Solicit Feedback on                Waters Network website.
        WATERS Network
    q   NRC Conducting Formal Review of WATERS Network
                                                                         CUAHSI Regional Meeting
    q   WATERS Network Timeline                                          Boise, ID USA
    q   Subscribe to WATERS Network News                                 October 26

                                                                         Related Meetings & Presentations

ES&T Publishes Feature Article on the WATERS Network                     WATERS Test Bed Planning Meeting
                                                                         Baltimore, MD
The latest issue of Environmental Science & Technology (October 1,       October 22-23
2007), a peer-reviewed journal published by the American Chemical
Society, includes a feature article on the WATERS Network. To view the   American Geophysical Union Fall
full article, "The WATERS Network: An Integrated Environmental
                                                                         Meeting
Observatory Network for Water Research," please click here.
                                                                         San Francisco, CA USA
                                                                         December 10-14
                                                                         "Recent Innovations in Environmental
                                                                         Sensing, Cyberinfrastructure, and
                                                                         Observatories"
                                                                         Poster Session Time TBD


                                                                         For More Information

                                                                         WATERS Network
                                                                         http://www.watersnet.org
                                                                         CUAHSI
                                                                         http://www.cuahsi.org
                                                                         NSF
                                                                         http://www.nsf.gov


                                                                                                                   1
NSF Continues Funding for Third Year of WATERS Network
Planning
                                                                              Subscribe/Unsubscribe
WATERS Network Will Complete Planning Documents, Solicit
                                                                              To subscribe to WATERS Network
Community Input, and Cultivate Partnerships
                                                                              News, please send an email to
                                                                              majordomo@ncsa.uiuc.edu with the
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has funded the WATERS
                                                                              following in the email body:
Network Project Office to continue its planning efforts for a third year to
design a national-scale observatory network for water research. “This
year we’re working on finalizing the major science questions that the         subscribe waters
infrastructure will address and beginning to better define the path from      <youremail@somewhere>
science questions to infrastructure requirements,” said Barbara Minsker,
WATERS Network Principal Investigator.                                        (subscribe waters
                                                                              <johndoe@home.com>)
The Collaborative Large-scale Engineering Analysis Network for
Environmental Research (CLEANER) Project Office began formal                  To unsubscribe, please send an email
planning for the network in July 2005, and in the summer of 2006 joined       to majordomo@ncsa.uiuc.edu with the
similar efforts of the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of      following in the email body:
Hydrologic Science (CUAHSI). In January 2007, the CLEANER Project
Office became the WATERS Network Project Office to reflect the joint          unsubscribe waters
leadership with CUAHSI. (To learn more about the partnership between          youremail@somewhere
CLEANER and CUAHSI to lead the WATERS Network Project Office,
please see the article in the May 2007 issue of WATERS Network                (unsubscribe waters jdoe@home.com)
News.)

The third year of the planning effort will be coordinated by the WATERS       Past Issues
Network Management Board and is led by Minsker, former co-director of
the CLEANER Project Office. The board includes four additional co-
principal investigators: CUAHSI Executive Director Richard Hooper,            To view previous issues of WATERS
David Tarboton (Utah State University), and former CLEANER Co-                Network News (WNN) and CLEANER
Directors Charles Haas and Jerald Schnoor. To learn more about the            Quarterly Update (CQU), please visit the
management board members, please see the box below.                           links below:

                                                                              WNN May 2007
The management board and a team of senior investigators (who will be
introduced in the next issue of WATERS Network News) are developing           CQU September 2006
a Conceptual Science, Education, and Design Strategy that will describe
the major science questions, educational objectives, and infrastructure       CQU March 2006
requirements needed to meet the science objectives of the WATERS
Network. This document, along with information on the networking and          CQU November 2005
informatics design, facility and equipment needs, technical feasibility,
and costing and risk analysis will form the basis of the preliminary
Project Execution Plan (PEP). The PEP is required for NSF’s
Conceptual Design Review, the first step in the application process for
Major Research Equipment Facilities Construction (MREFC) funding.
For more information on the MREFC application process and
requirements, please see the NSF Large Facilities Manual.

“Bringing together multiple communities to define a research vision in
these documents is a tremendous challenge,” said Hooper. The
WATERS Network design attempts to integrate engineering, social
science, earth science, and biological science for water research.
“Traditionally only one aspect of water has been studied at a time,”
continued Hooper, “resulting in unintended consequences when we try
to manage it. For example, if we have a flood, we might build a levy, but
continued on page 3
                                                                                                                         2
continued from page 2
                                                                                Comments? Ideas?
it may cut off a wetland, changing the biogeochemistry and leading to
land subsidence and other harmful consequences.”
                                                                                If you have any questions or comments
Over the next year, WATERS Network will seek community input from a             about the newsletter, please contact the
diverse audience. “We want to know whether the proposed infrastructure          WATERS Network Project Office:
is relevant to their current research interests, whether they have other
ideas for research with the same infrastructure, and which of the               WATERS Network Project Office
research interests them the most,” said Minsker. She also hopes,                Ballston Metro Center Office Tower
specifically, that social scientists will provide more feedback on the          901 N. Stuart St.
design and potential uses of the infrastructure. Presentations and              Suite 800
interactive question-and-answer sessions will be held at conferences,           Arlington, VA 22203
town hall meetings, and the CUAHSI regional meetings (see article               703-248-0121
below). Once complete, the planning documents will be available online          WATERSinfo@ncsa.uiuc.edu
for public comment.

“In some sense,” said Hooper, “this overall activity is trying to get the
community to come together to define the universe of what we want to
do, and then out of that universe select what’s the most effective thing to
do now, based upon technology, science interests, and fundability.”

Environmental observatories are being developed across the country,                      WATERS Network Timeline
said Schnoor, who really hopes “to hear from those who are beginning
embryonic observatories themselves because they know what the pitfalls          July        Establish project office
are, and they can help us make a better design.” Schnoor also hopes the         2005
broader community can provide more detail on cyberinfrastructure,
bandwidth requirements, and data streaming facilitation.                        March       Initial drafts of CLEANER
                                                                                2006        committee planning
Starting in 2008, the WATERS Network design team will develop more                          documents
comprehensive observatory designs at several exemplar sites, beginning
with one in an arid region (Sierra Nevada) and one in a humid region            Jan         CLEANER Project Office
(Susquehanna River Basin/Chesapeake Bay). Others may be added to                2007        becomes WATERS Network
address particular design gaps (e.g., major navigable rivers). Local                        Project Office
teams will work with WATERS Network senior investigators to propose
infrastructure, sensor network placement, and research questions for            April       Final versions of committee
each site. “The observatory designs are site independent, but very              2007        documents available on
difficult to do without actually looking at a location in more detail than we               website
have so far,” said Minsker.
                                                                                Early       Public comments on and NRC
The design teams will also examine “how the proposed WATERS                     2008        reviews draft of Conceptual
Network will fit in with existing water resource network infrastructure and                 Science, Education, and
monitoring efforts that are out there and what will be the unique                           Design Strategy
contribution of WATERS Network,” said Hooper. To this end, WATERS
Network will continue to cultivate partnerships with federal agencies and
                                                                                Early       Further refine and seek
other observatory initiatives. “We have a weather service that looks at         2008 -      community input on Design
precipitation and that predicts floods. We have a geologic survey that
                                                                                Fall        Strategy; develop preliminary
understands the ground water and the water resources of the country.            2009        Project Execution Plan (PEP)
We have a fish and wildlife service that deals with habitat issues, but, in
fact, water touches all of these things,” said Hooper. “Some of the             July        Establish WATERS Network
interesting research has to do with understanding how all these pieces fit      2008        management entity
together and that’s what the WATERS Network should try to advance.”
continued on page 4                                                                                 Timeline continued on page 4




                                                                                                                              3
continued from page 3                                                                                     continued from page 3

At NSF's request, the National Research Council is conducting a
formal review (see article on page 8) of WATERS Network planning                Fall        Target date for NSF
documents before they are submitted to NSF for review.                          2009        Conceptual Design Review of
                                                                                            WATERS program plan
Also planned for year three is conception of a formal organizational
structure for the consortium that will oversee future construction,             2010-       Preliminary and Final Design
operations, and community engagement.                                           2012        planning phases

                                                                                2012        Target date for consortium to
                                                                                            begin construction of
                                                                                            WATERS Network

                                                                                2016        Target date for WATERS
                                                                                            Network launch




                                  Meet the WATERS Network Management Board

                          Barbara Minsker

                          University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)
                          Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
                          Director, Environmental Engineering, Science, and Hydrology Group, National Center for
                          Supercomputing Applications (UIUC)


                             Barbara Minsker, former co-director of CLEANER, is principal investigator for the
     WATERS Network Project Office. Combining traditional engineering with cutting edge supercomputing
     applications, Minsker’s research has focused on innovative and cost-effective solutions to complex
     environmental problems, including improved modeling and management of environmental systems for better
     prediction and decision-making capabilities. Minsker believes that the WATERS Network infrastructure will
     achieve integration of data, models, and decision support across disciplines, resulting in more effective
     approaches to systems-level questions. “The real world is integrated,” she said, “but right now we break it up
     into little pieces. To be able to look at the whole picture will result in much, much richer research, enabling us to
     better understand and manage these systems, and, in the end, hopefully find solutions for society that are more
     sustainable in the long run." In 2003 Minsker received the American Society of Civil Engineers Walter L. Huber
     Civil Engineering Research Prize for her work advancing and applying genetic algorithms to environmental and
     water resources monitoring and remediation design. She is also principal investigator for a WATERS Network
     test bed project addressing hypoxia in Corpus Christi Bay.

                                                                                                          continued on page 5




                                                                                                                                4
                    Charles Haas

                    Drexel University
                    L. D. Betz Chair Professor of Environmental Engineering
                    Head, Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering



                     Charles Haas, who believes that WATERS Network has the potential to “lead to better
knowledge in terms of how we design facilities for providing better water to people and the ecosystems,” began
working on the project as co-director of CLEANER. Now a co-principal investigator for WATERS Network, he is
a member of the science team working on the Conceptual Science, Education, and Design Strategy. Much of
his research and career has focused on urban water issues, including work for the Philadelphia Water
Department on recreational water quality, analysis of microbiological levels in various surface waters in
Chicago, and disinfection of drinking water supplies. For his innovative research in environmental science and
engineering, he has received numerous awards, including the Association of Environmental Engineering and
Science Professors’ Frontiers in Research Award, the UIUC Department of Civil and Environmental
Engineering’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, and the International Ozone Association’s Harvey M. Rosen
Memorial Award. He was elected as a fellow to the American Academy of Microbiology, the American
Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Society for Risk Analysis and was designated a national
associate with the National Academies in 2004.




                    Richard Hooper

                    CUAHSI
                    Executive Director and Board of Directors President




WATERS Network Co-Principal Investigator Richard Hooper’s experience with the U.S. Geological Survey
ranged from working as a biogeochemist on integrated research in a small forested catchment to working on
water quality monitoring programs for some of the largest rivers in the nation, including the Colorado, the
Columbia, the Mississippi, the Rio Grande, the St. Lawrence, and the Yukon. Hooper’s experience with multi-
scale watersheds led him to consider how water monitoring data might also be used to answer large-scale
research questions, including how entire systems work. “What brought me to CUAHSI and the WATERS
Network,” said Hooper, “is this question of how we combine and do research at a larger scale than the
traditional, very small experimental watershed. WATERS Network will enable truly innovative, interdisciplinary
research on water as a human resource, as a natural part of the earth’s system to be studied.” Member of the
National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics Advisory Board, Hooper has also served as a member of the
National Ecological Observatory Network advisory board, chair of the Hydrology Section of the American
Geophysical Union Water Quality Technical Committee, associate editor for Water Resources Research, and
co-director of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization advanced research workshop on ecosystem modeling.

                                                                                                continued on page 6


                                                                                                                      5
WATERS Network News--October 2007

                         Jerald Schnoor

                         The University of Iowa
                         Allen S. Henry Chair in Engineering
                         Professor, Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Occupational and
                         Environmental Health
                         Co-Director, Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research

  Jerald Schnoor, former co-director of CLEANER, is co-principal investigator for WATERS Network and a
  member of the science team working on the Conceptual Science, Education, and Design Strategy. A pioneer in
  phytoremediation, the use of plants to help clean the environment, Schnoor co-edited Phytoremediation:
  Transformation and Control of Contaminants, the top textbook in the field. Reflecting his continued commitment
  to revolutionary science and research, he was attracted to the WATERS Network Project by the possibility of
  doing research in a new way: “Traditionally both hydrologists and environmental engineers have worked at
  much smaller scales, at the catchment or watershed scale, but here we’re trying to look at problems at a
  continental scale, which has never been done before.” He is the author of Environmental Modeling: Fate and
  Transport of Pollutants in Water, Air, and Soil and more than 150 journal articles on various environmental
  science and engineering topics and is the editor-in-chief of Environmental Science and Technology. A member
  of the National Academy of Engineering and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory
  Board, Schnoor also served as chair of the NRC Colloquium on Biofuels and Water Sustainability. He has
  testified several times before Congress on environmental quality issues, delivered numerous distinguished
  lectures, and received multiple awards and funding for his writing and research.

                         David Tarboton

                         Utah State University (USU)
                         Professor, Utah Water Research Laboratory and the Department of Civil and
                         Environmental Engineering
                         Director, USU Water Initiative


                       David Tarboton is co-principal investigator of WATERS Network and a member of the
  science team working on the Conceptual Science, Education, and Design Strategy. Since CUAHSI’s inception,
  Tarboton has been an active participant with the consortium, which was started to develop large-scale
  hydrologic observatories and the infrastructure to support them. Tarboton served as chairman of a task force
  initiated by USU’s president that led to the creation of the USU Water Initiative, which facilitates collaborative
  water research and interdisciplinary study across six colleges and 14 areas of study. As chairman, he
  determined that “an experimental observatory local to Utah State that a lot of people could work on would be a
  good thing to achieve synthesis and develop synergy to simulate interdisciplinary work.” WATERS Network,
  said Tarboton, presents the opportunity to achieve the same goals at a national scale. He believes that the
  WATERS Network is “an opportunity for the younger generation to step up and develop infrastructure that’s
  going to answer the big questions about water and the hydrologic cycle for the future,” including water quantity
  issues in the economically growing Western U.S. and water quality issues in the industrial East. Tarboton’s
  research focuses on hydrologic information systems, spatially distributed information modeling for prediction,
  and software development to facilitate hydrologic modeling and terrain analysis. Former associate editor of
  Water Resources Research, he was also a member of the NRC Committee on River Science at the U.S.
  Geological Survey and of the NSF-supported Center for Airborne Laser Mapping Steering Committee.



                                                                                                                       6
CUAHSI Regional Meetings Planned for Fall and Spring
Meetings Will Solicit Feedback on WATERS Network

Throughout fall and spring the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science (CUAHSI) will be
conducting regional meetings to provide updates on current projects, including the WATERS Network, and to solicit
feedback on its five-year renewal proposal that was submitted to the National Science Foundation in August. Rick
Hooper, executive director of CUAHSI and co-principal investigator for WATERS Network, said the regional meetings
will also provide a forum for both local and national community science programs, including the National Ecological
Observatory Network (NEON), the Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System, the Critical Zone Exploration
Network, the Upper Mississippi River Basin Observatory, and the Inland Northwest Research Alliance, among others,
to describe their projects to attendees.

The meetings are open to the public. Hooper and Claire Welty, chair of the CUAHSI Board of Directors and principal
investigator for one of the WATERS Network Test Bed Projects, expect these meetings will be attended by a wide-
ranging audience, including faculty from multiple departments, graduate students, government scientists, and the host
university’s regional partners, such as the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest
Service. “The more people we can reach, the better, and the more synergies that can be realized from the meeting,”
said Welty.

With their potentially broad audience, the CUAHSI regional meetings are a good opportunity for WATERS Network to
obtain feedback from a diverse community. “One reason CUAHSI was founded was to work together as a community to
build observatories,” said Welty, and she anticipates the audience to be highly interested in the update on the WATERS
Network.
Hooper hopes the audience will provide reactions to help narrow the scope and improve the details of the WATERS
Network Conceptual Science, Education, and Design Strategy. "We're looking for what parts of this broad activity
are most important for the community to invest in, recognizing that even a large amount of money is still a finite
amount of money," said Hooper. "We need to get input from the community on their specific interests and any
critical gaps in our science plan."

The first meeting was held October 5 in Austin, Texas, and the second was held October 12 in Chicago, Illinois.
The next meeting is scheduled for October 26, in Boise, Idaho, and several more will soon be scheduled for the
early spring of 2008.
For more information on the meetings, please see CUAHSI's website.




                                                                                                                        7
National Research Council Conducting Formal Review of WATERS Network
NRC and NSF Expect Review to Yield Specific Suggestions for Design Improvement

“There are real challenges in putting together the documents that the WATERS Network is drafting,” said George
Hornberger, Ernest H. Ern Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia and chair of the National
Research Council (NRC) Committee on the Review of WATERS Network. Requested by the National Science
Foundation (NSF), the review will result in a book-length report on WATERS Network planning and design. “For an
investment of this magnitude,” Hornberger continued, “you have to articulate the truly important scientific questions and
why it’s necessary to have the proposed design to answer those questions. That’s a real challenge, and it’ll be a
challenge for the committee to review the documents that come forward.”

Selected from a large pool of qualified candidates nominated by the NRC Water Science and Technology Board, its
staff, and other relevant boards at the National Academies, the 12-member, interdisciplinary committee includes
experts in environmental engineering, hydrologic science, limnology, social science, ecology, and computer science.

The committee will comment on WATERS Network planning documents; the adequacy of the planning process,
including the funding of test bed projects and sensor and cyberinfrastructure research; the potential use of the network
for the support and transformation of water science and engineering; the integration of WATERS Network with similar
efforts of federal agencies; and the likelihood that facility design will result in reasonable operations and maintenance
costs.

“NSF wants to make sure that there’s strong support from the scientific community,” said Patrick Brezonik, former
director of NSF’s Environmental Engineering Program and professor of civil engineering at the University of Minnesota.
The NRC review “is not a guarantee, but is pretty important in terms of convincing Congress and the Office of
Management and Budget that yes, this is a good project.” Brezonik is also confident that the committee will make
specific suggestions that will result in improved physical design of the WATERS Network.

This review of the WATERS Network will build on an earlier NRC review of the Collaborative Large-scale Engineering
Analysis Network for Environmental Research (CLEANER). Completed prior to the drafting of more detailed WATERS
Network planning documents, CLEANER and NSF’s Environmental Observatories (2006) “focused on what are the
major scientific questions that an environmental observatory initiative like CLEANER or WATERS Network could or
should address, and does the science warrant a facilities project like this. The answers were favorable,” said Brezonik.
CLEANER began formal planning for a national-scale observatory network for water research in 2005. After joining
similar efforts of the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science (CUAHSI), CLEANER
became the WATERS Network in 2007.

"I think the hope by NSF and WATERS Network," said Hornberger, "is that the review [of WATERS Network] will be
much more specific, will really get down to brass tacks about what, if anything, needs to be done."

Five members of the WATERS Network review committee served on the CLEANER review committee. "They're familiar
with what was in the first report and can bring that to bear during this study," said Dorothy Weir, research associate for
the NRC WATER Science and Technology Board and study director for the WATERS Network review.

In June, the review committee for WATERS Network held its first meeting to gather information, including the
CLEANER review and background documents and information from WATERS Network and CUAHSI. To explore
partnership opportunities for WATERS Network, the committee heard presentations from six government agencies and
from two other NSF environmental observatory initiatives, the National Ecologoical Observatory Network and the
Ocean Observatories Initiative.

The NRC's next committee meeting is scheduled to tentatively overlap with a WATERS Network workshop (planned for
early next year). After attending the workshop, the committee will gather additional information on sensor technology
and the planning documents and then meet to determine its recommendations.
continued on page 9

                                                                                                                        8
continued from page 8

“NSF often requests an NRC review for high-visibility programs within the agency, where they want a high-level, blue-
ribbon panel to review what has been produced by the project so far,” said Hornberger. “I think it helps the NSF to
assess the relative strength of the science that’s put into it and offer advice on what might need to be done” before the
planning documents are submitted for the NSF Conceptual Design Review. “We have a very good group of people on
the committee, and we’re going to do our best to produce something that’s useful to the WATERS Network and NSF,”
concluded Hornberger.

For updates on the review schedule, a scope of tasks, meeting agendas, and biographies of the committee members,
please see the NRC review committee website.

To read more about the application process for Major Research Equipment Facilities Construction funding, please see
the NSF Large Facilities Manual.

To view the CLEANER review, CLEANER and NSF’s Environmental Observatories, please see the National
Academies Press website.

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   WATERS Network News is published by the WATERS Network Project Office. The editor is Jennifer Pillen Banks.

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