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50 Years of Watershed Modeling -- Past, Present and Future

The overall goal of this conference is to bring experts and students together to discuss and explore the evolution and future developments of watershed modeling. The objectives are to:

  • Recognize the building blocks and honor the early developers of watershed modeling codes, and tell the story lines of advancements and failures over the past five decades;
  • Acknowledge and establish the current state of the science/technology; and
  • Project future trends and initiatives for watershed modeling over the next ten years.

"Past" - Some of the scientists and engineers who have been instrumental in the development and advancement of watershed modeling over the past fifty years will speak at this session

"Current" - The current state of watershed modeling will be explored in this session by technical presentations that focus on current watershed modeling issues and approaches. Some examples of presentation topics include: lumped versus distributed parameterization; date integration (e.g., satellite data); code integration (surface and ground water); multiple spatial scales; support tools such as GUIs, utilities and post processing scripts; frameworks, etc. Decision support systems aimed at cost-effective strategy development at watershed scales will be reviewed. Of particular interest are the opportunities to use these decision support systems and other watershed models to include consideration of coincidental events such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, hurricanes, large long-duration tornados, area-wide power failures, extremely long participation events, etc.

"Future" - This session is designed to discuss future trends and initiatives in watershed modeling. Discussions will focus on defining watershed modeling research and technological needs in areas such as climate change, adaptive management, groundwater and surface water interactions, biological endpoints, linked/integrated and distributed 1D-2D models in urban and mixed land use, integrated interfaces, and other emerging areas of science and technology such as remote sensing, LIDAR, digital orthophotos, and GIS programming to support parameterization. Distinction can be made between needs specific to research, and those technologies ready for demonstration and validation. Research or funding organizations can benefit from these discussions to develop future statements of needs for their programs.

The conference is ideally suited for practicing professionals, academics, regulatory agencies and students working in the field of watershed resources by offering a broad perception of the evolution and future developments of watershed modeling. Federal and other agencies developing research and development initiatives related to watershed modeling will benefit as well.

Conference Co-Chairs:
Anthony S. Donigian, Jr., AQUA TERRA Consultants
Richard Field, US Environmental Protection Agency

Poster Abstract Submission

The oral presentations are all by invited speakers. However, the conference organizers welcome poster abstracts from all potential participants. Posters will be grouped and displayed by theme to maximize information exchange and networking opportunities.

The conference venue (NCAR - National Center for Atmospheric Research) provides spaces for maximum of 50 posters (4ft x 4ft per poster).

Important Dates

July 15, 2012 Deadline for poster abstract submissions (250-300 words per abstract)
July 30, 2012 Acceptance and official notice
September 24, 2012 Posters should be placed at designated areas by noon.

Participants are strongly encouraged to submit abstracts (see themes below) for the poster sessions, which form an integral part of the conference.

One-page abstracts (approximately 250-300 words) that include specific results and conclusions to allow a scientific assessment of proposed presentation are invited. Abstracts should be submitted electronically at

The abstract template available at the above link must be followed for an abstract to be considered for presentation.


1. Case Studies in Watershed Modeling (10-15 posters) Historical and/or existing watershed model application cases:

  • noteworthy watershed modeling projects in various applications (e.g., operational watershed management, TMDLs, sustainability, climate change, etc.)
  • sensitivity and uncertainty analyses with complex watershed models
  • use of models for regulatory and policy decision-making
  • acceptance/reliance on model analyses within the Legal (i.e. court) system
  • case studies where the model provided surprising (even counter-intuitive) insights into management decisions, etc.

2. Scientific/Technical Innovations in Watershed Modeling (25-30 posters) Ongoing innovations in watershed modeling techniques, such as:

  • surface/subsurface water and groundwater interactions
  • lumped versus distributed parameterization
  • modeling in multiple spatial scales
  • code/model/system interface integration
  • data monitoring and model calibration
  • data integration (e.g., satellite and web-based data, remote sensing, LIDAR, digital orthophotos, and GIS programming to support data and parameterization needs)
  • combined sewer overflows and sanitary sewer overflows
  • stormwater permitting and agricultural permitting
  • watershed-based programs and decision making, etc.

3. Path Forward in Watershed Modeling (10-15 posters) Breakthrough current/future challenges in watershed science and modeling, including:

  • environmental sustainability
  • climate change
  • evolving water quality standards
  • biogeochemical and ecological endpoints
  • linked/integrated and distributed 1D-2D models in urban and mixed landuse
  • more innovative management technologies
  • potential drivers that will support the future enhancement and continued evolution of the models, etc.


Awards and/or scholarships may be available. Applicants should continue to check back to this website for updates on these potential opportunities.


Contact: Kevin Korpics
Engineering Conferences International

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