Groundwater is often a "transboundary" resource, shared by many groups of people across town, county, state, and international boundaries. Changes in groundwater resources can create unique challenges requiring high levels of cooperation and innovation amongst stakeholder groups, from individuals to state and federal government.
The High Plains Aquifer (HPA), which spans eight states from South Dakota to Texas, is overlain by about 20 percent of the nation’s irrigated agricultural land, and provides about 30 percent of the groundwater used for irrigation in the country according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Work by the Kansas Geological Survey indicates that some parts of the aquifer are already effectively exhausted for agricultural purposes; some parts are estimated to have a lifespan of less than 25 years; and other areas remain generally unaffected (Buchanan et al., 2015).
The 2016 Critical Issues Forum was a 1-½ day meeting covering multiple aspects of groundwater depletion in the High Plains. Presentations covered the current state of the High Plains Aquifer and water usage from scientific, legal, regulatory, economic, and social perspectives. State-specific perspectives were provided from Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, and Oklahoma, and a variety of issues were discussed surrounding communication, negotiation, policy, and the influence of climate change. Break-out sessions and participant discussions identified lessons learned and best practices from the High Plains Aquifer experience that might apply to other regions facing changes in the Earth system.
Adam Shaw graduated from Western Washington University in 2016 with degrees in Geology and Disaster Risk Reduction. During his final year, he volunteered with Whatcom Unified Emergency Management during the Cascadia Rising exercise and worked with a team to create a draft debris management plan for Whatcom County, WA. The following summer, Adam worked with the WWU Resilience Institute to assist with a series of conferences on Interagency Communication in the Cascadia region held by the Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup (CREW). At AGI, Adam assisted in the development of the Congressional Hazards Caucus website. Adam hopes to continue working in natural hazards and emergency management policy.
The National Science Foundation has chosen former Pennsylvania State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Department dean, William E. Easterling, to serve as the new head of the NSF Directorate for Geosciences (NSF GEO).
The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) held a briefing on outcomes from the 22nd Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 22) in Marrakech, Morocco, which took place November 7-18, 2016.