Sara Higgins, Assistant Director

In October, the League held its Conference and 55th Annual Meeting in Moses Lake.

Agenda items at the day-long event included a host of different topics. Among them were:

  • Project recreation and tourism
  • Water management systems
  • Weed screens
  • Aging infrastructure
  • Diversion rates
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Easements
  • Contracts
  • Project hydropower
  • The Odessa Ground Water Replacement Program
  • D.C. politics

Attendee survey responses indicted significant knowledge gain as a result of Ephrata Field Office Manager’s presentation on Reclamation’s Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system that helps manage water across the entire Project. Attendee interest in the Banks Lake Pump Storage Project was also evidenced by the numerous inquisitive questions presenter Tim Culbertson received about the Columbia Basin Hydropower’s power generation within the Columbia Basin Project. Networking, too, continues to be of value to attendees, and the League will plan for continued networking opportunities in future conferences.

During the annual meeting, appreciation was shown to outgoing board member, Darcy Weisner, and past board member, Chet Pederson, who passed away last year. Board elections resulted in two additions to the board: Kelly Cochrane and Christina Wyatt. Board members who renewed their terms included: Orman Johnson, Clark Kagele, Richard Burres, Mark Stedman, Dale Pomeroy, Alice Parker, Eli Stahl, Reid Phillips, and JC Baldwin.

This year, past board member, Jeff Schibel, was promoted to Trustee Emeritus in recognition of his dedication to the League.  Washington State Senator, Mark Schoesler, was presented the Perseverance Award, and Stephen Shinn was posthumously awarded an Honorary Life Membership.

The Columbia Basin Project captured the attention of Reclamation and the Department of the Interior as both Shelby Hagenauer, Deputy Commissioner for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and Alan Mikkelsen, newly appointed Department of Interior Field Special Assistant, both traveled to Washington State to present keynote sessions at the Conference.

Overall, the Conference served as a substantial reminder of what we have in the Columbia Basin Project: Multiple benefits, complexities, nuances, significant investments, significant needs, different interests, collaboration, and incredible value.

Save the date for the 2020 Conference: Thursday, November 5.

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