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SFS Annual Meeting



President, PFAS Solutions
New Castle, DE USA

Why is PFAS a wicked problem?

A wicked problem is a problem that is difficult to solve because of incomplete, and changing requirements where the effort to solve one aspect of the PFAS problem may create other problems. In this talk I will outline technical and socio-economic drivers that had spurred development and use of PFAS, to the many ways it is released into our environment, connecting what we know about mobility of diverse types of PFAS through air, soil and water, the many ways it impacts the natural world (people and environments), and its un-equitable impact on economically disadvantaged communities to a greater degree. I will touch on our research at the Center for PFAS Solutions into solving the wicked problem of removing and ultimately destroying PFAS and how current solutions shift the burden from one part of our environmental system to another.

Seetha Coleman-Kammula, Ph.D., is the President and co-founder of PFAS Solutions, an independent not-for-profit organization committed to doing good science for a healthy environment. She is a serial entrepreneur and a former Senior Vice President of Basell, a Royal Dutch Shell and BASF joint venture.

Dr. Coleman-Kammula started as a research scientist in Amsterdam and held diverse positions in 4 countries managing R&D, strategy and business units. After retiring from Shell she served on Dow Chemical Company’s sustainability external advisory board and founded Simply Sustain LLC, a management consulting company in sustainability. She currently leads the Center for PFAS Solutions.

The Center for PFAS Solutions specializes in trace level analysis of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), a group of chemicals of concern. Through research and development of innovative test methods, they offer their clients products and solutions to problems resulting from the production, formulation, and end-use applications of PFAS.

Alison M. Meadow, Ph.D.

Associate Research Professor
Office of Societal Impact
University of Arizona

Engaged Research and Societal Impact: Linking Research and Evaluation to Engaged Research and Societal Impact to Improve Practice and Outcomes

We have solid (and ever-growing) evidence that engaged research practices - when researchers and community members, practitioners, and/or policy makers work together to examine problems and generate research in support of solutions - generate research that is more likely to be useful, usable, and used to inform behavior, practice, and policy. We also know that engaged research requires skills, resources, and time that are often in short supply. Furthermore, when engagement is not undertaken ethically and appropriately, we can undermine even our best intentions and do further harm to communities and relationships of trust. In this talk, I'll discuss some of the principles of engaged research and how we can use evaluation practices as tools for reflecting and learning that will help us be more effective in our engagement practices and help generate more positive and long-lasting impacts for the people we work with.

Alison M. Meadow is an Associate Research Professor in the Office of Societal Impact at University of Arizona. She received a Bachelor's degree in Native Studies and Anthropology from Trent University in Ontario, Canada; a Master's in American Indian Studies from University of Arizona; and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her Ph.D was completed through the interdisciplinary Resilience and Adaptation Program at UAF. Alison's research focuses on the process of linking scientists with decision makers to improve the usability of climate science, with a particular emphasis on evaluating the societal impacts of research. She works with researchers and research programs to plan effective engaged research efforts and assess the outcomes and impacts of their work. Alison also works, through the NOAA-funded Climate Assessment for the Southwest, to support communities in the Southwest as they undertake climate change adaptation planning efforts. Outside of work, Alison can usually be found outside! She is an avid open water swimmer, hiker, and runner (in a family of mountain bikers) and loves the mountains, deserts, and lakes of Arizona.

Erik L. Silldorff, Ph.D.

Restoration Director at the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Bristol, Pennsylvania

Aquatic Life in the Delaware River Basin: Our Unique History, Past Successes, and Persistent Challenges

The 13,000 square miles (34,000 of the Delaware River watershed are in many ways extraordinary, and yet this watershed is also quite ordinary, with countless positives and negatives that have resulted from 400 years of choices – good and bad. Unlike many rivers in the eastern United States, migratory fish can still reach hundreds of kilometers into the headwaters because we have (fortunately!) failed to dam the river’s mainstem. Freshwater mussels persist at densities of a million animals per kilometer of river for much of its length, and the river serves as a biological reference benchmark for rivers throughout the northeastern United States. Yet end-of-pipe ammonium is still permitted at 35 mg/L right here in Philadelphia and throughout the Delaware estuary, and dissolved oxygen sags below 50% saturation annually during summer. Streams and rivers are “impaired” in all corners of the watershed, and more than 50 years after passage of the Clean Water Act we struggle to reverse these impairments. I share stories and anecdotes, data and conclusions from a career spent largely fighting here in this Delaware River watershed, fighting and learning. This ‘stream and its valley’ continues to inform and guide, and I explore how the currents and eddies sweep us on this sinuous journey toward knowledge, protection, and restoration.

Erik is the Restoration Director and senior scientist at the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, a fierce environmental advocacy organization working to protect and restore streams and rivers throughout the Delaware River watershed. Erik’s research and professional career span government agencies, research universities, natural history museums, consulting firms, and NGOs throughout the United States. For the last 20 years, Erik has probed the corners of the Delaware Basin through biological assessments, research on freshwater mussel declines, exploiting native migratory fish for controlling invasive species, and following the geologic trail into past as well as surprisingly contemporary ecological threats. In policy and regulatory arenas, Erik has played central roles in nutrient criteria development, ecological flow standards, wastewater permitting, and anti-degradation policies. His research into nutrient criteria helped reinitiate long-stalled policies to eliminate hypoxia in the Delaware estuary, and turn the tide for our critically endangered Atlantic sturgeon. Erik continues to enjoy the murky challenges of applied research and restoration ecology, and bringing science into environmental advocacy. He received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University, and both his master’s in applied statistics and his PhD in ecology from UC Santa Barbara.

From a Ripple to a River: At the Confluence of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in SFS

An invitation to learn about and engage with SFS’s current and future DEI initiatives

Summary: An overarching vision of SFS is to be a vibrant, inclusive, and diverse community dedicated to advancing, applying and translating science for the health and vitality of freshwater ecosystems and the equitable distribution of the benefits they provide. Pioneering efforts in the Society to advance inclusion began with the Diversity and Education committee and the Instars program, laying the groundwork for growth in diversifying the field of freshwater science. Recognition of the Society’s commitment to diversity and inclusion was key to the funding of the year-round Emerge program by the National Science Foundation (NSF), which broadens participation and leadership in freshwater science. The Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion task force and associated Council of Underrepresented Voices, as well as activities in recently NSF-funded BIO-LEAPS (Leading Culture Change Through Professional Societies of Biology) projects, have identified and are facilitating additional changes in SFS structures and functions to create a more welcoming and affirming Society to all. Summaries of these efforts will be presented, followed by an open discussion on how to become involved and to help SFS and the freshwater sciences become more inclusive.

  • Amy Rosemond, PhD, UGA Foundation Professor in Ecology and Distinguished Research Professor, Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia
  • Checo Colon-Gaud, PhD, Professor of Biology, Associate Dean Averitt College of Graduate Studies, Georgia Southern University
  • Arial Shogren, PhD, Assistant Professor in Biology, University of Alabama
  • Zanethia Barnett, PhD, Research Fisheries Biologist, US Forest Service, Southern Research Station
  • Sally Entrekin, PhD, Associate Professor in Entomology, Virginia Tech University
  • Daniel McGarvey, PhD, Associate Professor, Center for Environmental Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University