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SFS Annual Meeting

Wednesday, June 5, 2024
10:30 - 12:00

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S24 New Approaches and Methods for Understanding and Improving Urban Waterways: A Global Perspective

10:30 - 10:45 | Independence Ballroom A | REVITALIZING URBAN WATERWAYS FOR WILDLIFE AND PEOPLE

6/05/2024  |   10:30 - 10:45   |  Independence Ballroom A

Revitalizing Urban Waterways for Wildlife and People In the City of Chicago, as well as in many cities around the world, significant changes in land use and the nature of urban environments are creating unique opportunities for the revitalization of heavily urbanized waterways. Throughout Chicago, miles of riverfront properties will be redeveloped, as stretches of the Chicago River which once were flanked by massive industrial tenants, are being converted into residential towers and commercial opportunities. In general, the Chicago River is a heavily engineered and tightly controlled system. While there have been significant efforts to improve water quality and ecosystem health in the Chicago River, glaring gaps still exist which limit the effectiveness of these efforts and wider regional initiatives. Urban Rivers, a non-profit based in the city, has been working since 2017 to reduce these barriers and help fill the major gaps that are preventing a more holistic revitalization of urbanized waterways. The primary tool in their work has been to deploy novel floating habitat structures (artificial floating wetlands- AFWs), which can add in-stream habitat in tricky places, and are flexible enough to be able to provide a stable platform from which native plants and wildlife can be established along the river. Here we will demonstrate the effectiveness of AFWs across three different locations along the Chicago River system from an ecological perspective, and examine how urban river edge parks and public spaces play a critical role in the education and propagation of new river-recovering efforts along the wider urban waterway.

Phil Nicodemus (Primary Presenter/Author), Urban Rivers, phil@urbanriv.org;

10:45 - 11:00 | Independence Ballroom A | THE MIAMI RIVER: UNCOVERING PLACE-BASED MEANINGS FOR URBAN RESIDENTS USING PHOTOVOICE

6/05/2024  |   10:45 - 11:00   |  Independence Ballroom A

The Miami River: Uncovering Place-Based Meanings for Urban Residents Using Photovoice Miami, Florida faces significant environmental and climate vulnerabilities due to its geographical location, exacerbated by its history of segregation and immigration, particularly impacting marginalized communities. In response, inclusive governance is urgently needed to integrate these communities, their voices, and concerns. The Miami River, an important but often overlooked social-ecological system (SES) that has played a central role in the history and growth of Miami, serves as a connecting thread that stitches together the natural system and the human populations that reside along its banks. Given its ever-changing role and significance, the Miami River presented an opportunity to apply the theory of sense of place with a focus on the dimension of place meanings. Sense of place are the meanings and attachments to a setting held by an individual or group and the positive, negative, and ambivalent descriptions about why individuals or communities perceive and attribute such a meaning to a place. These meanings can change over time. We offer the Miami River as a novel case study for examining this change over time in an urban setting. We share our efforts to document and amplify diverse human-nature connections on the Miami River using photovoice. Photographs taken by participants illustrated the values and concerns that they ascribed to the Miami River and the Allapattah neighborhood of urban Miami. Photovoice proved to be a valuable tool that facilitated reconstruction of place meanings while fostering a space for individuals to voice their values and concerns.

Melissa Lau (Primary Presenter/Author), Florida International University, mlau006@fiu.edu;

11:00 - 11:15 | Independence Ballroom A | SOCIAL ECOLOGICAL DYNAMICS OF AN URBAN STREAM ALONG A LONGITUDINAL CONTINUUM IN BOGOTÁ, COLOMBIA

6/05/2024  |   11:00 - 11:15   |  Independence Ballroom A

Social Ecological Dynamics of an Urban Stream Along a Longitudinal Continuum in Bogotá, Colombia Streams traverse different ecological realities, and in urban systems, different social contexts. Ecological theory on urban streams and streams in general has focused primarily on identifying patterns in biophysical features along stream courses. In urban settings, these biophysical features such as contamination have been associated with human presence. Recognition that humans influence the biophysical traits of urban streams, and research on human roles within urban systems is growing. Existing studies that examine humans as part of urban stream systems often focus on human influences at one point along a stream. To understand ways that human roles and perceptions of urban streams change from headwaters to downstream, we conducted a pilot study of water quality and associated human interactions, attitudes, and knowledge in the Santa Librada Stream in Bogotá, Colombia. We interviewed riparian residents at 5 points along the stream to understand their perceptions, uses, and knowledge about the stream. We also collected samples of water for nitrate, phosphate, and fecal coliform at these points. We found that resident perceptions of the stream were related to their position along the stream, water quality, and sense of place. Residents living in the headwaters perceived the stream to be cleaner than downstream reaches and had positive perceptions of the stream. Residents living further downstream consistently reported perceptions of the water quality as poor and did not use the water. This pilot study provided insights in studying urban streams as social-ecological systems, and the importance of incorporating stakeholders from across the watershed.

Lauren Emer (Primary Presenter/Author), Florida International University , lemer006@fiu.edu;

Eduardo Vargas Moreno (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), National University of Colombia, bevargasm@unal.edu.co;

Elizabeth P Anderson (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Florida International University, epanders@fiu.edu;

11:15 - 11:30 | Independence Ballroom A | INGREDIENTS FOR EFFECTIVE WATERWAY MANAGEMENT: LESSONS FROM RESEARCH, PLANNING, POLICY, AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

6/05/2024  |   11:15 - 11:30   |  Independence Ballroom A

Ingredients for effective waterway management: lessons from research, planning, policy, and community engagement The authors developed a collaboration between researchers and practitioners from the US and Australia emerging from conversations in Melbourne and Brisbane in 2023 to share ideas about effective waterway management. Through a process of deep knowledge sharing, the group identified key “ingredients” for effective waterway management. The presentation will highlight those ingredients: 1) collaborative research models that drive effective research and industry capacity building in waterway management; 2) innovative tools and data sets to support strategic prioritization of management interventions and setting management goals; 3) Institutional arrangements and policies that enable waterway management planning and delivery; and 4) engagement practices that create and maintain rich and meaningful collaboration. This presentation will also describe aspects of the institutional arrangements, planning tools, policies and practices that enable and inspire more effective waterway management, supported by contrasting stories of success from around the world. The outcomes from these stories provide unique perspectives and creative solutions from diverse global municipalities, water utilities, academics, and non-governmental organizations, with the goal of seeding novel and effective approaches to the increasingly complex world of urban waterway management. The presentation will describe these compelling solutions and spotlight those that advance effective urban waterway management, including trans-disciplinary, collaborative research models and commitment to deep community involvement.

BRIAN MURPHY (Primary Presenter/Author), Colorado State University, brian@river.works;

Kathy Russell (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Melbourne, klru@unimelb.edu.au;

Rhys Coleman (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Melbourne Water, Rhys.Coleman@melbournewater.com.au;

Mateo Scoggins (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), City of Austin, Mateo.Scoggins@austintexas.gov;

11:30 - 11:45 | Independence Ballroom A | HOLISTIC URBAN STREAM ASSESSMENT: BALANCING VALUES.

6/05/2024  |   11:30 - 11:45   |  Independence Ballroom A

Holistic urban stream assessment: balancing values. Traditional stream assessment methods and tools focus on ecological and water quality indicators and in urban systems this approach does not integrate the large role that humans play in watershed health and function and ignores potential connectivity between social and environmental outcomes. During a workshop at the Symposium on Urbanization and Stream Ecology (SUSE) in Brisbane Australia in 2023, a vision for an alternative and more holistic approach to stream assessment was developed that focused on a range of values that urban streams have from both an environmental and social perspective. Indigenous communities often integrate the idea of reciprocity in their systems—giving and receiving value from the environment—and the respect for all entities, including streams, as having their own ability to give and take. These concepts were integrated into an assessment framework that reimagines how we might balance the values that urban stream systems bring to people and what values society might bring to streams. We share case studies that illustrate how aspects of this approach are being used for urban streams and discuss challenges and opportunities for widespread global application.

Mateo Scoggins (Primary Presenter/Author), City of Austin, Mateo.Scoggins@austintexas.gov;

11:45 - 12:00 | Independence Ballroom A | REORIENTING URBAN STREAM MANAGEMENT TOWARDS EQUITABLE DELIVERY OF BENEFITS

6/05/2024  |   11:45 - 12:00   |  Independence Ballroom A

Reorienting Urban Stream Management towards Equitable Delivery of Benefits Urban streams are often managed in ways that contribute to societal inequities. Members of marginalized groups bear elevated flood risk, increased exposure to impaired water quality, and reduced access to recreational opportunities in stream corridors. The freshwater ecology research community has traditionally argued for stream management that improves ecological integrity, but this sometimes reinforces the tendency to steer investments away from the most degraded streams, which are often in low-income neighborhoods. We (a group of 20 authors from multiple countries and backgrounds) argue that it is time to reorient municipal stream management programs towards the mission of equitable delivery of societal benefits, which can take many forms, and to de-emphasize the goal of restoring streams to the pre-development ecological condition (which is generally unattainable in urban settings). To meet the mission of equitable delivery of benefits, municipalities will need to establish systems of collaborative governance, in which community organizations are empowered to participate as equal partners in urban stream management decision-making. We recognize that there are practical challenges for municipalities seeking to make these transitions, and the nature of those challenges will vary from country to country and region to region. Our goal is to begin a dialogue for identifying best practices to overcome these challenges so that urban streams can be managed in a manner that is both sustainable and equitable. [This presentation is on behalf of 20 authors]

Seth Wenger (Primary Presenter/Author), Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, swenger@uga.edu;