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Featured Speakers

The ISRS 2015 steering committee is currently developing a strong and exciting cadre of featured speakers for the 4th Biennial Symposium in La Crosse. While this list of speakers will likely expand, we are pleased to announce that the following river specialists have agreed to contribute to the symposium’s interdisciplinary theme of CONNECTIVITY.

Jerry EnzlerJerry Enzler is the President and CEO of the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium and the Dubuque County Historical Society’s Mathias Ham House and Old Jail Museum, all affiliates of the Smithsonian Institution. The Museum & Aquarium tells the story of the 31-state Mississippi River watershed, the rivers of America and their journey to the sea. The 14 acre campus exhibit galleries, multiple aquarium habitats, interactive flow tables, a wetlab, theaters, historic boats, wetland, and boatyard. Over the past 30 years, he has directed over 250 projects supported by EPA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Park Service, and National Endowment for the Humanities. He is past chair of the National Maritime Alliance, a consortium of the leading maritime museums in the nation, and is the founder and former chair of the Great River Road network of 73 museums and interpretive centers on the Mississippi River. A native of Washington D.C., Mr. Enzler received the Master of Arts degree in Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program, SUNY. He has appeared on the History Channel, public radio and television, BBC radio and other media. Awards include special recognition from the Office of the White House, an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Clarke University, honorary Doctorate of Laws from Loras College, Dubuque’s 1st Citizen Award, and the Humanities Iowa 1st award for Outstanding Public Programming in the Humanities.
National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

Margaret PalmerMargaret Palmer is the Executive Director of the National Socio-environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC). A restoration ecologist renowned for cutting-edge aquatic systems research, Margaret Palmer brings nearly three decades of scientific expertise to her post as executive director of SESYNC. As professor of entomology at the University of Maryland with a joint appointment at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, she boasts over 150 scientific publications and multiple ongoing collaborative research grants on the restoration and ecosystem dynamics of streams and rivers. Regularly working closely with managers and policy makers to translate research to practice, Dr. Palmer spearheaded the development of the first comprehensive database on river and stream restoration in the U.S. while the lead scientist for the National River Restoration Science Synthesis project. She teaches several courses on stream restoration, including one for engineers, and co-edited the SER book Foundations of Restoration Ecology. Dr. Palmer is chair of the international freshwater Diversitas committee, serves on multiple editorial and science advisory boards, has been honored as an AAAS Fellow, an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, a Lilly Fellow, a University of Maryland Distinguished Scholar Teacher, and is a recipient of the Ecological Society of America’s Distinguished Service Award, as well as a University System of Maryland Board of Regents Distinguished Faculty Award. Dr. Palmer graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BS in biology from Emory University, and from the University of South Carolina with a PhD in coastal oceanography.
The National Socio-environmental Synthesis Center

C.J. Vörösmarty C.J. Vörösmarty is Co-Chair of the Global Water System Project. In addition to his dedication to mentoring CUNY students, Dr. Vörösmarty routinely provides scientific guidance to a variety of U.S. and international water consortia. He is a founding member and current co-Chair of the Global Water System Project that represents the input of several hundred international scientists under the International Council for Science’s Global Environmental Change Programs. He is spearheading efforts to develop global-scale indicators of water stress and is working with chief U.N. delegates who are negotiating the Rio+20 Sustainable Development Goals. His work on human-water interactions includes earth system modeling of the Northeastern U.S., development and analysis of databases depicting reservoir construction worldwide and how they generate downstream coastal zone risks, and global threats to human water security and aquatic biodiversity. He has served on a broad array of national panels, including the U.S. Artic Research Commission (appointed by Presidents Bush and Obama), the NASA Earth Science Subcommittee, the National Research Council Committee on Hydrologic Science as Chair, a member of the NRC Review Committee on the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and the National Science Foundation’s Arctic System Science Program Committee.
Environmental CrossRoads Initiative

Bernard Peucker-EhrenbrinkBernhard Peucker-Ehrenbrink co-leads the Global Rivers Observatory (, an international, collaborative research and education program aimed at making time-series observations on the biogeochemistry of important river systems globally, including the Mississippi River. In addition to addressing fundamental research questions concerning the functioning of river ecosystems, the Global Rivers Observatory partners with schools near rivers on the “My River My Home” student art and science outreach program. The first multi-river art exhibition opened last year at the Fraser River Discovery Center in New Westminster, B.C. The “River Doctors” travel exhibit recently opened at St. Olaf’s College. These programs play a fundamental role in the investigation of river basins as they not only involve young students in art and science, but educate and inspire the next generation of river scientists. Dr. Ehrenbrink is a Senior Scientist and J. Seward Johnson Chair in Oceanography at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. A native of Germany, he holds a doctorate degree from the Johannes-Gutenberg University of Mainz and the Max-Planck Institute of Chemistry in Mainz, Germany in the fields of Geology and Geochemistry. His research, published in over 90 scientific publications, ranges from the accretion of extraterrestrial matter on Earth, the chemical evolution of seawater, to the biogeochemistry of river systems.
The Global Rivers Observatory