Greetings from the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation and the American Water Research Association conferences in the beautiful Pacific Northwest!
Sometimes you just get lucky and it all just comes together. Right as we finished a major milestone of completing our initial nutrient target loads and began our watershed plans with those targets, the Bay Program modeling team goes off to two national/international conferences. In those conferences, the team chaired two sessions, presented eight papers, ran a session synthesis, and sat on a panel session. What an excellent opportunity to tell the larger research community about the progress we’re making on all fronts in the Chesapeake, as well as the challenges before us.
But while the execution looks smooth and planned, the reality is that when the abstracts were written a year ago for these conferences, we thought we’d be further along in much of our technical analysis. This isn’t unique to us; it’s by and large the standard operating procedure for all our colleagues in all conferences.
After all, presenting material at these conferences is a lot like painting the room in a new house. The presentation, like the painted room, is just the showy surface. To get to the point where we could add nice shiny paint, some people had to work on the foundation, some erected the framework, while others finished the walls. Finally, like the small visible tip of an iceberg or the fraction of the overall time of working on a house when a room is painted, the presentation is made.
Still, when making these presentations I’m reminded of how far we’ve come as we put together the largest and most complex TMDL ever developed. And I’m reminded too, as the last presentation is made and we pack up ready for home, of how many people worked to get us this far, and how far we have yet to go together.