ACF Waters Conference

ACF Waters Conference:
Shared Resources in Changing Times

UPDATE: The conference has been cancelled following CDC guidelines for COVID-19 response.  We are initiating refunds for all who have registered.  Contact with any questions.

Conference Description: Like other Southeastern river basin, the waters of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) river basin are shared by diverse interests, provide a wide array of benefits, and are subject to different drivers of change.  The 2020 ACF Waters Conference provides an opportunity for researchers, practitioners, and the public to share information and engage in mutual learning about recent studies on basin resources, changes in basin conditions, and application of that information in management of shared resources.

 The conference is intended for researchers, managers, water users and other stakeholders.  It will open on Monday, April 27 with an optional field trip and dinner on the Flint River (space is limited; register early).  Conference sessions will be held on Tuesday, April 28 and Wednesday, April 29.  Topics be addressed by presenters include:

  • Hurricane Michael impacts          
  • Restoration initiatives 
  • Irrigation water use 
  • Basin operations 
  • Dam, reservoir and Bay initiatives

A poster session and reception will be held at the end of the day Tuesday. On Wednesday, the conference will close with an ACF Drought Dashboard Listening Session convened to inform the design of a new Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) Drought Dashboard, a free, web-based application under development to support real-time monitoring of drought situations and data-driven decision-making. Attendees can register for just the listening session at no cost.

The program brings together scientists, technical analysts, and practitioners who use scientific and technical results.  Speakers presenting technical information are being asked to put the information they present in a context accessible to a broader audience.

Early-bird registration for conference sessions on Tuesday, April 28 and Wednesday, April 29 is $150 and ends on April 6 (late registration is $175 after that date). Adding the field trip and dinner on Monday, April 27 is an additional $60 (dinner only is $40). Single-day registration is available for $100. Student registration for the conference sessions on Tuesday -Wednesday is $100). If you only attend the Drought Dashboard Listening Session on Wednesday, April 29, there is no fee but we do ask that you register.

ACF Waters Conference Agenda

Join us for an educational field trip on the Flint River in Baker and Mitchell counties starting at 12:30 p.m.  Field activities will include mussel collection and identification; bird identification; fish collection and identification; and discussion of river system characteristics and values.  A reception and dinner at CoveyRise Plantation will follow the river trip.  

A bus for river trip participants will leave Albany for the put-in location at 12:30 p.m. We’ll be on the river until approximately 5:00 p.m.  The reception and dinner at CoveyRise will be from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m., and the bus will be back in Albany about 8:30 p.m.  A change of clothing can be left on the bus if you want to ensure you have dry clothing for the reception and dinner (casual attire encouraged). 

Registration for the river trip and dinner together is $60. Just the reception and dinner is $40 (transportation is not be provided for the dinner only). 

Space is limited – register early!  Registrants will receive a confirmation email with more details.

Conference Sessions will start Tuesday morning at 9:00 at the Student Center (Building C) on Albany State University’s West Campus (2400 Gillionville road, Albany GA 31707). Tuesday’s program will conclude at 5:00 pm. Details are provided below. A reception and poster session will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Flint RiverQuarium (117 Pine Ave., Albany, GA 31701). Attendees can also tour the RiverQuarium. Tuesday conference sessions and speakers:

Panel: Hurricane Michael Impacts (Mark Masters, moderator)

  • Landowner perspective  Chad Taylor, Jackson County, FL
  • Local government perspective  Connie Hobbs, Baker County, GA
  • Big picture and big numbers – Adam Rabinowitz, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service

Panel: Flint Basin Restoration and Conservation (Steve Golladay, moderator)

  • Upper Flint River Working Group – Ben Emanuel, American Rivers
  • Research needs and indicators to evaluate flow restoration – Seth Wenger, University of Georgia River Basin Center
  • Improving irrigation efficiency – Mark Masters, Georgia Water Planning and Policy Center
  • Forest restoration as a water conservation strategy – Steven Brantley, Jones Center at Ichauway
  • Restoration of an iconic spring – Perri Campus, Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District
Insights into the ACF of the Future
  • Reservoirs and ACF sediment and nutrient dynamics  Matt Waters, Auburn University
  • Langdale and Riverview dam removal projects  Courtney O’Mara and Patrick O’Rourke, Georgia Power Company
  • Current and potential changes to water availability in the Southeast  Jacob LaFontaine, US Geological Service

Wednesday’s program will start at 8:30 at the Student Center (Building C) on Albany State University’s West Campus (2400 Gillionville Road, Albany GA 31707). Wednesday sessions and speakers: 

System Operators and River/Bay Dynamics 

  • Basin Management under 2017 Water Control Manual – James Hathorn, US Army Corps of Engineers (invited)
  • ACF adaptive management monitoring –  Heather Bulger, US Army Corps of Engineers
  • Apalachicola Bay System Initiative –  Felicia Coleman, Florida State University

Panel: Building Connections through Community Science

  • Georgia Adopt-A-Stream (invited)
  • Mike Meyer, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Neighborhood Water Watch
  • Mona Dominguez, Alabama Water Watch
  • Na’Taki Osborne Jelks, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (invited)

ACF Drought Dashboard Listening Session

The conference will conclude with an ACF Drought Dashboard Listening Session from 12:30 to 5:00 on Wednesday. The session is one in a series of workshops hosted by National Integrated Drought Information System, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Auburn University, and Albany State University.  Information from the workshop will inform the design of a new Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) Drought Dashboard, a free, web-based application under development to support real-time monitoring of drought situations and data-driven decision-making.  Details are available here. If you only want to attend the Drought Dashboard Listening Session, registration is free.

Conference Hotel: A conference rate of $129/night is available at the Hilton Garden Inn Albany until April 6, 2020 under the group name, ACF Water Conference 2020

The hotel is located at 101 S Front St, Albany, GA 31701. On April 28 and 29, a bus will run from the hotel to the conference location on Albany State’s West Campus in the morning and will run back to the hotel when the session concludes each day.

Online: or Book by phone directly to the hotel: (229) 888-1590.

Conference partners: Jones Center at IchauwayGeorgia Water Planning and Policy CenterAlbany State UniversityFlint RiverQuarium

Conference sponsors: Flint RiverkeeperAmerican Rivers, and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper.

Sponsorships help us reduce fees for students!  Support water education by joining as a conference sponsor for $500.  Contact for more information.

Benefits: One ticket for river trip and dinner; one complementary conference registration; exhibit table; recognition in pre-conference materials and at the conference. 

If you are interested in presenting a poster at the conference, please submit a 250-word description of poster to  Deadline for receipt of poster descriptions is April 6, 2020.

We are monitoring COVID-19 developments and will make a decision about any changes after early-bird registration ends on April 6.  Refunds will be provided if conference dates have to be changed.

Refunds for other reasons will be allowed if requested before April 13, minus all related fees. After April 13 refunds will not be allowed but substitutions will be allowed by contacting Gail Cowie at with the new attendee name and contact information. 

Conference Partners

Conference Sponsors

Conference Planning Committee

    • Gail Cowie, Georgia Water Planning and Policy Center
    • Sarah Buckleitner, University of Georgia River Basin Center
    • Ben Emanuel, American Rivers
    • Dan Calhoun, US Geological Society
    • Steve Golladay, Jones Center at Ichauway
    • Sara Gottlieb, The Nature Conservancy
    • Gary Hawkins, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension
    • Chris Mangianello, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper
    • Mark Masters, Georgia Water Planning and Policy Center
    • Matt Rowe, Georgia Wildlife Resources Division
    • Kristin Rowles, Georgia Water Planning and Policy Center
    • Maureen Walsh, US Fish and Wildlife Service
    • Matt Waters, Auburn University
    • Seth Wenger, University of Georgia River Basin Center
    • Wei Zeng, Georgia Environmental Protection Division

Poster Session Moderators

  • Chelsea Smith, Jones Center at Ichauway
  • Christine Fallon, Jones Center at Ichauway