Guidance on Submitting a Concurrent Session Proposal


In 1997, the National Water Quality Monitoring Council (NWQMC or Council) was established to implement a voluntary, integrated, nationwide strategy to improve water resource monitoring, assessment, and reporting. NWQMC is a nationwide partnership of water monitoring and information management authorities including federal and state agencies, tribes, municipalities, business and industry, academia, agriculture, environmental groups, and others with expertise in environmental monitoring. The Council members represent a wide range of interest groups of which approximately 70% are non-federal and 30% are federal entities. The NWQMC has organized and sponsored the National Monitoring Conference (NMC) since 1998. The National Monitoring Conference offers a unique venue for sharing the latest monitoring information and also provides critical networking opportunities between a wide range of participants including decision-makers, scientists, academics, practitioners, industry, non-profit/non-governmental groups, volunteer and community scientists, and students that are involved in all aspects of water monitoring, data analysis, assessment, management, stewardship, mitigation and protection of our precious water resources. If this is your first time submitting a proposal for the National Monitoring Conference, the Council always welcomes new contributors to the conference program and participants.

The Council is committed to promoting justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion within all aspects of water quality monitoring and assessment. Our success in achieving water quality goals depends on learning from people of all backgrounds. We are committed to fostering an inclusive and respectful culture for all participants and actively improving JEDI throughout Council activities by working aggressively to remove systemic and institutional barriers that add layers of disadvantage and environmental injustice to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), LGBTQ+ communities, persons with disabilities, and other minoritized groups. We acknowledge that our initiatives are a work in progress and commit to training and educating our members on implicit biases and historical environmental injustices, so that we may continuously improve how we amplify underrepresented voices and support opportunities for the broader water quality monitoring community.


Information for (co-) chairs of concurrent sessions

The NMC 2023 program development will include two solicitations for program materials. First, we are requesting proposals for Concurrent Sessions for the hybrid 2023 National Monitoring Conference. This will be followed by a separate Call for Abstracts (oral presentations and posters) and Call for Extended Sessions. The following information is provided to inform Concurrent Session (co-) chairs on the organization of the meeting, the role of the Program Committee and expectations towards them.

Program development timeline for the NMC 2023

  • The Concurrent Session submission deadline is June 10, 2022. Concurrent Session proposals will be evaluated by the Program Committee according to the NMC 2023 themes and alignment with the wide range of NMC participants. By July 22, 2022, NWQMC WILL NOTIFY SESSION CHAIRS if their session proposal was selected to be included in the Call for Abstracts.
  • Please note, the Call for Extended Sessions will be released in mid-June. An Extended Session is defined as a session which runs for 90 minutes or more and is organized into one of three formats:
    • Workshops provide an interactive, hands-on training opportunity for participants. The focus should be on the latest field, analytical or data analysis techniques related to the conference themes. Participants should walk away with an introduction to a new skill set. (90 minutes)
    • Panel discussions bring together topical experts in a short presentation format followed by a facilitated discussion where participants can explore conference themes in more detail. Participants should come away with a more complete understanding of the topic and associated challenges and opportunities. (90 minutes; 3–6 short presentations followed by discussion)
    • Facilitated Round Tables give participants an opportunity to discuss and provide insights important conference themes. Participants should contribute their expertise to a conference challenging conference theme that requires input to develop solutions. (90 minutes; one 15-minute presentation plus facilitated discussion and measurable outcome)

Please do not submit a proposal for an Extended Session at this time.

  • Concurrent session proposals shall include a title, limited description of the session, justification for the session, keywords, anticipated number of session blocks (90-minute block with 4 presenters) for the session, and the interest groups you would expect to receive abstracts from. They should be designed to encourage balance and diversity in presenters. The Program Committee encourages session organization by more than one person. If a co-chair is not identified in the session proposal, the Program Committee may facilitate the identification of a co-chair following submission or merge proposed sessions with similar topics. The Program Committee will not accept overly commercial session proposals or abstracts and welcomes the participation of product and service-oriented presentations as part of our exhibitor hall.Additionally, the proposal shall indicate if, at this time, the chair(s) of the session anticipate the session to be held in person, virtually or are willing to conduct this session either way. Due to the uncertainties around the pandemic and arise of future variants, submitters should be prepared to be flexible on participation whether that be in person or virtually.
  • Please note that a session included in the Call for Abstracts DOES NOT GUARANTEE THAT THE CONCURRENT SESSION WILL BE PROGRAMMED AT THE CONFERENCE. Depending on the number of abstracts received, the Program Committee will decide to accept, merge, expand or cancel the concurrent session. The online abstract submission system will open the week of July 25, 2022. Abstract submission deadline will be September 30, 2022. The decision of the Program Committee on the final sessions will be announced prior to the Call for Abstracts.
  • As a Session Chair, we encourage you to actively recruit for submission of papers among your colleagues and to expand outreach to underrepresented communities to increase diversity and inclusion. All abstracts MUST be submitted through the conference abstract submission process outlined in the Call for Abstracts.
  • The total number and the quality of the individual abstracts received for a session will define the number of the session blocks (1, 2, 3 or occasionally more session blocks). Moreover, it may happen that the session will be merged or canceled if only a limited number of abstracts are received. All session blocks are expected to be the same length. As a general rule, the NMC sessions are 4 presenters over a 90-minute session time. Each presenter is given a 20-minute speaking slot, of which 5 minutes is reserved for introduction and questions. At the end of each session, a 10-minute time is reserved for general session questions.
  • After a session is accepted, Session (co-) Chairs will be asked to review all abstracts that were submitted under your session starting October 17, 2022 and return your reviews by November 18, 2022. Session (co-) Chairs will rank abstracts according to the criteria provided by the Program Committee, organize the session (including the selection of papers for platform and poster presentations) and alternate presenters should be identified to fill program gaps as needed. As this conference includes representatives from a wide range of sectors (e.g., academics, volunteer and community science, state, tribal, federal) and backgrounds (e.g., community groups, underserved communities, tribal nations, etc.) we expect the presenters in a session to reflect this diversity. During the review process if an abstract is determined to not fit the general session or theme topic it can be suggested for review for inclusion in another specific session or theme topic. The Program Committee will evaluate these suggestions and will pass the abstract to the recommended session block as deemed appropriate.
  • NWQMC WILL NOTIFY PRESENTERS OF ABSTRACT ACCEPTANCE in December 2022. All finalized draft sessions proposed by the Session (co-) Chairs will be reviewed by the Program Committee and are subject to change. The Program Committee, in consultation with the session organizers, will set up the final program.
  • If your proposal results in a session at the NMC 2023, we encourage the Session (co-) Chairs to also serve as the Session Moderator(s) at the meeting. If session proposals are merged, the principal chairs from the original sessions will be asked to moderate the merged session. In the event you are not able to moderate, or you are also a presenter in the session, the Program Committee may facilitate the identification of individuals that can serve as a Moderator.
  • The role of a Session Moderator at the meeting is to give a short introduction at the start of the session, chair the session according to the general guidelines (available in February 2023), provide a thank you to the presenters/attendees and mention additional topical sessions and posters available during the conference.
  • Note that Session Chairs and Moderators are collaborating on a voluntary basis; their efforts are strongly appreciated and publicly recognized. However, the work does not include a free registration nor any other financial compensation. NWQMC never grants free registrations to Session Chairs, Moderators or Presenters. All Session Chairs, Moderators and Presenters MUST REGISTER for the meeting and pay the applicable REGISTRATION FEES (registration opens mid-January 2023).If you are concerned about costs of registrations, there are limited scholarship funds for members of the volunteer monitoring, JEDI, and student communities. Additional information will be available next Fall on the conference website.

Please forward any questions regarding the 2023 NMC program development to

Submit a Concurrent Session Proposal