NALMS Statement on Racism and Equality

Dear NALMS members and friends,

During the past week, NALMS’ leadership collaborated in writing the following statement. Yesterday, during the June Board of Directors Meeting, members recognized the need to form a Diversity Task Force. We invite NALMS members, partners, and the broader lake management community to read this statement and learn more about our plans for action steps. We will follow up next week with additional resources from NALMS. If anyone is interested in joining the Task Force or sharing ideas, feel free to reach out to me or to the Task Force at


Perry Thomas, Ph.D., NALMS President

We are experiencing a difficult moment in society, sparked by videos showing Black citizens dying as a result of violent acts by police officers and white vigilantes, leading to mass demonstrations in the U.S. and across the globe of a magnitude not seen since the civil rights era. Both the U.S. and Canada have a long history of racism. This is made more raw by the continued disenfranchisement of Black citizens, as people in power continue to demonize and suppress their right to protest. While recent high profile deaths and racially-charged encounters serve as focal points for current protests, there are countless incidents occurring every day that do not make the media. Systemic racism underlying these injustices makes it difficult for current and future lake managers and scientists to conduct their work and serve lake and watershed communities. These injustices compel us to speak up in support of our fellow Black citizens and scientists.

NALMS is an organization of citizens, scientists, and professionals with a mission to foster the management and protection of lakes and reservoirs for today and tomorrow. We advocate for sustainable management of surface waters, provide opportunities for citizen scientists to gain knowledge of their environment, and work to disseminate information about current practices in lake management and science. Our efforts are enhanced by the inclusion of a diversity of people and voices.

Historically, racism has reduced opportunities for individuals to participate in science and safely practice environmental stewardship. NALMS can do better to bring an end to racial injustice and promote racial diversity in our organization and the lake management community. In recent years we have adopted policies to address racial inequality, including a Diversity Statement and Code of Conduct,  but we acknowledge that more actions are needed. NALMS commits to continuing our efforts to create an equitable, diverse, and inclusive organization while we advance lake management and science.

We are now establishing a task force to identify and recommend additional policies, and most importantly, actions we can take to address racial injustice. As with other scientific and professional societies, this is an ongoing, long-term commitment, and we will provide updates on our efforts. We invite members of our community to join the task force and share comments and ideas with the NALMS leadership so we can move forward together.

NALMS strives to make our Society a safe, welcoming, diverse, and inclusive environment for everyone. This includes affirming that #BlackLivesMatter and that Black people, and BIPOC, in general, as well as colleagues in the field of lake and reservoir management, feel safe and welcome. NALMS urges its members to listen, seek out, support, and amplify Black voices and to take other peaceful actions to make this a turning point to bring about real change not only in the sciences, but for everyday life.


Edited June 9, 2020 to emphasize the deep-rooted, pervasive nature of the challenges we face together.


More Resources and Action Items