President’s Message — March/ April 2020

Perry Thomas, NALMS President

As April draws to a close, the executive committee can share a couple of silver linings found within the pandemic cloud. Before we do, though, we want to extend our heartfelt appreciation to organizers of the 2020 Symposium in Minnesota. Together with them, we are in a holding pattern as we await input from NALMS members and the meeting venue regarding how best to proceed. By June 1, we all expect to know more about what will be possible, given the need to protect the health of all participants. Updates will be posted on the Symposium website.

The first silver lining has to do with the essential workers within our ranks. Across Canada and the US, water treatment facility managers were well equipped to support and protect staff members during this pandemic, thanks to thorough risk preparedness. If you are one of those currently working for a drinking water or wastewater facility, thank you. For those specifically working to protect source water, keep in mind that we have open source issues of LakeLine available on the NALMS website here. These editions include one specific to source water protection and two focused on harmful algal blooms.

The second silver lining is news from the US Supreme Court. On April 23, the Court announced their decision in the case of the County of Maui, Hawaii vs. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, et al. The Court’s opinion, delivered by Justice Breyer and summarized here, concluded “that the statutory provisions at issue require a permit if the addition of the pollutants through groundwater is the functional equivalent of a direct discharge from the point source into navigable waters.” In other words, the Court sided with science. It will be interesting to see what kind of ripple effects this decision may have in the field of lake management.

As always, we invite NALMS members and friends to send us your input. Do you have questions about COVID-19 and water, or about the SCOTUS decision? If we don’t know the answers, we’ll do our best to find them. We also invite you to send accounts of how COVID-19 is affecting you, your organization, or your lake.

Wishing you and yours good health and clean water,