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Check back here for updates on our Keynote Speakers!  

Professor Gary Brierley:

Gary Brierley1Gary Brierley was educated at Durham University, UK and Simon Fraser University in Vancouver Canada. He completed his post-doctoral work at the Australian National University, working on the impacts of environmental change in Australasia and the Pacific region, prior to working at Macquarie University in Sydney. He is presently Chair of Physical Geography in the School of Environment at the University of Auckland. Gary is a landscape scientist. His research promotes the use of integrative scientific understandings to inform river management practices. He has published over 150 fully reviewed publications, on topics ranging from geomorphology, geo-ecology and sedimentology to concerns for rehabilitation practices, environmental justice, ethnogeomorphology (understandings of biophysical-and-cultural landscapes) and environmental governance. He is co-developer of the River Styles framework, an approach to the use of landscape science to inform river management applications. This work has been applied in various parts of the world. In 2004 this framework was shortlisted for the inaugural International River Prize. This work was awarded the research innovation prize by Macquarie University; it is one of the 50 research exemplars selected to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the university.


Dr Sonja Jähnig:

Jähnig 16Sonja is a research group leader at the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB, Berlin). She has an interest in global change effects in river ecosystems and focuses on the influence of abiotic factors on aquatic organisms and communities, integrating different spatial and temporal scales. She has applied species distribution models to predict climate change impacts on riverine invertebrate communities and has developed an integrated modelling approach that focuses on flow and on global change induced flow alterations. She has recently started to include ecosystem services provisioning into forecasting.


Dr Gerald Kaufmann:


Gerald is the Waikato River Authority plenary speaker for the 2017 conference. He holds the position of Director, University of Delaware‐Water Resources Center,  one of the 54 National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR) supported by the United States Geological Survey, along with joint faculty appointments in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, School of Public Policy, and Geography Department. He is also Delaware’s first “Water Master” appointed by the Water Supply Coordinating Council Act of 2000 and co‐chairs the Christina Basin Clean Water Partnership, an interstate effort between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Delaware River Basin Commission, State of Delaware, and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to restore the watershed that provides 60 percent of the First State's drinking water supply.  Jerry conducted a review of restoration activities on the Waikato River co-ordinated by the Waikato River Authority. He lives in Newark, Delaware with his family in the White Clay Creek National Wild and Scenic River watershed.



 Associate Professor Julian Olden: 

Julian Olden

Julian is a Professor in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and co-director of the Center for Creative Conservation, both at the University of Washington. Broadly motivated by a future where people recognise and respect the diverse values provided by functioning freshwater ecosystems, Julian seeks to integrate science-based approaches with on-the-ground management and conservation decisions. His research focuses the challenges associated with water resource management, dams, invasive species and climate change. Julian actively engages in generating and communicating science, and believes that uncensored discussions are essential to meet the environmental challenges of the future and to strengthen the modern conservation movement.


Dr Melissa Parsons:

Melissa Parsons

Melissa Parsons is a river scientist with broad-ranging and interdisciplinary research interests in river and floodplain resilience, natural hazards, resilience assessment, water resource policy and management, river monitoring and assessment, large flood disturbances and river ecology. Melissa works at the interface between theoretical and applied science, examining the ways that concepts such as resilience can be applied to deliver management and policy outcomes.
Melissa’s current research is focused on natural hazards and she leads a project within the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC to develop an Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index. Other projects examine attitudes towards natural hazards, the psychology of flood driving behaviour, the role of social capital in natural disaster recovery and the use of citizen’s juries to develop community-based strategies of flood risk management and preparedness.



Associate Professor Linda Te Aho:

Linda Te Aho2

Linda Te Aho is of Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Korokī Kahukura descent and is an Associate Professor in Law at Te Piringa - Faculty of Law, University of Waikato, Hamilton. Linda was appointed by her iwi of Waikato-Tainui as a guardian mandated under the 2010 settlement for the co-management of the Waikato River ecosystem to develop the long term vision for its holistic restoration. Linda serves as a Ministerial adviser on Māori land reforms. She has provided expert advice to the government and to iwi leaders on reforms to the Resource Management Act and freshwater issues. Linda served as a lead negotiator for Ngāti Koroki Kahukura Treaty Claims and continues to provide specialist advice on Treaty of Waitangi claims and Post-Settlement Governance issues to iwi and hapū organisations.






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