Drought at the forefront of attendees' discussions
From October 24 to October 26, the Nebraska Water Center hosted the 2022 Platte River Basin Conference in Kearney, Nebraska. 150 attendees from four states attended in-person, with an additional 30 virtual participants, representing academia, nonprofits, governmental agencies, industries, tribal nations, and more. Titled "Braided Paths: Science, Policy, and Culture", this conference aimed to bring together the wide range of perspectives needed to find solutions to grand challenges throughout the Platte River Basin.
In an effort to broaden the perspectives and challenge the pre-existing assumptions of attendees, this conference provided a wide variety of programming and interactive experiences. Panel discussions featured perspectives on living and working in the Platte River Basin from tribal nations and farming families, as well as implications for future management of the Platte from regulators, researchers, and resource users and managers.
Over twenty breakout talks were presented, with topics including cranes and other wildlife, water science and engineering, social science and policy, and more. These presentations provided attendees with a wide range of research and applications for work within the Platte River Basin.
The Platte River Basin Conference also provided opportunities for diverse, interactive experiences. Conference attendees had the opportunity to attend a special screening of the film "Shells of Wisdom: Lessons from Ajijaak", featuring a live Q & A with filmmaker Ginew Benton. Participants also headed out to Audubon Nebraska's Rowe Sanctuary for an evening of food, fun, and photography lessons from artist Joshua Redwine and the Platte Basin Timelapse team.
The Platte River Basin Conference provided an opportunity for people with varying interests and backgrounds to come together to discuss their shared resources. By featuring a diverse selection of topics and speakers, participants left the conference with a greater appreciation of the river basin and a broader perspective on how we can work together towards solutions across the basin.