Plenary Presentations

In addition to breakout sessions with technical presentations, NCER features daily plenary sessions with speakers addressing the many pressing challenges faced by restoration professionals across the U.S. We are pleased to bring you an impressive lineup of accomplished individuals who will inform us, inspire us, and sharpen our vision for future restoration success across diverse landscapes.

Monday, August 3, 2020

8:30am – 3:00pm

Regional Plenary: Restoration in the Pacific Northwest

In keeping with the tradition started with the Gulf Coast plenary at NCER 2018 in New Orleans, this year’s opening day plenary sessions will focus on restoration in the Pacific Northwest. While presentations may be region specific, a key focus throughout NCER is how methods and approaches in the information presented can be:

  • Transferred for use in other regions or ecosystem types;
  • Utilized in eliminating issues of uncertainty in restoration implementation;
  • Scaled for use in smaller and/or larger restoration projects; and be
  • Communicated in a strategic manner to a range of restoration practitioners.

Regional Scope

Our Opening Keynote speakers will welcome participants and introduce them to the geography, geology, climate and hydrology of the Pacific Northwest. After the break, the Regional Plenary features four presentations on floodplains, salmon, fire, and first foods to show how understanding the human dimensions of degradation and restoration of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems is critical for successful ecosystem restoration. The geographic scope of the regional plenary session is the Columbia River basin, the Salish Sea basin, and the Pacific coast watersheds of Oregon and Washington. There will be ample time for questions and interaction between the moderator, speakers, and audience to explore the applicability of how restoration in the region relates to your area of practice and the broader national NCER community.

Detailed Agenda

Time Presentation (confirmed talk titles TBD)
Welcome to Portland/Vancouver and PNW
Hilary Franz, Commissioner of Public Lands, Washington State Department of Natural Resources
The Pacific Northwest Regional Setting: Geography, Geology and Climate
Jerry Franklin, University of Washington
10:00am Refreshment & Networking Break
Introduction to the Regional Plenary
Fire and Floodplains: Human Dimensions and Restoration Opportunities in the Pacific Northwest
Stan Gregory, Oregon State University
Diversity and Effects of Ecosystem Restoration in the PNW with Emphasis on Floodplains: A Geomorphic Perspective
Salmon Restoration of Estuarine and Freshwater PNW Habitats Essential for Adult and Juvenile Salmon: The Central Role of Floodplains
Sara LaBorde, Wild Salmon Center
Q/A and Open Discussion
Stan Gregory, Oregon State University
12:00pm-1:30pm Boxed Lunch & Networking in Poster Hall
Wildfires and Fish Habitats: The Importance of Pulsed Disturbances
The Reciprocity Approach and First Foods Perspectives on Ecosystem Restoration and Natural Resource Management
Eric Quaempts, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla
2:30pm Q/A and Open Discussion
Regional Plenary Wrap Up
Stan Gregory, Oregon State University
3:00pm Refreshment & Networking Break

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

8:30am – 10:00am

Prioritizing Ecosystem Restoration on Expanding Scales: Investments in Restoration

At all scales, programs must implement restoration intelligently to maximize the benefits of limited funding. Prioritization includes what actions and where. Presenters in this plenary session will provide examples and lessons learned from prioritizing restoration investments to address the diverse challenges we face. We will learn how restoration programs are prioritizing at different scales, with two examples from multi-state programs and one continental-scale wetland restoration program.

8:30am Introduction & Overview
8:40am Prioritization Tools Co-Developed with Northeastern States
Rachel Dawson, Manager, Delaware River Program, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), Washington, DC
9:00am Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration
Homer Wilkes, Director, Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Team (GCERT), USDA, NRCS, Madison, MS
9:20am Continental-Scale Perspective
Ellen Herbert, Ecosystem Services Scientist, Conservation, Ducks Unlimited, Memphis, TN
9:40am Q&A with the Audience
10:00am Refreshment Break

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

8:00pm – 10:00pm

Screening of Freshwaters Illustrated One-hour Films (film schedule is subject to change)

Gather with NCER friends for popcorn and beverages to enjoy a screening of these one-hour films produced by Freshwaters Illustrated.



UPRIVER is a ‘watershed film’ that explores one of the Nation’s most active river conservation movements. Within Oregon’s Willamette River system, the film focuses on people from all walks of life who are coming together to revive the health of this large river and the life it supports.

Hidden Rivers

Hidden Rivers

Ten years in the making, Hidden Rivers is Freshwaters Illustrated’s newest feature film that explores the rivers and streams of the Southern Appalachian region, North America’s most biologically rich waters. The film follows the work of conservation biologists and explorers throughout the region and reveals both the beauty and vulnerability of these ecosystems.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

8:30am – 10:00am

Storytelling, Visualization, and Strategic Communications: Understanding the Social-Ecological Landscape

Large-scale ecosystem restoration is not simply a matter of implementing the best science and technology. Sustainable restoration programs depend on developing and maintaining support from funders, policymakers, and communities—people. Restoration partnerships are increasingly working with storytellers who draw upon human dimensions and social science to deliver powerful messages across diverse types of media. In this plenary, we will learn how strategic communication is accelerating the pace of restoration across North America.

8:30am Introduction and Overview
8:40am A Different Perspective: Flights to Advance Policy and Communication
Esther Duke, Western Program Director, LightHawk, Denver, CO
9:05am Storytelling Through the Spoken Word
Luke Runyon, Reporter, Colorado River Basin, KUNC Radio Station, Greeley, CO
9:30am Using Imagery and Film to Raise Public Awareness of Biodiversity, Ecosystems, and Conservation
Jeremy Monroe, Founder and Director, Freshwaters Illustrated, Corvallis, OR
9:55am Q&A with the Audience
10:00am Refreshment Break

Thursday, August 6, 2020

8:30am – 10:00am

Partnerships and Mechanisms to Develop Sustainable Funding

To address restoration at the scale of the challenges we face, we must continue to increase the geographic scope of our efforts to support resources, habitat, and species that cross geopolitical boundaries. As scale increases, so does complexity and the need to develop and provide funding for partnerships that include multiple agencies, tribes, private landowners, and nonprofit organizations. This plenary session will provide lessons learned from innovative strategies to sustain long-term partnerships to fund restoration implementation at scale.

8:30am Introduction & Overview
8:40am Transformational Partnerships and the Tualatin River Watershed
Bruce Roll, Director, Natural Systems, Enhancement & Stewardship, Clean Water Services and Clean Water Institute (CWI), Hillsboro, OR
9:00am Non-Traditional Partnerships to Support Everglades Restoration
Robert Johnson, Director, South Florida Natural Resources Center (SFNRC), a division of Everglades National Park (ENP), National Park Service, Homestead, FL
9:20am INVITED: Importance of Tribal Partnerships in the Pacific Northwest
Amy Cordalis, General Counsel, Yurok Tribe, Klamath, CA
9:40am Open Floor for Broad Q&A
10:00am Refreshment Break

Thursday, August 6, 2020

3:30pm – 4:30pm

Closing Plenary: Be Inspired — Featuring Mac Stone, Conservation Photographer

Matt Stone

Mac Stone is a National Geographic Explorer and an internationally acclaimed conservation photographer. His images help tell the complex stories of wetlands and wilderness through the wildlife and people who rely upon them. Photographing for publications and organizations around the world, Stone's roots come from the swamps, estuaries, springs and Everglades of his home state. His images have been widely published and honored and his TED talk has been viewed over a million times. An author, speaker, and senior fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers and Sea Legacy, he strives to expose the dynamic relationship between mankind and the natural world to drive conservation initiatives. His award-winning book, Everglades: America's Wetland, is a visual journey through the River of Grass and aims to bring awareness to Everglades restoration efforts. He is currently working on a new book that explores the remaining old growth swamps left in the United States. Join us for this upbeat and inspiring presentation as a reminder why what you do makes a difference. To see his work visit .


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