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School of Environment and Natural Resources


Changing Rivers: Enhancing the natural and social wellbeing of Ohio alongside more floods and warmer temperatures

Mar 7, 2023, 7:15am - 11:45am

Photo button from a collection of different images from the EPN March Breakfast

Program Overview

Ohio’s rivers are changing. Increased heavy precipitation events and warmer temperatures are two probable scenarios aquatic systems in the Buckeye State will experience through climate change. The purpose of this event is to explore the specific issues of stormwater management and regional extreme rainfall events and to connect these changes to empirical research on the biotic diversity in Ohio’s streams and rivers, and on the socioeconomic health of human communities. This session will explore the emerging field of “ecohydroclimatology,” which utilizes atmospheric science to assess both temperature and precipitation changes, greenhouse gas effects, human-created landscape changes, including the building of impervious surfaces, and their interactions with the movement of water and aquatic biological conditions.

Topical experts will specifically address: 1) leading strategies to monitor stormwater and precipitation flashes in waterbodies; 2) stormwater engineering tools and the use of green infrastructure and policy/communication strategies to prevent flooding in vulnerable homes and neighborhoods; and 3) using aquatic biota to express overall stream and river conditions and as a measure of Clean Water Act management program effectiveness with a focus on stormwater.

In coordination with the Water Management Association of Ohio (WMAO), as well as TerrAqua (a cross-disciplinary student organization at Ohio State and WMAO affiliate), Ohio Stormwater Association, Ohio State’s Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, the Ohio Water Resources Center, and Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed, this event will feature extensive networking and educational opportunities. A two-hour extended (in-person only) session on stormwater management and rainfall events on specific community planning resources and aquatic biodiversity issues. The extended session of the program (9:50 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.) will be worth 2 CEU and PDH hours.


7:15 a.m. Doors open at Ohio State 4-H Center; Coffee served for in-person attendees.

7:40 a.m. Breakfast buffet served for in-person attendees.

8:00 a.m. Livestreaming service begins for virtual attendees.

8:10 a.m. Eric Toman, PhD, director, School of Environment and Natural Resources, Ohio State, provide welcome remarks.

8:15 a.m. Jim Stagge, PhD, PE, assistant professor, Civil Environmental and Geodetic Engineering, Ohio State, outlines atmospheric changes regionally, including temperature and precipitation increases as well as terrestrial factors, including impervious surfaces, and how these impact Ohio’s water cycle.

8:25 a.m. Laura Johnson, PhD, director of the National Center for Water Quality Research, Heidelberg University, reviews the active monitoring of stormwater and the flashy movement of water.

8:35 a.m. Kari Mackenbach, CFM, vice president of strategic pursuits water, ms consultants inc., shares stormwater engineering tools, including integrated stormwater infrastructure and green infrastructure.

8:45 a.m. Alicia Silverio, CFM, program manager, Floodplain Management Program, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, shares steps to prevent flooding in the home and neighborhood.

8:55 a.m. Chris Yoder, research director, Midwest Biodiversity Institute, presents on preserving and restoring the biological integrity of rivers and streams in urbanized landscapes, including measuring and managing a complex and dynamic mosaic of chemical/physical and hydrological stresors. 

9:05 a.m. Panel discussion with Johnson, Mackenbach, Silverio, and Yoder moderated by Dr. Stagge.

9:15 a.m. Audience Q&A session for both in-person and virtual audiences. 

9:30 a.m. Dr. Toman concludes EPN Breakfast program component. Break and networking session for in-person guests. Livestreaming service concludes for virtual attendees. 

9:35 a.m. Break and networking session. 

The remainder of this program is worth 2 CEU and PDH hours. This two-hour session will explore partnerships and collaborations for stormwater management that incorporates improved climate data sourcing and modeling. 

9:50 a.m. Melissa Menerey, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and board president, WMAO, and Kari Mackenbach, provide an overview of the extreme weather committee of the Ohio Stormwater Association (OSWA) and session introduction.

10:05 a.m. Matt Repasky, PE, MS4 program coordinator, City of Columbus Department of Public Utilities, reviews Columbus’ water quality improvement goals and monitoring strategies.

10:10 a.m. Chris Yoder reviews stormwater regulatory obligations, water quality improvement goals and monitoring strategies to biological integrity and ambient water quality.

10:25 a.m. Dante Fiorino, PE, principle engineer, Brown and Caldwell, reflects on his partnerships with the Blueprint Columbus program, and how it has served as a real-word stormwater management strategy that offers practical, professional training and skills development for university students. 

10:35 a.m. LaShawna Weeks, senior environmental stormwater specialist, City of Toledo, discusses Ohio stormwater outreach, education, and professional development activities affiliated with the OSWA Education Committee.  

10:45 a.m. Break and networking session.

11:00 a.m. Aaron Wilson, PhD, State Climatologist of Ohio, assistant professor, agricultural weather and climate field specialist, Ohio State, and Jennifer Fish, director, Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District, provide an overview of the Ohio Precipitation Project in Franklin County, Ohio, including the how and why of updating precipitation data and modeling for effective future stormwater management.

11:20 a.m. Cyndi Rachol, CFM, National Map Liaison for Michigan and Ohio, U.S. Geological Survey, reviews the use of entry-level GIS experience and limited software access to utilize geospatial data, and provides a showcase of USGS data contributing to stormwater design and flood inundation mapping for local uses in Ohio and regionally.

11:40 a.m. Panel discussion on precipitation modeling for stormwater management in Ohio. 

11:50 a.m. Program conclusion. 



Dante FiorinoDante Fiorino, PE, principal engineer, Brown and Caldwell

Dante is a professionally licensed engineer and principal with Brown and Caldwell in the Columbus, Ohio office. He has a wide variety of stormwater and climate change readiness experience and locally has led or supported the design of five Blueprint Columbus projects, including the first to be constructed in Clintonville. He has lectured for Ohio State’s Blueprint Capstone course since 2017. Dante also serves as the Brown and Caldwell’s national lead for water research foundation projects and manages an active research portfolio of over $7 million.

Jennifer FishJennifer Fish, director, Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District

Jennifer Fish has been the Director at Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District for 20 years, she has led the development of the organization into one of the largest districts in Ohio. She directs and supports a staff of 17 natural resource professionals with the mission of promoting responsible land use decisions for the conservation of soil and water resources. This is accomplished through conservation easement acquisition, storm water program planning, storm water pollution prevention, development plan reviews, construction site management, green infrastructure and stream restoration demonstration projects, stream resource and natural resource mapping, and education and outreach to county residents. Jennifer has a Master of Science in Natural Resources and Environmental Policy from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Baldwin-Wallace College. Jennifer has co-authored two published articles: “An Analysis of the Costs and Benefits of Residing Near a Rural and Recreational Greenway” in the Journal of the Community Development Society and “Perceptions of Landowners Toward Natural Resource Conservation in the Big Walnut Watershed” in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. She is also certified as a Certified Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Specialist through EnviroCert International, Inc. and serves on the board of the Ohio Stormwater Association.

Laura JohnsonLaura Johnson, PhD, director, the National Center for Water Quality Research (NCWQR), Heidelberg University

Laura Johnson is director of the NCWQR in Tiffin, Ohio. At the NCWQR, long-term monitoring of streams and rivers is used to examine the influence of human activities on water quality and help decide actions that lead to healthier ecosystems. Laura is best known for research examining the linkages between agricultural runoff and harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. As director, she has overseen the expansion of the monitoring program, curriculum development in Watershed Science, revitalization of the Sandusky River Watershed Coalition, and has been part of numerous workgroups and advisory boards. Under her guidance since 2016, the NCWQR continues to be the gold standard for research in nonpoint source pollution in watersheds. Laura received a PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Notre Dame.

Kari MackenbachKari Mackenbach, CFM, vice president of stragetic pursuits water, ms consultants inc.

Kari Mackenbach currently serves as the vice president of strategic pursuits water for ms consultants inc. (MS). MS provides award-winning engineering, architecture, planning, and environmental consulting services. With ten offices located within Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia, MS develops comprehensive and innovative solutions for both public and private clients. Kari’s clients directly benefit from her more than 28 years of sustainability and water resources experience. Whether she is working with communities on their stormwater and flooding concerns or developing new stormwater utilities, Kari combines her dedication to sustainability with her infrastructure knowledge. The result: a engineering solution that delivers impactful and long-term change to clients and communities.

Cyndi RacholCyndi Rachol, CFM, national map liaison for Michigan and Ohio, United States Geological Survey (USGS)

Cyndi Rachol is the USGS national map liaison for Michigan and Ohio. She transferred into the National Geospatial Program’s User Engagement section in July 2021 after spending the previous 22 years working as a hydrologist in the USGS’ Upper Midwest Water Science Center, where she held research interests in dam removal analysis, natural channel design evaluation, flood inundation modeling, and water quality monitoring in both urban and agricultural settings. Cyndi is a graduate of Michigan State University, where she earned a BS in Geological Sciences.

Mathew RepaskyMatt Repasky, PE, MS4 program coordinator, City of Columbus Department of Public Utilities

Mathew Repasky has been working in service to the public since 1992. After graduating from The Ohio State University he spent his first ten years at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources with the state’s Dam Safety Program and his last seven managing projects on behalf of the Division of Watercraft to improve boating access to Ohio’s water resources. Since 2015 Matt has been part of the City of Columbus team that works to protect our water resources from pollution.

Sarah Fink Alicia Silverio, CFM, program manager, Floodplain Management Program, Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Alicia Silverio is the Manager for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Floodplain Management Program and the State of Ohio’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Coordinator. She oversees the implementation and administration of the NFIP throughout the State of Ohio by working to support community compliance, providing technical assistance and promoting professional development. Alicia is a Certified Floodplain Manager as recognized by the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) and Past Chairman of the Ohio Floodplain Management Association (OFMA). She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resources (Environmental Science) from The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio (1999). Ms. Silverio has been with ODNR’s Floodplain Management Program since 1999.

Sarah Fink Jim Stagge, PhD, PE, assistant professor, Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering, The Ohio State University

Jim Stagge is a hydrologist and registered civil engineer with a research focus on hydrologic extremes and water resources management to decrease drought vulnerability. He is most interested in modeling drought risk across long time scales by generating stochastic time series or by linking centuries of pre-Industrial reconstructions with modern observations and climate change projections. Jim is the principal investigator of the Stagge Hydrology Lab researching hydrologic extremes and drought measures; paleohydrology and climate change; societal, economic, and environmental impacts of drought; and water resources management and optimization. Jim received his BS and MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Maryland and a PhD in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech. Jim loves traveling and hiking with his wife and dog.

LaShawna WeeksLaShawna Weeks, senior environmental specialist, City of Toledo

LaShawna Weeks is a senior environmental specialist for the City of Toledo, Division of Environmental Services (TDOES); Stormwater Section. She has a bachelor’s degree in Geology from the College of Wooster and more than six years of experience in both the public sector and environmental field. In her current role, she is responsible for the management and implementation of the City of Toledo’s Phase 1 NPDES MS4 permit-required Commercial/Industrial and Pollution, Prevention and Good Housekeeping (PPGH) programs. She is an active member of TDOES’ Public Outreach and Education and Public Involvement endeavors. In addition, she manages grant funded projects, responds to and enforces on environmental emergencies and serves on multiple committees addressing environment-related concerns. LaShawna is co-chair of the Toledo Lucas County Rain Garden Initiative (RGI) Public Outreach and Education Committee, a co-chair of the Ohio Stormwater Association Education Committee, a member on the advisory board for the Aerospace & Natural Science Academy of Toledo and a volunteer for the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio.

Aaron WilsonAaron Wilson, PhD, State Climatologist of Ohio, assistant professor, agricultural weather and climate field specialist, Ohio State

Aaron B. Wilson is an Atmospheric Scientist at The Ohio State University (OSU), holding a joint appointment as a principal investigator at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center (BPCRC) and assistant professor, agricultural weather with OSU Extension- the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. He is also a contributing member to the State Climate Office of Ohio ( Aaron uses his expertise in Ohio weather and climate to assess hydrologic conditions across the state, helping to coordinate the state’s weekly contribution to the U.S. Drought Monitor activities at the National Drought Mitigation Center. Aaron is passionate about educational outreach, dedicating many hours to serving BPCRC through tours and activities for students of all ages and participating in a wide range of engagement actives with OSU Extension, from county field day events to the Farm Science Review. Aaron encourages everyone across the rural to urban gradient to think about “your climate change” and how changing weather extremes are impacting you where you live.ter Association.

Chris YoderChris O. Yoder, research director, Midwest Biodiversity Institute

Chris O. Yoder has been the Research Director of MBI since 2001 with 46 years of professional work experience. He is involved in the development and application of biological assessments and biological criteria, including the development of methods for rivers and streams, wetlands, and lakes. He is presently involved in numerous projects that employ monitoring and assessment, environmental indicators, and biological assessment. He has conducted reviews of 27 state and 3 federal bioassessment programs and has advised EPA, states, municipalities, and watershed organizations about the development and implementation of biological criteria and water quality standards. He was formerly a senior research associate at the Ohio University Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs (2000-7) and Manager of the Ecological Assessment Section at Ohio EPA (1976-2000). He is a lead instructor for the Qualified Data Collector training as part of the Ohio Credible Data program, serves on a U.S. EPA working group for biocriteria and bioassessments, and served on a National Research Council committee (2001) and a General Accounting Office panel (2012) concerning the role of science in TMDLs. He has authored more than 70 technical publications and more than 300 oral presentations. Current research includes biological and water quality assessment, water quality standards (WQS), Clean Water Act (CWA) policies, and assisting state, and non-governmental programs to improve their understanding and use of WQS and monitoring information. He received a B.S. in Natural Resources from The Ohio State University in 1973, and a M.A. in Zoology from DePauw University in 1976.

Additional Information

This event’s menu features apple and cinnamon overnight oats; spinach, roast red bell peppers, goat cheese frittata with onion jam; turkey sausage; sweet potato hash with fresh thyme; apple streusel coffee cake; and seasonal fruit will also be provided. Coffee, hot tea, orange juice, and water will be served. There will be plates, cups, woodware, and napkins.  

We strive to host events that are inclusive and accessible to everyone. If you have a disability and require accommodations to fully participate in this activity, please reach out to Callia Téllez ( Requests made five business days in advance will generally allow us to provide seamless access. However, we will make every effort to meet requests made after this time frame. You will be contacted by someone from our staff to discuss your specific needs. For the virtual audience, a closed captioning option via EPN’s YouTube live stream will be available, as well as other accommodations as requested on the registration.

Masks are optional for all event attendees at this event, in accordance with Ohio State’s Safe and Healthy Protocols as of this date. In-person attendees will be expected to follow Ohio State protocols regarding the prevention of COVID-19 transmission. More health and safety information available on this Personal Safety Practices page

This program will be livestreamed on the  EPN YouTube page. Additional information on livestream connections are available to those who register as a virtual participant for this event. 

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EPN Breakfast Series

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