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Karst Waters Institute

Publication Date

April 1992


United States, Resource Management


WELCOME TO THE KARST WATERS INSTITUTE Welcome to volume 1, number 1 of the Karst Waters Institute Newsletter. The purpose of this newsletter is to provide a means by which people and organizations interested in the Karst Waters Institute can keep track of the latest events regarding the development of the institute. The readership of this newsletter is encouraged to send ideas, comments and criticisms to the President of the KWI. Articles, reports and news of interest that relate to the development of the KWI are encouraged. A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE KARST WATERS INSTITUTE In November of 1988, Dr. David C. Culver, Chairman of the Department of Biology at American University, convened a conference near Charles Town, West Virginia to examine the nature of karst research in the United States. The meeting was oriented towards biospeleology, but the disciplines of geochemistry, hydrology and geology were also represented. What was then known as the Spring and Ground Water Resources Institute (now the Freshwater Institute) sponsored the meeting, and provided funds to bring together the assembled scientists, including three from Europe. They looked at karst research in the United States, and compared the American situation to other countries which had karst research institutes. Some simple truths evolved from the meeting: 1. Karst research was under-funded in the U.S. 2. Karst research in the U.S. did not receive a lot of respect from mainstream science. 3. Lack of young karst scientists. 4. Various problems of reality and perception regarding karst science could be remedied by establishing a karst research laboratory in the U.S. 5. Foreign karst laboratories thrived best not in remote field locations where the karst was, but in areas where routine interaction with mainstream scientists was possible, and where logistical support was good. The meeting adjourned without any real plan to continue. Over the following months, Dave Culver worked with John Mylroie and Bill Jones, two participants of the November 1988 meeting, to examine how establishment of a U.S. karst laboratory could proceed. With help from Dr. Robert Putz of the Spring and Ground Water Resources Institute, a second conference was planned for March 1990 to focus on the issue of a U.S. karst laboratory. A select group of senior karst scientists from across the country met in West Virginia to develop the laboratory concept. The meeting was extremely successful, and resulted in laying out the fundamental issues of the mission, goals and objectives for what was beginning to be called the "Karst Waters Institute" or "KWI". As the framework of an institute took form, discussions ranged on how to actually execute the formation of the KWI. It was clear that the ideal goal would be a totally independent, endowed institution. In reality, it was realized that association with one or more universities or government agencies might be the only practical way to obtain the funding necessary to pull together scientists, technicians, graduate students, and visiting scholars. An intermediate goal still seemed possible, in which the basic operations of the KWI were to be funded from gifts and endowment, but the actual research was funded by grants and contracts. In the months following the March 1990 meeting, a number of approaches were followed with some vigor, but with little success. In hindsight, it seems clear that we had gotten ahead of ourselves, trying to sell an institute that didn't really exist. In January of 1991, at Dave Culver's invitation, John Mylroie took a leave of absence from Mississippi State University and spent the spring semester in Washington, D.C. at American University, where he worked with Dave Culver to develop the institute. A series of projects were proposed, including a demonstration project to develop the Karst Hydrology Atlas of West Virginia under the direction of Bill Jones. Dave Culver and Bill Jones developed the papers for incorporation of the KWI, which were signed in September of 1991, and an inaugural meeting of the KWI Board of Directors was set for early November 1991. On November 9, 1991 the Karst Waters Institute officially came into being, with successful adoption of the incorporation papers and Bylaws by the Board of Directors. Further activity was done on the paperwork of organization, and plans were developed to find sources of funds to allow the KWI to move from a paper organization into a physical entity. The KWI now has offices courtesy of Environmental Data in Charles Town, WV. After the meeting was over, a press release was developed and distributed. The press release generated a lot of interesting responses, and more are still coming in. The Bylaws of the KWI call for an annual meeting each March. The first annual meeting was held March 21 through 22 in Charles Town, WV, and the results of that meeting are presented in a detailed article in this initial issue of the Karst Waters Institute Newsletter. Because there have been so many inquiries about the Karst Waters Institute, this brief history was presented to bring everyone up to date and give a common ground to all those interested in the KWI. Included immediately following this article are the Mission Statement, Goals and Objectives of the KWI. WHAT IS THE KARST WATER INSTITUTE ALL ABOUT? Prior to the incorporation of the KWI, a mission statement, goals and objectives were developed for the institute so that the purpose of the institute could be easily and widely disseminated. These items were read into the articles of incorporation of the KWI and form the foundation of the institute. Karst Waters Institute Mission Statement To improve fundamental understanding and increase knowledge of karst water systems for more effective management of water resources, and to assist in the education of professionals and the public. Goals of the Karst Water Institute Interdisciplinary karst research. Advance scientific knowledge by fostering state-of-the-art karst research. Solution of environmental and land use problems in karst regions. Education. The goals of the KWI can be achieved through a set of objectives. These objectives will be reached as the KWI grows. The following objectives have impact on one or more of the goals stated above: Objectives of the Karst Water Institute Establish basin-wide approaches to karst research. Promote collaborative research through a program of resident and visiting scientists. Develop long-term karst studies. Increase karst research funding. Cooperative graduate education with degree-granting institutions. Publication of research in leading journals in each discipline, as well as in karst journals. Sponsor national and international conferences and symposia. Develop new techniques and methods in karst research. Cooperate with the public and private sector on prevention and solution of karst problems. Develop a National Karst Library and Data Base. FIRST ANNUAL MEETING OF THE KARST WATERS INSTITUTE The Karst Waters Institute had its Annual Meeting at Charles Town, West Virginia on March 21-22, 1992. Attending were members of the Board of Directors: Dave Culver, Rane Curl, Dan Fong, Janet Herman, Jack Hess, Bill Jones, Tom Kane, John Mylroie, and Will White. Board members Art Palmer and Bob Putz could not attend because of prior commitments. Bill and Connie Back, Bill Berryhill, Lee Jones and Bette White were in attendance as guests. After routine introductions and review of the minutes, John Mylroie, KWI President, reported on activities of the KWI since the last Board meeting. A detailed report was submitted to the Board members, which is summarized below. KWI contacts and interactions with the public took on a different slant with formal incorporation in November of 1991. A press release was generated which was distributed to 12 newsletters and journals. It appeared in Geotimes and the NSS NEWS in late February and early March and generated a number of responses. The press release was also used to initiate other contacts with the International Association of Hydrologists Karst Commission, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (a regional conservation organization), the American Petroleum Institute, the American Mining Congress, and the Groundwater Systems Science program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The press release's publication resulted in over 20 contacts with the KWI from conservation groups, private individuals, state agencies, and industry. Bill Jones gave the Treasurer's Report which showed that the KWI has only modest funds on hand, which is why fund raising is going to be such a major issue for the future. The major expenses have been fees for incorporation and related paperwork. We will be entering into a contract to pay rent for our office space and access to the related facilities at Environmental Data, and will have to cover expenses for routine operations at other institutions. Bill also reported on the insurance question. The KWI has received a quote for liability insurance from a company that specializes in not-for-profit conservation groups, and the Board accepted the bid. The various standing committees of the KWI gave reports describing progress to date. The Research Committee has been very active and a number of projects are underway: 1. Karst Hydrology Atlas of West Virginia- Bill Jones. The KWI has on hand the WVSS database on West Virginia caves, which will take some manipulation to provide the needed (non-location specific) information for the Atlas. The necessary climate data is on hand. Funding sources are considering our Atlas proposal, within a month we should know if we have up to $30,000 to develop the Atlas. The funding source is interested in continuation of the project over into Virginia. Funds from another source may be available for actual production of the Atlas. 2. National Geographic Society Fresh Water Initiative proposal - Dave Culver. The proposal was submitted February 28th with a budget of $45,100 to use four sites (two rural, two urban) to describe how karst waters are dealt with by local agencies and viewed by the local populace. This data will lead to a plan to create a national karst water policy. 3. Dave Culver is developing a proposal to monitor the Organ Cave drainage for chemical and biological parameters. Tom Kane has initiated contact with the National Science Foundation to develop an overhead rate for the KWI. The process will be elaborate and take some time. The Educational Committee reported on a number of ideas of how the KWI could involve itself in public and professional education. 1. John Mylroie described an example of self-instruction or correspondence that has been very successful in Meteorology at Mississippi State University. It uses modern technology to serve people in the broadcast industry and generates significant amounts of revenue. Such a technique could be adapted to technical courses offered by the KWI. Field courses, both general and site-specific, were discussed, along with traditional lecture/seminar academic courses. Short courses are offered by a number of groups, but on example of a topic not currently being done is analysis of the groundwater/surface interface. K-12 educational materials were suggested. This activity is very labor intensive, and access to schools is difficult. Jack Hess suggested using one of the existing programs he is familiar with, such as "Project Wet" or the "Water Education Foundation" as a vehicle to carry our message. The SAGE program of the Geological Society of America may also be a useful approach. 2. The KWI is interested in how to use publications to improve karst research. The KWI is currently working on an approach to the NSS Bulletin to upgrade professional karst publication. The KWI will begin a simple newsletter (this is it) that will allow distribution of information to people and organizations who want to keep track of KWI activities. The newsletter will be an outgrowth of the existing "progress report" series, and will be published on an irregular schedule. Funding for the newsletter will be obtained from the KWI. The newsletter will be produced by the President. Phil LaMoreaux has offered to help with publication and data base activities. The Fund Raising Committee reported on plans to develop some income that is different from specific grants and contracts. A special field trip for potential donors is being planned for fall of 1992 or spring of 1993. The purpose would be to introduce people with resources to karst and the problems and importance of karst, and solicit their support. Bill Jones is in charge of this project. Because the KWI operating budget is so small, and we have needs to meet, such as promotional materials, Board members will make contributions to get a small pool of working capital established. Individuals and groups interested in the KWI may also provide contributions. The Finance and Internal Audit Committee plans the budget of the KWI and monitors internal bookkeeping. At this stage of KWI development there was little to report. The President of the KWI has a series of Ad Hoc Committees to assist in the development and operation of the KWI. The oldest of these is the Planning and Advisory Committee. The Planning and Advisory Committee was formed after KWI incorporation by combining the old Planning Committee with the old Advisory Committee, when many of the existing Planning Committee members became Board members. Most people inquiring about the KWI have been added to the Planning and Advisory Committee, which now numbers 48. While some members of this committee have been very helpful, others have made no response since their initial contact with the KWI. The Planning and Advisory Committee will be re-structured, becoming an Advisory Committe once again, and will be down-sized by retaining those individuals who have been providing advice, comment and criticism. Those individuals who have not been reasonably interactive with the KWI will be retained in an "information exchange" category. Because this committee is ad hoc, it will be fluid and change composition to meet the needs of the KWI and the Executive Committee. The Organizational Committee is an ad hoc committee designed to develop procedures and materials to advance the KWI. Janet Herman is chair of the Promotional Subcommittee, and is responsible for producing routine items like letterhead for the KWI, as well as more complex items such as materials relating to the development of a brochure package. Samples of such a package were distributed by Janet during the meeting. The samples of condensed vitae and research topics looked very good. The goal is to have a folder into which we can insert the vitae and research projects important to the individual or organization being targeted. Janet will also create a list showing which journals the KWI Board has published in, and which sources have provided Board members with research funding. This will be done anonymously to sell the KWI, not the Board. Creation of a letterhead is a top priority, and funding was approved to move forward in this area immediately. Rane Curl chairs the Documentation Subcommittee, which is responsible for routine paperwork necessary to operation of an organization these days. Tasks such as review of the Bylaws, Acts and Minutes falls under his responsibility. Rane is well known and respected for his skills as a parliamentarian, which have proved extremely useful as the KWI has begun its progression into a full-fledged research institute. As the KWI continues developing, it needs to raise funding support. To do so will require shifting membership on the Board from the scientists who plan to do the work to a mix of experienced fund raising personnel and scientists. The Board currently has 11 members, the Bylaws will allow 15. To keep the Board from becoming too large, some current Board members will switch in the future into the Executive Committee as vice presidents in charge of certain tasks (research, education, agency liaison, etc.). With this in mind, invitations to join the Board have been extended. Accepting an invitation is Dr. Phil LaMoreaux of P.E. LaMoreaux and Associates. The Board members elected him to the Board of Directors. The current officers were re-elected by the Board to their present offices (President, J. Mylroie; Executive Vice President, J. Herman; Secretary, D. Culver; and Treasurer, W. Jones). The officers form the Executive Committee of the KWI. The interaction of the KWI with other individuals and organizations is an important issue. As the KWI becomes better known, such as through the recent press release, it is necessary to describe how the KWI will relate to these groups. The KWI is not a member society, and cannot be "joined". After much discussion in the Board meeting, a category called Affiliation was established. An Affiliated Organization of the KWI must be a not-for-profit organization that shares the mission of the KWI, and the affiliate must list its affiliation with the KWI on its literature. The KWI and its affiliates assume no other responsibilities or liabilities with regard to each other. A second category was established, called "Information Exchange". Groups and individuals in this category have no formal relationship with the KWI, but exchange information (such as this newsletter) to the mutual benefit of both. A third category, "Donating Supporters", was established to recognize groups and individuals who contributed funds to the KWI. Sub-categories were established to recognize different levels of giving: Benefactor, $1,000 or more; Contributor, $250 to $999; and Donor, $25 to $249. The KWI will also enter into specific grants, contracts and programs on a case by case basis, as was done with the National Geographic Society's Fresh Water Initiative proposal. The Board has given the President and the Executive Committee the authority to enter into such activities without review by the Board unless the KWI is providing some of the funds or other significant obligation. The KWI Board meeting ended at 10:00 a.m., Sunday, March 22nd, following a few hours of wrap-up work from the previous day. From reading the above report, it may seem like not much went on, but it was all important to finish off the establishment of the KWI as a paper entity, and make plans for the future. KARST WATERS INSTITUTE PRESIDENT CHALLENGES BOARD OF DIRECTORS John Mylroie, President of the KWI, has made a challenge to the Board of Directors. Appearing below is a copy of a check for $500 made out to the KWI. This check, currently in the possession of KWI Treasurer Bill Jones, will only be cashed if a majority of the Board also contributes a like amount, per person. It is essential that the KWI develop some working capital. The President's donation is seed money that will help the KWI do the things that will lead to real funding and establishment of the KWI as a top-flight research institute. The Board of Directors is made up of "true believers", and the President feels confident in issuing this challenge. He would also like to invite contributions from the rest of the scientific and lay community interested in the development of the KWI. A year ago the KWI received its first unsolicited donation, from Dr. Tom Poulson, which put him in the Donor category of supporting contributors ($25 to $249). A little help now will really mean a lot. No officer or member of the KWI Board receives any compensation or expenses for their services. Open Access - Permission by Publisher Vol. 1, no. 1 (1992) See Extended description for more information.

Subject: topical

Resource Management

Subject: geographic

United States


Newsletter; serial



The KWI conduit



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