Louisville, Kentucky

United States Society on Dams
2015 Annual Meeting and Conference

April 13 - 17, 2015


Author Instructions and Template

Conference Details
Churchill Downs, Kentucky Derby, Louisville, KY, Courtesy Convention & Visitors Bureau

The theme of USSD's 2015 Annual Conference is Managing Risk and Uncertainty — Ensuring a Sustainable Future for Dams, Levees and Reservoirs.

Dams, levees and reservoirs are critical components of the nation's infrastructure and play a vital role in water supply, flood control and power generation, as well as providing benefits related to navigation, recreation, waste containment and environmental enhancement. Although the nation's 80,000+ dams are aging, many of these facilities have even more essential roles than when they were built. With the growth in population and development that has occurred in recent decades, many older dams and levees that were constructed to protect agricultural interests are now protecting people and personal property and are being called upon to provide other benefits such as power generation, recreation and water supply. As a result, the risk associated with many of these structures has increased, bringing new costly challenges for owners to retrofit or modify existing dams and levees in response to the expanded role these structures now play. Some dams have outlived their useful purpose, and the best interests of society may be served by removing them to eliminate the risks that they currently pose to downstream inhabitants, property and the environment.

Operation of dams and levees involves numerous uncertainties about potential extreme loading conditions, the consequences of failure, the condition of the structures themselves, the effectiveness of established operation and maintenance procedures, and human behavior. Safe operation of these facilities must take into consideration all of these uncertainties and simply meeting established engineering criteria does not necessarily mean that a structure will continue to perform safely. In addition, design and construction of new dams and levees or modifications to existing structures involves uncertainties, particularly with respect to the geological materials upon which the structures are constructed. Design and planning for new construction must take into account these uncertainties and how to equitably share the risk of unforeseen conditions.

Recent failures of coal ash storage reservoirs have highlighted the risks associated with waste impoundments, many of which are classified as low hazard relative to the potential for life loss. Safety of these structures has not always been at the forefront of awareness within the industries they serve, with the unfortunate result being that some do not receive the same level of regular inspection and maintenance as dams constructed for water supply, flood control and power generation. Although many of these impoundments do not pose a significant risk to human life, the economic and environmental consequences of failure can be extremely high.

The theme for this 35th Annual Conference highlights that, while dams and levees are critical components of the nation's infrastructure, there are always risks and uncertainties associated with ownership and operation of these facilities. Recognizing and effectively managing these risks and uncertainties is critical to ensuring that these structures will continue to provide the societal benefits that we depend on without posing an unacceptable hazard to life, property or the environment.

The 35th USSD Annual Meeting and Conference will be held in Louisville, Kentucky.

A Planning Committee, chaired by Alex Grenoble with assistance from various technical committees, will organize the Technical Program.

 Louisville Slugger Country, Courtesy Convention & Visitors Bureau
Conference Activities

Activities will begin on Monday, April 13, with USSD Committee Meetings, followed by the Annual Meeting of Members. Participants and guests will enjoy networking and socializing during the Kick-off Reception on Monday evening.

A Tuesday morning Plenary Session, featuring invited speakers discussing timely dams and water resource issues will begin the Conference Technical Program. On Tuesday afternoon and all day Wednesday, oral presentations during concurrent technical sessions, as well as a poster session on Tuesday evening, will address the Conference Theme. Papers will be selected from abstracts submitted in response to this Call for Papers.

During the Closing Dinner on Wednesday night, awards for the Outstanding Paper, Excellence in the Constructed Project, Outstanding Poster Presentation, and Outstanding Paper by a Young Professional will be presented. Young Professionals (age 35 and younger) are encouraged to submit abstracts, and will receive a reduced Conference registration fee.


The Host for the Annual Meeting and Conference will be the Corps of Engineers .

Exhibition and Sponsorships

Exhibition space will be available during the Conference for organizations wishing to showcase their products and services in the dams and water resource industry. Event and product sponsorships throughout the conference will offer additional marketing opportunities. These opportunities will be posted on the USSD website.


Concurrent Workshops, organized by USSD Technical Committees, will be held on Thursday, addressing timely topics of interest to the dams and water resources community.

Field Tours

Field tours to visit local state-of-the-art engineering water resource projects will be scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

Whiskey Barrels, Louisville, KY,  Courtesy Convention & Visitors Bureau
Conference Venue

The Conference will be held in Louisville, Kentucky. The state's largest city is situated on the Ohio River, bordering Indiana. Probably best known for the Kentucky Derby, the Louisville Slugger and its abundance of bourbon distilleries, this cosmopolitan city still bears the traces of the early French settlers who came upriver from New Orleans. The Conference will be held in a premier downtown hotel in the heart of the city's dining and entertainment district.

  • Draft Papers Due: October 17, 2014 *
  • Comments to Authors: December 1, 2014
  • Final Paper to USSD: February 2, 2015
  • Conference: April 13-17, 2015

*Draft papers must be received by the deadline to be considered for the outstanding paper awards.

Conference Planning Committee
  • B. Alex Grenoble, HDR, Chair, Planning Committee
  • Robert W. Anderson, Corps of Engineers
  • George W. Annandale, Golder Associates Inc.
  • Jeffrey M. Bair, Black & Veatch Corporation
  • John A. Bischoff, URS Corporation
  • Paul E. Booth, ARCADIS
  • Denise Bunte-Bisnett, Santee Cooper
  • Robert P. Cannon, Schnabel Engineering, Inc.
  • William Christman, Chelan County Public Utility District
  • José L. M. Clemente, Bechtel Corporation
  • Dean B. Durkee, Gannett Fleming, Inc.
  • Rodney Eisenbraun, Kleinfelder, Inc.
  • Aled Hughes, MWH
  • James D. Hussin, Hayward Baker Inc.
  • Vik Iso-Ahola, MWH Americas, Inc.
  • George A. Kelley, Tennessee Valley Authority
  • C. Michael Knarr, Consulting Engineer
  • Jesse Kropelnicki, Parsons Brinckerhoff
  • Laura Ann LaRiviere, Kleinfelder, Inc.
  • Guy S. Lund, URS Corporation
  • Phoebe Percell, Bureau of Reclamation
  • Jessica Raithel, RIZZO Associates
  • Michael F. Rogers, MWH
  • Lawrence H. Roth, Consultant
  • Guilaine Roussel, Terra Engineers, Inc.
  • Robert E. Snow, D'Appolonia Engineering
  • Elena Sossenkina, HDR
  • Manoshree Sundaram, MWH
  • Amanda Sutter, Corps of Engineers
  • Martin J. Teal, WEST Consultants, Inc.
  • Heather Trantham, Stantec
  • Travis C. Tutka, Corps of Engineers
  • Daniel L. Wade, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
  • Tony L. Wahl, Bureau of Reclamation
  • Stephen L. Whiteside, CDM Smith
  • Carmen N. Williams, Corps of Engineers
  • Olga Zabawa, Parsons Brinckerhoff
  • Gregory A. Zamensky, Black & Veatch Corporation
  • Bakenaz A. Zeidan, Tanta University

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