Panel discusses Columbia River issues

VANCOUVER  – Washington State University Vancouver will present “Land, River, Sea: People and the Watershed,” an interdisciplinary panel on Columbia River environmental and economic concerns, at 10 a.m. Nov. 30 in the Student Services Building, Room 110. Parking is available in the blue lot for $2 or at parking meters.

Five panelists will explore whether there is a necessary tension between economic and environmental priorities on the river and, if so, whether those concerns can be balanced.

Featured as panelists will be Bob Dingethal, panel facilitator and southwest Washington director for U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell; Brent Foster, executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper; Michael Lang, conservation director for Friends of the Columbia Gorge; Glenn Vanselow, executive director for Pacific Northwest Waterways Association; and Robert Willis, environmental resources branch chief, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland district.

“Land, River, Sea: People and the Watershed” is a new general education course at WSU Vancouver required for most freshmen. Students learn the interactions between environment, culture, politics and policy as applied to the Columbia River and other major watersheds of the world. Students taking the class, which is co-taught by professors of political science, marine biology, anthropology and environmental science, will attend the panel discussion.

“It’s a good example of our general education theme ‘Global change in a local context,’” said political science professor Mark Stephan, one of the course instructors. “It’s a rigorous course, requiring students to think about multiple disciplines simultaneously. It’s intense, but as they’ve gotten more into it, they’re really starting to enjoy it.”

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