2018 Connecticut Land Conservation Conference Keynote Speaker

2018 Keynote Speaker: David Vallee

"Conservation, Meet Development: The Role of Land Protection in Building Resilient Communities"

David ValleeDavid Vallee, Hydrologist-in-Charge
NOAA/NWS/Northeast River Forecast Center

David Vallee is the Hydrologist-in-Charge of the National Weather Service’s Northeast River Forecast Center. The center provides detailed water resource and life-saving flood forecasting services to National Weather Service Forecast Offices and the hundreds of federal, state and local water resource entities throughout the Northeast and New York.

David has worked for the National Weather Service for almost 30 years, serving in a variety of positions including Senior Service Hydrologist at the Taunton Weather Forecast Office from 1993-2000 and as Science and Operations Officer from 2001-2006. David has extensive experience leading hydrometeorological forecast and warning operations and directing weather research and training programs. David has served as the NWS lead investigator with the State University of New York, at Albany, on a multi-year project addressing Land Falling Tropical Cyclones in the Northeastern United States. This has improved the forecasting of heavy precipitation associated with these land falling tropical cyclones as well as developing a better understanding the mechanisms which lead to the recurvature and rapid acceleration of tropical cyclones as they approach the Northeast. David led the initiative to develop a short-range ensemble river forecast system which leverages short range numerical weather prediction guidance to drive a suite of probabilistic river forecasts for the region. Recently, David has been leading an effort at the Northeast River Forecast Center to examine changes in precipitation and temperature patterns across New England and its impact on flood behavior.

David is most known locally for his outreach and education work on the behavior of New England Hurricanes, including many appearances on local radio and T.V. networks as well as the Weather Channel, the History Channel and the Discovery Channel. David has been the recipient of numerous regional and national awards including the prestigious National Isaac Cline Award for Leadership.

David is a graduate of graduate of Lyndon State College. He is a life-long resident of the Rhode Island, living in the northeast part of Cumberland, with his wife and two sets of teenage twins! He considers it a tremendous privilege to be serving the people of the very region he calls home.


Conservation, Meet Development: The Role of Land Protection in Building Resilient Communities

David Vallee, Hydrologist-in-Charge, NOAA/NWS/Northeast River Forecast Center

In view of predictive models of climate change, coordinated land use planning is more important now than ever before. And yet, conservation and development are typically discussed in either/or terms, rather than complementary considerations. Land Trusts can play an important role in supporting community vitality, by strategically preserving and utilizing land in a way that enhances water storage during high flow events, while also serving to improve local habitats, maintain farmland and extend recreational opportunities throughout the year.

Much of New England has been experiencing an increasing trend in annual average temperature, annual average precipitation, and the number of heavy rainfall events over the past several decades. During this same time period, the region has experienced an increasing number of moderate to major flood episodes. These episodes have been associated with a variety of storm types and have affected the region at different times of the year. The common threads in each episode were a persistent storm track and the ability of each storm system to tap a tropical moisture source which resulted in very rainfall on already saturated ground.   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The flood risk is compounded in smaller watersheds and where there has been significant change in land use and encroachment into the floodplain. This presentation will examine the observed climate trends, the atmospheric connections to the increased rainfall intensity of our weather systems, and the impacts it is having on both river flood frequency and drought behavior in the region. The presentation will examine recent examples where land protection and management have worked to complement the built environment, employed as a conscious element of development and planning, and will challenge the audience to work in collaboration with municipalities and community planners as we move forward in a changing environment.


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