PennWell Corporation

USSD Conference and Exhibition 2019


The 2019 USSD Conference theme is Second City, Second Chances: Stories of Rehabilitation, Modification, and Revitalization.  Dams and levees continue to provide essential public benefits including flood control, water supply, renewable energy, recreation, navigation, and habitat and environmental enhancement.  The need to maintain and improve our aging infrastructure has been well publicized, making it important to also share the great success stories of restoration and upgrades for dams and levees.

Event Type:
Apr. 8-12, 2019
Hilton Hotel
Chicago , IL , USA

The “Second City” of Chicago is the venue for the 2019 USSD Annual Conference.  The conference theme echoes Chicago’s history of rebuilding and modernization to adapt to changing public needs.  Rehabilitation, modification, and revitalization of dams and levees give new life to these existing structures through increased public safety and new or enhanced benefits. Papers and presentations addressing the Conference theme and other technical topics remind ourselves and the greater community of the value of, and need for, dams and levees in society.
USSD and ICOLD Members as well as all professionals involved in dams, levees, and water resources engineering are invited to submit abstracts. Abstract submissions must be for proposed papers and/or presentations that are original and have not been published or accepted in a journal or conference proceedings, nor presented at another conference. Submissions must not be concurrently under consideration for publication or presentation elsewhere.

Authors are invited to submit abstracts describing research or experience relating to the Conference Theme, or corresponding to topics addressed by USSD Technical Committees, as shown below.  Link to Catalyst to Submit Abstract 

Theme Topics:
  • Rebuilding and restoring after failure
  • Dam safety upgrades to meet tolerable risk criteria
  • Seismic design for modified structures
  • Innovative solutions to address challenging site conditions
  • Alternative construction technologies
  • Minimizing second-guessing in protecting public safety during incidents
  • Innovative financing solutions for dam and levee projects
  • Stream restoration by dam removal
  • Retrofitting for successful fish passage
  • Appurtenant structures – post-Oroville lessons learned
  • Operational considerations for public use and environmental enhancement
  • Installation and monitoring of new instrumentation at existing dams
  • Modifying existing dams to add hydropower
  • FERC relicensing
  • Resilient or adaptable infrastructure for floods, droughts, tornados, and ice … or, the last few minutes of Midwest weather
Additional Topics:
  • Advocacy and Public Awareness
  • Concrete Dams
  • Construction and Rehabilitation
  • Dam Decommissioning
  • Dam Safety
  • Earthquakes
  • Embankment Dams
  • Environment and Sustainability
  • Foundations
  • Hydraulics and Hydrology
  • Levees
  • Monitoring of Dams and their Foundations
  • Public Safety and Security for Dams
  • Tailings Dams

While not required, all presenters are strongly encouraged to prepare a paper, which will be included in the electronic Conference Proceedings. The Planning Committee will favor acceptance of abstracts from authors who indicate that they will prepare a paper.  Abstracts will be selected by members of the Conference Planning Committee based on scientific/engineering merit, relevance, and overall quality. Due to time and space constraints, it is possible that not all submissions will be selected for the Conference.  

Notification of acceptance will be sent to all abstract authors by August 31. At this time:

  • All authors/presenters must return a form confirming your intention to participate in the conference and granting USSD permission to publish and distribute your paper and/or presentation.
  • Authors must upload a draft paper by November 2 in order to be included in the conference proceedings.
  • Drafts will receive two reviews by January 18.
  • Final Papers are due March 1. If not received by this date, they will not be included in the online conference proceedings.
  • If you do not submit a paper, you must provide a two-page expanded abstract, which will be included in the proceedings.  Guidelines for the expanded abstracts will be provided in your acceptance message.
  • If you do not submit a paper for the proceedings, only your abstract will be included.
  • All presenters, whether they submit a final paper or not, will submit draft and final PowerPoint presentations to session moderators during March.

All authors and presenters are expected to attend the Conference and pay the discounted registration fee for authors and presenters. Young Professionals (age 35 and under) are encouraged to submit abstracts, and will receive a reduced conference registration fee.

Call for Moderators

Conference moderators are needed to help develop the conference program and moderate technical sessions during the conference.  Moderators will be expected to:
  • Review abstracts in your area of expertise
  • Help develop the conference program, by attending the planning committee meeting, to be held August 14-15 in Chicago.
  • Review draft papers
  • Collect PowerPoint presentations
  • Moderate a technical session during the conference
If you are interested in serving as a moderator, email Rachael Bisnett at

Conference Activities

A full range of activities will include USSD committee meetings, plenary sessions, and concurrent technical sessions. Events throughout the week will offer plenty of networking opportunities. Attendees will have the option to participate in the entire week’s activities, or select one or more days of interest.

Field Tours. Two field tour options  to significant nearby dam projects will be featured during the conference.

Workshops.  Several concurrent workshops, organized by USSD Technical Committees, will be held during the week.  USSD Committees are invited to submit proposals.
Exhibition and Sponsorships.  An Exhibition will allow organizations to showcase their products and services to a wide range of professionals involved in dams, levees and water resources. Event and product sponsorships throughout the Conference will offer additional marketing opportunit

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