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Remote Watershed Management in a Pandemic!

Aug 5 2020

Preparing for a hike in Marin Headlands, being worried because not enough people wear masks. (photo credit: Cameron Tenner)

By Cameron Tenner '20
Hometown: Glendale, California
Major: Environmental Systems Engineering

Planning and Policy Intern, US Army Corps of Engineers, South Pacific Division

Out West Student Blog

Student Blog




Why did you want to do this internship?

I'm very interested in all aspects of watershed planning and management, and through a research project I did on the Los Angeles River Watershed, I learned about the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and their complicated history with the river. When I heard of this opportunity to work in the civil works division of USACE, I knew I had to do it and get an inside look at federal water resource planning and management. 

How does your role support the host organization’s mission?

Since USACE is an organization short on time and (hu)manpower, many opportunities for additional analysis, communication optimization, and extra policy review pass them by. As an intern, I'm able to step in and provide the extra set of eyes needed to accomplish tasks that the planning and policy division hasn't had time for. Through this, I'm assisting planners in their study of countless water resource management projects, ranging from flood control improvements along the Mississippi River to ecosystem restoration on tribal land in the California Central Valley.

Describe at least one project you will be working on this summer.

Every two years, my supervisor Cindy Tejeda helps plan and teach the Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) Class, an advanced training opportunity for newer planners at the Corps. This summer, I am assisting in planning, facilitating, and teaching the course. I am most excited to be putting together and teaching a module on the Los Angeles River Watershed. I will be highlighting the unique management challenges created by a dense, urban watershed and reflecting on the profound impacts planning decisions have on urban socioeconomics. 

How does this project relate to your studies and/or career goals?

I am fascinated by urban watershed management, and in my career, I would like to have some part in this field (especially in the management of the Los Angeles River). This project allows me to deepen my understanding of watershed management by applying an IWRM framework to a topic I know and love. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I am blessed to be living with my partner right now, so I spend most of my spare time hiking, watching movies, going to beautiful NorCal beaches, and cooking with him.

Weekly Shabbat dinner featuring homemade challah, fried seitan, and RuPaul. (photo credit: Cameron Tenner)


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