• 30 Apr 2018
    • 9:00 AM (EDT)
    • 04 May 2018
    • 6:00 PM (EDT)
    • Hyatt Regency Miami, 400 SE Second Avenue, Miami FL

    USSD will hold its 38th Annual Conference & Exhibition for the first time in the state of Florida. The Theme, A Balancing Act: Dams, Levees and Ecosystems, reflects the importance of environmentally sustainable water projects within diverse and sometimes fragile ecosystems.

    The Host for the 2018 Conference and Exhibition is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District.

    Dams and levees continue to provide significant benefits to society.  These benefits include flood control, water supply, irrigation, renewable energy, navigation, recreation, and habitat and environmental enhancement.  Many of our existing dams and levees are poised to provide additional benefits and solutions to some of our nation’s future infrastructure, environmental, social, and economic challenges. This year's conference theme represents some of the unique challenges that coastal environments and delicate ecosystems face, which requires balancing the purposes of dams and levees with environmental, social and economic interests.

    Herbert Hoover Dike

     Schedule at a glance

    Full Program

    Thank You to our Conference Sponsors









    Program Highlights

    Committee Meetings 

    Committee meetings on Monday are an important part of the Annual Conference. Committees will meet at various times on Monday, April 30 (schedule). All Conference participants are welcome to attend these committee meetings.

    Opening Session

    Monday's Opening Session from 5 pm to 6 pm will highlight USSD and ICOLD activities  and initiatives. The Kickoff Reception will follow in the Exhibition Hall.

    Technical Program 

    The Technical Program begins with a Plenary Session on Tuesday morning. Several invited plenary presentations will focus on recent extreme events and other topics related to the following themes:

    • Balancing Systems in an Uncertain Environment
    • Lessons Learned in a Year of Uncertainty

    Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday will feature six concurrent technical sessions, including more than 150 oral presentations.  Additional presentations will be featured during the poster session on Tuesday evening. Concurrent sessions include: 



    Oroville Spillway Incident

    Tailings Dams and CCR

    Embankment Dams

    Concrete Dams

    Construction: River Diversions


    Dam Safety


    Underwater Construction

    ICOLD Environmental Program

    H&H: Reservoir Sediment Management

    H&H: Calibration and Validation

    H&H: Dam Break and Reservoir Modeling

    H&H: Spillway Modeling

    H&H: Big Floods and Spillways

    Environment: Habitat and Species


    Water Quality and Supply

    Levees: Hurricane Harvey

    Public Safety and Security for Dams

    Dam Decommissioning

    Asphalt Core Dams and Chimney Hollow Dam



    Six workshops will take place on Thursday, May 3, and are included in the conference registration fee.

    Half-day workshops (morning):

    Everglades Restoration                                                           

    Let’s Talk – Raising the Communication Bar for Dam and Levee Practitioners, presented by the USSD Young Professional Committee 

    Full-day workshops:

    Evaluation of Numerical Models and Input Parameters in the Analysis of Concrete Dams, presented by the USSD Concretes and Earthquakes Committees

    Construction of Cutoff Walls for Levees and Small Embankment Dams, presented by the USSD Committee on Construction and Rehabilitation and the Committee on Levees

    Cutting-Edge Rapid Flood Modeling: Hands-On with DSS-WISE™ Lite, presented by the National Center for Computational Hydroscience and Engineering, University of Mississippi

    Third Workshop on Case Histories in Dam Safety Risk-Informed Decision Making, presented by the USSD Dam Safety Committee, Risk Subcommittee 

    Field Tours

    Two field tours organized by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will provide interesting opportunities to learn about the unique water-related environment in south Florida.  Space is limited on both field tours, so register early. One motorcoach on each tour will drop passengers at Miami International Airport at the end of the tour for those with late flights; do not schedule flights before 8 pm.

    Foreign participants will require security clearances from the Corps of Engineers. Foreign participants must register by March 1 and will be contacted for passport information.

    Tamiami Trail: Thursday, 12:30 pm to 5:30 pm

    A half-day tour on Thursday afternoon will visit the Tamiami Trail, part of the Florida Everglades restoration project. Tamiami Trail modifications include construction of 2.6 miles of bridging and roadway improvements to enhance water conveyance to the Everglades National Park.


                                                                      Tamiami Trail Bridge


    Herbert Hoover Dike: Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. The day-long Friday tour will feature the Herbert Hoover Dike, a 143-mile-long earthen dam that surrounds Lake Okeechobee, the heart of the Everglades system.  Various construction projects designed to reduce the risk of catastrophic failure of the aging structure are ongoing.  More details

    Fun and Networking Opportunities  

    Attending the USSD Conference provides educational opportunities and after attending a day of technical sessions, relax with some Miami flavored fun.

    Sunset Over Miami

    This fun outdoor party celebrates our collaborative friendship with the western hemisphere national committees known as INCA (the ICOLD National Committees of the Americas). The Hyatt’s riverfront terrace is the perfect venue to enjoy Latin-inspired food, music and entertainment in a festive atmosphere.

    Marlins Baseball Game

    You won’t want to miss this fun ending to the technical conference.  Enjoy a little bit of a South Beach vibe at Marlins Park overlooking right field, including a private reserved area with 10 TVs, three bars, buffet dinner and limited seating to watch the Marlins take on the Philadelphia Phillies. 

    Continuous motorcoach shuttles will operate from 5:30 pm until the end of the game to transport participants to and from the ballpark, about two miles from the Hyatt.  Participation is limited to the first 450 attendees who sign up via the registration form.

    Young Professionals Networking Opportunities

    All YPs are invited to attend the meeting of the USSD Committee on Young Professionals on Monday to provide insight regarding future initiatives and conferences. A YP Networking Social will be held on Tuesday from 8-10 pm, at an offsite venue. It will be a casual setting for YPs to network with YPs and others who have an interest inn connecting with YPs.  A private luncheon for YPs and invited seasoned professionals will be held on Wednesday, and is intended as a first step in the development of a USSD mentorship program. Space is limited to the first 80 YPs who register for this exclusive event on the conference registration form. 

    5K FUNds Run/Walk 

    The fourth annual  5K FUNds Run/Walk to support the USSD Scholarship Fund will be held on Wednesday, May 2. Start your morning with your favorite USSD running buddies to get some circulation going before sitting in technical sessions. The event will begin at 6:30 am on a course that begins at the Hyatt (course description); or sign up to be a virtual runner, and your donation will go directly to the scholarship fund.

    Contribute a minimum of $250 to the USSD Scholarship Fund and your logo/name will be displayed as a 5K Sponsor on the Conference website and publicity poster. Contributions to the fund can be made any time prior to the Conference. Make your donation here.

    You can sign up and pay for the 5K on your registration form.  To pay the 5K registration fee separately from your conference registration, you may register for the 5K only here.

    The cost is $30 until April 20, and $40 after April 20 and at the door.  Proceeds benefit the USSD Scholarship Fund.

                             VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR 5K EVENT                                  Contact Georgette Hlepas at  Volunteers receive one-day access to conference on the day they volunteer.


    An Exhibition will be held for organizations wishing to showcase their products and services to a wide range of professionals involved in dams, levees and water resources.

    The Exhibition is SOLD OUT!  

    Floorplan and Exhibitors (pdf)

    The fee for rental of exhibit space includes standard pipe and drape and identification sign, provided by Freeman Exposition, Inc.  Additional items such as tables, chairs, wastebaskets, technology or electricity are available to the Exhibitor at additional cost and may be ordered through Freeman here

    Booth reservations also include up to five staff registrations, with access to all activities on the exhibition floor, including receptions, breaks and lunches, as well as the Tuesday night Sunset over Miami party.  Additional information is available on the booth reservation website.

    Exhibitor staff who wish to attend the Monday committee meetings, conference technical sessions, workshops, field tours and baseball game should register as full conference participants (to the left).


    Sponsorships are available that provide enhanced exposure before, during, and after the conference. For opportunities click here.

    Conference Registration

    The Conference Registration Fee for the Annual Meeting and Conference includes:
    • Online access to Conference Proceedings
    • Technical sessions
    • Monday committee meetings
    • Monday evening kick-off reception
    • Continental breakfasts, lunches and coffee breaks Tuesday and Wednesday
    • Tuesday evening reception and poster session
    • Sunset Over Miami outdoor party Tuesday night
    • Baseball game on Wednesday evening (limited to first 450 registrations)
    • Thursday lunch
    • Thursday Workshop or Field Tour (limited to 150 participants)
    • Friday Field Tour, with lunch (limited to 150 participants)

    The early registration fee is $925 for USSD Members and $1,025 for non-members (on or before March 15– save $100!). A Young Professional Fee of $650 is available to participants age 35 and younger. The author/presenter fee is $875 or $975 after 3/15.. One-day and two-day registration fees are also available for those who can’t attend the entire Conference. Workshop-only registration fees are $125 (half day) and $250 (full day)

    Cancellation Policy: To receive a refund, USSD must receive notice of cancellation by the end of business on April 20. All refunds are subject to a $25 processing fee. After April 20, the registration fee is not refundable, but substitutions are acceptable.                        

    Guest Program and Registration

    Guest registration is for spouses or partners of registered participants.  Access to the technical program is not included. The $365 Guest Registration Fee includes:
    • Monday Evening Kick-Off Reception
    • Continental Breakfasts on Tuesday and Wednesday
    • Meet and Mingle Event on Tuesday morning in the Hyatt Regency
    • Reception on Tuesday evening
    • Sunset Over Miami outdoor party Tuesday night
    • Baseball game on Wednesday evening (limited to first 450 registrations)
    • Lunch and Field Tour on Thursday afternoon (limited to first 150 registrations)
    • Field Tour and lunch on Friday (limited to first 150 registrations)

    Hotel Reservations 

    All Conference activities will take place in the downtown Miami Hyatt Regency and the connected Miami Convention Center. Overlooking the Miami River, the Hyatt Regency Miami is a landmark hotel with easy access to popular attractions, like Brickell City Center, Wynwood Art District, Coral Gables, Port of Miami, and the Latin flavor of Little Havana.  Here is the link to make room reservations. The special conference rate is $209.00. A limited number of rooms are available at the government per diem rate of $156.

    USSD Gives Back

    USSD is proud to support local STEM programs in each community where we hold our annual conference. Our 2018 recipient organization is Manifezt Foundation, a local non-profit founded in 2015 with the mission of providing free STEM focused education to 8-18 year old students. Manifezt efforts are focused on low-income and disadvantaged communities throughout South Florida.

    You have the opportunity to donate $10 to this worthy cause on the conference registration form. Additional donations are accepted here.

    Continuing Education Units

    Colorado State University, Division of Continuing Education, will grant CEUs after successful completion of the Conference and/or a Workshop. CEU information will be available at the Conference. Professional Development Hour certificates will be provided during the conference.

    Author/Presenter Information      

     Drafts Due
     December 1, 2017
     Review Comments
     February 5, 2018
     Final Papers Due
     March 15, 2018
     Conference  April 30-May 4, 2018

    Authors/Speakers/Presenters: Log in to the Catalyst system here to upload the required speaker agreement, and update titles and authors. When preparing final papers, please refer to the Guidelines for Preparing Manuscripts and use the Manuscript Template.  Papers that do not conform to the guidelines will not be included in the proceedings.  When preparing your PowerPoint presentation, please refer to the Presentation Guidelines.

    Poster Presentation Guidelines

    Poster Presentation Sample PowerPoint Template

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