This year, the City of Wenatchee played host to the fifth iteration of MuniCon, an event that brings together professionals, experts, and stakeholders from across the state. The bi-annual Washington Municipal Stormwater Permittees Conference, which alternates its location between Eastern and Western Washington, wrapped up its latest edition on April 26, 2023. This year’s conference was a hybrid event, blending in-person interactions with virtual accessibility, in a bid to enhance engagement and inclusivity.
A Meeting of Minds
The primary objective of the conference remains to address high-priority issues and challenges faced by municipal stormwater permittees statewide. By promoting broad communication, coordination, and the sharing of valuable tools and stormwater management approaches, the event aims to foster collective progress and drive innovative solutions.
The City of Wenatchee Convention Center buzzed with energy as 462 attendees convened. Among these were 370 individuals attending in person, while 78 chose to join virtually, adapting to the changing landscape of conferences and networking. The event played host to 65 presenters who passionately shared their insights, representing 23 permitted jurisdictions spanning both Eastern and Western Washington.
The diverse representation underscored the conference’s inclusivity. Notable attendees included representatives from various organizations beyond permittees, such as consultants, universities, and government agencies. With 13 members on the Advisory Group hailing from EWA Ph. II, WWA Ph. I/Ph. II and the Department of Ecology, the conference aimed to provide well-rounded perspectives on the challenges and opportunities in stormwater management.
Tracks and Workshops
The conference offered an extensive array of content through four distinct tracks: Education & Outreach/Research/Multidisciplinary, Design & Planning, Regulation & Permitting, and IDDE/Source Control/Operations & Maintenance. A total of 44 presentations and panel discussions within these tracks facilitated in-depth conversations and knowledge exchange.
In addition, five workshop tracks provided participants with hands-on training. Topics ranged from Source Control Inspection Programs to utilizing drones for stormwater management. A unique aspect was the Tour of BMPs installed in Wenatchee, giving attendees a firsthand look at effective Best Management Practices. All of this content has since been uploaded to the WSC YouTube and can now be accessed free of charge for those unable to attend or attendees that wish to revisit presentations.
A highlight of the conference was the inspiring keynote by Andrew Millison from Oregon State University. His presentation, titled “Permaculture: Solutions for Stormwater Planning,” shed light on innovative ways to integrate sustainable practices into stormwater management planning, demonstrating the conference’s commitment to exploring cutting-edge strategies.
The success of the conference wouldn’t have been possible without the collaborative efforts of its supporting partners, the Washington Stormwater Center, the City of Wenatchee, and the Department of Ecology. A special thanks also goes out to the MuniCon Advisory Group, made up of members from across the state, who played a pivotal role in curating content, fostering connections, and ensuring the smooth execution of the event.
As we put this year’s conference behind us, the stormwater community in Washington is left with a trove of valuable insights, new connections, and actionable strategies. MuniCon’s commitment to addressing the evolving challenges in stormwater management has undoubtedly contributed to the advancement of practices in the field. As professionals return to their respective jurisdictions, armed with newfound knowledge and perspectives, the impact of the conference is bound to ripple across the state, shaping the future of stormwater management.
The bi-annual gathering continues to stand as a testament to the power of collaboration, knowledge sharing, and innovation. With eyes already set on the next edition, the Washington Municipal Stormwater Permittees Conference remains a platform for collective action. The next conference is planned for 2025 and will be held in Western Washington.
Conference Date: April 25-26, 2023
Conference Location: City of Wenatchee Convention Center, Washington
Conference Partners: Washington Stormwater Center, City of Wenatchee, Department of Ecology