Ecology Water Resource Data System Redevelopment

  • 18 Jun 2013
  • 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Pyramid Alehouse 1201 First Avenue South Seattle, WA 98134


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Dinner Meeting

June 18, 2013


Ecology Water Resource Data System Redevelopment

Ed Young, Washington State Department of Ecology

The Washington State Department of Ecology is tasked with ensuring that the state has clean and adequate water supplies that meet current and future drinking water needs, commercial and agricultural uses, and that sustain fish and the natural environment. Ecology embraces local partnerships and citizen involvement in their efforts.

The Water Resources Program works closely with Washington communities and their citizens to provide effective water management. Population growth and the growth of our economic engine have made once abundant water supplies less available and have changed the focus to sustainability and ensuring the future of water availability for people, fish, and the natural environment.

To accomplish these goals the Water Resources Program has been given directives to be involved with:

  • The adjudication of water rights which settle the rights of two water right holders with respect to one another or it can settle all the rights to water within a particular water system;
  • Working with conservancy boards who deal with changes and transfers of water rights;
  • Ensuring dam safety by inspecting, permitting, construction oversight, approvals, operation and maintenance planning, and emergency response action planning and support;
  • Measuring and setting Instream flows and instream flow rule making;
  • The development of the water market (trust water);
  • The Water Resources Advisory Committee (WRAC) which was established in 1996 to provide a forum for the exchange of information on water resources management in the state of Washington. Typical topics of discussion include proposed rules, policies, legislation, budget development, and litigation;
  • Well licensing, construction and reporting for well drillers, home owners, public entities, businesses; and
  • Well and water right tracking and reporting for internal and external use.

The Water Resources Program has become a repository of documents and data for all the above areas. The program thus becomes a rich source of data and information for those wanting information on one water source or event or seeking insight into a broader or deeper view and understanding of the information about surface and ground water. Historically the Water Resources Program primarily collected and used the information to issue, grant, deny, delay, close, open, modify, certify, and report on new and existing water supplies. It also has and continues to do large amounts of scientific research to support the formation of water policy, to help inform internal and external decision makers and in general to make data driven and scientifically supportable decisions about water supply. Ecology has a website with an abundance of water information that has won national awards and which goes through constant cycles of improvement. Much of this data is static, some is supported by manually updated spreadsheets, but it also is a gateway to an abundant set of online databases.

Since 2001 with the deployment of the Well Logs Website, Ecology has been finding more and better ways of making its documents and data available to the public. Well Logs demonstrated that the Internet can be a highly beneficial instrument for providing public access to our documents and data. It demonstrated that “ease of use” and currency of the data is within reach and that GIS can be a popular, if not preferred or primary, means of providing such access; particularly when coupled with the ability to download both the data and the documents with no or little filtering. The challenge has been how to extend this success to the rest of the program. Since 2001 many other tools have become available. One such example is the Water Resources Explorer application. Unfortunately, not all are on the Internet and not all involve GIS, but the direction and vision is in place. Integration is a strong focus, but access and ease of use to a broad spectrum of stakeholders is a key to supporting the public interest. The direction is to expose what we have with disclaimers in place and let the public use it as they see fit with certain legal constraints where appropriate.

In this presentation, we will explore some of these applications and their implications for the availability of documents and data to the general public. We will explore some of the ways the Water Resources Program is developing applications and is using technology to collect, track, report and manage the water supply. Analytics will be mentioned and an example given as a way to measure success and to elucidate use. Specifically we will take a look at IT progress and efforts underway in the Water Resources Program in the following areas:

·         Mapping;

·         Dam Safety;

·         Well Construction and Licensing;

·         Trust Water; and

·         Water Rights.

Biographical Sketch of Ed Young

Origin: Born March 28th, 1947 Seattle, WA; of German, Swiss, and Scottish descent

Roots: Raised in North Seattle until age 13; At 14 attended an out of state boarding school, a Pre-Theological Prep School. President of National Honor Society, Member Student Council, Chairman of the Worship Committee

Travel: Travelled to 22 countries on four continents during the summers while attending college.

College: Graduated from the U of W, 1970 with a BA in General Studies and took a Thesis Option: Defining the High Risk Infant on the Maternal and Infant Care Program at Harborview Medical Center. This work was the beginning of my understanding of computers, data, statistical methodologies and analysis, technical writing and project management as well as the value the scientific method to test hypotheses and arrive at verifiable conclusions. Course work in computer related subjects at four community colleges.

Studies: Entered Post Doctoral Studies in Epidemiology at the U of W Medical School where I elaborated on work I had done on my thesis and research carried out at the Maternal and Infant Care Program both at Harborview Medical Center at the U of W (CDMRC).

Publications and Articles:

  • American Journal of Obstet Gynecol 120: 1071-1079, 1974.  “Nonspecific Date of Last Menstrual Period:  An indicator of poor reproductive outcome.” W.H. Wenner, MD and Ed B. Young, BA
  • Modern Medicine, p.136, May 15, 1975 Abstracted above article
  • Briefs published by the Maternity Center Association of New York, pp 53-55, April, 1975 Abstracted above article
  • Pediatrics  Submitted “Discrepancies Among Fetal Growth Standards:  Two FGS;s compared.” Ed B. Young, B.A. and W.H. Wenner, M.D.
  • “Organizational Implications of Competency Based Education”: Murray, S.L. and Young, E.B., 105 pages, March 1976.  Accepted by the National Institute of Education (N.I.E.).
  • “Outcome Objectives and Instrumentation Needs and Priorities”:  Murray, S.L. and Young, E.B., 103 pages, March 1976. Accepted by The National Institute of Education (N.I.E).
  • “Alternative Methodologies For Competency Based Education: The State-of-the-Are”; Olson, A.L. and Young, E.B., 134 pages, March 1976.  Accepted by The National Institute of Education (N.I.E).
  • The State of Washington’s Dam Safety Emergency Response Strategy”: John Blacklaw, PE, Ed Young, ITS, Doug Johnson, PE, 16 pages, May 2010, Published in the Association  of Dam Safety Officials Journal of Dam Safety

Work Background: Researcher for the Mayor of Seattle’s Youth Division to help pay for college; learned how to organize, monitor, analyze and report to the mayor about the Mayor’s Youth Core Program.

Intern: Inter-disciplinary Research at Harborview Medical Center looking at identifying the high risk infant on the Maternal and Infant Care Program (for under-graduate thesis)

Systems Analyst and Statistical Assistant: Inter-disciplinary socio-medical researchat the CDMRC (Child Development and Mental Retardation Center) at the University of Washington Medical Center (applied learning)

Statistician  at the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center in Portland, Oregon; Develop and tested predictive models for the identification of untoward early childhood developmental outcomes based on prenatal,  parinatal, and postnatal medical, psycho-social and demographic factors using computerized statistical methodologies. Goal: Provide primary care givers a computer assisted diagnostic results equivalent to that which could be found in a tertiary health care delivery system.

Researcherfor the National Institute of Education; Tasked with evaluating a broad spectrum of secondary  school educational methods and helped design a new system of secondary education for the state of Oregon called Competency Based Education. Co-authored and published three position papers for NIE; Returned to Seattle work and go back to school, education as a research field was too soft.

General Managerfor the Black Angus Restaurant chain owned by the Saga Corporation; 80 employees, five departments

Research Analyst with Business License Services for the State and discovered electronic forms, Apple computers and the UBI

Network Administrator and Desktop Support (Computer Information Consultant):

·         For Business License Services - 200 nodes; Expanded to 400 nodes. Successfully managed the recovery an IT project for a failing application. Designed, coded and implemented a financial tracking system for the Uniform Commercial Code Division.

·         At the Department of General Administration

·         At the Department of Ecology’s Water Quality Program

At Ecology’s new building: the Water Division’s Network Administrator, Agency level Desktop Support Lead and a IT Project Manager in the Water Resources Program. For the last 15 years I have been the Project Manager for the following IT projects:

  • Scan and electronic capture of well reports (logs) for the state of Washington,
  • Design, development and deployment of a web mapping and text search system for well logs,
  • Construction of an automatedInventory of Dams for the Dam Safety Office,
  • Development of an ArcGIS application for Washington State and Federal Jurisdictional Dams,
  • Re-development of the Dam Safety System application,
  • Re-development of the Dam Safety State and Federal Reporting Engine,
  • Development and deployment of ruggedized virtual mobile offices for dam emergency response scenarios,
  • Development and piloting the automation of dam inspections and reports,
  • Re-development of the Notice of Intent to Construct a Well System,
  • Conversion of paper well reports to online web forms with a cradle to grave LEAN support structure, and
  • Re-development of the water rights application tracking system and integration with automated forms.

Life’s lessons: Do work that interests you; try new things; don’t worry about what you don’t know… someone else can teach you. Ask, listen and use what others know to help them; always be kind; respect others; learn from the expertise that is all around you; share what you know; don’t give up easily on anything you think is worthwhile; when you find barriers, just change your focus; always be patient; love insight, invention and creativity.

Event Details:

June 18th , 2013

Social 5:30-6:15

Dinner 6:15-7:00

Presentation 7:00-8:00


Pyramid Alehouse
1201 First Avenue
South Seattle, WA 98134


Students: Free

Member: $30

Non-Members: $40

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