Happy New Year fellow Mid-South Aquatic Plant Management members! Hope this message finds you and yours happy and healthy as we start another, what is sure to be a challenging year in aquatic plant management. Certainly hope you enjoyed the 37th Annual Training Conference in Chattanooga, TN this past November. It was only the second time since the inception of the society, that the meeting has been held in TN. By all accounts, we plan on going back in the not so distant future, it was a great location and venue. Our annual workshop included a tour of the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute where we learned about concerted efforts to propagate sensitive fish species and culminated at the spectacular Tennessee Aquarium. After our tour, we followed up the next day and a half with an excellent slate of speakers and presenters.

My personal favorite, was the highly impactful presentation on driver safety given by Tennessee State Trooper, Lt. John Harmon. Suffice it to say, there were few dry eyes in the room when it was over and hopefully will lead to everyone taking heed of the message; slow down, put your phone down and buckle up! I would venture to guess that as a society we probably spend more time on the road driving than we do on the water, so please be safe out there!

The meeting had participation from several student papers culminating with doctoral candidate, Charles Wahl from Louisiana State University being awarded the student scholarship. The meeting was capped off with a special award given to Carlton Layne being recognized as an Honorary Member of MSAPMS.

For this upcoming year, there are several issues of which to be aware. First, is the Waters of the United States Rule (WOTUS). As of this writing in late January, due to the government shutdown, no action has been taken following the release of the pre-publication of the revised rule defining the "waters of the U.S." Following the government restarting, the rule can be published in the Federal Register and then a comment period can open, so look for this to occur sometime in 2019.

The other issue that we all encounter as a society is properly informing the general public about the science behind what we do as a profession and also performing our jobs to maintain an ecosystem balance in aquatic systems. In my humble opinion, we have some of the finest, most compassionate, knowledgeable and hardworking individuals who represent our industry. It can, at times be disconcerting that what we do is often misconstrued or shown in a light that is not wholly representative of what we have been trained to do and execute.

That's why knowledge is key in educating the public and as a society, we are proud to help fill this need. This year, we are heading back to the Bayou for our 38th Annual Conference at the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center from November 3-6, 2019! We will be sending out more information in the near future and hoping to see you in Baton Rouge for what is sure to be a great meeting!

Thank you for allowing me to represent the MSAPMS as your president, if there is anything I can do for you, please feel free to contact me.

Warmest Regards,
Scott Jackson

MidSouth Aquatic Plant Management Society ©