CORVALLIS - Oregon State University President Paul Risser will speak on biodiversity and its role in maintaining ecosystems at the upcoming Columbia River Conference IV, the fourth in a series of conferences examining partnerships in the Columbia River Watershed.

The conference is scheduled for March 16-17 at the Skamania Lodge Conference Center in Stevenson, Wash. It is open to all persons interested in the future of the river system.

The two-day event will explore the roles of individuals, businesses, governments and organizations in solving problems associated with the river, said Bill Krueger, a member of the conference advisory committee. Krueger is also head of the Oregon State University Department of Rangeland Resources, which is co-sponsoring the conference along with the University of Washington's Sea Grant Program.

Keynote speakers for the conference include Bill Dietrich, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of books and articles on the Columbia River; Jack Ward Thomas, professor of forestry at Montana State University and former chief of the U.S. Forest Service, and Jim Lichatowich, fisheries biologist.

The conference also features concurrent sessions on several topics including international and national indicators of sustainability affecting the Columbia Basin; climatic effects and changes relating to fisheries management; science in land management, and explorations into Columbia River curricula.

The registration fee is $150; a limited number of scholarships are available to cover registration fees. These awards are intended to assist individuals without agency, industry, business, or other sponsorship support.

For more conference information, contact Susan Hester, Washington Sea Grant Program, 3716 Brooklyn Ave. NE, Seattle, WA 98105; telephone: 206-685-9117; e-mail:

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Bill Krueger, 541-737-1615