USNC Professional Program

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USNC Professional Program

2015 USNC Professional Team


The Kingdom of the Netherlands, long known for their expertise in the area of water management, have expanded their knowledge base into the area of climate change adaptation. USNC teams visit the City of Rotterdam as an example of adaptation innovation and the national “Building with Nature” program, which is gaining world-wide attention as a environmentally friendly approach to sea-level rise adaptation and resilience.

With the reputation of the most advanced country in the world in dealing with water, the Netherlands have been working on water challenges for over 1,000 years. USNC teams visit with Rijkswaterstaat, which is the US Army Corps of Engineers equivalent in the Netherlands, view the Delta Works projects, which are the largest engineering projects in the world, and spend time at Deltares, the world-famous Dutch research institute.


  1. Through Florida Earth's extensive network in the Netherlands, team members have the opportunity to not only visit the world’s most advanced water infrastructure and management sites, especially as they relate to coastal adaptation and resilience, but also to connect and engage the engineers, administrators and operators that built those sites.
  2. Team members are a part of a group that has a mission of collaboration with other members of the team from all over the world.
  3. Team members utilize the time with those facing similar challenges to compare notes and improvise common solutions they can bring back.
  4. Although there is tremendous value in seeing solutions to coastal challenges firsthand, an even greater value is gained by learning the Dutch processes of planning, stakeholder engagement and governance, which is very different than that utilized in the United States.
  5. Team members come back to the US after their experience with new ways of thinking and different ways of problem solving.
  6. Alumni from the program generally form collaborations that are working on resilience. These collaborations often continue after the trip, turning into long-term connections that enable participants to keep each other updated on possible opportunities for further collaboration. Without USNC, collaborations would take much longer to form or would not form at all.

2015's USNC PROFESSIONAL POLICY TEAM and CRC Leadership Workshop

In the past the USNC Professional Policy Team approaches water infrastructure and management from the perspective of how the Dutch look at planning and implimentation of policy as they have adapted and have become resilient to their environment. This year's team will accomplish two goals of giving participants insight to Dutch coastal resilience technology and the thought process behind it, but also serve as the inaugural convening of the Leadership Tier of theCoastal Resilience Collaborative.  The 2015 USNC Professional Policy Team will be in the Netherlands from Monday, May 11 through Friday, May 15. 

This year's program starts on Monday the 11th of May at UNESCO-IHE, the largest international graduate water education facility in the world, located in Delft. After the introduction, participants spend the afternoon at Rijkswaterstaat in The Hague. This national agency, part of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, is responsible for the execution of the public works and water management, including the construction and maintenance of waterways and roads, and flood protection and prevention (the Dutch equivalent of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers). At the end of the day, participants get the chance to explore The Hague with Stan Bronson.

The program on Tuesday is focused on the Province of Zeeland, a province of which large parts are below sea level. We will be joined by Tjeerd Blauw and Leo van den Brand, who work for the Province. In the morning we will visit the Watersnood museum (the Flood Museum) where we will learn about the 1953 North Sea Flood and talk to Ria Geluk, the founder of the museum, who was six when the storm engulfed Capelle, the hamlet where she lived. We will also visit Neeltje Jans (Delta Works; one of ASCE's 7 world wonders) where we will have a guided tour through the inside of the Stormsurge Barrier Oosterschelde and be given a presentation on its construction.

On Wednesday we will visit Kinderdijk, a small village situated in a polder at the confluence of two rivers, which harbors the largest concentration of old windmills in the Netherlands. To drain the polder, a system of 19 windmills was built around 1740. After an introduction at the visitor center, a local expert will give us a tour of the site, and participants will be able to visit one of the windmills. We will be joined by a representative from the local Regional Water Authority, Mr Kanters (tbc). 

After lunch, we will continue the program at the Biesbosch museum where we will discuss the Room for the River program. The Biesbosch is a national park, and one of the few remaining fresh-water tidal areas in Europe. The Room for the River program aims to give the river more room to be able to manage higher water levels. After the introduction, we will be joined by Pim Nijssen, a management consultant of Twynstra Gudde with extensive experience with stakeholder management and collaboration strategies related to water management. Before we leave, we will go on a boat tour of the national park.

On Thursday we will visit FutureLand at Maasvlakte II, an information center on the extension of the Port of Rotterdam. We will then take a ferry across the water, to visit the Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier (Keringhuis). A professional guide will talk about Flood Risk Management in the Netherlands, from the 1953 Flood Disaster to the Delta Works and the latest developments. After this, we'll visit the Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier itself. We will then travel to the city of Rotterdam, for a presentation by Arnoud Molenaar, Program Manager of the Rotterdam Climate Proof Program on 'Rotterdam and Climate Change'. 

On Friday we will visit Deltares, an independent, institute for applied research in the field of water, subsurface and infrastructure. They are known for innovative and pioneering projects on coast and sea, rivers, lakes and groundwater, soils and subsurface, policy and planning. Friday afternoon we will have the evaluation session.

Team Focus and Outcome
Many of the Policy Team members are actively involved in the development of the Coastal Resilience Collaborative, For more information on CRC, go to  

Agenda overview

Date   Venue
Monday 11 May Morning UNESCO-IHE
  Afternoon Delfland Water Authority and Rijkswaterstaat
Tuesday 12 May Morning Kinderdijk Regional Water Authority Rivierenland
  Afternoon Biesbosch museum where we will discuss the Room for the River project
Wednesday 13 May Morning Watersnoodmuseum
  Afternoon Province of ZeelandNeeltje Jans (Delta Works; one of ASCE's 7 world wonders)
Thursday 14 May Morning City of Rotterdam, FutureLand at Maasvlakte II (extension of the Port of Rotterdam)
  Afternoon Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier (Keringhuis), Sand Engine
Friday 15 May Morning Deltares
  Afternoon Free time and Closing session at UNESCO-IHE

The team spends the week in many locations throughout the Netherlands but operates out of UNESCO-IHE, located in Delft.

Team members are responsible for transportation to and from the Netherlands. A registration fee of $2950 covers hotel, most meals, in-country transportation and venue costs. Spots can be reserved by a non-refundable deposit of $500 until February 28, 2015.  Balance is due in full March 1, 2015.  For more information, call the Florida Earth office at (561) 281-5081 or email