By laws – proposed revision

Last updated 4/8/2021

Article I. Name and Objectives

The name of this organization is the Water Quality Section of the American Fisheries Society (hereafter referred to as Section) as provided for by the bylaws of the Society as amended. The general objectives of the Section are those of the American Fisheries Society described in Article I of the constitution of the Society. 

Specific objectives are to:
a) maintain an association of persons involved in the protection of watersheds, water quality, and aquatic habitat;
b) encourage the use of science-based methods to measure, quantify, and regulate water quality, including assessment of watershed influences and implications for aquatic biota; and
c) provide an open forum for discussion of concerns about, and potential solutions to improve, the health of watersheds, water quality, and aquatic habitat.

 Activities: Section objectives listed above shall be pursued by:

  • organizing and sponsoring symposia or workshops on watershed science, water quality, and aquatic habitat, including emerging environmental problems, abatement success stories, new scientific methods, and policy;
  • disseminating proceedings, notes, or abstracts from conferences and workshops on topics related to watershed processes, water quality, and aquatic habitat to Section members, Society members, and the public;
  • promoting development and use of improved standards and techniques for assessing water quality and its linkages to aquatic habitat, and watershed processes; and
  • providing technical expertise on watershed, water quality, and aquatic habitat, concerns and policies to the Society, other organizations, and the public.

 Article II. Membership

Membership in the Section is open to all members, in good standing, of the Society. Each Section member is entitled to one vote on all matters requiring approval of the membership.

Article III. Officers

Officers are the President, President-Elect, Past-President, Treasurer, and Communications Officer. Officers must be members in good standing of the Section and the Society. All officers are elected, as provided in Article VI Election Committee, for a two-year term and shall serve without salary or other compensation. No member shall hold the office of Past-President, President or President-Elect for more than two (2) consecutive years. However, the Treasurer and Communications Officer can be elected for consecutive terms. In the event of a vacated position, the Officers shall appoint a qualified replacement to complete the unexpired term. The Officers may meet whenever the President and a majority of Officers can meet and conduct Section business. Business and voting of Officers may be conducted remotely or in-person. The Officers shall (a) determine policies and conduct business consistent with the objectives of the Section, (b) authorize disbursement of available Section funds for specific clerical tasks and other necessary expenses essential to attain Section objectives, and (c) review appropriate resolutions for Society action.

Article IV. Duties of Officers.

President: The President develops a 2-year work plan and budget, prepares the agenda for and presides at Section meetings, serves on the Elections Committee, appoints all committees, and serves as an ex officio member thereof except as limited herein. The President is responsible for convening officer meetings and communicating regularly with the membership (see Section 9). The President represents the Section to the Society and performs such duties as are authorized and necessary.

President-Elect:  The President-Elect serves on the Elections and Audit Committees and performs the duties of the President in their absence. The President-Elect works closely with the President to ensure continuation of Section activities upon being installed as President. 

Treasurer: The Treasurer serves on the Audit Committee, maintains lists of member names and contact information, receives all dues, pays all bills, keeps an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements for the Audit Committee, files an annual income tax report with the Internal Revenue Service, submits paperwork to maintain Section non-profit status, and prepares an annual report to the Section and the Society.

Communications Officer: The Communications officer is responsible for facilitating regular communication with the membership via a newsletter, blog, social media, or other means, advise on videoconferencing, polling, and other software needed to carry out Section functions. The member elected to this position will be responsible for accounts associated with the Section website, social media, and listserver. Other officers may also have access to these accounts and contribute content, but primary responsibility will lie with the elected Communication Officer.

Past-President: The Past-President chairs the Elections Committee and special committees at the behest of the President.

Article V. Executive Committee

  1. Voting members of the Executive Committee shall consist of the current elected officers and the immediate Past-President of the Section.
  2. The Executive Committee shall have authority to determine policies and conduct business consistent with the objectives of the Section.
  3. Meetings of the Executive Committee may be held at the call of the President when at least a quorum, as defined in Article I, can meet and conduct business.
  4. Business and voting by the Executive Committee may be conducted by mail electronic media, or conference call.
  5. A quorum is required for transaction of official business at an Executive Committee meeting. A quorum for an Executive Committee meeting shall consist of three of the four members. Executive Committee members can appoint a proxy.
  6. Each member of the Executive Committee shall have one vote on Executive Committee decisions. In the event of a tie, the President may cast the deciding vote.

Article VI. Standing Committees

The President shall appoint Section members in good standing to the following Standing Committees.

  1. Elections Committee:  The Election Committee shall consist of the Past-President (who is the chair) and the President. After soliciting nominations from the Section membership, willing candidates for office are submitted to the membership in the spring every odd-numbered year. Willing petition candidates supported by at least 10 Section members in good standing will be listed as candidates if submitted to the Past-President by March 15. Electronic polling of the Section membership will be conducted and completed by May 15 of every odd numbered year. The Past-President or a designee is responsible for dispensing information about the candidates to the membership, conducting the on-line polling, and reporting the results to the membership and the Society. A link to the poll shall be disseminated to members at least 21 days prior to May 15. Officers are elected by a majority voting by May 15. 
  2. Audit Committee:  The Audit Committee shall consist of the Treasurer, the President-Elect, and a member at large assigned by the President (who is the Chair). The Audit Committee shall conduct an annual evaluation of the financial records maintained by the Treasurer and prepare a report, to be submitted for approval at the annual business meeting.
  3. Poster Awards Committee: The Poster Awards Committee evaluates student and non-student posters focused on water quality that are presented at the annual meeting, selects an awardee for each, arranges for the treasurer to issue $100 for each award recipient at the annual meeting, and prepares a notice for the Section website.

Article VII. Meetings and Voting

The Section holds its annual business meeting during the Society meeting. A quorum consists of at least ten (10) members.  In the event a quorum is not present, proposed resolutions and ballots will be sent to the membership at least 21 days prior to the specified decision date. Section meetings are open to the public and the proceedings resulting from such meetings shall be made available to Section members. In addition to Section meetings, participation of Section members in various conferences, workshops, and technical sessions, not specifically organized by the Section, are encouraged and should serve as a means through which Section objectives are attained. 

The Section may use its financial resources to support continuing education and information exchange, to increase participation in Section or Society events, and for special projects that are compatible with the Section’s mission. Proposed special projects and major publications and expenditures shall first be approved by the Section’s officers. Approved projects and major publications shall be financed with funds obtained from the Society, investment gains, special dues assessment of Section members upon a two-thirds majority vote, fund-raising efforts, or from solicitation of gifts or foundation grants.

Article VIII. Bylaws and Rules

  1. The Bylaws are the defining document for the Section and take precedence over all other rules and procedures of the Section. The Bylaws cannot be suspended and cannot be changed without prior notice to members.
    (a) The Section Bylaws may be amended by a 2/3 majority of Section members voting on the amendment, provided that the proposed amendment(s) are circulated in writing to the membership at least 30 days prior to voting.
    (b) In accordance with the Society Constitution, an amendment shall be reviewed by the Society’s Constitutional Consultant prior to the Section’s vote for conformity with the Constitution, Rules and Procedures of the Society. The Constitutional Consultant presents the adopted amendment to the Society Management Committee for approval.
    (c) Amendments take effect when the Section receives written notice of their approval by the Management Committee from the Executive Director.
  1. Rules are the next highest level of documentation of Section operations.  They are generally established to facilitate the conduct of Section business and describe duties and responsibilities of officers and committees. They may be suspended or amended as follows:
    (a) The Rules may be suspended during an Executive Committee meeting until the next annual or special Section meeting by a 2/3 majority of the Executive Committee.
    (b) The Rules may be suspended for the duration of a meeting by a 2/3 majority of Members voting at an annual or special Section meeting.
    (c) The Rules may be amended by a simple majority of Section Members voting at an annual or special Section meeting.    

Article IX. Operations

  1. Communications. Regular communication with the membership will be achieved via a newsletter, blog or other means by the President or a designee. In addition to Section business, the newsletter/blog can highlight technical advancements, research information on water quality, watershed, and habitat issues, relevant policy changes and other items of broad interest. Currently, the Section’s social media outreach is conducted via facebook, www.facebook.com/AFS-Water-Quality-Section-369954383031160. The details of how best to communicate with membership will likely evolve over time.
  2. Projects. The Section may use its financial resources to support continuing education and information exchange, to increase participation in Section or Society events, and for special projects that are compatible with the Section’s mission. Proposed special projects and major publications and expenditures shall first be approved by the Section’s officers. Approved projects and major publications shall be financed with funds obtained from the Society, investment gains, special dues assessment of Section members upon a two-thirds majority vote, fund-raising efforts, or from solicitation of gifts or foundation grants.
  3. Financial Management. To ensure financial solvency within any fiscal year, the Section shall balance its financial obligations with its revenues, including adapting to variable investment returns and dues payments. To do so, the Section shall maintain a minimum principal of at least 2 years of operating expenses (unless precluded by market conditions) in its accounts and consider an annual disbursement of up to 50 percent of the annual gains. All undisbursed gains shall be reinvested to ensure principal growth for buffering against future market declines and inflation. As part of the American Fisheries Society, the Water Quality Section is a Non-Profit Organization duly registered with the Internal Revenue Service.
  4. Dues. Membership dues of at least $5.00 shall be payable annually and shall become due on December 31 and delinquent thereafter. This applies to non-student members only. The Section can amend the dues by a two-thirds vote of those present at the annual business meeting.