Welcome to information and registration for the 25th Annual NCKMS. Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. is excited to host this bi-annual meeting in the cave and karst-rich Chattanooga area, which is situated in the heart of Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia (TAG). SCCi hosted the Symposium in 1999 and looks forward to hosting once again.

These informative meetings are held across the United States in order to highlight local karst resources and management issues, and to allow members of the resource management community to meet and exchange ideas and solve problems. Typical presentations and workshops focus on resource management and stewardship activities, education, communication, sustainability, and research. Sessions often provide many examples in both show cave and wild cave resource management.

Registration is $295/person and includes conference attendance, evening events, light breakfast, break snacks, and field trips. Question to [email protected]

Thank you to our 2023 NCKMS Co-sponsors for 
helping make this event happen!

Tennessee Cave Salamander Level Co-Sponsors

Cave Conservancy Foundation

John Hickman

Southern Cave Crayfish Level Co-Sponsors

American Cave Conservation Association

Cave Research Foundation

Karst Waters Institute

National Speleological Society

Tennessee Cave Survey

Tom Whitehurst

In-Kind Support

Amber Lehmann

Cumberland Caverns

Outdoor Chattanooga

Ruby Falls

Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute


Alabama Cave Shrimp Level Co-Sponsors

Bill Stringfellow

Buddy Lane

Chattanooga Grotto

Crawford Hydrology Lab @ WKU

Dogwood City Grotto

Emily P Davis

ESI (Environmental Solutions & Innovations, Inc.)

Huntsville Grotto

IMO (Inner Mountain Outfitters

Indiana Karst Conservancy

Kris H Green

Kyle Lassiter

Lewis & Associates Biological Consulting

Nashville Grotto

Northeastern Cave Conservancy

Robert Jones

Sewanee Mountain Grotto

Sinking Creek Pottery

Texas Hydro Geo Workshop

The Nature Conservancy

Virginia Cave Board

West Virginia Cave Conservancy



Schedule (as of 10/19/2023)

Monday, November 6, 2023

8:00am - 5:00 pmRegistration
8:300am - 5:00 pmWorkshops

Morning 9am - Noon (FREE)
Sustainable Tourism Solutions in Cave and Karst Biosphere Reserves
 Webinar presented by CaveMAB Network

8:30am - 5:00pm ($25/registrant)
Dye Tracing Workshop
Led by Ben Miller (U.S. Geological Survey) and Brian Ham (Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation)
Classroom lecture and field work

Afternoon 3pm 5pm ($25/registrant)
Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute
Tour of institute and presentation on research in Key Cave, Alabama on Alabama Cavefish and undescribed Cave Shrimp and two rare Cave Crayfishes.

5:00pm - 9:00pmMeet-and-Greet Social @ OddStory Brewing Co.
Tuesday, November 7, 2023

8:00am - 5:00pmRegistration
8:30am - 8:40amWelcome and Greetings
Hickman & Lassiter
Session #1     Hydrology of Karst Landscapes
Moderator: Ben Miller
8:40am - 9:00amKarst Research Synergy in Tennessee
Ham & Miller
9:00am - 9:20amIdentifying contributing areas for Tennessee community drinking-water springs with dye tracing
9:20am - 9:40amA comparative study of mesh and filter fabric charcoal receptors for fluorescent dye detection
Bledsoe & Veith
9:40am - 10:00amSeepage investigations and dye tracing in the Big Creek watershed near Buffalo National River, Arkansas
10:00am - 10:30amBreak
10:30am - 10:50amFate and transport of E. coli through Appalachian karst systems
Buehrer & Schmidt
10:50am - 11:10amNew guidance for stormwater management in karst of Virginia
Orndorff & Denton
11:10am - 11:30amAssessing trail use impacts to groundwater quality in Mammoth Cave National Park
Singer, Bledsoe & Groves
11:30am - 11:50amThe geologic influence on groundwater recharge at the cave lakes of Jewel Cave
Wiles and Fox
11:50am - 12:10AMUsing Dove satellite images to update a map of sinkhole flooding at Stones River National Battlefield, Tennessee
12:10pm - 1:30pmLUNCH ON YOUR OWN
Session #2    Bats and WNS Panel Discussion: Answering Your Questions
Moderator: Cory Holliday
1:30pm - 1:50pmBat artificial roosting structures
Tate-Cogburn & Thames
1:50pm - 2:10pmGray bat movements and use of caves in Tennessee: the more we know, the more we don'tSamoray
2:10pm - 2:30pm
Summer cave use by Tricolored Bats declined in response to white-nose syndrome despite persistence in winter hibernacula in the southeastern United States
2:30pm - 2:50pmBREAK
2:50pm - 3:10pmStatus updates for federally listed bats occurring in eastern U.S.: Implications for cave and land managementInebnit
3:10pm - 3:30pmAn update on white-nose syndrome and the coordinated response in the United StatesReichard
3:30pm - 4:30pmBats and WNS Panel Discussion: Answering Your QuestionsHolliday
6:00pm - 10:00pmHowdy Party at Outdoor Chattanooga

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

8:00 am - 4:30 pmAll Day Field Trips
- "Southern Tier"
Sauta Cave, AL
Russell Cave, AL
Cathederal Caverns, AL
Stephen Gap Preserve, AL

- "Northern Tier"
Jasper Big Spring, TN
Big Mouth and Big Room Caves (The Caverns)
Grundy Big Spring
Cumberland Caverns

- Speleothem Repair Workshop with Emily P. Davis

6:00 pm - 8:00 pmDinner on the town
Thursday, November 9, 2023

8:00am - 10:00amREGISTRATION
8:30am - 8:40amWelcome and Greetings
Session #3    Cave Management
Moderator: Andy Armstrong
8:40am - 9:10amSoutheastern Cave Conservancy, Inc: 30 years of saving caves
9:10am - 9:30amCoordinating the Dream Team to Inventory Caves in White Pine County, Nevada
9:30am - 9:50amFrom basins to ranges: teaming up with scientists to discover the extraordinary beneath your feet
9:50am - 10:10amVital Signs: Long-term monitoring for best management of long-term karst resources
10:10am - 10:30amBREAK
10:30am - 10:50amDoes Secrecy of Cave information Protect Caves, Karst and Public Interest
10:50am - 11:10am

Cave Conservation Management and Restoration - International Workshops

11:10am - 11:30am

The Northeastern Cave Conservancy and Thacher State Park: a collaboration fifty years in the making

11:30am - 11:50amPartnerships and Collaborations
Seiser, Holliday & Jackson
11:50am - 12:10amThe Spectrum of Cave Management and Protection: How Legislation, Regulations, Policies, and Case Law Intertwine
Seisier & McNabb
12:10pm - 1:30pmLUNCH ON YOUR OWN
Session # 4      Cave and Karst Biological Studies
Moderator: Jerry Lewis
1:30pm - 1:50pm

Phylogeography, speciation, and cryptic diversity in Pseudosinella cave springtails (Entomobryomorpha: Entomobryidae) of the Interior Low Plateau and Appalachian Valley & Ridge karst region

Cramphorn & Niemiller
1:50pm - 2:10pm

Cave-dwelling fauna of the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge Complex in northern Alabama, USA

Higgs & Others
2:10pm - 2:30pm

Systematic Microbiological Sampling of Karst Groundwaters in Virginia

Drake & Kosic Ficco
2:30pm - 2:50pmLessons learned from Virginia groundwater isopods
2:50pm - 3:10pmBREAK
3:10pm - 3:30pmInvertebrate mark and recapture, and application for managing endemic species
McCollum, Krejca & Baker
3:30pm - 3:50pm

Environmental DNA (eDNA) as an effective approach for monitoring and studying groundwater biodiversity

3:50pm - 4:10pm

Assessing patterns of subterranean biodiversity and microclimates to inform cave management and conservation

Foy & Others
Poster Session
4:10pm - 5:00pm

Community Interest and Involvement in Cave and Karst Protection
Carden, Kambesis, Bledsoe & Razumovska

A Study on the Impact of Microplastics in Sediments in the Hidden River Groundwater Basin, Hart County, Kentucky

Mersch & Kambesis

Importance of State Cave Surveys for cave research: Case study: Tennessee Cave Survey as a Source of Speleological Data on Cave type, distribution and density as indicators of karstification on the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee

Fern Cave Dye Tracing Study
Miller & Tobin

7:00pm - 10:00pmBanquet and Featured Speaker Matt Niemiller Ph.D. @ Ruby Falls on Lookout Mtn
Friday, November 10, 2023

8:30am - 8:40amWelcome & Greetings
Session #5      Education
Moderator: Amy Hourigan
8:40am - 9:00amTaking Conservation Education to a New Level at Great Basin National Park
Baker & Jackson
9:00am - 9:20am

The Texas Hydro Geo Workshop

9:20am - 9:30amBREAK
Session #6     Karst Studies
Moderator: Amy Hourigan
9:30am - 9:50amMountain Valley Pipeline: karst issues in Virginia 4 years into construction
Orndorff, Malabad & Kosic Ficco

9:50am - 10:10amSignificant cave exploration within the easement of a major interstate gas pipeline: the nexus of state agencies, cavers, landowners, and the Mountain Valley Pipeline
10:10am - 10:30amBREAK
10:30am - 10:50am

Sinkhole hazard assessment index and risk analysis to inform karst policy and mitigation planning

Puente & Polk
10:50am - 11:10am

Hydrological Dynamics of Surface-Groundwater Interactions Between Major Springs of Mammoth Cave and the Green River, Kentucky, USA

Polk & Others
11:10am - 11:30am

The Karst Springs Initiative - five years of volunteer karst studies on the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee 

Miller & Ham
11:30am - 11:50am

KARST PROTECTION: How Do We Go from Words to Action?

Kosic Ficco
11:50am - 12:00pmClosing Remarks

Saturday, November 11, 2023

9:00am - 5:00pmNSS Board of Governors Meeting at DoubleTree Hotel
Saturday Morning, Meeting Time TBA

Wild Cave Trip to Horizontal Cave in Grundy County, Tennessee

  • Drive time is approx. 1.5 hrs one way from Chattanooga
  • Limited to 7-8 participants
  • Trip Duration: 4-5 hrs
  • For more information, contact: [email protected]

Hotel Information

The Double Tree by Hilton in downtown Chattanooga is the headquarters hotel for the symposium, restaurants, tourist attractions, and great views are close and abundant. The hotel offers parking at a discounted rate for attendees. Overnight parking is $8/night and day parking is $5/day. You will need to pay in the lobby before entering the adjacent lot. The Doubletree by Hilton offers a group rate of $109/night for 11/3 - 11/13 to allow attendees to spend time in the area before and after the Symposium. The deadline has passed for the group rate, but there may still be availability. Email [email protected] to find out.

Call for Presenters

We are now accepting papers for the 2023 National Cave and Karst Management Symposium.  The theme for this symposium is "From Ridges to Streams." However, we encourage authors to submit papers on all topics related to the management of caves and karst resources. Abstract submission deadline ended. Full paper submission deadline is now February 1, 2024. Download more information HEREr e-mail to [email protected]


Full and partial scholarships are available for attendees. The NCKMS Scholarship Committee manages the George N Huppert Scholarship Program. THE DEADLINE HAS PASSED. More information and application information is located HERE.

Sponsorship Opportunities

NCKMS relies on registrations and community support to run these meetings. We ask you to consider being a co-sponsor in the form of financial support, or through a contribution of goods and services.  Sponsorships provide attendees an opportunity to learn more about local businesses, products, and resources available in located in the region surrounding Chattanooga, and to learn about businesses, products, and resources available within the cave and karst resource management community.  Thank you for helping us protect the underground resources of the Southeast and other areas. More information is available HERE or by emailing [email protected].. Sponsors can also register below.

Co-sponsors Levels (named for some of the Southeast’s more unique cave dwelling species): 

Alabama Cave Shrimp ($350–$699)  

  • Organization listing on NCKMS Web Page and Facebook Page      
  • Recognition in Program and Proceedings 
  • Single table space in Exhibit Hall 
  • One Symposium registration 

Southern Cave Crayfish ($700 to $1399 Level).  As above, plus:

  • Extended Space in Exhibit Hall 
  • Signs/Banner (if provided) displayed throughout event
  • One additional Symposium registration (total of two)

 Tennessee Cave Salamander ($1400+).  As above, plus: 

  • Inclusion of promotional or other material in registration packages
  • Premium Space in Exhibit Hall 
  • Two additional Symposium registrations (total of four)

Registration Information

  • This includes conference attendance, evening events, light breakfasts, breaks, and fieldtrips.

  • Includes:
    Organization listing on NCKMS Web Page and Facebook Page
    Recognition in Program and Proceedings
    Single table space in Exhibit Hall
    One Symposium registration

  • Includes:
    - Extended Space in Exhibit Hall
    - Signs/Banner (if provided) displayed throughout event
    - One additional Symposium registration (total of two)
    ** A coupon code will be sent to the primary registration
    for the additional registration.

  • Includes:
    - Inclusion of promotional or other material in registration packages
    - Premium Space in Exhibit Hall
    - Two additional Symposium registrations (total of four)
    ** A coupon code will be sent to the primary registration
    for the two additional registrations.

  • Includes attendance at day program

  • Sustainable Tourism Solutions in Cave and Karst Biosphere Reserves
    Webinar presented by CaveMAB Network @ Doubletree Hotel

  • Lecture in morning at Doubletree and then fieldwork in afternoon.
    Limited to 13 participants.

  • Depart hotel at 2:30 pm for tour and presentation at facility.
    Limited to 13 particpants.

  • Cave and karst features in Alabama
    (Must be registered for full-conference to attend)

  • Cave and karst features in Tennessee
    (Must be registered for full conference to attend)

  • Limited to 13 participants.
    (Must be registered for full conference to attend)

  • Not attending field trips.
    **Registration fee is not adjusted **


Additional items

  • Symposium Proceedings

    Symposium Proceedings

    Following the Symposium, the proceedings from the presenters will be collected and printed. Price includes domestic postage.

    $35.00 ea.


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