Advisor: Dr. Ellen Wohl
Colorado State University, M.S. Geosciences, 2019
The University of Texas at Austin, B.S. Environmental Science (Geology), 2017
Originally from Sugar Land, Texas, my love for rivers began with hiking and exploring along the banks of the Brazos River. During my undergraduate degree, my interest in fluvial geomorphology was confirmed with an REU studying the timing of sedimentation in bank scallops along Difficult Run, VA, and an independent undergraduate research study investigating the influence of baselevel on channel sinuosity. Alongside the academic pursuit of rivers, I also chased streams and rapids across central and west Texas with a canoe and paddle in my spare time.
After graduation, I came to Colorado State to pursue an M.S. studying the geomorphic and hydrologic response to small restoration projects using beaver dam analogues (also known as beaver mimicry structures or temporary wood grade structures) in the Colorado Front Range. In conjunction with my research, I worked with the city and county of Boulder, Colorado to determine suitability for live beaver reintroduction at Caribou Ranch.
To hear more about some of my research and the importance of beavers in the mountain West, check out this interview with Luke Runyon from NPR (https://www.npr.org/2018/06/24/620402681/the-bountiful-benefits-of-bringing-back-the-beavers) or this short video from the Water Desk at CU Boulder (https://waterdesk.org/2020/01/video-story-when-in-drought-call-the-beavers).
Broadly, my research interests are related to stream restoration and catchment-scale geomorphic and hydrologic connectivity. I am interested in understanding the role of geomorphology in supporting and maintaining ecosystem services.
Current Research: Morphological Influences on Floodplain Sediment Storage and Function in Southwestern Ephemeral Streams
Approximately 80% of river networks in the arid to semi-arid American Southwest have ephemeral or intermittent flow. Despite their prevalence, ephemeral streams and watersheds remain understudied compared to perennial counterparts. Existing work on ephemeral networks has shown that floodplains along ephemeral streams support important wildlife habitat and migratory corridors, represent regions of groundwater recharge, and are hotspots of nutrient cycling. These ecosystem services are expected to be closely tied to geomorphic characteristics and sediment availability in floodplains and are likely concentrated in wide, alluvial reaches along ephemeral streams, called floodplain beads.
The purpose of my research is to advance our understanding of sediment sources to and storage in ephemeral floodplain beads across the Southwest, which includes testing the correlation between sediment availability and floodplain function. Our study spans multiple watersheds across the Colorado River Basin – including Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed, Arizona and tributaries to the Escalante River in Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument, Utah – in order to investigate ephemeral floodplain sediment dynamics across latitudinal climate gradients. Study results could have important implications for ephemeral stream management and protection in the American West.