Connor Mertz

Advisor: Sara Rathburn


Previous Education: B.S. Environmental Science - Montana State University - 2017

About Me:

My interest in fluvial geomorphology and journey to CSU stems from past work on various organic farms and several years with a Conservation District in Montana. Through these experiences, I became interested in better understanding the intersection between conservation and agriculture. At the Conservation District, I was lucky enough to be involved with numerous different stream restoration efforts happening across the state and meet the people driving them.

Research Focus:

My research focuses on several tributaries to the Upper Colorado in the Kawuneeche Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park. Historic agricultural land use, increased ungulate populations, and water diversions have led to significant decline in willow communities throughout the Valley, resulting in collapse of beaver populations throughout and channel responses many tributary systems. Stakeholders involved in this project are interested in restoring willow-beaver communities and floodplain connective in the Valley through a combination of vegetation enclosures and low-tech restoration techniques. My project will focus on developing a geomorphic framework to prioritize several project sites identified by the park.