Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Bulletin Supplement (Winter 2008)
headline bar

STAFF NEWS

 

Mike Honea, an Arizona native, came to ARS-Tombstone in late July of 2007.  A permanent hire as an electronic technician, he brings with him nearly thirty years of electronics experience.  He has spent time with such companies as Garrett Turbine Engine Company, the MITRE Corporation, General Dynamics, and Metric Systems.  He is also a veteran with 28 years in both the Air Force and Air National Guard.  Currently he is working on improving the data telemetry on the Walnut Gulch watershed, and experimenting with some different antenna designs that are inexpensive and very effective.  He is also busy building up the electronics lab at Tombstone by acquiring needed radio frequency test equipment from government excess.  Mike will no doubt make significant contributions to further strengthen the work at WGEW.

 

Welcome to our new SWRC scientist, Erik Hamerlynck who joined the staff of SWRC in August 2007.  Erik is a plant ecophysiologist, which means he's interested in measuring the physiological mechanisms by which plants:

1)       regulate fluxes of carbon and water through landscapes

2)       allocate resources, grow, and interact with each other

3)       deal with extremes in environmental variability

Erik has extensive experience in semi-arid and arid-land ecosystems, and has been especially interested in relating soils characteristics that strongly affect seasonal soil hydrology back to basic plant function, such as water relations and photosynthetic gas exchange.  Erik received his Ph.D. from Kansas State University in 1995, then did a three-year post-doctoral stint at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and comes to SWRC after 8 years as an assistant professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey.  Erik, his wife, Isabelle, and their four children, Roxane, Leo, Felix, and Amelia, are happily settling in to their new home, and are very glad to be back in the Southwest.

 

Dave Goodrich is planning to spend a sabbatical in New Zealand during the summer of 2008 at the University of Auckland under the supervision of Professor Andy Philpott.  The sabbatical will be for 3 months, funded by a fellowship award from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Co-operative Research Programme.  The objective of the sabbatical is to develop improved optimization procedures for distributed watershed models which utilize internal watershed observations and advanced optimization algorithms.

 

Susan Moran has been appointed as Associate Editor for the Elsevier journal “Agricultural and Forest Meteorology”.  This role includes arranging for peer-review of submitted manuscripts and consultation with other Associate Editors and Editor-in-Chief on the strategy of the journal.

 

We are sad to report that Carol Ann Bailey passed away on Dec. 31 2007.  She was born on Oct. 20 1945 to Ronald A. and Dorothea E. Nutting in Portage, Wis.  She lived the past 27 years in Arizona and worked as an administrative assistant with the USDA SCS and NRCS.  She was also very active with the Victim Witness Program.  She is survived by her husband Donald J. Bailey and her Daughter, Kelli M. Bailey, her son, James R. Bailey, her mother, Dorothea E. Roundy, and her five sisters and two brothers.  She was preceded in death by her father, Ronald A. Nutting.

 

FUTURE SCIENCE EVENTS

 

The SWRC Liaison Committee will meet on Tuesday, January 22 in Tombstone, Arizona.  The focus of the meeting will be on research accomplishments over the past year, and will include a visit to the Kendall experimental site to discuss recent changes in vegetation at that site.

 

SWRC Scientists Mary Nichols and Mark Nearing attended the 2008 Science Conference of the Malpai Borderlands Group on Tuesday, January 8th, at the Douglas, Arizona, Visitor’s Center. The annual science meeting is an opportunity for scientists, ranchers, and land mangers working in southeastern Arizona and Southwestern New Mexico to meet and discuss ongoing regional research, landscape preservation, and cooperative land management.

 

The proceedings of the Southwest Region Threatened, Endangered, and At-Risk Species (TER-S) Workshop will be released in Spring 2008 (http://www.serdp.com/tes/Southwest/).  Lainie Levick was one of only 4 invited speakers at this Dept. of Defense workshop of about 80 attendees last October.  Her presentation and white paper address research on ephemeral/intermittent streams, which was the topic of two of the 12 breakout sessions at the workshop. 

 

University of Arizona undergraduate students Elizabeth Desser and Jessica Kashian were selected to work with ARS Scientists Phil Heilman and Susan Moran as recipients of UA NASA Space Grant Undergraduate Internships.  Elizabeth is conducting a comparison of ecological site predictions based on geology versus actual ecological site maps.  Jessica is investigating the effects of urbanization on infiltration rates and stormwater runoff.  Both students will present their findings at the annual state-wide Space Grant Symposium on April 18-19, 2008.  Don’t miss it!

 

The SWRC will be presenting a hands-on tutorial and presentation of the science behind the Water Erosion Prediction Project - Climate Assessment Tool (WEPPCAT) at the upcoming annual meeting of the Soil and Water Conservation Society to be held in Tucson, AZ next July.  WEPPCAT is a web-based erosion simulation tool that allows for the assessment of changes in erosion rates as a consequence of user-defined climate change scenarios. The tool is based on the USDA-ARS Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) erosion model.  Global warming is expected to lead to a more vigorous hydrological cycle, including more total rainfall and more frequent high intensity rainfall events. Rainfall amounts and intensities increased on average in the United States during the 20th century and, according to climate change models, they are expected to continue to increase during the 21st century. These rainfall changes, along with expected changes in temperature, solar radiation, and atmospheric CO2 concentrations, will have significant impacts on soil erosion rates.  The workshop will present the science behind the impacts of climate on erosion rates, and will include a training session on using the WEPPCAT tool for assessing climate change impacts on erosion.   WEPPCAT is a joint project between the EPA and ARS (Tucson).  The project is being co-led by Dr. Mark Nearing, Dr. David Goodrich, Dr. Tom Johnson (EPA Washington, D.C.), and Dr. Phil Guertin (Univ. of Arizona).

 

A UNESCO Workshop on “Comparative analysis of floods and droughts - Catchment and aquifer typology” has been planned on identifying the relative role of climatic variability and land cover change on floods and low flows as a function of spatial scale.  The goals of the workshop are to summarize the state of the art, to contribute to the planning of research strategies for testing in HELP basins and to further the understanding of land use and climate impact on hydrological extremes. The workshop will be designed to provide a road map of how to address impact issues and to act as a catalyst for motivating communication and targeted research. A previous workshop was held in Tucson, Arizona in March 2007 on methods of change and feedback analysis. The present workshop will focus on data issues and the development of simple indices that could assist in identifying potential response of low flows and floods to change. The workshop will be organized into three sessions plus a number of discussion group meetings.  The workshop will be held April 20-23, 2008 in Smolenice castle 50 km north-east of Bratislava, Slovakia (http://www.kcsmolenice.sav.sk/?lng=en). Contact: Prof. Jan Szolgay <jan.szolgay@stuba.sk>, Prof. Günter Blöschl <bloeschl@hydro.tuwien.ac.at>

 

The SWRC is taking a leading role in organizing the 15th Conference of the International Soil Conservation Organization to be held in Budapest, Hungary, May 18-23, 2008.  The title of the conference is: Soil and Water Conservation, Climate Change and Environmental Sensitivity. Attendees will include scientists, university lecturers, policy makers, and stakeholders from public and private institutions and non-governmental organization throughout the world. The conference will include four days of oral and poster presentations and a mid conference excursion.  Conference topics will include: Soil Conservation, Climate change, Land degradation, Land use change, Water management, Soil erosion, Salinization, Desertification, Soil  rehabilitation and management, Socio-economic aspects of land degradation, and Legislative and Institutional aspects of soil and water conservation.

 

Call for papers:  The Third Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds (ICRW) will be organized by the USGS and held 9-11 September 2008 in Estes Park, Colorado. Attendees may choose to see ongoing research in Loch Vale, an alpine/montaine watershed draining the Continental Divide, or to witness roadside evidence of historic floods from torrential rains and dam failures. The purpose of this conference is to highlight research conducted in small watersheds. This research provides important answers for shareholders charged with managing water resources at the watershed scale and improves our understanding of global processes. The conference will have both oral and poster presentations. Speakers will be invited from universities, ARS, USGS, BLM, EPA, NRCS, and the USFS. Field trips and activities are planned to acquaint participants with alpine and montaine hydrology, ecology, geomophology, and biogeochemisty.  Conference details, travel and lodging information, registration, and other details will be updated on the conference web site (http://www.hydrologicscience.org/icrw/).

 

In case you were wondering, the fifth annual Research Insights in Semiarid Ecosystems (RISE) Symposium will be held on Saturday, October 11, 2008, from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm in The University of Arizona Marley Auditorium (Room 230) in Tucson. RISE is organized by SWRC and the University of Arizona School on Natural Resources to share recent results of scientific research at the USDA-ARS Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed (WGEW) and the University of Arizona Santa Rita Experimental Range (SRER) and to promote the WGEW and the SRER as outdoor scientific laboratories. We’ll send out a call for papers sometime this summer.  For more information, visit http://www.tucson.ars.ag.gov/rise/

 

AWARDS

 

SWRC scientists Dr. Mark Nearing and Dr. Dave Goodrich contributed to the assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.  Dr. Mark Nearing put this into perspective when he wrote: “I believe that there are something over 800 authors for IPCC from the latest Assessment report.  I was one of the 800+.  I contributed to Chapter 3 (Fresh Water Resources and their Management) of Working Group II.  I have been working on this issue, and pushing the importance of, the impacts of Climate Change on Soil Erosion for several years.  Those of us who have been working on this for so long were very pleased when the IPCC recognized its importance and asked for a contribution to the IPCC reports, and I personally felt quite honored that they asked me to write the contribution.  I never in my life imagined the possibility of sharing in a Nobel Prize (even if sharing with several hundred others around the world), and I have to thank ARS for providing me the opportunity to do work that makes a difference.”

 

The Southwest Watershed Research Center is a member institution of the SAHRA Center, which just won a UNESCO Prize for Arid Zone Hydrology Work.  The prize rewards remarkable scientific work on water research in deserts and other arid lands.  The University of Arizona’s SAHRA Center is one of two institutions that have won the 2007 International Great Man-made River Prize. The prize is awarded every other year by UNESCO, the United Nations Education, Science, and Culture Organization.  SAHRA member institutions include Arizona State University, New Mexico Tech, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, United States Geological Survey, the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, Penn State University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Desert Research Institute, U.C. Irvine, U.C. Merced, U.C. Riverside, Northern Arizona University, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.C. Los Angeles, and Sandia National Laboratories.  Dr. David Goodrich and Dr. Russ Scott at ARS-Tucson are active participants in the SAHRA efforts. 

 

SWRC Scientist Dave Goodrich received the award for Exceptional/Outstanding ORD Technical Assistance to the Regions or Program Offices from the EPA Office for Research and Development.  Along with Bill Kepner and Darius Semmens (EPA National Environmental Research Laboratory, Las Vegas, Nevada), Dave received the award for “exceptional technical assistance to Region 9 in support of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and 404 Program (Clean Water Act) decisions in the American Southwest”.  This is an exceptional recognition of their work to provide a scientific basis for improved regulatory practices to protect scarce water resources and associated riparian ecosystems.

 


Last Modified: 1/28/2008
Footer Content Back to Top of Page