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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Bulletin Supplement (Winter 2012)
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STAFF NEWS

 

New Hires and Retirements

 

Mark Nearing stepped down as Research Leader after 5 years. Thanks Mark! Phil Heilman will try to fill Mark's shoes.

 

Cris Trimble, the Tucson Administrative Officer from 2008 to 2010 retired, and in 2011, Diana Medley was selected from among numerous candidates to be our new Administrative Officer.  Enjoy your retirement, Cris. Welcome to the job, Diana.

 

Don McCool retired from the USDA-ARS after 49 years of government service.  Don is a leading expert on water erosion processes and pioneered research on adapting the Universal Soil Loss Equation to soils that undergo freezing and thawing.  Don spent recent years at SWRC, though he worked at the ARS Hydraulic Engineering Research Unit in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and the Land Management and Water Conservation Research Unit in Pullman, Washington.  We’ll miss seeing him in the halls of SWRC. 

 

Guillermo Ernesto Ponce-Campos joined SWRC as a postdoc after completing his PhD working with Susan Moran.  He earned a B.Sc. and Master degree in Information Systems from ITESM (Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey) in Mexico and his main professional interest is in the use of remote sensing for environmental research making use of data analysis and scientific programming tools.  He and his wife Nadia have have two boys, Isaac (8) and Lucas(1). His favorite sport is basketball (any interest in a SWRC team?).  

 

Graduations

 

Riaz Hedayati finished a Bachelor's in Economics at UA and worked at the SWRC for 7 months before leaving to work as an economic analyst at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA.

 

Carmen Flores completed her Master’s Degree in Ag. and Bio. Engineering at UA on “Evaluation of WEPP using observed spatial distributed soil erosion data measured from rare earth element techniques”.  Congratulations Carmen!

 

Jamie Massart graduated with a Master’s Degree in the Watershed Management and Ecohydrology Program at the UA School of Natural Resources and the Environment with research on “Modeling Runoff and Nitrogen Export from a Semi-arid Catchment in Southern Arizona using K2-O2 (KINEROS-Opus)”.  Congratulations to Jamie!

Guillermo Ernesto Ponce-Campos completed his PhD in the UA Dept. of Soil, Water and Environmental Science (SWES) with a minor in Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis. His dissertation reported results of a multi-site analysis to assess vegetation response to climate variability using data from remote sensing and climate network stations across US and Australia.    

 

Important Reports and Visitors

 

Mark Nearing hosted guests from several countries this year, including Dr. Yan Zhang from the China Forestry University in Beijing, Dr. Alexander Gennadiev from Moscow State University in Russia, Christoph vanOost, from the University of Leuven, Belgium, Harald Hikel, from Switzerland, and Yuichi Onda from Tsukuba University in Japan.

 

Mark Nearing was part of the writing teams for the technical reference documents on agriculture and water resources for the National Climate Assessment (NCA). The NCA is an activity of the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), which coordinates and integrates Federal research on changes in the global environment and their implications for society.

 

Russ Scott hosted the GEWEX group of 4 Chinese scientists.  They are a group of meteorologists looking at land-atmosphere interactions (water and CO2 exchange) in semiarid lands. They toured the WGEW and met with SWRC scientists.

 

Russ Scott, Haiyan Wei (Post-doc and Yongguang Zhang (Post-doc) hosted a Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) sponsored group of four Chinese scientists in the summer of 2011.  They are a group of meteorologists looking at land-atmosphere interactions (water and CO2 exchange) in semiarid lands. They toured the WGEW and met with SWRC scientists.

 

Russ Scott hosted Enrique Pérez Sánchez-Cañete, a Ph.D. student of Andy Kowalski, University of Granada, Spain for August and September, 2011.  Enrique worked on measuring vertical profiles of CO2 in the soil to better understand soil respiration processes.

 

Phil Heilman hosted Michael Schmidt of the Department of Environment and Resource Management in Queensland, Australia, Alexander Cherednichenko and Murat Ibragimov of the Kazakh Institute for Research in Ecology and Climate, and Gouranga Kar of the Directorate of Water Management in Orissa, India for short visits at the center and to Walnut Gulch.

 

David Goodrich will be attending and contributing to the National Climate Assessment (NCA) for ecosystems the week of Jan. 16-20. The NCA is an activity of the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), which coordinates and integrates Federal research on changes in the global environment and their implications for society.

 

David Goodrich represented the SWRC and made an invited presentation to Joint USDA Forest Service-Rocky Mountain Research Station and Agricultural Research Service Collaboration Workshop in Ft. Collins, CO, Oct. 24-26, 2012.

 

Susan Moran co-organized the 8th Research Insights in Semi-Arid Environments (RISE) Symposium, the 4th Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds (ICRW), the 5th Interagency Surface Dynamics Working Group (ISDWG) meeting, and the 2nd NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) Applications Workshop.  Check out the reports at these websites:

http://www.tucson.ars.ag.gov/rise/  http://www.tucson.ars.ag.gov/unit/icrw.htm; http://www.ars.usda.gov/Business/docs.htm?docid=21603; http://smap.jpl.nasa.gov/science/wgroups/applicWG/

 

 

Technology Transfer

 

Training on use of the Automated Geospatial Watershed Assessment (AGWA) tool was conducted at EPA Region 8 in Denver, CO in Oct. 2010.  In addition to EPA trainees, persons from the Army Corps of Engineers and NGO’s attended.

 

Shea Burns, Lainie Levick, Phil Guertin and David Goodrich provided post-fire watershed assessment support using AGWA to interagency BAER (Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation) teams for the largest recorded fires in both Arizona (the Wallow fire) and New Mexico (La Cienega fire) in July and August.

 

SCIENCE EVENTS

  

We are approaching the 9th Annual Research Insights in Semiarid Environments (RISE) conference.  It will be scheduled for October 2012 at University of Arizona.  Announcements will be forthcoming, but you can check out last year’s posters and presentations at http://www.tucson.ars.ag.gov/rise/ .

 

SWRC continued to update and improve the web site for the Rangeland Hydrology and Erosion Model (RHEM).  The RHEM Web Tool is a simple web-based interface for the Rangeland Hydrology and Erosion Model. The interface will allow the user to input commonly known rangeland characteristics and use parameter estimation equations to construct model input files, run the model, view the results, and compare different scenarios.     http://apps.tucson.ars.ag.gov/rhem/

 

Mary Nichols’ research on very high resolution photography has led to the development of a solar powered system that can be deployed at remote sites to capture dynamic time-lapse sequences of physical and ecosystem processes. The system was used to create a very high resolution, zoomable video of changes occurring during the monsoon season at the Kendall watershed within the Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed. The system is described in a recent Scientific American article:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=gigapan-time-machine

Additional time-lapse movies (Google Chrome web browser is required) can be found at:

http://timemachine.gigapan.org/wiki/Main_Page

 

AWARDS and RECOGNITION

  

Dave Goodrich was recognized as PWA Scientist of the Year “For innovative scientific advances in eco-hydrology, leadership in interdisciplinary research, and integration of science into decision making and policy for science-based watershed management.”  We are so proud.

 

Mark Nearing received and undertook an OECD Fellowship for project: “Climate Change Impacts on Hydrologic and Erosion Function in contrasting Grazing Land Environments”.  As part of the Fellowship he worked 15 weeks in 2011 at the Istituto di Ricerca per la Protezione Idrogeologica del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche in Perugia, Italy.

 

The SWRC developed a new Interagency Agreement with the EPA to investigate how Low Impact Development (LID) features (porous pavement, rainwater harvesting, green drainage, etc.) can be represented in AGWA to assess the impacts of implementing LID features in arid developments.

 

The USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is coordinating 10 of its well-established research watersheds and rangelands as a Long-Term Agro-ecosystem Research Network.  These locations will engage in synergistic, network-wide research to address questions related to the condition, trends, and sustainability of agricultural systems and resources on large scales of space and time.  Sustainable agricultural systems that provide a safe, nutritious, ample, and reliable food supply; produce bio-energy; provide essential ecosystem services; and mitigate climate change are needed for the well-being and welfare of future generations.  One of the 10 sites in the Long-Term Agro-ecosystem Research Network is the Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed managed by the Southwest Watershed Research Center.

 

Enhanced resources in the ARS program initiative on Environmental Stewardship in the FY 2013 President's Budget will strenghten ARS' capacity to conduct network-wide research in diverse agricultural production systems and large drainage basins across the country, and to collect environmental data enabling integration and synthesis of findings with the Long Term Ecosystems Research (LTER) network and the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) sponsored by the National Science Foundation.


Last Modified: 2/29/2012
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