Research Project Profiles

Monitoring the Performance of Green Infrastructure in Onondaga County - Phase 1

Sampling the OnCenter Parking Lot, January 2014
  • Target:
    This project monitors how green infrastructure changes the quantity and quality of stormwater runoff.
  • Summary:
    Onondaga County has funded numerous Green Infrastructure (GI) projects as part of an effort to reduce Combined Sewer Overflow in the Syracuse metropolitan area. Although the expected impact of the projects has been modeled, there have been no monitoring efforts using widely accepted methods to verify the performance of individual projects. To overcome this deficiency, our program obtains on-site measurement data to establish the performance of representative sites among newly constructed GI projects in Onondaga County. Focus of ESF work is led by Emily Stephan and Tom Taggart at the OnCenter parking garage bioretention basin and permeable pavement parking lot.
  • Sponsor:
    Environmental Finance Center and Save the Rain Monitoring and Research Challenge Program
  • Dates:
    2013-2014
  • Results:
    Verification of as-built GI specifications for development of monitoring protocols and sampling.
  • Collaborator:
    Dave Chandler (PI), Cliff Davidson (co-PI), Charles Driscoll (co-PI) of Syracuse University and Emily Stephan and Tom Taggart of SUNY-ESF, in consultation with Onondaga County and CH2M Hill.
  • Links:
    Save the Rain | Our Lake | Chandler Monitoring Blog

Determining Natural Flows and Hydrologic Alterations in the Delaware River

Spatial Map of NOAA NCDC Stations for Upper Delaware River Basin
  • Target:
    This project estimates how land use and climate affect flow and Dwarf Wedgemussel habitat in the Delaware River Basin.
  • Summary:
    This research supports the Delaware River Basin Commission's 2007 Flexible Flow Management Program to identify an appropriate ecological flow regime for the upper Delaware River. The challenge of finding ecological flows for the Delaware River involves determining how land use change, reservoir operation, and climate change affect flows. Our approach to analyzing ecological flows uses watershed model simulation to quantify how upper Delaware River flows might change with land use change from the 1500s pre-colonial period to the early-1900s deforested period to the mid-1900s pre-reservoir period. The flow analysis will use a 1980-2011 record of weather in the USGS WATER model to simulate flows from each of the three periods, and quantify impacts to flow volume, magnitude, timing, and frequency for the East Branch, West Branch, and main stem at Callicoon watersheds.
  • Sponsor:
    National Park Service
  • Dates:
    2013-2014
  • Results:
    Estimation of forest cover and climate data for simulation periods. Implementation of hte WATER model for three watersheds of interest.
  • Collaborator:
    Chuck Kroll (co-PI), Yang Yang, Steve Shaw, Peter Kwon, National Park Service, US Geological Survey WaterSMART Team, Delaware River Basin Commission
  • Links:
    ERE Blog on Project

Mianus River Gorge Research Assistantship Program - Emily Stephan

Spatial Map of Mianus River Watershed Buffer Index
  • Target:
    This project provides a watershed organization with estimates of how green infrastructure might reduce nutrient pollution.
  • Summary:
    My PhD student Emily Stephan secured this award so we could partner with the Mianus River Gorge Team and local high school students on nutrient management in their watershed; this is an achievable goal in part due to the strong support from watershed citizens in the affluent towns of Bedford, NY and Greenwich, CT. We will use the USDA Forest Service i-Tree Hydro model to study how nutrient pollution responds to the South Western Regional Planning Agency watershed management plans. We will specifically explore the effect of stormwater flow routing into proposed green infrastructure to examine the relationships between watershed structure and function.
  • Sponsor:
    Mianus River Gorge
  • Dates:
    2013-2015
  • Results:
    Generation of watershed maps showing hot spots for pollutant sources and pollutant flow paths and opportunities for pollutant buffering with green infrastructure.
  • Collaborator:
    Emily Stephan (RAP lead), the Mianus River Gorge Team, High School Mentor, Todd Walters Lab at Cornell, USDA Forest Service i-Tree
  • Links:
    i-Tree Tools Blog on Emily

A New iTree Tool for Assessing Forest Impacts on Urban Ecosystems

Spatial Map of Air Temperature and Humidity
  • Target:
    This project assesses climate change mitigation and adaptation functions in iTree Landscape to help communities manage forests at multiple scales (block, neighborhood, etc).
  • Summary:
    Develop a spatially distributed iTree toolset, with a consistent database platform to maximize model portability and usability. Compare the impact of employing different data sources as inputs and parameters for the distributed iTree toolset. Employ Systems Engineering techniques to develop optimal urban forestry and management plans. Perform case studies with the new modeling system at 3 US cities, determining the impact of forest and climate change on these urban ecosystems.
  • Sponsor:
    National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council (NUCFAC)
  • Dates:
    2011-2015
  • Results:
    Application of WRF and CMAQ models to Baltimore and LA; Creation of algorithms to incorporate NARCCAP data into iTree; Development of new urban air temperature model.
  • Collaborator:
    Chuck Kroll (PI), David Nowak, Ethan Bodnaruk, Thomas Taggart, Emily Stephan, Yang Yang, Satoshi Hirabashi, Davey Tree Expert Company, The CASE Center, NUCFAC
  • Links:
    NUCFAC | i-Tree Tools | iTree-Hydro Physics

Enhancing iTree Spatial Simulation of Urban Water, Heat, and Pollution

Urban Forests and Hydrology with iTree
  • Target:
    This project enhances iTree toolset spatial simulation of urban water, heat, and pollution.
  • Summary:
    Continue development of iTree Hydro model, specifically related to integrating NEXRAD weather data and building a more fully distributed model. Develop Hydro code that is modular such that other iTree programs can link to its hydrologic routines and perform hydrologic simulations outside of i-Tree Hydro. Develop a hydrologic routine with iTree Design and Landscape that simulates hourly runoff from sites based on user inputs of vegetation and impervious surfaces. Develop and test various temperature routines (WRF, regression approaches) to develop air temperature codes that can be integrated within iTree models. Develop and test various air pollution dispersion models (CMAQ, local line and point source dispersion) to develop air pollution dispersion code that can be integrated within i-Tree models
  • Sponsor:
    United States Department of Agriculture - Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Urban Forestry Unit
  • Dates:
    2010-2015
  • Results:
    Creation of a new iTree Hydro tool for spatially routing runoff; theoretical development of a spatial air temperature model, further developed with NUCFAC resarch; development of green infrastructure tools.
  • Collaborator:
    David Nowak, Chuck Kroll, Tom Taggart, Emily Stephan, Yang Yang, Satoshi Hirabashi, Davey Tree Expert Company, The CASE Center, NUCFAC
  • Links:
    Forest Service Office | iTree Tools

EPA STAR - Riverbed Filtration Enhancement in Urban Stream Restoration Sites - Jesse Robinson

Aerial View of Onondaga Creek Restoration Reach
  • Target:
    This project develops a rapid stream assessment technique to quantify pollutant filtering potential in restored rivers.
  • Summary:
    My MS student Jesse Robinson secured this award so we could address the physical impairment seen in urban streams that reduces the ability of these ecosystems to provide important functions, from support of aquatic life at the base of the food chain, to the removal of pollutants from our surface waters. This state of impairment also has the effect of reducing recreational and quality of life benefits in areas where people are most likely to live. Transient storage modeling (TSM) and geomorphic characterization were used to rapidly assess indicators of improved stream function. TSM utilizes a mass balance approach to discern storage and potential pollutant filtration zones within streams.
  • Sponsor:
    EPA Science to Achieve Results
  • Dates:
    2011-2013
  • Results:
    Several conference oral presentations, posters, and the assessment of 10 river reaches in the Finger Lakes and Central New York Regions and development of a new rapid assessment technique under review for publication.
  • Collaborator:
    Chuck Kroll, Steve Shaw, Adam Ward, Laura Lautz, Marty Briggs, Joe Becker, Mike Fay, Hanh Chu, Tian Zhou, Bangshuai Han, and NSF REU and other ESF students.
  • Links:
    Jesse's Blog

Reach-Scale Patterns in Hyporheic Exchange at Pristine, Degraded and Restored Rivers

Dye injection above restoration structure
  • Target:
    Our project goal is to assess the impact of Natural Channel Design (NCD) river restoration on hyporheic exchange flux (HEF), which is mixing of river and ground water and facilitates a river's ecohydrological functions. This research project will collect estimates of HEF metrics in restored, degraded, and pristine rivers and test if reach-scale HEF metrics are different between the three river morphological conditions (restored, degraded, pristine).
  • Summary:
    New York is home to 100s of NCD restoration projects. To achieve water quality and fishery enhancement goals NY has paid more than $30 million for NCD projects (i.e., restoration reaches extend 100s to 1000s of meters at a cost of $200 to $3000 per reach meter). Despite a national debate on the efficacy of NCD and informal observations that 30% of NY projects may have partly failed, NY has had no systematic and scientifically accepted assessment of NCD restoration performance. An assessment of NCD performance will help justify continued funding or modify project approaches. Our WRI research assesses the performance of NCD and determines whether the NCD projects enhance HEF, which serves as a rapid indicator of NCD contributing to river water quality and fishery goals. This project trains students, updates practitioners, informs not-for-profit river groups, and advances science on the use of transient storage modeling (TSM) metrics to assess NCD performance. The metrics are: (1) dispersion coefficient; (2) exchange rate coefficient; (3) standardized storage zone area; (4) median storage zone residence time; (5) channel residence time; (6) hydraulic uptake length; (7) hydrological retention factor; (8) median 200-m travel time due to storage; (9) storage exchange flux; and (10) residence time distribution functions describing the breakthrough curve.
  • Sponsor:
    New York State Water Resources Institute
  • Dates:
    2011-2012
  • Results:
    Several MS candidates gaining experience, rapid data river classification and collection protocols, automated scripts for breakthrough curve analysis, and more coming along.
  • Collaborator:
    Chuck Kroll, Joe Becker, Hanh Chu, Mike Fay, Jesse Robinson, and several ERE undergraduate students
  • Illustrations:
    Research Photos

Creating Green Infrastructure Simulation Tools and Green Collar Job Training

Rainfall to runoff to receiving water
  • Target:
    Our research on this project was focused on developing tools to help US cities plan for green infrastructure to manage stormwater runoff and associated water quantity and water quality issues.
  • Summary:
    1. The first task was to create or demonstrate use of the spatially lumped and distributed iTree-Hydro model to simulate green infrastructure effects on water quantity and quality. Spatially lumped means the watershed attributes, such as topographic highs and lows, variation in land cover types, are represented as statistical distributions within a single pixel. Spatially distributed uses multiple pixels to represent the observed geographical distribution of watershed features. 2. The second task was to create a two part green infrastructure decision support (DSS) system to address the question, "How can I use Green Infrastructure to handle stormwater?"
  • Sponsor:
    USDA Forest Service
  • Dates:
    2010-2011
  • Results:
    Green Infrastructure Techniques Website | Runoff Calculator for Rain Gardens and Bioretention Basins | iTree Hydro Green Infrastructure Demonstration
  • Collaborator:
    Chuck Spuches as lead, Virginia Williams, Colin Bell, Kelly Metz, Dan Reeder, and several Outreach Staff members and students
  • Illustrations:
    Research Photos

Impacts of Instream Restoration on Hydrological, Chemical, and Biological Heterogeneity in the Hyporheic Zone

Water Resources Engineering River Restoration
  • Target:
    The proposed work addresses current gaps in our knowledge of how in-stream restoration projects impact hyporheic exchange and improve hyporheic function, particularly in terms of water quality and habitat restoration. The results of our work will inform future restoration design and demonstrate that restoration design considerations should include the vertical component, not simply channel form and process. Through exploratory computational modeling of hyporheic fluxes around proposed restoration structures, we can inform how restoration design maximizes physiochemical and biological diversity in the stream system, restoring ecological function.
  • Summary:
    Billions of dollars are spent annually on stream restoration, but assessments of restoration impacts on in-channel ecosystems are rare, and investigations into hyporheic impacts are practically absent. Most restoration projects aim to improve degraded stream structure and function by manipulating channel morphology to replicate pre-degradation conditions. The complex interactions of surface and subsurface flow in the hyporheic zone associated with restoration structures may play an important role in the ecological impact of restoration projects, particularly in terms of water quality and habitat, and our study will explore these processes. The overall objective of this project is to assess 1) the degree to which in-stream restoration projects mimic natural bedform processes by inducing rapid hyporheic interaction and 2) the resultant impacts on heterogeneity of associated physical, chemical, thermal and biological patterns in streambeds. Restoration projects will be assessed in the field relative to degraded sites, where restoration projects have not been implemented, and reference sites, which represent an ideal condition and on which the restoration design was based. Computational modeling will guide site instrumentation, investigate hydraulic drivers of water flux, and scale the results to larger reach lengths.
  • Sponsor:
    National Science Foundation EAR Hydrological Sciences: Collaborative Research: Impacts of In-stream Restoration on Hydrological, Chemical and Biological Heterogeneity in the Hyporheic Zone
  • Dates:
    2010-2015
  • Results:
    Several PhD and MS Candidates, Papers in review and progress, Hydraulic designs for restoration targets
  • Collaborator:
    Laura Lautz, Kathy McGrath, Tian Zhou, Tim Daniluk, Ryan Gordon, Nate Barlet, Rachel Weiter, and other students
  • Illustrations:
    Research Photos

Urban Forest Hydrology Simulation in Ecological Engineering Design

Urban Forests and Hydrology with iTree
  • Target:
    Development of the iTree Hydro model to simulate how trees impact urban stormwater processes. The model is targeted to meet management needs and reflect scientific theory, bridging the science divide.
  • Summary:
    Ecological engineering design involves quantitative assessment of human-ecosystem interactions. Our model development provides a tool to quantitatively analyze such interactions in the urban watershed. This work involved mathematical modeling and computer coding to represent the forest and hydrology data collected from many urban forest plots. The iTree model simulations include representing tree interception, street runoff, and changes in receiving water quality. Process development includes watershed-airshed interactions and their impact on tree evaporation and urban cooling. We are using the meso-scale atmospheric Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model physics and output to inform our iTree Hydro innovations.
  • Sponsor:
    United States Department of Agriculture - Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Urban Forestry Unit
  • Dates:
    2010-2012
  • Results:
    Yang Yang PhD work, Tian Zhou model support, National reports on urban runoff for several cities, student projects, Papers in Journal of AWRA
  • Collaborator:
    David Nowak, Chuck Kroll, Yang Yang, Satoshi Hirabashi, Davey Tree Expert Company, The CASE Center, John Dougherty
  • Links:
    Forest Service Office | iTree Tools

Ecological Engineering Meander Bend Designs

Ecological Engineering Meander Bend Designs
  • Target:
    Many river restoration projects design a repeating planform of the river meander yet natural rivers contain meanders at several stages of evolution, including near cutoff and post-cutoff with oxbow lakes. We are using river table, model, and field experiments to determine how variation in meander evolution influences rates and paths of lateral hyporheic exchange through the point bar, and using sophisticated mapping to document the time series of longitudinal patterns in river bed topography and downvalley patterns in hydraulic gradient during meander bend evolution.
  • Summary:
    Hyporheic exchange, defined as the spiral flow of water between the river and near-surface groundwater, is typically triggered by the pressure gradient physics along the river bed interface, and has biological and chemical impacts such as establishing micro-refugia for aquatic organisms and regulating redox conditions and nutrient transformations. Most scientists have examined steady state river morphology, noting how the pressure gradient and resulting hyporheic exchange varies in the down-channel direction at pools and in the cross-channel direction at point bars. Of interest is a new theory for pool-riffle rivers claiming hyporheic exchange will vary at a single location as the river meander evolves from high to low curvature and pressure gradients steepen and hyporheic exchange reaches maximum intensity at the point bar neck. Boano et al. (2006) derived their findings with the water surface and river bed having a constant slope during meander evolution, yet there are no published data from laboratory or field studies for or against this uniform bed slope trend or the corollary hyporheic intensification theory. If the theory were supported, we would update components of river management to protect and restore the disproportionately active ecological functions at these low curvature meander bends. Alternatively, important constraints on hyporheic intensification may emerge if we find variation in river bed slopes along meander bend evolution and significant alteration to pressure gradients and hyporheic exchange, which would require updating meander evolution theory and models. For this seed grant, we propose to quantify and contrast changes in river morphology and hyporheic exchange using mobile bed river table experiments with photogrammetric and dye tracer mapping, along with complementary bed surveys and hyporheic detection in field studies at different stages of meander evolution.
  • Sponsor:
    SUNY ESF Seed Grant: Changes in River Bed Slopes in Meander Bends - Impacts on Ecological Functions
  • Dates:
    2010-2011
  • Results:
    Bangshuai Han PhD research, Papers in progress, Conference posters and talks
  • Collaborator:
    Peter Ashmore, Guido Zolezzi, Bangshuai Han and other students
  • Illustrations:
    Research Photos

Ecological Engineering a Community Water Supply

Ecological Engineering a Community Water Supply
  • Target:
    Using ecological engineering design to maintain stream hyporheic exchange flow during a partial dewatering regime for community water supply in Buena Vista Honduras. Local Ecological Knowledge (LEK) is used to assess changes beyond the science scope.
  • Summary:
    Research in the design of Buena Vista's CWS addresses the coupled objectives that 1) create a robust gravity driven waterworks to deliver adequate volumes of potable water, and 2) conserve the remaining stream flow so it is adequate for ecological services. Fortunately, the stream source is at 1017 m elevation, more than 80 m above the highest point in the village, making gravity based supply feasible and precluding any need for pumps and a non-renewable energy source. Unfortunately, the Buena Vista source stream is under the influence of a distinct dry season from late spring through the summer and has extended periods of low flow (75 liters per minute, roughly equivalent to open flow from 4 U.S. faucets). Typical CWS design procedures take the stream low flow as the safe yield, delivering that entire amount to the village and disrupting key ecological services in the stream. The stream riparian and hyporheic zones serve as natural water filters through physical and biochemical processes. Flows of dissolved and suspended solids in the near-stream soils (i.e., riparian and hyporheic zones) are affected by hydraulic gradients and biogeochemical processes, which subsequently modulate stream water chemistry (Harvey and Wagner, 2000). Dewatering of the stream could alter the drinking water quality, stress in-channel aquatic communities, and affect important ecosystem services along the stream bank riparian zone and the below channel hyporheic zone. The research objectives are addressed with the question, What degree of dewatering will trigger changes in hyporheic and riparian hydraulic gradients, flows, and nitrate concentrations in a dry tropical mountain stream?
  • Sponsor:
    National Science Foundation CBET Small Grants for Exploratory Research
  • Dates:
    2007-2009
  • Results:
    Mark Fabian MS Thesis, Paper in final review, Community Water Supply guidelines, Engineers without Borders training
  • Collaborator:
    Don Siegel, Stew Diemont, Laura Lautz, Fito Steiner, Tian Zhou, Pepe Herrero
  • Illustrations:
    Research Photos

Training in Ecological Engineering of Stream Restoration

Ecological Engineering of Stream Restoration
  • Target:
    In Syracuse, teachers will investigate the processes needed to restore an urban river. The project aims to increase teachers' understanding of ecological engineering through gathering and analyzing field and laboratory data in order to design and restore an ecosystem.
  • Summary:
    The two teachers are participating in one of two ecological engineering restoration design projects at SUNY ESF. One project will be local, in Syracuse, and the other will be located primarily in Mexico. Both projects aim to increase teachers' understanding of ecological engineering through gathering and analyzing field and laboratory data in order to design and restore an ecosystem. In Syracuse, teachers will investigate the processes needed to restore an urban river. In Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala, teachers will investigate the restoration of ecosystems in Mesoamerica that incorporate agricultural and forestry practices of the area's indigenous groups. The intellectual focus of these research activities includes discovering and testing variables within undisturbed, degraded and restored ecosystems, and engaging in the design process to create restored ecosystems. This information will be published and used for the restoration of other urban rivers and Mesoamerican ecosystems.
  • Sponsor:
    National Science Foundation CBET Research Experience for Teachers
  • Dates:
    2008-2009
  • Results:
    Teacher training to Ken Keech and Cheryl Spada
  • Collaborator:
    Anna Endreny, Rick Beal, Jeff Errington, Tian Zhou, Colin Gleason

Stormwater Ecological Engineering and the Near West Side

Stormwater Ecological Engineering
  • Target:
    Examining the impacts of Green Infrastructure on directly connected impervious cover, water quality, and changes in remote sensing spectral signatures, through laboratory and field studies with several ESF colleagues and students. The porous pavement approach is now practiced on the ESF campus, and in other northeastern sites, given sand is not likely to clog the pores.
  • Summary:
    The Syracuse Center of Excellence is involved in an urban renewal project in the Syracuse Near West Side and asked for help in understanding the water resources impacts of changing from asphalt impervious cover (rock, polymer) to Flexi Pave (rubber, rock, polymer). One study measures changes in directly connected impervious area (DCIA), another on the leaching of polymer from the porous pavement from acid rain, and the third on spectral differences between asphalt and flexi-pave and the feasibility of detecting Flexi Pave using remote sensing data.
  • Sponsor:
    Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems
  • Dates:
    2008-2009
  • Results:
    Estimates of DCIA by Dr. Quackenbush and students, and preparedness for post restoration estimates. Spectral analysis of in-situ and laboratory porous surfaces with a high resolution reflectance spectrum capturing 1 to 3 nm in the region from 400 to approximately 2400 nm.
  • Collaborator:
    Drs. Lindi Quackenbush, Jungho Im, Ivan Gitsov, and Flexi Pave
  • Illustrations:
    Research Photos

Ecological Engineering of Stream Restoration

Ecological Engineering of Stream Restoration
  • Target:
    Stream thermal loading through impervious surface runoff and the influence of hyporheic flow on stream temperature. Can stream restoration designs incorporate adjustments to enhance hyporheic exchange and maintain scour protection?
  • Summary:
    High stream temperatures are theorized to be the limiting factor affecting trout growth in the streams of the Schoharie Reservoir basin, in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Outfalls of storm drains collecting runoff from impervious surfaces such as roads and parking lots during the summer may heat stream habitat to temperatures above the levels tolerated by trout (Figure 1) and other organisms. Colder patches of water within streams, termed thermal refugia, may allow trout to survive when average stream temperatures rise above tolerable levels. Geomorphic complexity (Figure 2) within streams increases stream flow through streambed sediments, termed hyporheic flow, which may maintain thermal refugia and increase thermal heterogeneity within streams. This research investigated the temperature effects of heated stormwater on the thermal dynamics of stream habitat on a pool and riffle scale. We conducted this research during the summer of 2007, in cooperation with the Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District (GCSWCD) and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP). The questions are: 1.) Hyporheic zone and water column temperatures downstream of thermal loading stormwater outfalls will have temperature fluctuations that are significantly different than similar pool or riffle features upstream of the outfalls. 2.) Reaches with greater geomorphic complexity, and therefore higher rates of hyporheic exchange flow, will lessen the effects of storm sewer outfalls described in Hypothesis 1.
  • Sponsor:
    Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems
  • Dates:
    2006-2008
  • Results:
    Jill Crispell MS Thesis (w. Edna Baily Sussman Award), Hydrological Processes Paper, Restoration design guidelines
  • Collaborator:
    Laura Lautz, Chuck Kroll, Mark Fabian, Tian Zhou, Mark Vian

Watershed Restoration and Urban Heat Island

Watershed Restoration and Urban Heat Island
  • Target:
    Investigating linkages between vegetation and hydrology in the urban environment and developing components of a watershed model to simulate vegetative controls on water quantity and quality.
  • Summary:
    Resetting the fundamental hydrological processes of infiltration and evapotranspiration within the urban environment will help mitigate the human and ecological stress of the urban heat island (UHI) (Oke, 1973). In our accelerated rate of urban growth (Beach, 2002; Elvidge et al., 2004), we are building streets which shed stormwater and absorb solar radiation. Not only are new population records continually set in these urban areas (United Nations, 2004), but air temperatures are also setting new records (Hansen et al., 2005). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 3rd Assessment estimates increases in air temperature from 1.4?C to 5.8?C from 1990 to 2100 (McCarthy et al., 2001), and separate studies show UHI processes cause additional temperature increases for cities, of 0.1?C to 0.4?C per decade (Akbari et al., 2001). In UHI characterization work by Rosenzweig et al. (2005) in Newark, NJ minimum temperatures were 3?C higher than surrounding nonurban minimums, and Akbari (2006) has noted for 10 US regions urban-nonurban differences can range from 2.5?C to 4.5?C. With the increase in heat, humans suffer from heat stress (McCarthy et al., 2001), and chemical reactions accelerate to increase human exposure to elevated levels of atmospheric pollutants (Taha et al., 1996).
  • Sponsor:
    United States Department of Agriculture - Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Urban Forestry Unit
  • Dates:
    2003-2009; renewing
  • Results:
    Jun Wang Post Doc, Yang Yang PhD work, several student projects, Papers in Journal of AWRA, UFORE-Hydro components into i-Tree
  • Collaborator:
    David Nowak, Chuck Kroll, Jun Wang, Yang Yang, Euna Kim, Andy Lee, Satoshi Hirabashi, Davies, John Dougherty
  • Links:
    Forest Service Office

Geochemistry of Watershed and Stream Restoration

Geochemistry of Watershed and Stream Restoration
  • Target:
    Water Flux and Nitrogen Cycling in the Hyporheic Zones of a Semi-arid Watershed: Hydrologic and Geomorphic Driving Forces in a Transitional Climate.
  • Summary:
    Hyporheic exchange, the temporary storage of surface water in stream bank sediments, affects the transport of solutes, including nutrients, through watersheds. Water diverted into the hyporheic zone has a longer residence time and more interaction with biogeochemically active sediments than water in other flow paths. Hyporheic flux rates and geochemistry have not been studied in semi-arid intermountain watersheds, transitional in climate between alpine catchments and desert lowlands. Hyporheic exchange in watersheds in humid regions is enhanced by stream meanders, variable flow rates, and sediment hydraulic conductivity. In water poor regions other geomorphic characteristics, particularly beaver dams, may equally influence hyporheic exchange.
  • Sponsor:
    National Science Foundation Division of Earth Sciences - Hydrology
  • Dates:
    2005-2009
  • Results:
    Don Siegel mentored Laura Lautz Doctal Dissertation, Dr. Lautz produced several papers, Restoration design guidelines for The Nature Conservancy
  • Collaborator:
    Led by Don Siegel and Laura Lautz, Myron Mitchell, many excellent graduate students
  • Links:
    Lander CRN | Little Popo Agie River | Field Station

Watershed and Stream Restoration

Watershed and Stream Restoration
  • Target:
    Restoration of Urban Waterways: Coupling Engineering & Communities.
  • Summary:
    Surveying existing conditions and the dimensionless ratios of pattern, profile, and dimension geometries; Mapping riparian vegetation through a combined remote-sensing and in-situ sampling protocol; Utilizing service learning to generate preliminary urban infrastructural data inputs for the model and design analysis; Establishing stormwater drainage patterns for catch basin watersheds and calibrating the hydraulics of stormwater runoff models to test sewer separation; Testing watershed model rainfall-runoff patterns and water quality loading with NEXRAD rainfall data; Designing a new channel based on Priority 1 guidelines to increase aquatic condition and maintain flood conveyance; Testing 1-D, 2-D, and 3-D models of river hydraulics and traditional hydraulic stability with new channel designs; Sediment experiments may use the USFS bedload trap, Helley-Smith and suspended-sediment samplers or other USGS tested, noting constraints, bed-load samplers. See Dr. T. Stott's tutorial on sediment; Suppliers for equipment include: Wildlife, Rickly,
  • Sponsor:
    United States Environmental Protection Agency and Housing and Urban Development; renewing
  • Dates:
    2002-2009
  • Results:
    MS Thesis for Jessica Black (with Edna Baily Sussman Award), Darin DeKoskie, Mike Higgins, and others, Papers in Journal of Hydrologic Engineering ASCE, Design guidelines for Onondaga Creek Restoration
  • Collaborator:
    Don Leopold, Onondaga Environmental Initiative, Onondaga Nation, Onondaga Lake Partnership aegis

Watershed and Stream Restoration

Watershed and Stream Restoration
  • Target:
    Characterizing Stormwater Bioretention Processes to Restore Water Quality and Quantity in Cold Climate Regions
  • Summary:
    Integrated design, build, manage approach to bioretention for stormwater improvement and watershed restoration at ESF in Onondaga Creek Watershed. Site selection in design and build stages moved from Moon Library rooftop capture to Illick Hall rooftop capture, keeping with Low Impact Development philosophy. Links of interest are at the EPA Factsheet on Bioretention, RainGarden Report
  • Sponsor:
    United States Department of Agriculture / McIntire Stennis; renewing
  • Dates:
    2005-2009
  • Results:
    Seed grant work for additional funding, Papers in process, Design guidelines for Bioretention Basins in Cold Climates
  • Collaborator:
    Annette Kretzer, Mark Fabian, ESF ATS Lab, ESF Soils Lab, Davis at UMD

Profiles on Completed Research

Stream Classification & Stormwater Engineering

Stream Classification & Stormwater Engineering
  • Target:
    Lecture and research on stormwater engineering and watershed restoration with stream classification for arid Cyprus, examining rainfall characteristics and reservoir impacts on geomorphology.
  • Summary:
    This research also involved frequency analysis of 15 to 35 yrs of annual maximum rainfall data from 42 gages for construction of intensity-duration-frequency equations that will predict high intensity rains for engineering design. Teaching efforts that occurred in coordination with the research and included curriculum development, technical lectures, and class field exercises in Greek and Turkish Cypriot universities. Data may involve remotely sensed products as well as climate and weather predictions. Reports from our time in the field are online at ESF CYPRUS
  • Sponsor:
    Fulbright Commission, Cypriot Meteorological Service
  • Dates:
    2005-2006; continuing
  • Results:
    Cross-cultural exchange, Papers in Journal of Hydrology, Urban Water Journal, Environmental Geology, Design rainfall design guidelines for Cyprus
  • Collaborator:
    My family who joined me in Cyprus for 7 months, Stelios Pashiardis, P. Papanastasiou, M. Neophytou, H. Gokcekus, I. Yilmazer, Demetris Koutsoyiannis, Jonathan Hosking, and many excellent others.

  • Fluvial Geomorphology Training Modules National Weather Service and NE River Forecasting Center (w/ R. Shedd, J.M.Hassett, C. Spuches)
    1. Analyzing the Rosgen Classification methodology for application in characterizing controls on river flood modeling
    2. Constructing a training module for instructing forecast hydrologists on fluvial geomorphology

  • East of Hudson Modeling of Terrestrial Watershed Processes in Urbanizing Systems New York City Department of Environmental Protection (Lead Dr. J.M. Hassett, Co-PIs M. Mitchell, D. Siegel, J. Hassett, D. Burns, P. Heisig)
    1. Assembling a spatial map library of inputs for hydrologic analysis of runoff patterns
    2. Parameterizing rainfall-runoff models sensitive to urban infrastructural spatial arrangements
    3. Investigating the feasibility of Low Impact Development stormwater controls within the developed landscape

  • Habitat for Humanity and Syracuse University Vision Grant, Syracuse University Chancellors Office (Lead, Habitat Students and Professor L. Elin)

  • Riparian Restoration Demonstration and Study in a Finger Lakes headwater Agricultural Stream, $150,000, U.S. Department of Environmental Protection (Lead Dr. R. Briggs)
    1. Measuring water quality and quantity improvements through a willow (Salix spp.) riparian buffer between agricultural land and Spafford Brook, NY
    2. Development of new hydrologic sensors and data logger configurations for the HWS Data Logger
    3. Developing an object based VBA-Excel model to document field and tile drainage hydrology through the riparian buffer

  • Assessment of Lake Ontario Drainage Basin as a member in the United Nations Environment Program HELP (Hydrology for Environment, Life & Policy) Initiative, Great Lakes Research Consortium
    1. Investigating the level of community participation in the water levels research of the International Joint Commission
    2. Documenting the importance of, and opportunity for, stream restoration in urban communities dealing with flooding, water quality, and recreational issues

  • US ? Brazil Higher Education Consortia Program: Sustainable Urban Design and Community-Based Resource Management, US Department of Education (Lead. C. Doble, PIs E. Carter, others)
    1. Providing international faculty and student exchange to foster inter-disciplinary and global approaches to solving environmental resource problems in areas of urban poverty
    2. Facilitating community involvement and design through service learning in addressing stormwater problems

  • Research News and Celebrations

    Great students, graduate and undergraduate, support our research and are delivering exciting products. Generous support from our sponsors, such as the National Science Foundation, the USDA Forest Service, and NOAA and the EPA have provided us with the key resources to complete these important projects. Random items: colorful images of our local watersheds; a poem reflecting on modeling and humility; weather links for skew charts and meteograms; strategies for finding research time.

    Return throughout the year to learn more about our research and findings!

    General Research Interests

    Our lab's research goal is to provide resilient watershed systems that deliver needed ecosystem services for the welfare of humans and nature and respond to a changing critical zone and climate. To achieve that goal our group engages in water resources monitoring, modeling, and management. The core discipline informing our research is water resources engineering, which is inherently inter-disciplinary and involves many fields, including: hydrology, hydraulics, chemistry, biology, geology, ecosystem science, soil science, agriculture, meteorology, natural resources management, social science, urban planning, economics, policy, law, environmental engineering, and computer science. We use a variety of tools and data (e.g., in-situ environmental sensors, surveying gear, laboratory flumes and river tables, remote sensing data, computer software and programs) to creatively study and resolve water resource and related problems in urban and rural environments. Issues that currently interest us are: designing watersheds that address the nexus of related needs including economic, energy, environment, education, water, and food; restoration of watershed structure and functions for tropical and mid-latitude regions; management of stormwater rainfall-runoff processes in rural and urban areas; development of integrated water resources management models; advancing environmental monitoring via fusion of citizen-science, in-situ, and remote sensing data collection; design of green infrastructure (aka best management) practices to naturalize the hydrologic cycle; and forecasting extreme precipitation and runoff events. Paradigms that we integrate into our research include citizen science, service learning, hydroecology, agro-ecology, and ecological engineering. Our research aims to build collaborative innovations to restore and manage the resources that sustain us.

    • Monitoring designs that interest me and occupy my time are those that explore the area of probability sampling, the coupling of in-situ (e.g., field surveys) and remote sensing (e.g., satellite and airborne imagery) sampling technologies, and the management of large monitoring data sets. I am also interested and involved in the creation and utilization of integrated student-community-based and volunteer based monitoring networks to generate expansive data sets. Together with the US Forest Service we have dedicated one permanent Internet connected weather station to perform cooperative weather observations for the National Weather Service and provide data for local Syracuse researchers.
    • Modeling types that interest me and occupy my computational resources are those that explore the relations between water and energy fluxes at spatial scales that include heterogeneity's in topography and land cover and with linkages that examine cross-medial exchanges. These modeling exercises are mostly concerned with watershed and river dynamics at scales ranging from 10s of meters upwards to the US Geological Survey's 8 digit Hydrologic Unit Codes, of which there are over 2000 within the United States. I am extremely interested in developing more robust algorithms for handling the transport of mass and energy across media and in making these models available to the general audience through advanced graphical user interfaces.
    • Restoration and management applications that interest me are those that address a range of water resource issues crossing from local to regional to national and international scales. I have been active with community watershed alliances and have worked with state, federal, and international agencies managing our water resources. I have also served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras working on water delivery and quality issues. My interests also include training and preparedness for severe weather, which is coordinated through the National Weather Service.