Welcome Carrie and Amy

We have two new students in the lab!  Carrie Jensen and Amy Gondran.


Posted in Lab news

New paper on urban soil rehabilitation

STE_coverYujuan Chen just had her third paper published from her dissertation.  Yujuan is now with the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome Italy.

Chen, Y., Day, S.D., Wick, A.F., McGuire, K.J. 2014. Influence of urban land development and subsequent soil rehabilitation on soil aggregates, carbon, and hydraulic conductivity, Science of The Total Environment, 494-495: 329–336, 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.06.099.

Paper highlights:

  • Urban land development reduces soil macroaggregates and permeability.
  • Can subsurface soil rehabilitation with compost mitigate these effects?
  • Soil rehabilitation does not measurably enhance aggregate formation within 5 years.
  • Soil rehabilitation does improve subsurface hydraulic conductivity.
  • Urban soil ecosystem service provision is strongly management dependent.


Posted in Research paper Tagged with: , ,

Repost from Water Underground on John Selker’s “Fellows Speak” letter

Words of advice from John Selker.  This is worth reading.

The link above is a repost from Tom Gleeson’s blog “Water Underground” and originally appeared in the AGU Hydrology Section July 2014 newsletter.

Posted in ReBlog, Science Tagged with: , , ,

50th Anniversary of Water Resources Research Act and Establishment of the VA Water Center


50 years old today, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Water Resources Research Act, which established a Water Resources Research Institute in each state.  The Virginia Water Resources Research Center, which is my home appointment at Virginia Tech, is Virginia’s mandated WRRI.  Let’s hope the WRRA and the institutes continue to “enlist the intellectual power of universities and research institutes in a nationwide effort to conserve and utilize our water resources for the common benefit” for another 50 years!  The WRRI’s are responsible for training future water scientists and engineers, and transferring the results of sponsored research to water managers and the public.

For more information, see the USGS news release on this anniversary.

Posted in News, Policy Tagged with: ,

Keep your hat on. We may end up miles from here.



Until fairly recently, it seemed like this was impossibly far away.

I cleaned my desk, have check marks on all the right forms, and my things are all in boxes. It is time to move on! I am VERY excited to say that I will be starting a position as assistant professor in the Geosciences and Natural Resources department at Western Carolina University. It will be an exciting opportunity to work on getting undergraduate students excited about science while continuing to work on questions that excite me at the school’s research watershed.

A very very heartfelt thank you to the VT watershed hydrology group. I honestly can’t think of one thing I would change about my graduate school experience in this group. The support, friendship, and talent is second to none. If I had to do it all over again, I would choose this group again in a heartbeat. I could go on and on, but I’ll keep it short. THANK YOU.

With that, I have some time to kill before August. Time to go on a bike ride.

Check out the WCU logo… maroon and orange is great, but that purple!!


Posted in Lab news

Congratulations Kris!

Kris Brown successfully defended his dissertation yesterday. Congratulations to Kris.

The title of his dissertation was “Sediment delivery from reopened forest roads at stream crossings in the Virginia Piedmont physiographic region, USA”


Posted in Lab news

Forest road gravel cover and reduced sediment delivery to stream crossings paper accepted

HPcoverKris Brown’s paper on “the effect of increasing gravel cover on forest roads for reduced sediment delivery to stream crossings” was accepted this week in Hydrological Processes.

Direct sediment inputs from forest roads at stream crossings are a major concern for water quality and aquatic habitat. Legacy road-stream crossing approaches, or the section of road leading to the stream, may have poor water and grade control upon reopening, thus increasing the potential for negative impacts to water quality. Rainfall simulation experiments were conducted on the entire running surface area associated with six reopened stream crossing approaches in the southwestern Virginia Piedmont physiographic region, USA. Event-based surface runoff and associated total suspended solids (TSS) concentrations were compared among a succession of gravel surfacing treatments that represented increasing intensities of best management practice (BMP) implementation. The three treatments were No Gravel (10-19% cover), Low Gravel (34-60% cover), and High Gravel (50-99% cover). Increased field hydraulic conductivity was associated with… read more…

Posted in Lab news, Research paper Tagged with: , ,

Graduate Research Assistantship in Reforestation and Water Quality

We’re looking for another graduate student for a two-year MS-level graduate research assistantship with an expected start date of fall of 2014.  The student would work with Dr. McGuire and Dr. Brian Strahm.

This interdisciplinary research project is focused on understanding the role of reforestation on the quantity and quality of water emanating from drastically disturbed landscapes.  Specifically, the project will combine field and laboratory experiments to quantify the effect that mined land reforestation has on the delivery of total dissolved solid (TDS) loads to surface waters.

Research assistantships include a full tuition waiver, benefits, and a competitive annual stipend that includes summer support (~$21,000).  For more information on the graduate program in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech, please visit: www.frec.vt.edu.

Posted in Assistantships Tagged with: , , ,

Congratulations JP!

John (JP) Gannon successfully defended his dissertation on Monday. A big congrats to JP!

Posted in Lab news

University of Montana’s news release on our paper…

New Research Focuses on Streamwater Chemistry, Landscape Variation

MISSOULA (Apr. 22, 2014) – Winsor Lowe, interim director of the University of Montana’s Wildlife Biology Program, co-wrote a research paper published April 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on how streamwater chemistry varies across a headwater stream network.

Lowe and co-authors from Virginia Tech, the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Washington, the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, the University of Connecticut and the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station examined 664 water samples collected every 10 meters along 32 tributaries of a stream network in the Hubbard Brook Valley of New Hampshire.

Lowe says this would be like looking at any of the Bitterroot Valley creeks by starting at its headwaters high in the mountains and sampling all the small streams that feed into the system as the stream makes its way down to the Bitterroot River.

Headwater streams perform critical functions for downstream ecosystems, but the complexity of their streamwater chemistry is not well understood. Lowe and his co-authors’ findings suggest that in headwater stream networks many factors influence the streamwater chemistry in different locations along the stream’s course, and in complex relationships with the surrounding landscape. Read more …

Posted in Lab news, News, Popular news Tagged with: , , ,

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