2015, Year of Water

From this university’s earliest moments — from Day 1, that is — our core mission directed us to predict, then research, then systematically and scientifically solve Utah’s water problems and address the state’s water needs. We were a quick study then, and now, 127 years later, Utah State University engineers, hydrologists, agronomists, sociologists, climate scientists and other researchers across a range of disciplines are still, as on Day 1, the foremost voices on issues related to water in the state. USU’s water specialists today, in fact, are among the nation’s and even the world’s leading experts on many water-related issues, particularly in the areas of management, ecosystems, climate, water education and society’s understanding of this precious resource. We are the state’s source for water expertise — with a history to tell and a future to lead.

UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY, Water Expertise at Its Source


"Preserving our valuable river ecosystems through teamwork and expert research"

Utah State University houses multiple teams comprised of the nation’s leading professional experts in the scientific management, rehabilitation and restoration of our valuable river ecosystems — from microbial level ecology all the way through to comprehensive watershed system assessment and management. Our specialists possess the authoritative knowledge used by federal and state agencies, by management programs both public and private and by society at large to manage these precious systems.

Some of Our Experts ...

USU watershed scientists Joe Wheaton, Nick Bouwes and their students are heeding a lesson on river restoration from nature’s big-toothed engineer: the industrious beaver... Read

In partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Aggie scientists are unraveling mysteries of migratory birds’ journeys to the Great Salt Lake... Read


"Developing better ways to manage and deliver the water we depend on"

USU is a global pioneer in developing better ways to manage and deliver the water we depend on. Researchers here are learning more about water management from the atmosphere, to mountain top, to seashore, to the faucet and the field. We are collecting new information at every level to help us use water more wisely.

Some of Our Experts ...

USU researchers are finding ways to minimize pollution levels in stormwater runoff.

USU researchers are finding ways to minimize pollution levels in stormwater runoff. Read

USU Researcher Aims for More Yield With Less Water. Read


"Training tomorrow’s leading voices for water issues here and around the world"

Broad in scope, USU’s water education outreach is unparalleled by any other university in the region. Research-based public school curricula, statewide citizen-science activities, free public outreach events and far-reaching Extension efforts teach Utahns of all ages the value of the state’s water resources. We also have a 100+ year legacy of undergraduate and graduate programs that have trained the leading voices for water issues around the world.

Some of Our Experts ...

The Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index, a national standard for measuring graduate school faculty members’ productivity in the nation’s universities, ranks Utah State University’s doctoral program in fisheries science and management among the top three in the nation. Read

To secure Utah’s water future, USU Water Quality Extension conducts statewide effort to educate youths about watershed health.Read


"Creating innovative tools and techniques for water conservation and climate modeling"

Utah State University climate researchers and social scientists assess societal attitudes about climate issues and the science behind them, and then we create critical and innovative tools and techniques for water conservation and climate modeling here and abroad. We are national experts on understanding societal attitudes critical to deciding how the technical “tools” or “models” are received by decision-makers and stakeholders.

Some of Our Experts ...

Drought is a reality in the West as demand for water is outpacing supply. Read

USU aquatic ecologist Chuck Hawkins is among the nation’s experts tapped for the National Climate Assessment’s U.S. Global Change Research Program. Read


"Leading iUtah: an interdisciplinary-based approach to 21st century water issues"

USU water scientists, sociologists, economists and engineers guide federal, state, local and private agencies and land-owners in research-based management to balance the needs of agriculture and our rapidly urbanizing communities. USU leads the statewide iUTAH initiative, an effort to ensure understanding of the complex interactions of natural, built and social structures and how they influence not only the physical properties of water, but how attitudes and behaviors influence water sustainability and water security.

Some of Our Experts ...

Changing Water Use Behavior Through Economics Read

In Today’s Changing World, Water Use is Front and Center Read



Science Unwrapped: “iUTAH: Science for Utah’s Water Future”

USU biology professor Michelle Baker, director of Utah’s statewide, National Science Foundation-funded iUTAH program, featured speaker at outreach event for all ages.


Multi-Scale Approach to Quantifying Non-Rainfall Water Inputs to the Surface

Dr. Nugit Agam, Margolin Career Development Chair in Environmental Desert Studies and Research, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.


Jim Steenburgh: “Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth”

Jim Steenburgh, author of "Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth: Weather, Climate Change, and Finding Deep Powder in Utah's Wasatch Mountains and Around the World," will present a lecture at the Friends of Merrill-Cazier Library's fall lecture.

In the News

Oct. 12, 2015 – KSL.com - Project Helps Protect Logan Beavers, Reduce Threat of Flooding
Oct. 1, 2015 – Care2 - Killing Sharks is Bad News for Climate Change
Oct. 1, 2015 – Tech Times - Sharks Could be Humanity’s Hero Against Climate Change
Oct. 1, 2015 – Utah State Today - Jumping the Shark: USU Ecologist says Predators Protect Marine Ecosystems
Sept. 29, 2015 – Food World News - Shark Attack! These Sea Creatures are the Unlikely Superheroes Against Climate Change
Sept. 29, 2015, The Ecologist - Predators Keep the Oceans’ Carbon Pump Ticking
Sept. 28, 2015 – The Guardian - Shark Culling Could Indirectly Accelerate Climate Change, Study Warns
Sept. 28, 2015 – The Conversation - Ocean Predators Can Help Reset Our Planet’s Thermostat
Sept 28, 2015 – Phys.Org - Jumping the Shark: Scientists say Predators Protect Marine Ecosystems, Blue Carbon
Sept. 24, 2015 – Utah State Today - Making Nature Second Nature: Kids Enjoy USU-led Natural Resource Field Days
Sept. 23, 2015 – Utah Public Radio - USU’s NR Days Teaches Children about Water Quality
Sept. 14, 2015 – The Herald Journal - Science Unwrapped Shares Benefits of Beavers
Sept. 1, 2015 – The Salt Lake Tribune - Utah Lake Carp Census Gauges Whether Evictions-by-the-ton are Succeeding
Aug. 28, 2015 – Utah Public Radio, The Source - The Far Reaches of Utah Water Research
Aug. 21, 2015 – Utah State University - Connections: The Emerald Mile, Living a Life with Passion
Aug. 21, 2015 – Utah State University - Connections: The Emerald Mile, River Management
Aug. 21, 2015 – Utah State University - Connections: The Emerald Mile, Introduction
Aug. 20, 2015 – Utah State Today - Sullied Western Rivers Nothing New says USU Ecologist
Aug. 20, 2015 – Utah State Today - iUTAH Researchers Descend on Logan River during Water Sampling ‘Blitz’
Aug. 18, 2015 – The Herald Journal - Multi-university Project Examines Logan River
August 18, 2015 - UPR.org - The Emerald Mile
August 18, 2015 – UPR.org - Utah's Miniature Dams Model the World's Water Future
Aug. 17, 2015 – High Country News - Wild Science: Migratory Birds on the Great Salt Lake
Aug 14 – Herald Journal - Science Unwrapped Shares Benefits of Beavers
Aug. 14, 2015 – Associated Press - River in Colorado Turned Yellow by Toxic Mine Reopens; Plume Reaches Lake Powell in Utah
Aug. 14, 2015 – Associated Press - River in Colorado Reopens as Toxic Plume Reaches Lake Powell
Aug. 14, 2015 – Smithsonian Science News - Environmental ‘Forensics’ Pieces Together Mysterious Plant Invasion
Aug. 12, 2015 – NOVA Next - The Undamming of America
Aug. 12, 2015 – The Herald Journal - Forest Service, Other Groups Continue to Monitor Trout for Restoration Project
Aug. 12, 2015 – The Salt Lake Tribune - How the Colorado River Mine Sludge Impacts Utah
Aug. 12, 2015 – Utah Public Radio - Gold King Mine Spill May Not Have Significant Effects on Utah
Aug. 11, 2015 – Reuters - Restrictions to Remain for Rivers Hardest Hit by Colorado Mine Waste Spill
Aug. 10, 2015 – YouTube.com - iUTAH GAMUT Observatory
July 31, 2015 – UPR.org - The Source: What We Talk About When We Talk About Drought
July 31, 2015 – YouTube.com - Partnering with Beaver: Nature’s Hydrologists and Ecosystem Engineers
July 30, 2015 – Utah State Today - USU Geologists: Nation’s Capitol Sinking, Safety Measures Needed Now
July 27, 2015 – Shorelines - Environmental ‘Forensics’ Piece Together Mysterious Phragmites Invasion
July 21, 2015 – UPR.org - Low Water at Some State Parks Changes Summer Plans
July 13, 2015 – KSL TV News - Great Salt Lake’s Iranian ‘Twin’ is Drying Up
June 30, 2015 – The Herald Journal - USU Studies Water Temperature, Aquatic Insects Relationship
June 26, 2015 – National Geographic, A Life-Changing Experience Studying Iguanas in the Bahamas
June 26, 2015 – UPR.org - The Source: Learning to Read Water
June 22, 2015 – High Country News - Grand Canyon Floods are Rebuilding Sandbars
June 18, 2015 – The Herald Journal - Anglers, Don’t Overlook Local Waters
June 18, 2015 – Utah State Today - In Hot Water: Aggies Pursue $1.2M, NSF-funded Stream Temperature Study
June 17, 2015 – ABC 4 TV News - Utahns are Using Too Much Water
June 17, 2015 – Deseret News - Lawmakers Drill Down on Complex Water Issues
June 17, 2015 – Iron County Today - Water Festival to Promote Local Water Conservation
June 12, 2015 – Utah Public Radio - Bear River Celebration Teaches About Nature
June 10, 2015 – The Herald Journal - Water Wise: USU Smart Landscaping to Conserve Water
June 9, 2015 – The Utah Statesman - Logan Residents Celebrate Water Conservation
June 8, 2015 – Cache Valley Daily - Bear River Festival and Free Fishing Day 2015
June 5, 2015 – The Salt Lake Tribune - USU Geologists: Artificial Grand Canyon Floods are Bringing Back Colorado River Sandbars
June 5, 2015 – Utah State Today, USU Department Head Receives National Water Resources Award
June 4, 2015 – Utah State Today, Controlled Floods Rebuilding Colorado River Habitat say USU Scientists
June 4, 2015 – USU Extension – USU Extension Water Impacts
June 3, 2015 – Earth & Space Science News - USU Scientists Report: Building Sandbars in the Grand Canyon
June 2, 2015 - Sun Advocate - Imitating Nature’s Master Builders
May 28, 2015 – UPR.org - The Source: Recreation - It’s contentious. It’s litigious. It’s fun!
May 27, 2015 – The Conversation - Technologies will tackle irrigation inefficiencies in agriculture’s drier future
May 19, 2015 – UPR.org - Dams Put a Damper on Whitewater Kayaking: The Case for Recreational Releases
May 10, 2015 – The Herald Journal - USU Scientists Among Logan River Restoration Task Force Members
May 8, 2015 – KUER Radio - USU Scientists Among Those Joining Forces in Search for Utah’s Water Future
May 6, 2015 – UPR.org - How has drought in the West impacted you—or not?
May 5, 2015 – NBCNews.com - USU’s Sarah Null: In California Drought, Century-Old Fight Over Hetch Hetchy Simmers On
May 5, 2015 – Deseret News - USU Audit Contributes to Projections on Utah’s Water Needs
May 05, 2015 – Utahpoliticohub.com - Planning for the 35 Year Drought
April 27, 2015 – Reno Gazette-Journal - Utah State among Universities Studying Tribal Water Challenges
April 24, 2015 – Utah Public Radio - For Rivers and Streams, Messiness Matters say USU Scientists
April 21, 2015 – Utah Public Radio - Utah’s Population Growth Sparks Water Concerns
April 17, 2015 – Journal of Sierra Nevada - USU Scientist Sarah Null Comments on ‘Hetch Hetchy Restored?’
April 14, 2015 – Upr.org - Former Federal Dam Manager Tells Utah It's Time to Tear Down Deadbeat Dams
April 2, 2015 – KSL.com - Key Water Issues Outlined at USU Conference
April 1, 2015 – Salt Lake Tribune - At USU Conference, Speaker says Current Drought Driest Period in 1200 Years
March 27, 2015 – Upr.org - Get to Know the Great Salt Lake
February 19, 2015 - Good4utah.com – Study Finds California Drought and Eastern Storms Linked and Amplified by Climate Change
February 18, 2015 - Iron County Today – Conservation a Piece of the Water Puzzle
February 17, 2015 - Deseret News – Charting the 1,200 year history of the Bear River
February 10, 2015 - Usgs.gov – USU Scientist Kari Veblen Contributes to Research on Predicting Plant Responses to Drought
February 6, 2015 - Marine Conservation Institute – USU Alum Michael Sutton Discusses Global Ocean Refuge System
February 5, 2015 - Upr.org - How Climate Change Is Altering Western Winters
February 4, 2015 - Albert Lea Tribune – Disconnected River System Threatening Watershed says USU Scientist Peter Wilcock
January 29, 2015 - Minnpost.com – Agriculture Adding to Midwest Lakes’ Sediment Woes says USU Scientist Peter Wilcock
January 19, 2015 - National Geographic – California Drought Means Less Majestic Forests says USU Ecologist Jim Lutz
January 16, 2015 - Herald Journal – Bear River’s Future Hangs in the Balance says USU Scientist Jack Schmidt
January 9, 2015 - National Geographic – USU Scientist Jack Schmidt Joins ‘Think Tank’ for Colorado River’s Future
January 8, 2015 - iUtah – USU Watershed Sciences Alum Erin Fleming Jones Advancing iUTAH Water Research
January 6, 2015 - Sky-Hi News – USU Alum Ryan Lokteff Leads Colorado’s Grand County Water Information Network
December 24, 2015 - Moab Sun News – USU Researcher Roslyn Brain says Utah’s “Graywater” Rules Tough for Homeowners
December 19, 2014 - St. George News – USU Water Quality Extension Guides Southern Utah Teens in Citizen Science
December 11, 2014 - Explore Utah Science – Southern Utah Faces Tough Water Choices says USU Scientist Joanna Endter-Wada
November 20, 2014 - National Geographic – Warming Arctic has Polar Bears on Thin Ice, says USU Scientist David Koons
November 6, 2014 - Herald Journal – USU Bioregional Planning Students Probe Future of Cache Valley’s Rivers
August 27, 2014 - Climate.gov – Guest blog post by Simon Wang
July 13, 2014 - Explore Utah Science – USU Scientists Develop Beaver Dam Mapping App for Citizen Scientists