Student Spotlight: Hannah Harrison

A senior at CSU, Hannah studies Ecosystem Science and Sustainability and is a SWIM student. She comes from Bainbridge Island, WA, which fostered her deep appreciation for both the happiness- and life-giving properties of water. Living in a place surrounded by water impressed on her just how necessary water resources are and how often they can be overlooked, even in environmentally-conscious communities. When she first came to CSU, she quickly realized just how passionate she is about environmental water quality and water resources.

After her sophomore year, Hannah became a research fellow with Central Michigan University and spent the summer of 2017 at a remote biological research station on Beaver Island in Lake Michigan. While there, she conducted field work, lab testing, and statistical analyses on the changing ecology of Lake Michigan, focusing on the transition of algae from the pelagic to benthic zone. This research is important in understanding why changes in the lake’s greater food web are occurring and how they impact surrounding communities. When she returned to CSU, she began work on her honors thesis by getting involved in Dr. Stephanie Kampf’s lab. With Dr. Kampf and PhD candidate John Hammond, Hannah conducted a water balance comparison for headwater catchments across an elevation gradient in Northern Colorado by analyzing data from five different watersheds. Most hydrology research in dry states such as Colorado is conducted at high elevations, and much less is known about how much streamflow comes from lower elevations. However, lower elevation streams cover most of Colorado’s land area and may have significant, poorly quantified contributions to total state water yield. Because of the proportionally low amount of research conducted on lower elevation streams, studies such as this may help dry states calculate their water yield with increased accuracy.

Faculty Spotlight: Kelly Jones

Kelly Jones is an Associate Professor of Ecological Economics in the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. She addresses social-ecological systems questions related to human impacts on the environment and in turn, how environmental change affects society. In Colorado and Mexico, Kelly is collaborating with physical and ecological scientists to generate evidence on how novel watershed governance partnerships can contribute to water security. This includes understanding what factors lead to the emergence of watershed partnerships; evaluating the impacts of financial investments on economic and social outcomes; and assessing tradeoffs and synergies in the protection of multiple ecosystem services. Jointly these efforts are informing how watershed partnerships prioritize their investments in order to optimize their environmental, economic and social outcomes. Specifically, within Colorado, the research team is using the knowledge generated from their project to develop a spatial decision support tool that can be used by stakeholders to prioritize where to invest in wildfire risk mitigation activities for water security. Her research team in Mexico has used their findings related to environmental, economic and social impacts of watershed partnerships to develop a series of future scenarios, and engaged stakeholders through a role playing workshop to determine what changes they would like to make to existing watershed programs in order to enhance outcomes. More details on these research projects and others can be found at her website, sites.warnercnr.colostate.edu/kelly-jones