UCOWR recognizes nine award categories: Warren A. Hall Medal, Early Career Award for Applied Research, Early Career Award for Extension/Outreach/Engagement, Mid-Career Award for Applied Research, Mid-Career Award for Extension/Outreach/Engagement, Friends of UCOWR, Education and Public Service Award, Ph.D. Dissertation Award, and JCWRE Paper of the Year. Recipients are nominated by UCOWR delegates and are recognized during the Awards Banquet at the Annual Conference. Awards may not be given if no nominations were submitted or a deserving recipient was not identified.
Dr. Jeffrey S. Allen is the Director of the South Carolina Water Resources Center, a unit of the Public Service and Agriculture division at Clemson University. Jeff previously served as the Interim Director of the Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs. His work with the SCWRC involves coordinating water research with a national network of water institutes and identifying and pursuing critical water research needs for South Carolina. Jeff has served as the principle investigator on multiple grants from federal, state and local government agencies as well as private foundations. He has served on numerous regional and state committees and advisory councils, most recently on the SCDNR Planning Process Advisory Committee, the Savannah River Clean Water Fund Science Advisory Board, the Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments Advisory Board, the Duke Energy Water Fund Board, and the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium Program Advisory Board. He has organized, sponsored and facilitated numerous state-wide meetings on water resources and is currently the Chairman of the S.C. Water Resources Conference. He has also been active in research projects on the topics of urban growth models, water supply planning and management, coastal and beachfront management and economic analysis of reservoir management in South Carolina. Jeff received his BS degree in Wildlife Biology and Natural Resources from Michigan State University and his MS degree in Geography from the University of South Carolina. He received a Ph.D. in Policy Studies from Clemson University with an emphasis in natural resources policy. He is a past-president of the National Institutes for Water Resources. Prior to work at Clemson, he worked for the S.C. Wildlife and Marine Resources Department in Columbia, SC.
Dr. Belize Lane is an Assistant Professor of Hydrology in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Utah State University and a researcher at the Utah Water Research Laboratory. She received her Ph.D. in Hydrologic Sciences from the University of California-Davis. Her research advances understanding, and management of watersheds as coupled human – natural systems. She combines field monitoring, data science, and process-based modeling to evaluate watershed processes at scales relevant to natural resource management. Dr. Lane’s research and open web tools are filling critical gaps in developing regional instream flow criteria that simultaneously consider spatial and temporal variability in water needs for humans and aquatic ecosystems. Her leading role as part of several multi-agency, multi-disciplinary teams has translated scientific research into actionable changes in water resources operations and assessment methods. Her work largely focuses on arid mountainous regions including the Intermountain West, California, and the Chihuahuan desert.
Receiving Honorable Mention in Early Career Applied Research in 2022:
Dr. George Allen is an Assistant Professor of Physical Geography at Texas A&M University. He traces his interest in water to his upbringing in California, where he developed a keen awareness of water scarcity from a young age. He received a BS in Geology from University of California at Davis and an MS and PhD in Geological Sciences from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior joining faculty at Texas A&M, he was a Caltech postdoctoral research fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Dr. Allen’s research focuses on understanding changing surface water resources using satellite remote sensing, modeling, and fieldwork. Specifically, he focuses on developing new approaches to monitor water quality, river discharge, lake storage, and floods from space. He also works on estimating biogeochemical exchange between inland waters and the atmosphere. His work is motivated by a desire to promote the conservation, sustainable management, and understanding of Earth’s surface water resources.
Dr. Jonathan A. Czuba, P.E., is an Assistant Professor of Watershed Engineering in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech. He holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities during which time he was awarded an Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship, Edward Silberman Fellowship, and Alvin G. Anderson Award. He also holds a M.S. and B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has over 5 years of experience working for the U.S. Geological Survey in Illinois and Washington State. His research focuses on the development and application of modeling tools to predict the transport and fate of sediment and nutrients in rivers and inform river management, including: 1) understanding the fundamentals of stream and floodplain restoration, 2) transport on the branching structure of river networks, and 3) how water and sediment affect and are affected by plants, fish, and mussels.
Dr. Drew M. Gholson earned a Master of Water Management and a Ph.D. in Soil Science from Texas A&M University. Dr. Gholson serves as an Assistant Professor and the Extension Irrigation Specialist at the Delta Research and Extension Center for Mississippi State University (MSU). In December 2020, he was also appointed as the MSU Coordinator for the National Center for Alluvial Aquifer Research. His research responsibilities and Extension efforts include on-farm irrigation trials, evaluating drought stress, improving irrigation application efficiency as well as evaluating irrigation automation, surge valves, computerized hole selection, and soil moisture sensor viability while maintaining or improving yield and profitability. His focus is to produce and communicate research directed at the conservation and sustainability of water resources for agriculture.
Dr. Leigh-Anne Krometis is an Associate Professor and Elizabeth and James E. Turner Jr. Faculty Fellow of Biological Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech. She earned both her B.S. and M.S. at Virginia Tech and her Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Public Health. Her research aims to promote sustainable development of water resources while preserving public health though the identification of potential environmental threats and the engineering of solutions to minimize exposure and risk. A substantial portion of her projects focus on documenting the consequences of inadequate water and sanitation systems in the Appalachian Coalfields on both human and ecosystem health. Current projects intentionally examine the potential intersections of socioeconomic and demographic factors, infrastructure, and hydrology on patterns of human environmental exposures to emerging contaminants, including PFAS, antibiotic resistant bacteria, and waterborne lead.
No recipient for 2022.
Dr. Doug Parker recently retired from his positions as the Director of the California Institute for Water Resources, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. He coordinated water-related research, extension, and education efforts across the 10 UC campuses, the UC ANR system, and other academic institutions within California. Prior to joining the University of California, Doug worked on water quality issues related to the Chesapeake Bay as a Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Maryland. He has also worked on issues related to California water as a Cooperative Extension Economist at UC Berkeley. Doug obtained his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Berkeley and Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Environmental Studies at UC Santa Barbara.
Doug has given generously of his time and energy to further the mission of the Universities Council on Water Resources, first as a delegate and then as a board member from 2014-2021. As 2016-2017 President of UCOWR, Doug initiated a strategic planning process that resulted in the 2017 UCOWR Strategic Plan, crafted by UCOWR Board and staff members in September 2017. This plan set forth clear-cut tasks and goals with deadlines that have effectively pushed UCOWR to grow in relevance and useful service to its membership over the past five years. Even after his term as President, Doug ran for another three-year term on the UCOWR board to continue helping with plan implementation tasks. Doug’s extraordinary leadership, cooperative spirit, and sense of humor helped his cohort group and successive UCOWR Board members and staff to accomplish major Strategic Plan goals. Just a few examples of these concrete achievements include: redefining UCOWR identity, mission, and goals; formalizing partnerships with organizations such as NIWR, Southern Nevada Water Association, and CUAHSI; increasing recognition of excellence in the UCOWR community; improving recruitment and engagement of delegates; developing more dynamic conference formats; and transitioning the Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education (JCWRE) from print to an on-line format. Doug is truly a treasured Friend of UCOWR!
Dr. Bharat Sharma Acharya earned a Ph.D. in natural resource ecology and management from the Oklahoma State University, USA in 2016. After graduating, he worked at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Louisiana State University AgCenter as a postdoctoral researcher in several soil and water quality projects. As a Senior Hydrologist at the Oklahoma Department of Mines during 2019-2021, he performed numerous technical surveys, field investigations, and permits review for ensuring water quality under coal mining and reclamation. He also served on the Technical Advisory Committee for Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer hydrological study and provided technical support to the United States Geological Survey on enhanced monitoring and evaluation of hydrologic processes and trends in the aquifer. Currently, he is an Associate Editor for the Soil Science Society of America Journal and Guest Editor for the Water Journal. His research interests include land cover change, groundwater, water quality, irrigation systems, and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Natural Science & Engineering Category
Dr. Kaitlin (Kait) Reinl is currently a Postdoc at the University of Wisconsin – Madison’s Center for Limnology and has recently accepted a position as the Research Coordinator at the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve in Superior, WI. She received her Ph.D. in Water Resources Science with a focus in Limnology and Oceanography at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Her Ph.D. dissertation titled “The intersection of climate change, watershed influence, and phytoplankton dynamics in Lake Superior” explores how climate change is impacting phytoplankton dynamics in Lake Superior using monitoring, experimental, and computer modeling approaches. Kait’s research interests are broadly focused on how the synergistic effects of climate and watershed influence impact inland water quality.
Water Policy & Economics Category
Dr. Sophia Borgias is a human-environment geographer whose research and teaching focuses on water and environmental governance in the arid Americas. Her most recent research has focused on conflicts over rural-urban water transfers in the Great Basin region, as well as the “unlikely alliances” of environmentalists, ranchers, and Tribes that have formed to protect rural landscapes and livelihoods from their impacts. She is also engaged in ongoing collaborative research about Indigenous land and water rights in Payahuunadü, the Nüümü/Newe territory encompassing the Owens and Mono basins in eastern California. Her prior research focused on social mobilization in response to large dam and hydropower development in central and southern Chile. She earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in Geography at the University of Arizona and holds a B.A. in International Studies and Spanish from the University of Oregon. She recently moved to Boise, Idaho, where she is an Assistant Professor in the Interdisciplinary Programs of the School of Public Service at Boise State University. Her dissertation is titled “Public interest, Indigenous rights, and the Los Angeles Aqueduct.”
“Using Community Science to Address Pollution in an Urban Watershed: Lessons about Trash, Diverse Engagement, and the Need for Science Mindsets.”
Authors: Dr. Theresa Sinecrope Talley, California Sea Grant; Dr. Roxanne Ruzic, Ruzic Consulting, Inc.; Lindsay Goodwin McKay, Ocean Discovery Institute; Nina Venuti, University of California Davis; Rochelle Mothokakobo, educator and M.S. graduate of San Diego State University
JCWRE 174, December 2021
See the full paper here