Dr. Belize Lane

Assistant Professor

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Utah Water Research Laboratory

I received a Ph.D. in Hydrologic Sciences from the University of California Davis working with Drs. Samuel Sandoval,  Greg Pasternack, and Helen Dahlke, a M.Sc. in Water Resources Management from UC Davis, and a B.S. in Ecology and Math from UC San Diego.

I am interested in ways to more efficiently allocate scarce freshwater resources for humans and ecosystems under increasing stressors from climate change, population growth and shifting societal values. Rivers are increasingly viewed as coupled human-natural systems, but a gap remains in our understanding of how hydrology, humans, and river ecosystems functionally interact across space and time scales. Furthermore, appropriate tools to conceptualize, model, and manage rivers depend on the scale of the problem.  My research group performs applied, interdisciplinary investigations to advance understanding of coupled human-natural hydrologic systems and apply this understanding to water management challenges. We employ a combination of empirical field studies, hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, geospatial and time series analysis, optimization and simulation modeling, and multivariate statistics.

When not studying rivers, I can be found rafting on rivers across the western U.S. and worldwide.

Dr. Colin Byrne

Postdoctoral Scholar, Ecogeomorphology

Colin is a Postdoctoral Scholar at UC Davis working with Dr. Lane and Dr. Pasternack to model river archetypes across California. He completed his PhD at UNM quantifying reach- and feature-scale hydrodynamics during flood waves along the Middle Rio Grande. Colin received a B.S. in Zoology and M.S. in Biological Systems Engineering at U. Wisconsin. He has interdisciplinary interests pertaining to hydrologic and geomorphic systems at the interface of anthropogenic and ecological demands. In his free time, Colin likes spending time exploring the outdoors with his wife and dog, hopefully with a stream, river, lake, or ocean nearby.

Dr. Hervé Guillon

Postdoctoral Scholar, Machine Learning and Terrain Analysis

Hervé is a Postdoctoral Scholar at UC Davis working with Dr. Lane and Dr. Sandoval to derive a hydro-geomorphic classification for California. He is using data mining and machine learning techniques to understand landscape and near-stream controls on channel geomorphic settings. Hervé completed his PhD in the Institut des Sciences de la Terre in France, and worked in the hydrology and glaciology laboratory Institut des Géosciences de l’Environnement to discriminate suspended sediment origin from in-situ settling behaviour. 

 

Betsy Morgan

MS Civil Engineering, emphasis in Hydrology

NSF Climate Adaptation Science Fellow

Betsy receieved a BS in Biological and Ecological Engineering from Oregon State University. Her interests include natural engineering within river systems and aquatic ecosystem management. She is researching the interaction of hydrology, hydraulics, and ecosystem response for improved management of the South Fork Eel River Basin in California. She enjoys engaging with others to develop interdisciplinary solutions that address societal andecosystem needs in the face of complex climate and environmental uncertainties.

Madison Alger

MS Civil Engineering, emphasis in Hydrology

Madison received a BS in Civil Engineering at Utah State University. Her research is focused on how to more efficiently allocate water resources in the Blacksmith Fork River here in Cache Valley to support instream water needs for native fish species while maintaining irrigation and municipal water demands. Madison is assessing the individual and combined effects of climate conditions, hydrologic setting, and geomorphic setting on instream flow needs in an intermittently dewatered agricultural stream with significant surface water - groundwater interactions. Her study involves intensive field monitoring of streamflow and water temperature patterns.

Yesica Leon

MS Civil Engineering, emphasis in Hydrology

Yesica received her BS in Agricultural Engineering in Lima, Peru in 2015. Since then, she has worked as a hydrologist for numerous engineering consulting firms in Lima. Yesica is developing a time series tool for extracting functional components of the flow regime from stream gauges to quantify hydrologic alteration in large complex hydroscapes. She is interested in the role of water management objectives and climate change in river functioning.

Jesse Rowles

MS Civil Engineering, emphasis in Hydrology

Jesse received a BS in Astrophysics from Lehigh University in 2014. He then worked as a Systems Engineer at Raytheon until May 2019. He joined the WETLab in the summer of 2019 to combine his engineering experience with his passion for the environment and, more specifically, water, so that he can develop novel solutions to the vast number of issues facing river scientists and engineers. His research consists of evaluating the feasibility of scaling river characteristic distributions of known river regions so that these distributions can be used to predict characteristics of unknown reaches of river. He loves animals, swimming, hiking, camping, and any other kind of exploration of natural areas.

Kitri Spencer

PhD Watershed Sciences

Kitri received a BS in Environmental Science and Management with an emphasis in Watershed

Science from UC Davis in 2016. She furthered her interest in fluvial geomorphology and

ecology as a Laboratory Assistant at the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project

Authority. She also developed an interest in science communication and addressing scientific

uncertainty as a Tidepool Educator with Laguna Ocean Foundation and as a Scientific Aid with

the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Her research interests include investigating topographic and streamflow controls on floodplain functioning and incorporating ecological uncertainty into water management decision-making. When not in the lab she can be found running local trails, kayaking with her husband, and practicing the piano​.

Noelle Patterson

PhD Hydrologic Sciences

Noelle is pursuing a PhD in Hydrologic Sciences at UC Davis with Dr. Lane and Dr. Sandoval. After working in water quality policy at the California State Water Board, Noelle was eager to join in research that helps inform sustainable management of water resources. Her research primarily focuses on flow requirements to preserve ecological function of regulated rivers. Noelle received her bachelor’s degree in Biological Systems Engineering from UC Davis. In her free time Noelle enjoys outdoor adventures of all kinds, but especially rock climbing with her husband. 

Karl Christensen

MS Civil Engineering, emphasis in Hydrology & Hydraulics

Karl is using time series scaling, statistical analysis, and advanced programming techniques to extrapolate ecologically significant flow metrics to ungauged locations . He enjoys the complexities of water resources and wants to help solve problems faced by our current water infrastructure. He has always been passionate about the outdoors and usually spends weekends hiking, camping, and climbing. One of his favorite places in the world is Yosemite National Park in California.

CURRENT OPPORTUNITIES

Postdoctoral scholar in coupled human-natural river systems modeling

Prospective graduate students:

I am looking for exceptional and passionate graduate students (PhD level ONLY) to join the WET lab. 

 

Given the interdisciplinary nature of our research, students with a wide range of backgrounds are encouraged to apply, including civil engineering, hydrology, fluvial geomorphology, and river ecology. Primary prerequisites include a strong quantitative background, scientific curiosity, and an interest in river systems. Students should have experience or interest in hydrologic statistics, geospatial and terrain analysis, hydraulic modeling, water resources modeling, or field work. Proven experience with statistical analysis, geospatial analysis, and computer programming (including R and/or Python) is preferred. Students should expect to interact with diverse researchers and stakeholders in academia and state agencies, and may participate in field work. USU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and we welcome applications from underrepresented groups.

USU is a highly collaborative community and a true research hub for river and water science. Funding, great facilities, equipment, and a wealth of expertise are available to support interdisciplinary graduate projects. You can find useful information about our graduate program and program requirements here: Civil and Environmental Engineering at Utah State University.  

Set in beautiful Cache Valley, Logan Utah is also an outdoors playground, with year-round outdoor recreation opportunities including skiing, mountain biking, kayaking, climbing, trail running, and hiking.

If you are potentially interested in working with me, please contact me via email well ahead of the application deadline. I will be more than happy to discuss ideas, funding opportunities, and answer any questions you may have. I welcome queries related to my current research projects but I am also open to new ideas, as long as they fall within the broad area of my interests. 

I look forward to hear from you!

 

Dr. Fengwei Hung

Postdoctoral Scholar, Systems Modeling

Fengwei is developing a multi-objective systems modeling framework to integrate uncertain ecological outcomes into distributed water management systems. His background is in decision analysis, water resources engineering, and optimization. Fengwei has a PhD in Environmental Health and Engineering and a MSE in Applied Mathematics and Statistics from Johns Hopkins University. His PhD evaluated at adaptive stormwater management opportunities using green infrastructure.

Prior lab members