News

Grants support collaborative water research between PSU and USGS
Author: Alison Hopcroft, Partnerships Manager, Institute for Sustainable Solutions
Posted: April 6, 2020

Three teams of investigators from PSU and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Oregon Water Science Center have been awarded grants to conduct collaborative research. The grants were awarded as part of the USGS-PSU Partnership (UPP), a long standing but recently rebooted partnership to enhance water science research and collaboration between the two entities. The UPP focuses on three areas: student and workforce development, classroom and academic engagement, and research and other joint endeavors. 

The UPP issued a request for proposals (RFP) in September 2019, making up to $60,000 of partnership funds available for joint research with each team receiving a maximum of $20,000. The purpose of the grants was to encourage new collaborations and build upon the understanding of a water science topic by either utilizing new technologies or novel approaches, or laying the foundation for new advancements in research and development. Ultimately, these grants are intended to be the seed for future research. The review team gave priority to proposals that included opportunities for PSU students to engage in fieldwork, research, and analysis.

Adam Booth, associate professor of geology, is teaming up with USGS' Hank Johnson and Steve Gingerich to study the interactions among surface water, groundwater and ground deformation of slow-moving landslides. Booth will be recruiting an undergraduate student to assist with the fieldwork and preliminary data analysis of the Silt Creek landslide, located in the western Oregon Cascades.

Kelly Gleason, assistant professor of environmental science and management, and Sylas Daughtry, a USGS hydrologic technician who is pursuing his master's of environmental management at PSU, will document fire effects in the Tanner, Herman and Eagle Creek watersheds impacted by the Eagle Creek Fire. As part of their fieldwork, Gleason and Daughtry will be training undergraduate students on stream gage construction, operation, data collection and streamflow measurement, all key skills for future hydrologists.

Portland State PhD student Amy Ehrhart collects a sample of oysters from the Coos Bay estuary in Oregon in April 2017. These oysters will be taken back to the lab to be measured and analyzed for pharmaceutical contaminants.Elise Granek, professor of environmental science and management, and USGS research chemist Elena Nilsen will examine the extent to which pharmaceutical and microplastic concentrations co-occur in wastewater effluent and tissue samples of coastal oysters and clams. The team will include a PSU graduate student and an undergraduate student intern working on the laboratory analysis.

Originally, all the research was scheduled to be completed by Fall 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have prevented the teams from moving forward on their original timelines. The UPP is supporting the investigators as they adapt their plans. Several teams intend to publish their research, and all are hoping to present at a UPP workshop planned for May 2021.

 

Photos: 

  • Kelly Gleason and a student prepare to collect data in the burn area of the Cliff Creek fire in Wyoming. Photo from Kelly Gleason.
  • Portland State PhD student Amy Ehrhart collects a sample of oysters from the Coos Bay estuary in Oregon in April 2017. These oysters will be taken back to the lab to be measured and analyzed for pharmaceutical contaminants. Photo from Amy Ehrhart.