New Water Science Grantees Announced by the USGS-PSU Partnership (UPP)

UPP grant winners
Andrés Holz, PSU (top left), Tess Harden (bottom left), Jennifer Morace, USGS (top right), Olyssa Starry (bottom right).

The USGS-PSU Partnership (UPP) has announced two research funding awards for the 2020 Seed Grant Program. These grants are part of the second award funding cycle for the UPP, a recently renewed partnership between PSU and the USGS Oregon Water Science Center (ORWSC).

The purpose of the partnership is to further our understanding of water science by supporting joint research, sharing resources and facilities, and creating training and workforce development opportunities for PSU students including field and laboratory experiences. To meet these goals, the UPP offers awards on an annual basis to teams of researchers that include one principal investigator (PI) from ORWSC and one from PSU. The intent is to fund research that can serve as the foundation for a larger body of work and larger grant funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), or other funding organizations.

Olyssa Starry, Associate Professor in the University Honors College, Jen Morse, Associate Professor in the Environmental Sciences and Management department, and Jennifer Morace from ORWSC have been awarded $29,703 for their project "Willamette Water Quality Past and Present." The team will be looking at water quality changes to the Willamette River in the past decade and augmenting standard data sets with tests for industrial pollutants, sediment activity, and cyanotoxins. They will also initiate a sampling plan for new contamination concerns at six beach locations on the river. 

Andrés Holz, Associate Professor in Geography, and Tess Harden from ORWSC have been awarded $29,884 for their project "Tree-ring Reconstruction of Historical Groundwater-Streamflow Dynamics." The team will be investigating the relation between climate parameters, including rainfall, temperature, and snowpack and water levels at the source of the McKenzie River. The project will provide information for hazards assessments and forecasts related to floods and droughts, which affect aquatic habitat and water resource management decisions regarding water quality and supply.

The projects will last 13 months and begin in Summer 2021. In this funding cycle, both awards also include salary and a tuition remission, which is effectively a full scholarship, for a graduate student for one year. Both projects will also provide research opportunities for undergraduate students. The UPP is committed to supporting excellent field research opportunities in water science for both undergraduate and graduate students.
The UPP‘s Advisory Board is made up of staff and researchers from both PSU and the ORWSC and is managed by PSU’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions. For more information about the UPP, visit their website or email