Currently browsing category


Stormwater management is all around you. Can you #SpotTheSCM?

realscientistsFor a week in October 2016, I had over 38,000 twitter followers as I took a turn hosting the @realscientists account. Of course, I spent a bunch of my time preaching the gospel of stormwater management. Here are tweets over two days synopsizing its history in 140 character bites. (Please note that the account is hosted by a different scientist each week. The image attached to these tweets is that of the current @realscientists host, not a crazy makeover of Anne.)

On Thursday of @highlyanne’s week @realscientists, she was putting finishing touches on a research proposal to do new, cool science on stormwater managment. She also wanted to get people to realize that stormwater managment is already happening in their neighborhoods, so #SpotTheSCM was born.

What is stormwater? And how did we get to where we are today?

realscientistsFor a week in October 2016, I had over 38,000 twitter followers as I took a turn hosting the @realscientists account. Of course, I spent a bunch of my time preaching the gospel of stormwater management. Here are tweets over two days synopsizing its history in 140 character bites. (Please note that the account is hosted by a different scientist each week. The image attached to these tweets is that of the current @realscientists host, not a crazy makeover of Anne.)

The 2016 Kent State Water and Land Symposium

A major focus for the Watershed Hydrology lab this fall has been preparing for the Kent State University Water and Land Symposium. Anne Jefferson was the symposium co-chair (with lots of help from Biology’s Chris Blackwood), and all of the lab members were involved in some way. Pedro, Laura, Hayley, and Cody presented posters. Caytie and Garrett helped with set up and were on tweeting duty. The symposium had about 400 attendees from universities, agencies, cities, non-profits, and the general public from throughout northeast Ohio. If you missed the event live or on twitter, here’s how it went down.


This year’s symposium occurred on October 5-6, 2016, and featured the theme of “Sustainability and Resilience on the Land-Water Continuum.”

Green infrastructure research featured on Kent Wired

Kent Wired, the electronic version of Kent State University’s student media, ran a story on Saturday about the work Kimm Jarden and I have been doing on the effectiveness of green infrastructure retrofits in a neighborhood in Parma, Ohio.  Hopefully I’ll have more to say about this in the next few days. In the meantime, if you want a glimpse of what we’ve been up to, you can check out the news article here.

Stormwater-Stream Connectivity: Process, Context, and Tradeoffs

In a few minutes, I’ll be giving a cyberseminar in CUAHSI’s fantastic sustainable urban streams seminar series. You can join the seminar live at 3:30 pm, or watch a recording of it later. Either way, is where you want to go to watch and listen. If you want to know what you’re in for, I’ve attached my late-breaking abstract below. The whole series has been really superb, with great speakers making key points about the state-of-the-science in urban streams and watersheds. I’m honored to be part of the lineup, and I encourage you to check out all of the recordings. Enjoy!

Stormwater-Stream Connectivity: Process, Context, and Tradeoffs

Anne Jefferson

Streams in urban areas are often said to suffer from “urban stream syndrome” resulting in degraded geomorphology, biogeochemistry, and ecosystem function. Uncontrolled or poorly controlled stormwater is a root cause of many of the symptoms of urban stream syndrome, so understanding how stormwater management options affect in-stream processes is important for creating sustainable urban streams. Today’s approaches to stormwater control include green infrastructure distributed throughout the watershed and more centralized stormwater control ponds and wetlands located near the stream. How well do these approaches minimize risks to human health and infrastructure and protect aquatic ecosystems? In this talk, I’ll suggest that the answer depends on three factors: context; process; and tradeoffs. In terms of context, watersheds and stormwater management efforts are situated within a particular natural landscape (climate, soils, etc.); relative to urban development (age and style of development, type of infrastructure); and within the social context of environmental attitudes and economic constraints and incentives. Processes upslope of stormwater controls that affect water quantity and quality and processes within the controls themselves, such as mixing, infiltration and residence time, exert significant influence on how urban stream hydrology, water quality, and ecology responds to stormwater inputs. Where stormwater ponds and wetlands (SCMs) are large inputs to a stream, they can impart distinct water quality signals, and such SCMs are unlikely to restore pre-development stream water quantity and quality. Distributed green infrastructure shows promising reductions in peakflows and total stormwater volumes at the street-scale, but challenges remain in scaling up to enough projects to make a difference at the watershed scale and in ensuring that variability in construction and maintenance don’t reduce the effectiveness of the green infrastructure. Finally, there are tradeoffs in our choices around stormwater management infrastructure, in terms of the broader environmental benefits it can provide versus a more narrow focus on water quantity and quality. Using an ecosystem services framework, I show one approach to examining these tradeoffs. None of the current approaches to managing stormwater are a panacea, but with process-based, contextual studies that also examine limitations and tradeoffs, we can move the science and practice of stormwater management toward better outcomes and more sustainable urban streams.

CUAHSI Cyberseminar Series on Sustainable Urban Streams – featuring Anne + 4 more outstanding hydrologists!

Not in northeast Ohio for tomorrow’s Water Symposium? Don’t worry! There’s lots of urban hydrology coming your way through CUAHSI’s next cyber-seminar series. It starts tomorrow afternoon and extends through December 5th. You’ll hear from four outstanding hydrologists, and then Anne will attempt to have something to add on December 5th.

Sustainable Urban Streams – Science to Support Evolving Management Objectives

The management of urban streams and rivers has historically emphasized two critical ecosystem services: stormwater conveyance (flood protection) and wastewater disposal. Maximizing these services has generally resulted in major alteration of aquatic ecosystem structure and function, and reduced provision of other ecosystem services, such as aesthetics, recreation, food and biodiversity. Recent decades have seen a renewed appreciation of the value of these other services, an improved understanding of the processes by which streams are altered, and the development of engineering and design practices to manage these processes in ways that can provide multiple services.

In this series, we will hear from five presenters:

On Oct. 31 Larry Band will present Green infrastructure, groundwater and the sustainable city, discussing the altered surface and subsurface hydrology of urban areas, and arguing that effective management needs to consider the full critical zone, from rooftop to bedrock. Band is the Voit Gilmore Distinguished Professor of Geography and the Director of the Institute for the Environment at the University of North Carolina.

On Nov. 7 Derek Booth will present Watershed context and the evolution of urban streams, exploring the management implications of different regional and watershed settings on the development and restoration of urban channels. Booth has worked as a geologist and geomorphologist in academia, government agencies and the private sector, including a stint as the president of Stillwater Sciences, Inc., and is an adjunct professor in the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UC Santa Barbara.

On Nov. 14 Tim Fletcher will discuss The Little Stringybark Creek project—the world’s first full-catchment retrofit of stormwater infiltration and management practices, which has been in operation and under active study since 2008 under the co-leadership of Fletcher and Prof. Chris Walsh. Fletcher is Professor in Urban Ecohydrology at the University of Melbourne (Australia), and the author of over 300 publications on stormwater quality, treatment and impacts.

On Nov. 21 Emma Rosi-Marshall will present Contaminants of emerging concern as agents of ecological change in urban streams. She will discuss how contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products can have surprising and sometimes cascading effects on aquatic organisms. Rosi-Marshall is an Aquatic Ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and the Director-Designate of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, one of only two urban long-term ecological research sites in the U.S.

All seminars are at 3:30 Eastern time. For more info, and how to connect, see details here:

On Dec. 5th, Anne Jefferson will present Stormwater-Stream Connectivity: Process, Context, and Tradeoffs, discussing new insights into the downstream effects of conventional stormwater management and green infrastructure practices, how watershed context regulates these effects, and how stormwater-stream management strategies require tradeoffs in the ecosystem services provided by urban watersheds. Jefferson is on the faculty at Kent State University, has had her work funded by NSF, EPA, and USGS, and engages in interdisciplinary collaborations with ecologists, social scientists, and architects.
The series will be hosted by Seth Wenger, Director of Science of the River Basin Center at the University of Georgia.

Damnation film screening in Cleveland on Wednesday

If you haven’t seen it yet, and you are at all interested in dams and dam removal (or are even wondering why people would be interested in dam removal), I encourage you to watch the film Damnation. The film highlights some of the environmental issues associated with dams, showcases the growing movement to get them removed, and shows us the results when dams do come out. Plus, it features gorgeous scenery of Pacific Northwest Rivers. So check out the screening in Cleveland this week (info below) or ask Anne how to get access to her copy of the film.

Here’s the trailer:

The award-winning documentary, Damnation, is coming to Cleveland’s Capitol Theater on Wednesday, September 24th at 7 p.m. The movie tells the story of the use of dams around the United States and the impact that dams have on rivers. It was produced by Yvon Chouinard who, among many other conservation accolades, is the founder of Patagonia.

Kdudley Media is hosting the presentation of the movie at the Capitol and they have graciously invited Friends of the Crooked River to be their special guest. FOCR will have an informational display in the lobby before the showing and have a Q&A session after the movie focusing on local dam removal efforts. In addition, Kdudley has decided to donate any funds raised from the showing of the movie to FOCR in support of our conservation efforts. Here is a link to more information about the film:

Tickets will be available at the door, as well as on line.

The Capitol Theater is located at W. 65th and Detroit in Cleveland’s District, Gordon Square District. This area is also home to several good restaurants ranging from casual to upscale so you may want to come early and make a night of it.

Hope to see you on September 24th

Social Hour at 6 PM

Film at 7 PM

Q&A concerning dams on the Cuyahoga following show

Anne is wading into streams and science education

Cross-posted at Highly Allochthonous

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by the lovely Bethany Brookshire for her Eureka!Lab blog at Student Science, part of Society for Science and the Public. You can check out the interview on Eureka!Lab or scroll down to watch the video.

I loved doing the interview, for three reasons. First, I like talking about my science (what scientist doesn’t?). Second, Bethany is a friend and a blossoming science writer. But most importantly, Society for Science and the Public (SSP) is a great organization working to foster “understanding and appreciation of science and the vital role it plays in human advancement: to inform, educate, and inspire.” They are the publishers of Science News and Science News for Students, and they organize the premiere scientific competitions for middle school and high schools. These competitions are what got me engaged with science and encouraged to pursue a scientific career. So I’m always happy to help SSP in any way I can.

The video interview below is aimed at communicating to middle school students about what I do as a professor and hydrologic scientist. After a somewhat awkward start, I hope I did a good job of sharing the excitement and challenges of what I do in a fairly non technical way.

Head over to Eureka!Lab to see a transcript of our conversation.