Research

Restoration structure with riparian vegetation

Restored riffle in Plum Creek, Kent, OH. Photo by A. Jefferson, September 2012.

The Watershed Hydrology Lab is situated within the Department of Geology at Kent State University. Dr. Jefferson is also affiliated with the Center for Ecology and Natural Resource Sustainability at KSU. Currently funded projects focus on stream restoration, storm water management and green infrastructure, and stable water isotopes.

Now Recruiting
Want to mix hydrology and water quality? Want to study urban systems while working in a beautiful setting? Interested in green infrastructure and stormwater? I’m looking for a motivated M.S. or Ph.D. student to work with me starting June 2015. For more details, please check out the project description and how to apply.

On-going Research Projects

Characterizing stream restoration’s water quality improvement potential through hyporheic exchange enhancement

With funding from the Ohio Water Resources Center, graduate student Stuart Baker is examining how hyporheic exchange, nutrient uptake, and microbial biomass respond to common stream restoration practices. The goal of our research is to determine the effectiveness of restoration in enhancing hyporheic flow and associated biogeochemical processes to improve water quality. We will be measuring physiochemical and biological parameters in three streams, one restored each summer 2012-2014.

Groundwater-stream interactions in former reservoirs

Graduate student Krista Booth is examining the hydrogeology, sedimentology, and water quality in two streams where low-head dams were removed several years ago. Reservoirs deposits now exposed by dam removal are a novel hydrologic environment that can create wetlands and riparian groundwater exchanges with potential water quality effects, but we have limited understanding of how these environments behave. Krista’s work will shed light on groundwater dynamics and controls in such systems.

Assessing the Effects of Green Infrastructure on Runoff and Metals Concentrations in Stormwater Runoff

In conjunction with Cleveland Metroparks, graduate student Kimm Jarden is assessing the effects of street-scale green infrastructure retrofits on stormwater runoff hydrology and pollutant loads. Bioswales capturing street runoff and rain gardens and rain barrels collecting roof runoff have been installed on two residential streets in the City of Parma’s West Creek watershed. Using a paired watershed approach, we’re examining the efficacy of this retrofit in reducing peak flows and total stormflow volumes and will be sampling for metals in summer 2014.

Stormwater wetland, sodded slope, and new houses

Stormwater wetland in Charlotte, NC. Photo by A. Jefferson, December 2011.

Influence of stormwater management structures on ecological function in urban
stream

Funded by NSF’s Environmental Engineering program from 2011-2014, this project is in collaboration with Sara McMillan, Sandra Clinton, and Christina (Naomi) Tague. We are using a combination of monitoring and modeling to understand the cumulative, downstream effects of stormwater control structures on urban stream hydrology, biogeochemistry, and ecology. Among the questions I am seeking to answer with this project are: “How does the spatial pattern of land development and stormwater control within a watershed affect the hydrology and nutrient export in urban streams?” “Is there a critical threshold for the percent of watershed area treated by stormwater structures in order to produce meaningful hydrological and ecological benefits of stormwater management?” and “How do different types of stormwater control measures affect temperature surges in urban streams?”. Some of the preliminary results of the project were presented at the Geological Society of America conference in November 2012. Stay tuned for more great stuff coming out of our work.

Bridging the Conceptual Divide Between Theoretical and Applied Environmental Chemistry

Project website: https://sites.google.com/a/kent.edu/d-edgeo/

This project, funded by NSF’s DUE TUES, began in September 2012 and will run until 2015. PIs on the project are Anne Jefferson, Liz Griffith, Joe Ortiz, and David Dees. We will be developing curriculum that uses water isotope data for several upper level Earth Science classes. We will be developing curriculum that enables students will run the Picarro Water Isotope Analyzer (in my lab) and analyze their own data in an effort to improve student understanding of course material. We will also be exploring ways to transfer our curricular activities to institutions that do not have isotope analytical capabilities. If you are a student at Kent State, you can become involved in the project by taking one of the classes in which we will use the new curriculum. If you are a faculty member at another university and would like to test our materials (either with your own isotope analyzer or without), please contact us.

Recently Completed Projects

Forested stream with piezometers

Our forested, unrestored stream during a tracer injection, March 2012. Photo by A. Jefferson.

Evaluating Restoration Success in the Watershed Context

Funded by the NC Water Resources Research Institute, Sandra Clinton, Craig Allan, and I investigated how stream restoration alters patterns of transient storage in forested and urban streams. Our goal is to separately quantify surface transient storage (e.g., pools) and hyporheic exchange and understand how the two types of storage lead to ecological and water quality differences between streams. Mackenzie Osypian was the graduate student on the project, and she earned her M.S. degree in Civil Engineering at UNC Charlotte in spring 2013. In December 2013, Anne gave a talk on the project at AGU, and there is a manuscript in preparation.

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