John (Jack) Schmidt
Watershed Sciences, Utah State University
Director, Center for Colorado River Studies
Research Interests & Background
Professor Schmidt has devoted 30 years of research to the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River that flows through it, focused on the relationship of ecosystem health and the dams, reservoirs, and diversions associated with river management. He recently stepped down as chief of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center, a position he had held since 2011. In both his university and government research, Jack has worked to encourage collaboration between federal and state agencies, tribal interests, non-governmental organization and academic institutions. He recently received the National Park Service’s Director’s Award for Natural Resource Research.
Selected Colorado River Publications & Presentations
Johnson, C.L., Root, J.C., Hynek, S.A., and Schmidt, J.C. Sedimentary record of annual-decadal timescale reservoir dynamics: Anthropogenic stratigraphy of Lake Powell, Utah, U.S.A. https://thesedimentaryrecord.scholasticahq.com/article/33914-sedimentary-record-of-annual-decadal-timescale-reservoir-dynamics-anthropogenic-stratigraphy-of-lake-powell-utah-u-s-a
Wang, J., Udall, B., Kuhn, E., Wheeler, K., and Schmidt, J. C. 2022. Evaluating the Accuracy of Reclamation’s 24-Month Study Lake Powell Projections. Utah State University Center for Colorado River Studies white paper no. 7, 20 p. Available at https://qcnr.usu.edu/coloradoriver/files/WhitePaper_7.pdf
Pennock, C. A., Budy, P., Macfarlane, W. W., Breen, M. J., Jimenez, J., and Schmidt, J. C. 2022. Native fish need a natural flow regime. Fisheries, https://doi.org/10.1002/fsh.10703.
Dibble, K. L., Yackulic, C. B., Kennedy, T. A., Bestgen, K. R., and Schmidt, J. C. 2021. Water storage decisions will determine the distribution and persistence of imperiled river fishes. Ecological Applications 31(2): e02279.
Wheeler, K., Kuhn, E., Bruckerhoff, L., Udall, B., Wang, J., Gilbert, L., Goeking, S., Kasprak, A., Mihalevich, B., Neilson, B, Salehabadi, H., and Schmidt, J. C. 2021. Alternative management paradigms for the future of the Colorado and Green Rivers. Utah State University Center for Colorado River Studies white paper no. 6, 90 p. Available at https://qcnr.usu.edu/coloradoriver/files/CCRS_White_Paper_6.pdf.
Dean, D. J., Topping, D. J., Grams, P. E., Walker, A. E., and Schmidt, J. C. 2020. Does channel narrowing by floodplain growth necessarily indicate sediment surplus? Lessons from sediment-transport analyses in the Green and Colorado Rivers, Canyonlands, Utah. Journal of Geophysical Research – Earth Surface 125(11): e2019JF005414.
Grams, P. E., Dean, D. J., Walker, A. E., Kasprak, A, and Schmidt, J. C. 2020. The roles of flood magnitude and duration in controlled channel width and complexity on the Green River in Canyonlands, Utah, USA. Geomorphology 371: 107438.
Leonard, C. M., Legleiter, C. J., Lea, D. M., and Schmidt, J. C. 2020. Measuring channel planform change from image time series: a generalizable, spatially distributed, probabilistic method for quantifying uncertainty. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 45:2727-2744. DOI: 10.1002/esp.4926.
Mihalevich, B. A., Neilson, B. T., Buahin, C. A., Yackulic, C. B., and Schmidt, J. C. 2020. Water temperature controls for regulated canyon-bound rivers. Water Resources Research 56(12). https://doi.org/10.1029/2020WR027566.
Rubin, D. M., Buscombe, D., Wright, S. A., Topping, D. J., Grams, P. E., Schmidt, J. C., Hazel, J. E., Kaplinski, M. A., and Tusso, R. 2020. Causes of variability in suspended-sand concentration evaluated using measurements in the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. Journal of Geophysical Research – Earth Surface 125(9). doi.org/10.1029/2019JF005226.
Salehabadi, H., Tarboton, D., Kuhn, E., Udall, B., Wheeler, K., Rosenberg, D., Goeking, S, and Schmidt, J. C. 2020. The future hydrology of the Colorado River basin. Utah State University Center for Colorado River Studies white paper no. 4, 70 p. Available at https://qcnr.usu.edu/coloradoriver/files/CCRS_White_Paper_4.pdf.
Walker, A. E., Moore, J. N., Grams, P. E., Dean, D. J., and Schmidt, J. C. 2020. Channel narrowing by inset floodplain formation of the lower Green River in the Canyonlands region, Utah. Geological Society of America Bulletin. doi.org/10.1130/B35233.1.
Wang, J., and Schmidt, J. C. 2020. Stream flow and losses of the Colorado River in the southern Colorado Plateau. Utah State University Center for Colorado River Studies white paper no. 5, 26 p. Available at https://qcnr.usu.edu/coloradoriver/files/CCRS_White_Paper_3.pdf.
Wang, J., Rosenberg, D. E., Wheeler, K. G., and Schmidt, J. C. 2020. Managing the Colorado River for an uncertain future. Utah State University Center for Colorado River Studies white paper no. 3, 30 p. Available at https://qcnr.usu.edu/coloradoriver/files/CCRS_White_Paper_3.pdf.
Bair, L. S., Yackulic, C. B., Schmidt, J. C., Perry, D. M., Kirchhoff, C. J., Chief, K., and Colombi, B. J. 2019. Incorporating social-ecological considerations into basin-wide responses to climate change in the Colorado River basin. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 37:14-19, doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2019.04.002.
Wheeler, K. G., Rosenberg, D. E., and Schmidt, J. C. 2019. Water resource modeling of the Colorado River: present and future strategies. Utah State University Center for Colorado River Studies white paper no. 2, 47 p. Available at https://qcnr.usu.edu/coloradoriver/files/CCRS_White_Paper_2.pdf.
Meredith, C. S., Budy, P, and Schmidt, J. C. 2018. Scour depths at sites selected for spawning by brown trout (Salmo trutta) along a longitudinal gradient of a North American mountain river. River Research and Applications 2018:1-11, doi;10.1002/rra.3321.
Mueller, E. R., Grams, P. E., Hazel, J. E., Jr., and Schmidt, J. C. 2018. Variability in eddy sandbar dynamics during two decades of controlled flooding of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Sedimentary Geology 363: 181-199, doi.org/10.1016/j.sedgeo.2017.11.007.
Topping, D. J., Mueller, E. R., Schmidt, J. C., Griffiths, R. E., Dean, D. J., and Grams, P. E. 2018. Long‐term evolution of sand transport through a river network: relative influences of a dam versus natural changes in grain size from sand waves. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 123(8): 1879-1909, doi.org/10.1029/2017JF004534.
Call, B. C., Belmont, P., Schmidt, J. C., and Wilcock, P. R. 2017. Changes in floodplain inundation under nonstationary hydrology for an adjustable, alluvial river channel. Water Resources Research 53: 3811-3834, doi:10.1002/2016WR020277.
Mueller, E. R., Schmidt, J. C., Topping, D. J., Shafroth, P. B., Rodriguez-Burgueno, J. E., Ramirez-Hernandez, J., and Grams, P. E. 2017. Geomorphic change and sediment transport during a small artificial flood in a transformed post-dam delta: the Colorado River delta, United States and Mexico. Ecological Engineering, 106: 757-775, doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2016.08.009.
Dean, D. J., Topping, D. J., Schmidt, J. C., Griffiths, R. E., and Sabol, T. A. 2016. Sediment supply versus local hydraulic controls on sediment transport and storage in a river with large sediment loads. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 121: 145-158, doi:10.1002/2015JF003436.
Erwin, S. O., Schmidt, J. C., and Allred, T. M. 2016. Post-project geomorphic assessment of a large process-based river restoration project. Geomorphology 270: 145-158, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2016.07.018.
Poff, N. L., and Schmidt, J. C. 2016. How dams can go with the flow. Science 353(6304): 1099-1100.
Schmidt, J. C. 2016. Fill Mead First: a technical assessment. Utah State University Center for Colorado River Studies white paper no. 1, 80 p. Available at https://qcnr.usu.edu/coloradoriver/files/FillMeadFirst_Technical_Assessment.pdf.
“Running the Rapids of Climate Change: What Does the Science Say?” at the annual meeting of the Colorado River Water Users Association. Las Vegas, NV; December 12, 2019.
“Implications of/for Temperature, Salinity and Sediment Management” at the Colorado River Conversations: Integrating Science and Identifying Solutions conference. Tucson, AZ; October 29, 2019. https://ccass.arizona.edu/sites/default/files/CRCC_FinalAgenda_0.pdf
“A Virtual Tour of the Colorado River” at the Colorado River Conversations: Integrating Science and Identifying Solutions conference. Tucson, AZ; October 28, 2019. https://ccass.arizona.edu/sites/default/files/CRCC_FinalAgenda_0.pdf
“The Opportunities and Challenges of Considering Alternative Management Paradigms (AMPs)” at the 40th Annual Summer Water Conference of the Getches-Wilkinson Center (Charting a Better Course for the Colorado River: Identifying the Data and Concepts to Shape the Interim Guidelines Renegotiation). Boulder, CO; June 7, 2019. https://www.getches-wilkinsoncenter.cu.law/events/2019-gwc-summer-conference/
“Harnessing Resources to Foster a Sustainable Colorado River” at the Tribal Basin-Wide Gathering/Workshop. February 13, 2019; Fort McDowell, Arizona.
“The Future of the Colorado River” (host) symposium of the Utah State University Center for Colorado River Studies on October 13, 2018. Moab, UT. http://qcnr.usu.edu/wats/colorado_river_studies/
“Policy Leadership in the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program: Stakeholders or Science?” at the 10th Biennial Bay-Delta Science Symposium. Sacramento, CA; September 10, 2018.
“The Future of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon” as part of the Colorado River Days program. Flagstaff, AZ; September 5, 2018. http://www.coloradoriverdaysflagstaff.org/workshops/
“Unintended Consequences: Environmental Damage” and “Healing the Entire River: A Broader Perspective” at the Urban Waterfronts Conference. Yuma, AZ; January 26, 2018. http://www.2018uw.com/index.html
"Singing a Challenging Tune: Harmonizing Dams and Environmental Mitigation" at the annual conference of the Colorado River Water Users Association (CRWUA). Las Vegas, NV; December 13, 2017.
"Competing objectives for the Colorado River: water supply, hydropower, and river rehabilitation -- can we have it all?" at the Upper Colorado River Basin Forum. Colorado Mesa University, Grand Junction, CO; November 2, 2016. http://www.coloradomesa.edu/water-center/forum/
“Conservation challenges for the Colorado River: thinking out loud.” National Parks Conservation Association Southwest Regional Council meeting. Salt Lake City, UT. February 12, 2016.
“Restoring the Colorado River, challenges and opportunities.” Stegner Center, University of Utah. Salt Lake City. January 19, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zwXVSnMzSo&feature=youtu.be
“Threats to national parks of the Colorado River watershed.” Outdoor Retailers Convention (winter). Salt Lake City, UT. January 7, 2016.
“A perspective on future changes in stream flow, sediment supply, temperature, and aquatic ecosystem of the Colorado River.” USGS. November 2, 2015.