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Academic Opportunities


Center for Colorado River Studies

Students on stream.

Doctoral Research and Fellowship Opportunity
Department of Watershed Sciences • Quinney College of Natural Resources • Utah State University
Geomorphic Implications of Fine-Sediment Mass Imbalance of the Middle Green River in Utah 

We seek an energetic and innovative doctoral student to investigate how and why the middle Green River has simplified and narrowed during the past century and to investigate linkages between these changes and characteristics of the flow regime and sediment supply that have changed due to upstream dams, diversions, and land use changes.

 Fine-sediment transport is continuously measured at gaging stations throughout the Colorado River basin by the USGS Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center (http://www.gcmrc.gov/discharge_qw_sediment/). These data are used to calculate sediment budgets for sand and for silt-and-clay for different segments of the river system, including the middle Green River in Dinosaur National Monument and the Uinta Basin. The continuous record of fine-sediment transport, and a distributed network of historical channel measurements, provides an unusual research opportunity to understand how fine sediment mass imbalance is accommodated by geomorphic changes of the channel and floodplain as it stores or evacuates fine sediment. These geomorphic changes affect native fish aquatic habitat.

 This research program will be jointly supervised by John Schmidt , Utah State University, and David Topping , USGS Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center. Please contact us for further information. Four years of stipend support and initial-phase research support are available through the Colorado River Doctoral Scholar program at Utah State University . Supplemental research support will be provided by the USGS Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center. Matriculation will be in the Department of Watershed Sciences at Utah State University. Ideally, we would like the candidate to begin field research in summer 2017.

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PhD Scholarship

Department of Watershed Sciences • Quinney College of Natural Resources • Utah State University

Colorado River Doctoral Scholar

 The Department of Watershed Sciences at Utah State University’s Quinney College of Natural Resources announces the Colorado River Doctoral Scholar program. This scholarship provides a stipend and covers tuition and fees for a PhD student whose focus is the application of science to the management of the Colorado River. The scholarship also provides a grant of $5,000 to support initiation of the Scholar’s PhD research. Colorado River Doctoral Scholars are expected to seek supplemental support for their research endeavors. The Colorado River Doctoral Scholarship is awarded for a 4-year period.

 The Colorado River Doctoral Scholar program is part of the Quinney College of Natural Resources’ Center for Colorado River Studies, a home for innovative research, teaching, and outreach that informs management of the Colorado River and other major rivers of the American Southwest. The Colorado River Doctoral Scholar program supports applied research that is applicable to current and emerging management problems of the Colorado River, including the in-stream effects of changing runoff and sediment supply, reservoir operations, changes in fluvial geomorphology and habitat, non-native species introductions and expansion, and river rehabilitation/restoration. We seek innovative approaches that link emerging, multidisciplinary science to management challenges.

 Preference will be given to prospective students with an outstanding academic record and an interest in contributing to scientifically-based management and policy related to the Colorado River and/or its watershed. Applications are encouraged from minorities and members of the Colorado River watershed’s many Native peoples. Students with backgrounds in the earth sciences, geography, aquatic ecology, riparian ecology, and water resources management are encouraged to apply. Applications into the Doctoral Scholar program are reviewed on a rolling basis, and applications are reviewed semi-annually.

 Applications will be reviewed on August 1, 2016, for proposed programs of study beginning in spring term of the 2016-2017 academic year; applications are due on February 1, 2017, for programs of study beginning fall term of the 2017-2018 academic year. The number of scholars is subject to availability of funds.

 Prospective students should apply to the graduate program at Utah State University (https://www.usu.edu/apply/). Applicants should provide supplemental information that includes (1) a statement of interest in the Colorado River Doctoral Scholar program, (2) a CV, and (3) a proposed focus of research. Supplemental materials, as well as copies of letters of reference and other application materials, should be sent to: Dr. John (Jack) C. Schmidt, Department of Watershed Sciences, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-5210; jack.schmidt@usu.edu.