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INSTITUTE FOR SUSTAINABILITY, ENERGY, AND ENVIRONMENT
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS URBANA-CHAMPAIGN

 

 

RESILIENT WATERSHEDS & ECOSYSTEMS

Water and land development has been a keystone of civilization, providing critical resources for agriculture, industry, urbanization, recreation, and public safety. Over history, development in watersheds has been centered on human needs without sufficient consideration of natural ecosystem requirements. This has caused the degradation of aquatic systems in the form of aquifer drawdown, modified river and lake hydrology, water pollution, and habitual destruction — all impacting aquatic organisms and food webs. Stressed environmental systems in turn have threatened human societies by reducing ecosystem services on which they depend. This situation has become even more pressing as the climate changes, and it has attracted wide interests in research communities to develop harmonious relationships between human and natural systems.

 

Areas of Research Focus

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has competitive research capacities and strengths in developing an integrated scientific framework to understand the complexity in human-interfered watersheds and to exploit policies and engineering solutions for ecosystem restoration, as well as reliable water supply and quality needed to support human societies. This includes but is not limited to:

  • engaging communities and developing decision support systems and policy-making processes to provide effective information to stakeholders and water users, giving them a voice and ensuring sustainability of human and environmental systems;
  • examining regional and national water and ecosystem impacts resulting from existing energy, agricultural, and land uses — and identifying potential solutions;
  • understanding linkages between land and water use, groundwater, surface and sub-surface water flow, and watershed resistance and resilience — to help define restoration and protection targets for all ecoystems;
  • improving understanding of risks and impacts to water supplies and the environment from extractive uses, carbon sequestration technologies, and extractive technologies; and
  • conducting economic and social science research that identifies decision-making processes that are necessary for watershed and ecosystem sustainability.

Water Scholars at Work

(click to enlarge images and view as a slide show; more scholars’ studies profiled on each of the Areas of Excellence landing pages)

Researchers

Brian Allan

Brian Allan

Entomology and disease ecology

Alison Anders

Alison Anders

Land-water surface processes and geomorphology

Amy W. Ando

Amy W. Ando

Economics and water resources

Craig Bethke

Craig Bethke

Hydrogeology

Rabin Bhattarai

Rabin Bhattarai

Hydrology and water resources engineering

Matthew Browning

Matthew Browning

Nature-based recreation

Orville V. Burton

Orville V. Burton

History and rivers

Greg Byard

Greg Byard

Flood risk analysis

Carla Cáceres

Carla Cáceres

Evolutionary ecology

Laura Christianson

Laura Christianson

Water quality and environmental systems

Reid Christianson

Reid Christianson

Water quality, agricultural conservation, nutrient management

Maria Librada Chu

Maria Librada Chu

Soil and water resources engineering

Piotr Cienciala

Piotr Cienciala

Ecohydrology and geomorphology

Richard Cooke

Richard Cooke

Biological engineering

Jennifer Druhan

Jennifer Druhan

Hydrogeology and groundwater

Jennifer Fraterrigo

Jennifer Fraterrigo

Ecosystem ecology

Becky Fuller

Becky Fuller

Fish ecology and evolution

Thomas Johnson

Thomas Johnson

Geochemistry and hydrogeology

Jamie Jones

Jamie Jones

Literature, oceans, and whaling

Prasanta Kalita

Prasanta Kalita

Hydrology and water quality

Laura Keefer

Laura Keefer

Fluvial geomorphology

Sally McConkey

Sally McConkey

Water resources data

Mary Pat McGuire

Mary Pat McGuire

Water-based landscape architecture and urban water networks

Stephen Nesbitt

Stephen Nesbitt

Hydrometeorology

Cameron Pittelkow

Cameron Pittelkow

Water quality, environmental systems

D. Fairchild Ruggles

D. Fairchild Ruggles

Architectural and environmental history

Rob Sanford

Rob Sanford

Environmental microbiology and hydrogeology

Art Schmidt

Art Schmidt

Hydrology

Murugesu Sivapalan

Murugesu Sivapalan

Hydrology and civil engineering

Levi Solomon

Levi Solomon

Large river ecology

Al Valocchi

Al Valocchi

Hydrology

Carena van Riper

Carena van Riper

Marine and freshwater environmental management

Zhenxing Zhang

Zhenxing Zhang

Hydrology

Linduo Zhao

Linduo Zhao

Biogeochemistry

ONGOING GRANTS & GRANT OPPORTUNITIES

Coming soon.

STUDENT-LED WEBSITE: FISHES OF BONEYARD CREEK

Ichthyology students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created a website on aquatic life in the Boneyard Creek, a local landmark body of water. The students intend to continue adding more ecosystem and water quality information.

Visit the website >>>

FIND A WATER SCHOLAR

 

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