OKH2O Winter2020 Newsletter

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OKH2O News A newsletter of the Oklahoma Water Survey The UNIVERSITY of OKLAHOMA®

Volume 2 Number 2 Winter 2020

Inside we highlight:

OKH2O News

OKH2O News Winter 2020 Published by

Oklahoma Water Survey Director

Jason Vogel, Ph.D., P.E.

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New inside: WoW! Women are making a significant impact to Oklahoma's water resources. Inside, we begin a series highlighting Oklahoma's women of water. Each issue will feature a woman from education, industry and government.


Jeri Fleming Layout and Design

Jeri Fleming

McKenzie Gladney


Student Writers

McKenzie Gladney Tiffany Legg

Jennifer Salvo For more information, or to subscribe to OKH2O News visit our website at

https://OKH2O.org or email us at

outreach@OKH2O.org Staff emails: jason.vogel@ou.edu jeri.fleming@ou.edu grant.graves@ou.edu

Women of Water


New Faculty Spotlight


New Staff Spotlight


Monitoring Oklahoma Water Survey monitoring capabilities


Water infrastructure mapping in a community


Utilizing ArcGIS to help determine ponds' holding capacity 6 Outreach

Riverology for Engineers

OU International WaTER Conference



Women in Science Conference


Environmental Excellence Celebration


Calendar of Events


Research Water-related grants received


OU professor welcomed into 2019 class of ASLO Fellows


Research discovers dominant cyanobacteria in lakes around the world 10 OU professor has research published in Nature Scientific Reports 10 Education On the cover:

Women In Science Conference Artwork by Jennifer Salvo and Jeri Fleming

Presidential Dream Course offered in Water Resources Management at the University of Oklahoma 11 OU CREW and GRDA renew successful partnership 11 OU students present research at Oklahoma Governor’s Water Conference & Research Symposium 12 Studying water at OU


Outstanding graduate student 13



aryn Vaughn, Ph.D. is a Presidential Professor of Biology and a George Lynn Cross Professor at the University of Oklahoma. Vaughn grew up spending her summers on the shores of Lake Texoma at the University of Oklahoma Biological Station, where her father was a professor. Her exposure to biology at such an early age sparked her love for the natural world. Vaughn received her bachelor of science, master of science and doctorate in zoology from the University of Oklahoma. Vaughn's love of nature sparked her interest in biology. Her main goal is to help preserve the natural world for future generations. She’s interested in figuring out what animals do in ecosystems that can be translated into benefits for humans. She actively purses this interest by researching freshwater mussels. “We’re interested in freshwater mussels because they filter the water, they’re bio filters, so they make our water quality better,” Vaughn said. Vaughn has earned much success in the field of biology, but the journey wasn’t an easy one. She, like many other women in science, have experienced being the only woman in a room. Although it feels isolating, Vaughn says persistence is key. She believes women can find success in biology, or any other field, by exploring their passions. It’s hard to sustain an interest in something you’re not passionate about. Especially for women, she believes it’s important to find a group of supportive people. Try to develop a relationship with a mentor. Finally, Vaughn encourages women to speak up when dealing with misogyny. “Don’t let people get away with it. If you feel like someone is being disrespectful towards you, not taking you seriously, or being sexist, you need to call them out,” Vaughn said. Vaughn says her job is demanding, but very rewarding. Her favorite thing about her position is being able to work with students who will shape the future. When she isn’t in her office or out in the field, Vaughn enjoys cooking, hiking and spending time with her grandson.


ummer Goebel’s appreciation for water and water quality comes from an operational viewpoint. In industry, water is the key to almost every process. Goebel began her career with water at her first job out of college. After graduating from Oklahoma State University, she was hired by OG&E to work at the Sooner Power Plant as a chemist. It was in this role that she realized how important water really is, especially water conservation. In her 28-year career at OG&E, Goebel did not hesitate in taking advantage of the opportunities to work on projects that involved water conservation and water treatment. The projects she worked on included water reuse, wastewater treatment at refineries, stormwater and stormwater quality. As Goebel took on different roles at OG&E, she knew it might be risky, but she emphasized the importance of water and water quality. Her positions at OG&E included superintendent of maintenance, superintendent of operations, plant manager and manager of cooperate environmental, health and safety. After retiring from OG&E, Goebel was hired by Guernsey, an Oklahoma City engineering, architect, and consulting firm. She is currently the senior vice president, director of engineering and environment for Guernsey. In all of her different roles, Goebel has faced obstacles. "Some of the positions I took, such as the superintendent of maintenance at a power plant, the men who worked for me doubted my abilities at first. I earned their respect by being involved and championing their issues," Goebel said. Goebel's inspiration is derived from a book, written by Edward Teller, titled Energy from Heaven and Earth, gifted from her father-inlaw. Goebel's grandmother and step-mother were both inspirational career women who broke barriers during their "non-traditional" careers as an accountant and physician. "They inspired me that even as a woman I could be anything I wanted to be if I was willing to work hard," Goebel said.

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ulie Cunningham has always had an avid interest in the outdoors and natural resources. Her childhood memories consist of family time on the lake and being in love with nature. So, without a doubt, she was excited to begin her post-grad journey with a job at the Oklahoma Water Resources Board. Her then temporary job introduced her to a whole new world of water. She even calls the position “the best job I’ve ever had” because each day consisted of being on a boat visiting lakes and dams that she would have never had the chance to see otherwise. Since this role, Cunningham has climbed the ranks at the OWRB. She’s served in leadership positions for more than 23 years in water quality, infrastructure financing, and water management programs. Cunningham is currently the executive director for the OWRB. As director, she oversees all aspects of the OWRB divisions: Water Quality, Financial Assistance, Planning & Management, and Administration. She also coordinates very closely with Gov. Stitt’s Cabinet of Secretary of Energy and Environment. Cunningham says her duty is getting water to people who need it. Cunningham says one obstacle she faced was the learning curve when jumping into different roles, but she further developed her adaptability skills. “Don’t be afraid to take on a new challenge, or a new job, when you don’t know everything there is to know about it. Push beyond your comfort zone,” Cunningham said. Her bosses played a major role in her career development as mentors. But, her mother’s affirmations of reminding her that she can do anything she puts her mind to has stuck with her for life. Cunningham has strived to lead by example and inspire young women. “This was certainly a male-dominated field when I was growing up. You’ve got to learn to not see those differences and know you have just as much right as anyone else to have an opinion and solve the problems too,” Cunningham said.

New Faculty Spotlight

OKH2O News Winter 2020


ara De León is an assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences. De León earned her bachelor of science degree in biology and chemistry from the Northwest Nazarene University. She earned her doctorate in microbiology at Montana State University. De León also completed her postdoctoral research at the University of Missouri.

De León’s interdisciplinary research combines computational biology, genomics, highthroughput and targeted mutant generation, field geophysical measurements, and biochemical and molecular methods to determine the genetic requirements for microbial functions of interest and to create predictive microbial community models to ultimately determine how microbial communities maintain stability and are resilient to environmental fluctuations. Her current research has been characterizing physiologies of anaerobic, sulfate-reducing bacteria within two environments: the subsurface and the rat colon. She is particularly interested in the community structure and function of anaerobic microbes when attached to surfaces as biofilms. The active microbes in many environments are found attached rather than free-living and growth within a biofilm provides the cells protection against environmental stresses. De Leon’s goal is to rapidly bring new isolates or novel microbes to model status and contribute to the diversity of microbes that can be tested genetically in the laboratory.

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onathan McFadden is an assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences.

McFadden comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and his current research examines the economics of genetically engineered foods, agricultural adaptation to climate change, adoption of information and data-driven inputs, and the structure of commodity markets. His work seeks to answer a range of policy-relevant questions related to environmental economics, natural resources and food policy. Necessarily interdisciplinary, some of his work involves the application of machine-learning techniques and other econometric methods to gain traction in problems of optimal resource use. McFadden earned his bachelors' degree in both economics and mathematics at the University of Oklahoma. He also earned his doctorate in economics at Iowa State University. McFadden is excited about the College’s Data Scholarship Program and lending his expertise in economics. He really enjoys learning about different disciplines, and he believes the DSP provides a wonderful platform for research collaboration and opportunities to interact with others on important empirical topics. McFadden's goal for this year is to continue his commitment to research, teaching, and service excellence.

Welcome to the University of Oklahoma!

New Staff Spotlight

OKH2O News Winter 2020


an Wiltsie joined the Oklahoma Water Survey as an assistant hydrologic scientist in May. He works with other staff members and students on a variety of research and monitoring projects, including shoreline erosion reduction using floating wetland breakwaters at an Oklahoma reservoir and bacteria monitoring of the state’s streams.

Wiltsie received his bachelor of science degree in biology from Penn State University and master of science degree in marine science at North Carolina State University. His master's research focused on spatiotemporal analysis of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms and identification of four different algal toxins in a North Carolina lake. Prior to joining the Oklahoma Water Survey, Wiltsie was an environmental specialist with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. His primary focuses were performing aquatic toxicity tests for both drinking water and wastewater treatment plant discharges, culturing techniques of Ceriodaphnia (water flea), and collaborating with other DEQ scientists on algal toxin research. Wiltsie enjoys spending time with his girlfriend and cats, reading, playing video games, and cooking.

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manda Nairn is an outreach specialist at the Oklahoma Water Survey. She oversees and coordinates the planning and teaching workshops with the goal of educating the public on water and water-related issues. Nairn received her bachelor of arts degree in anthropology from the University of Oklahoma. In addition to her role at the Water Survey, Nairn serves on multiple boards. She currently serves as the chairman of the Environmental Control Advisory Board for the City of Norman and on the board for the Central Oklahoma Master Conservancy District. Nairn is also a founding board member of Watershed Restoration, Inc. In previous roles, Nairn served as co-chairman for the Citizen Stormwater Committee for the City of Norman and a member of the Norman Strategic Water Supply Ad Hoc Committee. Nairn is most excited about meeting new people across the state who care about water and have a desire to not only learn about it, but learn ways to protect it as well. Nairn’s goal in the upcoming months is to expand the geographical areas and the number of people the Oklahoma Water Survey reaches through its educational programs. When she's not at work, Nairn enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and her three rescue dogs, as well as being an active volunteer in her community.

Welcome to the University of Oklahoma!

New Staff Spotlight

OKH2O News Winter 2020


indsay Roland is an assistant hydrologic scientist with the Oklahoma Water Survey. She is responsible for providing technical expertise, leading hydrologic research and monitoring projects, and managing the Water Survey's Water Data portal.

Before joining the Oklahoma Water Survey in November of 2019, Roland was the regional manager for a private environmental laboratory covering the state of Oklahoma. In this position, Roland provided water and soil sampling and analysis services to Oklahoma residents, municipal water suppliers and wastewater treatment facilities, and private industries including construction, mining, and petroleum operations. Roland was also privileged to be a student researcher in the Oklahoma Biological Survey plant ecology laboratory, where she prepared and deployed plant samples and collected soil in an experiment to determine the nutrient uptake and release of decomposing plants in Oklahoma rangeland. She was also a field researcher for the OU’s Plant Biology Department in the Urban Forestry Project, where she surveyed over 800 central Oklahoma trees to determine the drought tolerance of trees found in urban landscaping. Roland’s first love was biology, having grown up in a family that spent a great deal of time fishing and camping all over Oklahoma. She received her bachelor of science in environmental sustainability from the OU. Her first course at OU addressed sustainable water technologies in less developed regions, and this course changed her perception of the importance of water as an environmental humanitarian concern. Roland’s primary professional goal is to use research and data to guide decision-makers to ensure the equitable distribution of clean water now and for future generations. Outside of work, Roland enjoys spending time with her family.

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mily Rhodes joined the Oklahoma Water Survey as an assistant hydrologic scientist in June. She assists with many projects at the Water Survey, including bacteria monitoring and low impact development research.

Rhodes received her bachelor of science degree in environmental sustainability in May 2019, and is pursuing her master of science in environmental science at the University of Oklahoma. Her master's work focuses on comparing the quality and quantity of stormwater runoff between traditional and low-impact development treatment. Prior to joining the Water Survey full time, she was an undergraduate research assistant. In her undergraduate career, she was the chair of the student organization, Green Week, which organizes one week annually to promote more sustainable practices across campus. Rhodes also was a teaching assistant for Inequality in a Global Perspective.

Welcome to the University of Oklahoma!

OKH2O News Winter 2020


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Oklahoma Water Survey Monitoring Capabilities

Water infrastructure mapping in a community

The Oklahoma Water Survey's water monitoring and sampling staff can help design and implement a monitoring program to fit your needs. Our state-of-the-art laboratory has the ability to process and analyze a variety of parameters and is state-certified for both E. coli and enterococci for non-potable water through the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

Small communities face challenges in planning, maintaining and updating their water supply systems due to aging infrastructure and a loss of institutional knowledge. A comprehensive understanding of a city’s water infrastructure is vital to identifying potential issues within a city’s water system. Over the past summer, working with the City of Anadarko, the Oklahoma Water Survey completed a project to provide the City with comprehensive, updated, easy to edit information about their water infrastructure by locating, mapping and documenting water valves.

If we cannot fulfill your specific needs, our staff can coordinate with other OU labs and Oklahoma State University to help ensure you get the analysis you need.

Below are sampling and monitoring services that we provide: 66 Monitoring and sampling plan development 66 Surface-water sampling for constituents, including: • Bacteria • Nutrients • Major cations and anions • Pesticides • Trace metals 66 Groundwater sampling • Nutrients, pesticides, trace materials, ions 66 Soil coring sampling

By McKenzie Gladney

A team, led by Sarah Yepez, assessed over 450 water valves over the summer to determine whether they were operational, inaccessible, or had a broken valve. The coordinates for each water valve were confirmed or corrected and imported into an ArcGIS coverage along with associated metadata such as pipe diameter and working condition. The final coverage was converted to a Google Earth Pro file, which can be edited, expanded and downloaded to mobile devices for use in the field at no cost to the city. The Water Survey held a training for the city to demonstrate editing both coverages. The City now has a low-cost, easy-touse, interactive map that they can update at any time with new valves or change the status of current valves.

If you have other water/soil sampling needs that are not listed, please contact us.

Grant Graves, M.S. Research and Monitoring Coordinator Oklahoma Water Survey grant.graves@ou.edu (405) 325-4135


OKH2O News Winter 2020

Utilizing ArcGIS to help determine ponds' holding capacity by Jennifer Salvo and McKenzie Gladney

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Residents in neighborhoods receive information on their pond that can be utilized in making maintenance and upkeep decisions. For example, the neighborhood pond in these images

The Oklahoma Water Survey is working on two different projects that will ultimately help the State of Oklahoma and its residents. Through the water balance model and the Protecting Our Neighborhood Detention projects, the Water Survey is actually surveying something - Oklahoma waterways. Students are conducting bathymetric surveys to help determine how much surface water the state has available and to help neighborhoods have a better understanding of the capacity of their ponds. Bathymetric surveys are performed to measure the depth and physical characteristics such as contours of a water body. Staff working with neighborhoods then use the surveys to determine a pond’s current water quantity and how the shape of the pond has changed since its construction. Researchers are using the surveys to help determine water quantity in some larger ponds to provide on-the-ground data for use in a water balance model. The surveys are performed using a kayak, GPS tracking device, and a simple fish finder. The Deeper Sonar PRO+ portable fish finder uses sonar scans to find the depth of a pond at its corresponding GPS coordinate. Additionally, a hand GPS tool is used to measure precise shoreline GPS coordinates. This information is managed and analyzed using ArcMAP/GIS. ArcMAP/GIS is a software that enables users to create maps and prepare and analyze geographic information. This program allows for data manipulation, geospatial processing, and representation of geospatial data.

show that there is space for water if a large storm event were to occur. Another neighborhood’s bathymetric map shows that their pond is 4 to 5 feet shallower than the as-built design showed. ArcMAP/GIS analyses has provided knowledge to residents across the state and further increases Oklahomans’ knowledge of water resources. The Water Survey staff can perform these surveys on a variety of water bodies for any entity. For example, information The Villas at Bricktown gathered on a flood control structure might help those responsible for them ensure they are still meeting the needs of those downstream Legend of them. If you are # interested in having your pond surveyed, contact Jeri Fleming Pond Statistics at jeri.fleming@ ou.edu or (405)3252531. Broken Arrow, Oklahoma







100 Feet




Source: Esri, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, Earthstar Geographics, CNES/Airbus DS, USDA, USGS, AeroGRID, IGN, and the GIS User Community

1 ft contours Shoreline Deepest


Tulsa County 36.062883, -95.832495

Surface Area: Shoreline Length: Volume: Max Depth:


0.23 acres 570 feet 0.24 acre-feet 3.30 feet

Survey completed on June 1, 2019 by T. Legg. Bathymetric processing completed on October 8, 2019 by J. Salvo.

DISCLAIMER: This survey was deemed accurate on the date of measurement, but the user should recognize that water depths can change based on precipitation, erosion, and/or sedimentation. The Oklahoma Water Survey and the University of Oklahoma provide this map for general informational purposes, with no written or implied guarantees of accuracy on future dates.


OKH2O News Summer 2020 Riverology for Engineers by Jeri Fleming

The Oklahoma Water Survey and the Grand River Dam Authority held a twoday workshop, Riverology for Engineers, that focused on stream morphology, function and importance of riparian areas and wetlands, what lives in the water and modeling for improved management. Participants got some hands-on experiences as well. With GRDA's stream trailer, they were able to see how water moves and how quickly erosion can happen when vegetation is removed from the banks. They also went on a float trip down the Illinois River, guided by Ed Fite, to explore its natural beauty and discuss how engineers can work with nature to preserve and restore our rivers and streams. Participants also seined for fish and found macroinvertebrates, some of them doing it for the first time.

OU International WaTER Conference by McKenzie Gladney

Sept. 15 through 18, faculty and staff from the Oklahoma Water Survey attended the sixth OU International WaTER Conference at the National Center for Employees Development Conference Center and Hotel in Norman. The focus of the conference was water quality, water quantity and security, water equity and water systems sustainability. The goal was to determine how to use innovative teaching and leadership activities to bring water and sanitation to developing countries. Oklahoma Water Survey students entered the poster contest, held in conjunction with the conference, to highlight their research. Tiffany Legg, along with another OU student, won first place in the graduate division. Legg presented research on the economic valuation of environmental education in Oklahoma. The panel of judges evaluated the posters on clarity of presentation, creativity and relevance of research. The poster contest winners received cash prizes for their contribution.

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Women in Science Conference by McKenzie Gladney

Staff from the Oklahoma Water Survey attended the Women in Science Conference held at the Science Museum on Oklahoma City. The conference exposed young women to STEM careers. The conference provides young people with real-world examples of science and engineering opportunities and allows them to meet women scientists, doctors and engineers from across the state. Staff from the Water Survey staffed a booth where students engaged with hands-on science activities, learned about the Oklahoma Water Survey and explored science and engineering-related programs at the University of Oklahoma.

Women in Science Conferences are sponsored by the Oklahoma Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), in collaboration with the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, National Science Foundation, Science Museum Oklahoma and other funding agencies.


OKH2O News Summer 2020 Environmental Excellence Celebration by McKenzie Gladney

On Nov. 22, Oklahoma residents with a passion for their communities attended the Keep Oklahoma Beautiful 29th Annual Environmental Excellence Celebration. Keep Oklahoma Beautiful, a statewide nonprofit, recognizes Oklahomans doing their part to help preserve the beauty and sustainability of this state. Over 37 individuals, communities, businesses, municipalities, state agencies and more were recognized for their work. The Oklahoma Water Survey was a finalist for two separate awards. The POND program was recognized in the K-12 Educators and Educational Institutions category. The Oklahoma Water Survey was part of the finalist team composed of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, Oklahoma Conservation Commission and several communities and nonprofits across Oklahoma for the Team Builder Environmental Excellence Award. In an effort between the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, Oklahoma Water Survey, Conservation Commission, City of Stillwater, Lake McMurtry Friends, Oklahoma State University, City of Eufaula, Grand River Dam Authority and many others, these groups collaborated to install different stormwater best management practices to improve water quality. “It is a goal of the OWRB to build partnerships whenever possible to accomplish the water quality goals of the state. There was a lot of buy-in for these projects at the local level by having the participation of the nonprofit groups we worked with on these projects. However, we wouldn’t have been able to participate in accomplishing these projects had it not been for the partnership we have with the Oklahoma Conservation Commission. They were critical in bringing these to OWRB,” said Lori Johnson, Oklahoma Water Resources Board. "I was fortunate enough to be able to finish working on these projects after transitioning to OU from the Conservation Commission. Ideas for all three of the projects had been around for a while, and it was great to work with OWRB and the other entities to bring them to fruition," said Jeri Fleming, Oklahoma Water Survey assistant director. The nominations are presented to a panel of guest judges from the community, who determine finalists in various different categories. Finalists for the Environmental Excellence Competition showed exceptional work in the following areas: education, conservation, beautification, sustainability practices, nonprofit efforts, youth leadership, litter prevention and more.

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Feb. 9-13 - 2020 National Institutes on Water Resources Conference Feb. 10-12 - 2020 Oklahoma Natural Resources Conference Feb. 23-25- Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts State Meeting Feb. 25-Erosion and Sediment Control Certification TrainingBroken Arrow April 8-9 - Oklahoma Clean Lakes and Watersheds Association

Congratulations, graduate! Jennifer Salvo, M.S. Environmental Engineering Thank you for all your work at the Oklahoma Water Survey. Congratulations on your graduation and best wishes for your next adventures!


OKH2O News Winter 2020 The University of Oklahoma received $1,024,803 in research funding between July 2019 - December 2019 for a variety of water-related research projects. Below is a list of projects funded. A similar list is provided each quarter so water managers and others who need data are informed of research being conducted at OU and who is doing it. Project Title; Faculty; Funding Source

Bridging the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Level II and Level III Precipitation Multi-Radar/Multi-Sensor-GP (MRMS-GPM), Pierre Emmanuel Kirstetter, Jonathan Gourley, Yang Hong, NASA

Using Observations, Simulations, and Artificial Intelligence to Develop a LakeEffect Snow Prediction System, David Bodine, Boon Leng Cheong, Pierre Emmanuel Kirstetter, Robert Palmer, Anthony Reinhard, Tian You Yu; Weathernews Americas, Incorporated


$144,569 $249,170

Lake Thunderbird Watershed Optimization Modeling; Jason Vogel, Grant Graves, Sarah Yepez; C.H. Guernsey & Company


A Comparison of Hurricane Harvey and Florence on Water Utilities Operations and Planning; Travis Gliedt, Mark Shafer, U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


In-Stream Structures Integrity and Channel Stability Survey and Evaluation; Jason Vogel, Grant Graves, Christopher Ramseyer, Jeffery Volz, Sarah Yepez; State of Oklahoma, Department of Transportation

OU professor welcomed into 2019 class of ASLO Fellows by McKenzie Gladney

The Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography initiated the ASLO Fellows program as a way to acknowledge and honor members who consistently contribute to the society through journals, conferences, and committees. Dave Hambright, Ph.D., now joins as an ASLO Sustaining Fellow, being recognized for having sustained excellence in his contributions to ASLO and the aquatic sciences.


Understanding Economic Impacts of Groundwater and Soil Moisture Interactions in Oklahoma - A Decision-Support Tool for Sustainable Water Management; Jadwiga Ziolkowska, Reuben Reyes; Oklahoma State University


Grand River Dam Authority Graduate Student Support, Robert Nairn; Grand River Dam Authority


Automating River Connections Between NWM and ADCIRC ­ Precipitation, Lateral Inflows and Grid Development, Kendra Dresback, Randall Kolar, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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All ASLO Fellows will be honored with a champagne toast at the 2020 Ocean Sciences Meeting on Feb. 18, also at a reception prior to the ASLO Business Meeting at the 2020 ASLO-SFS Summer Meeting in Madison.


OKH2O News Winter 2020 Research discovers dominant cyanobacteria in lakes around the world by McKenzie Gladney and Tiffany Legg

Katherine Cook, biology Ph.D. candidate, published collaborative research in Limnology and Oceanography this fall. The research is focused on Microcystis aeruginosa, a bacteria associated with harmful cyanobacterial blooms. The toxinproducing cyanobacteria is known to negatively impact water quality, and the research addressed a hypothesized a cyanoHAB interactome, or community of synergistic bacteria species that coevolved to facilitate the success of the others in the community. This research aimed to expand on what is known about M. aeruginosa by surveying the microbiome (associated bacteria) during blooms in 12 lakes on four continents After analysis of the algal taxonomy, via 16S rRNA sequences, they confirmed M. aeruginosa was the dominant cyanobacteria bloom found in all of the sampled lakes. In addition, they found the functions contributed by the microbiomes were similar across all blooms. The similarity found in these global Microcystis blooms support the hypothesized Microcystis interactome, providing an explanation for the widespread distribution and dominance of M. aeruginosa in freshwater ecosystems. Cook says her research is important because harmful cyanobacteria blooms are becoming more prevalent in our waterways and pose a large threat to ecosystem and human health as many produce harmful toxins and noxious taste and odor compounds. “Through my research I am able to investigate if and how the bacteria are helping, or potentially hindering, the cyanobacteria. This could lead to new, innovative mitigation and management strategies,” said Cook. Read the article here.

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OU assistant professor has research published in Nature Scientific Reports by: McKenzie Gladney and Tiffany Legg

Collaborative research on “50+ Years of Terrestrial Hydroclimatic Variability in Africa’s Transboundary Waters” has been published in Nature Scientific Reports. The published article by researchers Emad Hasan, Aondover Tarhule, Joseph T. Zume and Pierre-Emmanuel Kirstetter is focused on hydroclimatic variability for nine major transboundary river basins across the continent of Africa. The continent faces mounting challenges as access to water resources become scarce because of a growing population as well as projected climate variability. The research aims to help develop an understanding of the patterns that may alter the intensity, magnitude, timing, and location of water resources availability through reconstructing over 50 years of data on Terrestrial Water Storage. Satellitebased TWS data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment indicates storage changes in the many forms of water on the continent as well as the anthropogenic effects on water storage, but this data is limited, so Noah LSM (a GLDAS-2 product) and ENSO (El Niño–Southern Oscillation) data in an autoregressive model with exogenous variables (ARX) was used to reconstruct the past record to TWS for the nine major TRBs in Africa, representing approximately 60% of Africa’s total land area. In addressing the limited data provided by GRACE, the simulated data that reconstructed 66 years of TWS for Africa’s major TRBs was found to statistically strongly agree both temporally and spatially with the GRACE CSR-M data. The reconstructed TWS indicates a significant declining trend across the northern and central TRBs since 1951. This expanded record can provide more insight to Africa’s hydroclimatic variability and assist in planning for future changes in shared transboundary water basins. Read the article here.


OKH2O News Winter 2020 Presidential Dream Course offered in Water Resources Management at OU by Tiffany Legg

In 2004, the Presidential Dream Course program was developed to bring scholars and world-renowned experts to the University of Oklahoma. OU students and the public are able to attend lectures given on a variety of topics. These semester-long, regularly scheduled courses allow students to earn credits towards their degree, while enhancing their learning experience by inviting experts from all over the world. In addition, public lectures are offered so the public can experience these experts as well. Tiantian Yang, Ph.D., assistant professor at OU’s School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, is teaching a Presidential Dream Course this spring: Water Resources Management CEES 4373/5373. This interdisciplinary course involves the study of the natural dynamics of water cycles, and the decision making and planning theories to effectively manage surface water resources to achieve higher social-economic gains, ecological and environmental benefits, security and equity and natural yield. Understanding these principles will help students apply this knowledge to surface water resources management and water infrastructure under a changing climate and variable weather conditions. Students taking this course will learn about and practice basic optimization and simulation models in addition to

advanced hydrologic models. Students will also gain invaluable insight from experts outside the University of Oklahoma in the field of water from other universities, government agencies, and industry on effective water management for a sustainable and resilient future. These lectures are accessible to the public. All lectures are held in the National Weather Center, Room 5600.

Feb. 17, 4-5 p.m., Hamid Moradkhani, Alton N. Scott Professor of Engineering, University of Alabama -“How Data Assimilation and Machine Learning Can Aid in Hydrometeorological Forecasting” Feb. 19, 4-5 p.m., Darrell Townsend II, Vice President, Grand River Dam Authority -“Integrated Watershed Management : Balancing Competing Interests and Socio-economics of Maintaining a Water Economy”.

Feb. 24, 4-5 p.m., Soroosh Sorooshian, NAE Member, Distinguished Professor, University of California Irvine, “Hydrologic forecasting and the relative role of its three pillars: models, observations and parameterization” March 4, 4-5 p.m., Edwin Welles, Hydrologist and CEO, Deltares USA, -”River forecasting”

(Tentative) April 1, 4-5 p.m., Kaveh Madani, Henry Hart Rice Senior Fellow, Yale University/ Visiting Professor at Imperial College London – “Greater Than the Sum of Their Parts - Deceiving Assumptions and Misleading Policies in Modelling and Managing Water”

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OU CREW and GRDA renew successful partnership by Tiffany Legg

The University of Oklahoma’s Center for Restoration of Ecosystems and Watersheds, led by Robert Nairn, Ph.D., has entered a second 10-year graduate support agreement with the Grand River Dam Authority after a successful first 10year agreement. This will provide another decade of support for graduate research assistants conducting environmental research in the Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees Watershed. The past 10 years of research has included collaborative projects with the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Environmental Quality, other state and federal agencies, and tribal partners, principally the Quapaw Nation of Oklahoma, mainly focused on remediation and restoration of the Tar Creek Superfund Site. Additionally, water quality research has spanned the entire watershed and associated areas. This collaborative partnership has proved beneficial for environmental research in northeast Oklahoma, garnering over $24.5 million in research funding, over 140 refereed publications, in addition to enabling over 50 graduate students to graduate with collaborative research experience.


OKH2O News Winter 2020

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OU students present research at Oklahoma Governor’s Water Conference & Research Symposium by McKenzie Gladney

On Dec. 4 and 5, students from the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University participated in the student poster contest at the 40th annual Oklahoma Governor’s Water Conference & Research Symposium. Students presented posters covering an impressive range of important water issues. The conference took place at the Reed Conference Center in Midwest City and this year’s theme was “Water Means Business.” The conference was geared toward those who share an avid interest in Oklahoma’s water resources management, development and protection. Helen Sanders, OU undergraduate student and Oklahoma Water Survey undergraduate research assistant, received an Outstanding Poster Award for her poster about occurrences of E. coli and enterococcus bacteria in 21 streams in Oklahoma for the 2019 recreational season. “I feel incredulous and amazed to have won. There were so many fascinating and creative posters at the conference, and I am honored to have been chosen as one of the outstanding poster winners. Working on this bacteria monitoring project over the summer was both highly rewarding and exhausting,” said Sanders. Oscar Tavarez, OU undergraduate student, also received an Outstanding Poster Award for his research about using electrocoagulation for the removal of total suspended solids in impaired waters. "I was honored to received the award, given that there was so many outstanding posters at the conference. Overall, this was a great conference; I had the opportunity of meeting many outstanding professionals in the water industry and expand my connections," said Tavarez. Grant Graves, OU graduate student, won the Outstanding Poster Award for the graduate division. He presented research looking a preliminary comparison of temporal and spatial variability of water-quality parameters and E. coli in an urban Oklahoma stream.

Picture courtesy of OSU Water Center

Other students from the University of Oklahoma presented posters about their cutting-edge research. The following is a list of students of research and their poster titles: Tri Pham, graduate student, Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, Understanding the Effects of Vegetation Cover on the Variability of Soil Moisture and Energy Fluxes Mengye Chen, graduate student, Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, Evaluation of the Hydrological responses of the state-of-art precipitation data products during Hurricane Harvey extreme event.

Monica Ha, undergraduate student, Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, Low-Cost Water Infrastructure Mapping for the City of Anadarko.

Emily Rhodes, graduate student, Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, Monitoring Green Infrastructure in a Paired Watershed.

Jessica Shepard, undergraduate student, Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, Nutrient Leaching from Compost Filter Socks into Simulated Construction Site Runoff with Different Soil and Sock Sources.

Saliou Diallo, graduate student, Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, Estimating wave reduction by floating wetlands using small scale physical models.

Zachary Tomlinson, undergraduate student, Geology and Geophysics, Applying Clustering Methods to Hydrologic Data from the Central Oklahoma Aquifer to Better Spatially Constrain Water Chemistry. Nina Webb, graduate student, Geology and Geophysics, Innovative Detection of Perchlorate in Contaminant Plumes, Brines, and Drinking Water.


OKH2O News Winter 2020 Dan Mason, graduate student, School of Geosciences, Raman Spectroscopy and Its Applications to Watershed and Aquifer Monitoring Throughout Oklahoma.

Madeline Wade, Environmental Studies and Psychology, Public Perceptions of Water Monitoring in Oklahoma. Christina Gildea, undergraduate student, Gallogly College of Engineering, Benefits and Challenges of Collaborative Technical Learning for Water Professionals.

Studying Water at OU OU offers many majors in water-related fields

66Civil Engineering (Water Resources) 66Environmental Engineering 66Chemical Engineering 66Environmental Science 66Environmental Geology 66Biology 66Microbiology 66Plant Biology 66Chemistry and Biochemistry 66Geography 66Hydrology and Water Security (Online M.S.) 66Science Education (Earth Science or Biology) 66Anthropology 66Global Energy, Environment and Resources 66Landscape Architecture (M.S.) 66History of Science 66Political Science 66Sociology 66Environmental Design 66Environmental Studies 66Environmental Sustainability

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Outstanding Graduate Student by McKenzie Gladney

Tiffany Legg, a graduate research assistant at the Water Survey, received an award that honors the hard work and dedication of outstanding graduate students who teach at the University of Oklahoma. Legg was honored with the Provost’s Certificate of Distinction in Teaching. She represents the top 10% of all graduate assistants across campus by student evaluations for courses taught during the spring 2019 semester. Legg was a graduate teaching assistant for a Biology Lab and feels humbled to receive the award. "I am passionate about teaching, so this has been one of my proudest moments to date. I am honored that my students understand how much I care about their learning experience," Legg said.

Oklahoma Water Survey http://OKH2O.org Twitter: @OKH2O 201 Stephenson Parkway Five Partners Place, Suite 1101 Norman, OK 73019-9705 (405) 325-2531 outreach@OKH2O.org The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution. www.ou.edu/eoo This publication, printed by the Oklahoma Water Survey is issued by the University of Oklahoma. Seventy-five copies have been prepared and distributed at no cost to the taxpayers of the State of Oklahoma.