Research Working Groups

High Plains Water

Leaders: Randy Stotler and Jon Smith
Team Members: Don Whittemore, Geoff Bohling, Ed Russell, Christina Kerns, Greg Ludvigson, Belinda Sturm, Bruce McEnroe, Rosemary O’Leary

Sustainable Agriculture

Leaders: Chris Brown and Sara Gregg
Team Members: Ray Pierotti, Jude Kastens, Jorge Soberon, Gaisheng Liu, Brownie Wilson, Dana Peterson, Haiyang Chao, Belinda Sturm, Dietrich Earnhart, Kathy Porsch

Water Security: Geopolitics, Environmental Justice & Ethics

Team Leader: Rex Buchanan
Team Members: Gerald Mikkelson, Randy Stotler, Perry Alexander, Xingong Li, Shannon O’Lear, Kevin Dobbs, Jim Butler, Brent Metz, Antoinette (Anne) Egitt (she is a grad), Uma Outka, Steven Obenhaus, Dietrich Earnhart

Public Perception / Education / Changing Attitudes

Team Leader: Rex Buchanan
Team Members: Kate Meyer, Kari Cantarero, Diana Restrepo, Steven Duval, David Guth, May Tveit, Caroline Chaboo, Bryan Darby, Paul Outka, Dietrich Earnhart, Dennis Domer, Jeremy Shellhorn, Paola Sanguinetti, Stacey Swearingen-White, Celka Straughn

Surface Water Quality and Quantity

Team Leader: Steve Randtke
Team Members: Bryan Young, Frank DeNoyelles, David Parr, Mark Jakubauskas, Philip Gao, Ray Pierotti, Belinda Sturm, Stacey Swearingen-White, Christopher Rogers, Masato Ueshima, Don Huggins, Edward Peltier, Edward Martinko, Sarah Crawford-Parker, Jane Gibson, Andrew Short, Kathleen Nuckolls

Research Interests:

This working group’s primary thrust area is reservoir sedimentation. There are more than 130,000 reservoirs in Kansas greater than one-quarter of an acre in size. They are gradually filling up with sediment, some at much faster rates than others; and several major reservoirs are filling up at alarmingly high rates. Sediment buildup in reservoirs degrades water quality, commonly manifested in more frequent algal blooms, taste-and-odor episodes, and fish kills, and diminishes their capacity to serve their intended purposes, such as flood control, water supply, recreation, and fish and wildlife habitat.

The group seeks to address this problem, in concert with other individuals and organizations, by:
1) gaining greater understanding the actual sources of the sediment entering Kansas reservoirs (e.g., field runoff versus streambank erosion) and evaluating the effectiveness (and cost-effectiveness) of measures to prevent sediment from entering reservoirs; 2) examining the potential for reservoirs to be redesigned so they either retain less sediment or are less adversely impacted by sediment accumulation; 3) evaluating alternative dredging equipment and techniques, alternatives to dredging, and novel ways to cost-effectively utilize dredge spoils; 4) assessing the ecological impacts of sediment on reservoirs, and on streams upstream and downstream from reservoirs, and ways to minimize such impacts; 5) characterizing the changes that occur in the chemical and biological functioning of smaller reservoirs (e.g., farm ponds) as they age, and identifying the ecological and water quality implications of these changes; 6) gathering more data to characterize the condition of the overwhelming majority of Kansas reservoirs for which little or no data are currently available; 7) estimating the financial costs associated with current and alternative reservoir management strategies over the next 50 to 75 years, including the increased drinking water treatment costs incurred by municipalities as the quality of their source water deteriorates; and 8) determining how reservoir sedimentation, dredging, and disposition of dredge spoils affects mosquito populations and toxic algae, as related to public health.

This group began meeting in November, 2013. To date, the group has focused primarily on reservoir sedimentation, but one subgroup is currently considering applying for a grant to examine the ecological impacts of manufactured chemicals, another subgroup is evaluating potential sources of funding for novel techniques to assess watershed morphology, and the group as a whole is reviewing potential funding sources for opportunities to collaborate on other research topics of interest to some or all members of the group.

Other research topics of interest to various members of the group, which may eventually morph into defined thrust areas, include:
1) the impacts of nested impoundments and reservoirs within watersheds, under current and estimated climate conditions, on creation of artificial flow regimes, retention of sediment and organic matter, loss of floodplain/river connectivity, and emigration and immigration of species; 2) algal toxin occurrence, effects, and control; 3) drinking water treatment to control naturally occurring and synthetic chemical contaminants; 4) the impacts of nutrients, pharmaceuticals, and other contaminants on receiving streams, and treatment processes for removing these and other constituents from wastewater and stormwater; 5) water quality monitoring, particularly with respect to pathogens and identifying their sources using microbial source tracking techniques; 6) water quality modeling of agricultural runoff; 7) using statistical methods and GIS to analyze and improve hydrologic design methods; 8) applications of radar-based rainfall estimates in hydrologic modeling; and 9) developing sound engineering procedures to modify streams altered by human activity to better mimic natural channels.
Water Recovery / Reuse (Oil/gas waste water treatment plants)

Team Leader: Stephen Johnson
Team Members: Philip Gao, Jenn-Tai Liang, Karen Peltier, Reza Barati, Marie Alice L’Heureux, George Tsoflias, Dewey Barich, Steve Randtke, Edward Peltier, Belinda Sturm, Paola Sanguinetti, Dietrich Earnhart, Masato Ueshima, Laurence Weatherley, Steve Padget

Green Infrastructure

Team Leader: Jeff Severin
Team Members: Marie Alice L’Heureux, Dale Nimz, Kathleen Nuckolls, Ward Lyles, Steve Padget, Ted Peltier, Andrea Herstowski, Belinda Sturm, Bruce McEnroe, Chris Depcik, Paola Sanguinetti, Stacey Swearingen-White

Water / Energy Nexus

Team Leader: Nate Brunsell, Belinda Sturm
Team Members: Scott Campbell, Christopher Lyon, Ron Dougherty, Marie Alice L’Heureux, Dorothy Daley, Randy Stotler, Andrea Brookfield, Steve Randtke, Edward Peltier, Chris Depcik, Uma Outka

Climate Change (Hydroclimatology)

Team Leader: Sharon Billings
Team Members: Charlie Zheng, Cornelis van der Veen, Andy Bentley, Gwen Macpherson, Andrea Brookfield, Dave Mechem, Greg Ludvigson, Johannes Feddema, Leo Smith, Dave Fowle, Randy Stotler, Belinda Sturm

Surface Water Ecosystem Services

Team Leaders: Don Huggins and Jim Thorpe
Team Members: Bob Honea, Dean Kettle, Ray Pierotti, Paul Liechti, Christopher Rogers

Sensors and Instruments

Team Lead: Greg Ludvigson
Team Members: Haiyang Chao, Sue Lunte


Current and Upcoming Events

Fostering Forward-Thinking Interdisciplinary Water Solutions: A University of Kansas Workshop

October 11, Kansas Union, 8:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

This one-day workshop provides an opportunity to connect with colleagues and key research sponsors. Learn about emerging national research priorities. Get updates on 2018 research funding programs. Build your collaboration network. Meet external partners from industry and agencies that share your interests.

Morning Session
Overviews of KU’s ongoing research
Small-group discussions
Networking

Afternoon Session
Program Officer Presentations:
National Science Foundation
US Army Corps of Engineers

For more information, contact: Bob Rummer, bobrummer@ku.edu

2017 Governor's Water Conference

November 8-9, Hilton Garden Inn, Manhattan, Kansas

The conference brings together scientists, water managers, state and federal officials and legislators, city and county administrators, environmental organizations, irrigators and citizens who share an interest in Kansas water resources. Building on the Governor’s 50 Year Water Vision we will focus on the four themes: Water Conservation, Water Management, Technology and Crop Varieties and Additional Sources of Supply. These themes include, but are not limited to reservoirs; municipal and industrial water; watersheds; High Plains and other aquifers; irrigation and water conservation; droughts, floods and climate change; water transfers; water reuse; water and energy; water and health.  

For more information on the Governor’s Conference on the Future of Water in Kansas, visit the Kansas Water Office website.

 

 

Contact

If you are interested in joining the water research community or you have information that you would like to make available to the this community please contact either individual listed below:

Bob Rummer,
Director of Research Development,
bobrummer@ku.edu,
785-864-3149
Or
Tricia Bergman,
Director of Strategic Partnerships,
tricia.bergman@ku.edu,
785-864-3303

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