Environmental Science & Water Resources
phone: (208) 885-6113
fax: (208) 885-4674
office: College of Natural Resources, Room 15

875 Perimeter Drive MS 1130
Moscow, Idaho 83844-1130

EnvS-WR News

Myrvold and Lute Win 2014 Avista-WoW Scholarships
Knut Marius Myrvold, a doctoral student, and Abigail Lute, a master’s student, have each been awarded $2,500 from Avista in support of their research. Myrvold is researching how water demands in small streams of the Lapwai basin affect the Clearwater population of Snake River steelhead. He is looking at how factors such as temperature, densities, and water withdrawals impact conditions for juvenile fish. Lute is researching heavy snowfall events in montane environments across the western United States as they pertain to variability of snowpack storage. This includes modeling changes for extreme snowfall events and the rain-snow transition, which will help hydropower companies like Avista adapt to a changing climate.
EnvS-WR Students Take Home Alumni Awards for Excellence
Four EnvS-WR students won UI Alumni Awards for Excellence in December: Wieteke Holthuijzen, senior in EnvS; Patrick Flanigan, senior in EnvS; Casey Bartrem, graduate student in EnvS; and, Liza Mitchell, graduate student in Water Resources. The U-Idaho Alumni Awards are presented annually to approximately 40 undergraduate senior level students and an additional 15 graduate and law students who have achieved outstanding academic success and have demonstrated career and professional preparation; campus and community leadership and involvement, or “leaders in the classroom, laboratory, campus and community.” Congratulations to Wieteke, Patrick, Casey and Liza for their success!
EnvS Student Documents UI GHG Emissions
On January 21, EnvS graduate student Spencer Batt was featured in a KLEW-TV story on the results of UI’s annual greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory. Batt prepared the latest inventory, which will inform the emissions reduction plan being developed this spring, as part of his work as a research assistant at the UI Sustainability Center.
» View the news clip.
Water Resources Program Awarded NSF IGERT Grant
WR has been awarded a $3.1 million grant (Jan Boll, PI) from the National Science Foundation’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program to facilitate interdisciplinary water education and research. The grant will support 24 doctoral students over the course of five years, engaging them in interdisciplinary training that addresses both the social and scientific complexities of water resource issues. IGERT students will work with universities in Idaho, Canada and Chile on integrated research related to the Columbia River system’s headwaters, which include the Snake, Clearwater, Spokane/Coeur d’Alene, Salmon and Kootenai Rivers.
EnvS Program Celebrates 20th Anniversary
Some 150 alumni, current students and faculty, attended the 20th Anniversary Celebration for the Environmental Science Program on September 6-7. Highlights included eleven teams completing a Moscow Amazing Race, and an awards ceremony honoring our long-term contributors and EnvS Program founder Margrit von Braun. Thanks to everyone who attended and all of our supporters who helped make this a special event!
NOAA Grant Will Bring Marine Science Education Inland
Mary Engels, Ph.D. student in Water Resources, has been awarded an education grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For her project, titled “Pacific Marine National Monuments: Dynamic systems for educating the next generation of stewards,” Engels will develop curricula for grades 7-12 focused on the valuable marine resources that comprise the Pacific Marine National Monuments. She will work with a colleague, Laura Nelson, from the University of Washington to design lessons that can be taught individually or used in a sequence to form a complete unit. Engels hopes that bringing marine science education inland will help familiarize current students with the MNM and, in the longer term, build public support for NOAA’s critical management, preservation, and educational mandates.
WR Student Receives Hydro Fellowship
In May, Heidi Smith, Ph.D. student in Water Resources, received a Hydro Fellowship from The Hydro Research Foundation. Heidi's project will improve on predictions of when sediment begins to move in rivers. Currently, there are large errors in these predictions, and improving them will aid in our ability to predict sediment loads more accurately and restore rivers more effectively. HRF facilitates research that advances knowledge about hydropower.
EnvS Post-Doc Helps Kids Explore Science, Math
Post-doc Jackie Maximillian joined the Jerome, Idaho Head Start Program on June 11-12 to teach kids age 3-5 about science and math. The day camps introduced 64 children to various ways in which science and math are a part of their everyday lives, with the goal of inspiring an interest in these topics at an early age. For example, they measured their own feet and bodies, and experimented with combining colors and combining baking soda and vinegar. The camp was funded by a STEM Innovation grant administered through UI’s College of Education.
» View television news coverage.
EnvS Junior Wins National Udall Scholarship
Wieteke Holthuijzen, ’14, has been awarded a Morris K. Udall Undergraduate Scholarship of $5,000. She is the second EnvS student in five years to win a full Udall Scholarship; Melissa Firor was a Udall Scholar in 2008. The Udall Foundation awards 50 merit-based scholarships annually to sophomore and junior level students in majors related to the environment, tribal public policy, or Native American health care.
UI Excellence Awards Honor EnvS Student Research
Christopher Cox, Ph.D. candidate in the EnvS program, received the Outstanding Doctoral Student Research and Creative Activity Award at the UI Excellence Awards ceremony in April. Working with Professor Von Walden, his research focuses on polar atmospheres, in particular tropospheric conditions and atmosphere-surface interactions in the Arctic, with an emphasis on clouds. Chris has made significant advances in understanding how atmospheric conditions change geographically across the Arctic, and how clouds influence the energy budget of the surface. He has authorships on six publications in peer-reviewed journals, including Nature. He is expected to defend his dissertation in June 2013.
EnvS Students Lead 5th Annual President's Sustainability Symposium
EnvS student leaders employed through the UI Sustainability Center – including director Adria Mead, projects coordinator Wieteke Holthuijzen, volunteer coordinator Alex Rheault, and event coordinator Keeghan Caldwell – crafted a student-oriented day of events for this year’s President’s Sustainability Symposium in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on March 19. Thinking in terms of what would be most useful to students, the team developed sessions addressing topics like sustainability career options, networking, and campus sustainability success stories. The student event was followed on March 20 with a program targeting professionals and local leaders.
WR Student Wins Fellowship for Tropical Research
Kristen Unwala, a Water Resources PhD student in the IGERT Program, has been awarded a U.S. Borlaug graduate research fellowship grant of $20,000 from the Purdue University Center for Global Food Security, a program funded by USAID. Unwala will spend approximately one year in Costa Rica studying the effects of climate and agricultural practices on water availability and water pollution in a tropical catchment.
EnvS Alumnus Pens Book on Backcountry Aviation
Richard Holm Jr., ’05, has published “Bound for the Backcountry: A History of Idaho’s Remote Airstrips,” chronicling the role of airstrips in shaping our concept of wilderness in Idaho. The coffee table book combines technical details about historical aircraft with colorful accounts of the personalities involved in the function of the airstrips, and those who were impacted by them – firefighters, hunters, anglers, miners, homesteaders, and more. The volume has been available to the public since November and has been featured in multiple regional newspapers.
EnvS-WR Hosts Movie Night Focused on Water Issues
The Water Resources Program and the UI Sustainability Center have teamed up to bring the movie “Watershed” to the Kenworthy Performing Arts Center on February 5th. A Production of the Redford Center and Kontent Films, “Watershed” documents the challenges facing the Colorado River in light of climate change and a growing population, and offers hopeful solutions for water management in the American West.
Avista-Waters of the West 2013 Scholarship Winners
Two Water Resources graduate students have been selected for the 2013 Avista-Waters of the West Scholarship. $3,000 will be awarded to Ricardo Sanchez-Murillo, a Ph.D. student working with Dr. Jan Boll. He is researching the effects of human and natural influences on the low flow regimes of streams and rivers in 26 watersheds in eastern Washington and northern Idaho. This research has implications for the availability of water for hydropower generation, irrigation, habitat and aquatic biota, and as drinking water. Also, $2,000 will be awarded to Jon Treasure, an M.S. student working with Dr. Erin Brooks. Treasure’s research aims to improve late summer juvenile steelhead rearing habitat in the Potlatch River Basin through reservoir management. This has included investigating the use of Big Meadow Creek Reservoir to augment the west fork of Little Bear Creek during late summer. Congratulations to both students!
Osterloh Receives Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award
The College of Science selected EnvS senior Jessica Osterloh for the 2012 Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award. Osterloh worked with Jerry Fairley in geological sciences to assess the geothermal potential of the Rio Grande Rift in Colorado and New Mexico, and the Snake River Plain in Southern Idaho. The study utilized Geographic Information Systems to determine favorable areas for geothermal development and further exploration. The research in the Rio Grande Rift was completed for the National Geothermal Student Competition (NGSC). The UI team, including Osterloh, placed 3rd. The research on the Snake River Plain is part of Osterloh's senior thesis and also part of this year's NGSC.
Pastrama and Team Win Top Prize at VIEW Business Plan Competition
A team led by PSM student Tony Pastrama won the $5,000 prize with a plan for using a new technology, reusable biocatalyst beads, to accelerate the fermentation process of products like ethyl alcohol and alcoholic beverages. This innovation is a win-win, expanding production capacity while reducing costs and environmental impact by decreasing waste and increasing energy efficiency. Pastrama graduates May 2012 with a PSM degree, emphasis in environmental contamination and bioenergy. His teammates were Carlo Munoz and Tushar Jain from Biological & Ag Engineering, and Josh Riley from Business
Seniors Shine at Entomological Society of America Meeting
Congratulations to EnvS seniors Tessa Scott and Jess Inskeep! Jess won the undergraduate student poster competition and Tessa won 2nd place at the 96th Pacific Branch Entomological Society of America Meeting last week. They will submit their posters to the National meeting in Knoxville in November.