Dylan Hedden-Nicely, University of Idaho Graduate Student, Awarded the Avista-Waters of the West Scholarship

Tuesday, February 7 2012

Written by Alecia Hoene

MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho Environmental Science and Water Resources Programs are proud to announce Dylan Hedden-Nicely as the 2012 recipient of the Avista-Waters of the West Scholarship.

Hedden-Nicely, ’12, is in his final year of a concurrent law degree and a master’s degree in water resources. He said the Avista-Waters of the West Scholarship will allow him to focus his efforts on completing his research, a project analyzing Lake Coeur d’Alene water storage and use.

“Thanks to scholarships such as the Avista-Waters of the West Scholarship, I have been able to focus all of my attention on my research and education. That is an invaluable benefit that I would not have otherwise had,” said Hedden-Nicely.

In 2010, Avista pledged to contribute $5,000 each academic year to fund a scholarship for one or more full-time graduate students in the U-Idaho Water Resources Program, their research must focus on impacts affecting areas served by the energy company.

Fritz Fiedler, associate professor in civil engineering and adjunct professor in environmental science and water resources, said that Hedden-Nicely’s research will contribute to knowledge of water in Avista’s service territory in North Idaho and Eastern Washington. This research includes development of a water balance model of Lake Coeur d’Alene to simulate the lake levels. The changes in lake level impact the Spokane River, which powers six of Avista’s hydroelectric facilities.

“Dylan will estimate current consumptive use and evaluate possible future consumptive use to estimate their effect on lake storage,” said Fiedler. “The research model will be used to assess water uses and effective management of the water supply and facilities.”

Hedden-Nicely also is compiling information about past water rights settlements with American Indian Tribes. This information may be useful in resolving the water rights of American Indian Tribes involved in the North Idaho Adjudication, which is a review of all surface and groundwater water rights in North Idaho mandated as by the Idaho Legislature.

“I am hoping my research will provide a knowledge base upon which stakeholders in the Lake Coeur d'Alene region can build a dialogue regarding water use in and around the lake,” said Hedden-Nicely. “As the region continues to grow, water conservation and management will continue to be important. Development of this water balance model as a management tool may inform resolution of competing demands on the water system in the future.”

Hedden-Nicely hopes to continue working on water and natural resource issues in North Idaho after his graduation this spring.

“The North Idaho Adjudication being conducted by the Idaho Department of Water Resources, which is one impetus for my research, provides a perfect opportunity for me to continue to learn about the issues that I care so much about,” said Hedden-Nicely.

“The education I have received from the University of Idaho has provided me with many of the tools that I know I will need to contribute to policy making in the arenas of natural resource and water resource management,” said Hedden-Nicely. “I have benefitted from learning about water resources management in a multifaceted way, including water resource science, engineering, law and policy. To my knowledge no other institution has put together such a comprehensive program.”
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