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Robert Mahler

Robert Mahler

Professor — Soil, Water & Environmental Sciences


Boise Water Center, Suite 120L



Mailing Address

University of Idaho Boise
Idaho Water Center
322 E. Front St, Suite 120
Boise, ID 83702

Robert conducts research on water quality and water quantity water resource issues in Idaho. In addition to public perceptions, priorities and actions taken to address water resource issues in the Pacific Northwest.

Ph.D., North Carolina State University
M.S., Washington State University
B.S., Washington State University

  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Public perceptions of water resources
  • Public actions to protect water resources
  • Water quality in the Pacific Northwest

  • Mahler, R. L., and M. E. Barber. 2017. University student perceptions of the current and future role of non-carbon emitting energy sources in the world. International Journal of Energy Production and Management. Volume 2(3): 277-287. (OAE)
  • Mahler, R. L. and M. E. Barber. 2017. Historical use of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers in rain-fed regions and their consequential implications on water quality in the Pacific Northwest, USA. International Journal of Environmental Impacts. Volume 1(3): 334-343. (OAE)
  • Smith, C. Taylor, Michael Barber and Robert Mahler. 2017. Hydrological assessment of woody biomass removal for biofuel production. International Journal of Environmental Impacts. Volume 1(3): 353-363. (OAE)
  • Mahler, R. L., and M. E. Barber. 2016. Using benthic macro invertebrates to assess water quality in 15 watersheds in the Pacific Northwest, USA. International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning. Volume 12(1): 51-60. (OAE)
  • Rakib, Zubayed, Barber, Michael and Robert Mahler. 2016. Climate change impacts on urban stormwater best management practices. International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning. Volume 12(1): 155-164. (OAE)
  • Mahler, R. L., M. E. Barber and B. Shafii. 2015. Urban public satisfaction with drinking water since 2002 in the Pacific Northwest, USA. International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning. Volume 10(5): 620-634.
  • Mahler, Robert L. and Michael E. Barber. 2015. Using adult education to improve sustainability of water resources in the Pacific Northwest, USA. International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning. Volume 10(6): 828-842.
  • Evans, Jason M., Jon Calabria, Tatiana Borisova, Diane E. Boellstorf, Nicki Sochacka, Michael D. Smolen and Robert L. Mahler. 2015. Effects of local drought condition on public opinions about water supply and future climate change. Climate Change. DOI:10.1007/s10584-015-1425-z.
  • Mahler, Robert L., Stetson Wilson, Bahman Shafii and William Price. 2015. Long-term trends of nitrogen and phosphorus use and soil pH change in northern Idaho and eastern Washington. 2015. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis. DOI:10.1080/00103624.2015.1118119.
  • Mahler, Robert L., Bahman Shafii, William L. Pan and Don Wysocki. 2014. Importance of soil fertility, soil sampling and fertilizer recommendations in the Inland Pacific Northwest. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, DOI 10.1080/00103624.2014.941857.
  • Mahler, Robert L., Stetson Wilson and Bahman Shafii. 2014. The adoption of new technologies in dryland farming regions of Idaho, Washington and Oregon. Natural Science Education 43:102-108. DOI 10.4195/nse2013.03.0006.
  • Chaffin, Brian C., Robert L. Mahler, J. D. Wulfhurst and Bahman Shafii. 2014. The role of agency partnerships in collaborative watershed groups: Lessons from the Pacific Northwest experience. Environmental Management DOI 10.1007/s00267-014-0367-y.

Robert has been on the soil science faculty at the University of Idaho for 40 years. He is a professor of soil, water and environmental sciences in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Department of Soil and Water Systems. He has held appointments in teaching, research and instruction. His specialty areas are soil fertility/plant nutrition, drinking water and human health, water quality and environmental science.

Mahler has bachelor’s and master’s from Washington State University and received his doctorate at North Carolina State University in soil science. He has published over 300 scientific papers in his career. He also has deep roots in western agriculture as his grandfather, Emilio Ortega, established the Ortega Chile Company in the 1930’s. This company’s brand is still widely sold (canned green chiles) in supermarkets across the U.S.

He has taught more than 14,000 students at the University of Idaho over his career — both in the classroom and through distance education. He has taught more UI students than any current active faculty member at this institution.

Mahler has been major professor for 39 students that have completed advanced degrees at the University of Idaho. This includes 33 master’s degrees and six doctorates. Students have completed advanced degrees in soil science, environmental science and plant science.

  • Initiated #1 (pin 001) in the new University of Idaho Alpha Gamma Rho Chapter. I was the Colony’s first advisor and served in that capacity for four years. I considered it a tremendous honor to be the first person inducted into this social/professional agriculture fraternity.
  • Recipient of the 1998 Idaho Governor’ s Award for Excellence in Agriculture — Environmental Stewardship
  • Outstanding Leadership — Committee for Shared Leadership, USDA 2006
  • Burlington Northern Faculty Achievement Award (Teaching), University of Idaho, 1991
  • R.M. Wade Award for Outstanding Teaching in the College of Agriculture, 1984
  • Dean’s Commendation for Teaching Excellence, Spring 2001 and 2002
  • Who’s Who in America, 1987-2015
  • Who’s Who in the West, 1987-2014
  • Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, 1996/97; 2000-2015
  • Idaho Soil and Water Conservation District Distinguished Service Award
  • Recipient of Outstanding Faculty Award in the Environmental Science Program
  • Recipient of Idaho Soil Conservation Commission Award for involvement in statewide TMDL training
  • Editor for “Hunger Signs in Crops”
  • Outstanding Young Men of America, 1981
  • Southern California Edison Science Achievement Plaque Winner
  • Presidents List, Washington State University and North Carolina State University
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching, North Carolina State University, 1980
  • Second place paper presentation at the Western Society of Soil Science Meetings, San Francisco, California, 1977
  • Life Membership: California Scholastic Federation, Quill and Scroll
  • Law Day Citizenship Award
  • Bank of America Certificate Winner


University of Idaho

Physical Address:
E. J. Iddings Agricultural Science Laboratory, Rm 242
606 S Rayburn St

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2340
Moscow, ID 83844-2340