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What’s New:

New!  CARDI Research & Policy Brief: Schneider, R., A. Johnson, D. Orr, S. Allred and S.Davis. Re-plumbing New York State’s Roadside ditches – Identifying a Critical Role for Decision-Makers.

2016 Report and Recommendations from Conference “Re-plumbing the Chesapeake Bay Watershed: Improving Roadside Ditch Management to Meet TMDL Water Quality Goals” released and will guide new ditch program.


Freshwater scarcity is becoming the biggest challenge that society will face in the coming decades. This problem is caused in part by the increasing demands of our rapidly growing human population, by the uneven spatial distribution of rainfall, and by the natural variability or unpredictability in timing and amounts of rainfall which is being exacerbated by climate change. Freshwater scarcity is also caused by a long history of poor management practices. Humans simultaneously use the same limited resource of each river or aquifer for multiple purposes without considering the cumulative impact on the water resource itself. And rarely does management include consideration and protection of the underlying biophysical processes which are critical for sustaining the water resource and its associated ecosystems.
Dr. Rebecca Schneider’s program focuses on the sustainable, ecologically-based management of the world’s water resources.  She and the students in her Sustainable Waters Lab have investigated many aspects of water resources, including:


  • how groundwater seepage interacts with plants and sediments along the shorelines of lakes, streams, and wetlands; 
  • how plant regeneration in riverine floodplains and coastal plain pondshores is tightly tied to the hydrologic flow regime;
  • erosion control and other ecosystem services provided by healthy streamsides, floodplains, and wetlands;
  • the understudied processes of evapotranspiration from wetlands and other landscapes.
The findings from each research topic have been translated into a set of recommendations for improved water resource management that is delivered to relevant stakeholders. Cumulatively, these guidelines provide the foundation for  an ecologically and watershed-based management approach to sustainable water resources. [Additional information is available under More Topics.]

Currently, the primary research and extension efforts in the Sustainable Waters Lab are focused on:

  • Re-plumbing our roadside ditch networks to reduce flooding, droughts and water pollution and buffer the impacts of climate change
  • Jump-starting the restoration of semi-arid, degraded and desertified ag/grassland ecosystems.
Dr. Schneider teaches two courses:
  • NTRES 3240  Sustainable Water Resource Management (Spg MWF 9:05-9:55) for undergraduates
  • NTRES 6240  Sustainable Water Resources in the Face of Climate Change (Spg) for graduate students

Potential Graduate Students:  I currently do not have funding for new graduate students.


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