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Energy and Environment Directorate

Research Capabilities

Riverine Processes and Ecology

Our scientists and engineers possess both the depth and breadth of expertise in the scientific underpinnings and engineering applications associated with physical processes of riverine ecosystems. Our expertise in hydrology, hydraulics, and ecology has been applied on projects throughout the western U.S., particularly in the Columbia and Snake River basins, and in all types of riverine ecosystems ranging from small tributaries to large mainstem rivers. We have conducted extensive research in the aquatic sciences throughout the Pacific Northwest hydropower system, in support of operational management, environmental planning, mitigation and restoration requirements. We employ state-of-the-art methods, electronics, sensors, computer hardware and software in our work on life history, behavioral, physiological, and physical habitat studies for many species, including pacific lamprey, white sturgeon, steelhead trout, and several species of Pacific salmon. The results of our studies lead to scientifically-based management plans, as well as mitigation, restoration, and enhancement strategies.

Recent areas of emphasis include:

  • modeling climate change impacts on riverine ecosystems
  • habitat suitability evaluation and predictive modeling for a variety of aquatic organisms and life-stages
  • evaluation of ground water and surface water interactions (hyporheic zone) in rivers
  • integrated fluvial geomorphology and aquatic habitat evaluation
River_shot Deployed sample chamber Modeled vs Measured Velocity

Energy and Environment

Core Research Areas