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Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions

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SEMINAR: Restoring the Rio Grande and Colorado Rivers: The visionary and the practical

October 5, 2015 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

| Free

SPEAKER: Jack C. Schmidt, Professor of Stream Geomorphology, Utah State University

The Rio Grande and the Colorado River are the two great rivers of western North America shared by Mexico and the United States. Both rivers carry snowmelt from the Rocky Mountains across semiarid and arid regions where water demand is high, and both rivers are fully utilized in places, such that no stream flow remains in the channel. In the face of declining runoff in a warming climate, the challenges to river rehabilitation are daunting, yet small successes have occurred in different parts of these watersheds. These small successes are notable, but a large-scale vision of the opportunities and constraints is needed if the native ecosystems of these rivers are to be maintained  or rehabilitated in the future.

Jack Schmidt is Professor of Watershed Sciences at Utah State University, where he has been on the faculty since 1991.

Jack’s research has focused on describing the century-scale changes to river channel form and the causes of those changes. He has been actively involved in numerous efforts to rehabilitate large rivers, especially of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. He was awarded the 2009 National Park Service Directors Award for Natural Resources Research for his work throughout the National Park system concerning the management of large regulated rivers. He was a member of the bi-national team who received a 2013 Partners in Conservation Award from the Secretary of Interior for their work in implementing the pulse flow release into the delta of the Colorado River. Between 2010 and 2014, Jack served as Chief of the US Geological Survey Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center, the science arm of the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program.

Suggested Readings:

  • Anfinson, John O.   The River We Have Wrought: a History of the Upper Mississippi. 2003. (365 p) FPBC
  • Busch, Akiko. Nine Ways to Cross a River: Midstream Reflections on Swimming and Getting There from Here. 2007. (224p) FPBC
  • Childs, Craig. The Secret Knowledge of Water: Discovering the Essence of the American Desert.  2001. (304p)
  • Graves, John. Goodbye to a River. 2002. (320p) FPBC
  • McPhee, John. Encounters with the Archdruid. 1971.

FPBC=Fields Pond Book Club List


October 5, 2015
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Event Category:


107 Norman Smith Hall
Mitchell Center - UMaine
Orono, ME 04469 United States
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Mitchell Center
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