Each year, the HEADS research group provides support to graduate students and hosts student and teacher interns from around the world through a variety of programs including the Department of Energy SULI Program and international internship programs hosted by cooperating universities and government institutions. We have partnerships with the Chinese government through Tongji and Wuhan Universities and through INSA,Lyon and AgroParis Tech in France. Interns have the opportunity to take ownership of projects in a variety of research areas ranging from real-time water quality management and environmental sensing to algal biofuel lifecycle analysis. Most projects deal with some form of decision support related to solving and water-related environmental problems in the US and in the international arena.
GRADUATE STUDENT AND RESEARCH ASSOCIATE PROGRAM
CURRENT GRADUATE STUDENTS AND RESEARCH ASSOCIATES
Amninder Singh, California State University, Fresno – (Jan 2015 – )
Stefanie Helmrich, UC Merced – (Jan, 2015 – )
|Amninder Singh||Stefanie Helmrich|
INTERNATIONAL GRADUATE STUDENT AFFILIATES
Ghalia Moubdi, INSA, Lyon, France (expected: Apr 2018
Victoria Hopmann, INSA, Lyon, France – (Mar – Aug, 2017)
Patricia Zhang, AgroParisTech. Paris, France – (Mar – Aug, 2017)
Marie Cecille, ENSTBB, Bordeaux, France – (Jan – April, 2017)
Martin Mezieres, AgroParisTech, Paris, France – (Sept 2016 – Jan, 2017)
Oussama El-Ghazlane, INSA, Lyon, France – (May – Sept, 2016)
Hugo Robin, INSA, Lyon, France – (May – Sept, 2016)
Mohammad Haroon Hakimi, ISA. Lille, France – (July – Nov, 2015)
Charlie Mathiot, AgroParisTech, Paris, France – (May – Sept, 2015)
Noemie Borel, INSA, Lyon, France – (May – Sept, 2014)
|Patricia Zhang||Victoria Hopmann|
|Oussama El-Ghazlane||Hugo Robin||Martin Mezieres|
|Mohammad Haroon Hakimi|
SULI RESEARCH PROGRAM
|Helen Siegel||Kami Cohen||Julie Blum|
SULI Intern Summer 2017
Education: Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts
Environmental Geology student
Promoting stakeholder understanding of salinity management through salt load
visualization in the SJRB
The Implementation of real-time salinity management in the San Joaquin River Basin(SJRB) is important because it has the capability to enumerate water quality conditions andpromote more sustainable agricultural practices in the Central Valley of California. Stakeholderexports of salt into the San Joaquin River increase River salinity, negatively impacting water quality conditions and agricultural yield for downstream riparian diverters. This analysis uses salt loads calculated from real-time data and compares these values to salt loads calculated using the current Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) methodology. Results from the study show howobserved salt load is highest during wet Water Year Types, and drier Year Types will often exceed the Salt Load Allocation and Assimilative Capacity assigned for each subarea within the lower SJRB. Representing the differences between prescribed salt load targets (Vernalis Load Allocation and Vernalis Assimilative Capacity) and actual salt load through charts organized by Water Year Type will educate stakeholders about the practice of salt load management. Comparing salt loads will also provide a decision support tool for trading salt load amongst these subareas during future periods when salt load objectives could potentially become exceeded.
SULI Intern Summer 2016
Education: College of Wooster, Ohio
Projection of groundwater pumping sustainability: Volta Wildlife Refuge, Merced County, CA
Using the finite element flow and transport model building application FEFLOW, we created a model of two seasonal wetland areas in the Central Valley; Volta Wildlife Refuge (VWR) and Grassland Water District (GWD). Remaining seasonal wetlands within the Central Valley are heavily reliant on water deliveries to replicate natural flooding cycles due to the diversion of water for the Central Valley Project. Recent shortages in surface water deliveries many wetland agencies have turned instead to groundwater pumping to supplement existing supplies. With this comes a greater need for information about the underlying aquifer system and its response to pressures, such as pumping or climate change. Our model will help to inform future groundwater policy for the wetlands, with an emphasis on balancing sustainable groundwater pumping practices and maximum water supply delivery.
SULI Intern Summer 2016
Education: University of Southern California
Human Biology Student
Using real-time data trend analysis to analyze causes of flow loss in the lower San Joaquin River
Research Focus: Maintaining flow in the San Joaquin River (SJR), in the Central Valley, CA, is important to bird and fish species for habitat, and to irrigation and water districts for water supply and drainage conveyance. The San Joaquin River has transitioned to a losing river, represented by negative non-gauged inputs to the river, which have been declining by 45 cubic feet per second each year since the late 1990s. Part of the un-gauged inputs to the river come from drainage inflow east and west of the river. In this project, in order to assess where the loss in un-gauged inflow is occurring, I analyzed flow data for minor drainage inflows to the San Joaquin River over the past 10 years. This was done to test the hypothesis that declining non-gauged inputs are associated with declining drainage inflow to the river. It was found that drainage inflow is decreasing by 24.34 cubic feet per second each year, associating some of the reduced non-gauged inputs with reduced drainage inflow. The remaining loss in non-gauged inputs may be attributed to other factors which should be explored in future studies.
SULI Intern Spring 2016
Education: Gettysburg College
Environmental Studies Student
Assessing inaccuracies and improving wetland hydrology and water quality prediction of the Watershed Risk Management Framework (WARMF) model
The water quality simulation model known as the Watershed Risk Management Framework (WARMF) was developed to simulate and predict the hydrology and water quality dynamics of complex watersheds. This technology is currently being used to assist with real-time water quality management in the San Joaquin River Basin. This project attempts to determine specific shortcomings of the WARMF model’s wetland module by analyzing Grassland Water District (GWD) catchment outputs that are relevant to flow and salinity (flow rate, total dissolved solids, electrical conductivity) and comparing them to hydrology and water quality data from monitoring stations. Through a variety of parameter adjustments in the model, this study was able to effectively modify flow rates and calibrate them to more accurately represent observed data; however, none of these parameter adjustments impacted TDS in any significant manner, suggesting that salinity in the WARMF model has very low sensitivity to any of the tested parameters.
SULI Intern Fall 2015
Education: City College of San Francisco
Chemical Engineering Student
Evaluation of Hydrologic Models Simulating Wetland Hydrology in the San Joaquin River Basin
Research Focus: Water resources in the San Joaquin River Valley are limited and must be shared by wildlife and the agricultural industry. Hydrologic models can assist water district managers in making decisions on drainage flow and salt load timing as they relate to meeting salinity objectives. The goal of this project was to test the accuracy of two hydrologic models, the CVHM and WARMF models, in simulating wetland water flow and salinity in the San Joaquin River Valley. In order to do this, I compared the model outputs with observations from drainage conveyance monitoring stations in the Grasslands Water District. Using mathematics to dissect the models, I found ways to improve the input parameters of the Central Valley Hydrologic Model (CVHM). Analyzing the Watershed Analysis Risk Management Framework model (WARMF)revealed good flow correlation, but also found an unexpected relationship between flow and salinity in the wetlands that diverges from the norm in larger rivers. This leads to the need for future projects to study this unusual relationship.
SULI Intern Fall 2015
Education: Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
Comparison of simulated agricultural hydrology using USGS MODFLOW and CSUID models
Research Focus: Using the Central Valley Hydrologic Model (CVHM) and the Colorado State University Irrigation and Drainage Model (CSUID), similar output parameters from each model were compared to each other as well as observational data for selected regions in the San Joaquin Basin. The comparisons helped determine which model would better quantify agricultural hydrology and water balance. Adding soil layers helped gain better understanding of the vertical refinement thus allowing for understanding of the agricultural hydrology. The CVHM ET estimates correlate well with the California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS) ET data. The water budgets from CVHM and ZoneBudget accurately account for all the inflows and outflows. There was a problem with the model’s reliability after 2010 due to erroneous precipitation data as well as unexplained discrepancies found between different study areas. CVHM is capable of modeling over a large region and over a long period of time. Modeling was done with the CSUID model to see how adding crop diversity would affect evapotranspiration values and deep percolation. Neither value was calculated incorrectly and accurately calculated those hydrologic values.
SULI Intern Summer 2015
Education: University of California, Merced
B.S., Environmental Engineering, minor in Applied Mathematics
Producing Realistic Future Trajectories for Irrigated Agriculture Under Saline Conditions Using the Crop Production Optimization Model APSIDE
Research Focus: The focus of the work was updating and expanding an agricultural production model. The Agricultural Production Salinity Irrigation Drainage Economics model, or APSIDE, attempts to maximize future farm income by reducing costs of production and minimizing crop yield losses. The motivation for this model was to add a groundwater component to the Statewide Agricultural Production model, or SWAP. APSIDE is unique because it simulates groundwater availability, salinity, and water quality when predicting future agricultural production. This model was updated by adding more recent and refined input data. This includes parameters like current cropping patterns, depth to Corcoran Clay Layer, Thickness of Corcoran Clay Layer, water district size, and base-line values for confined and unconfined aquifer flows. The model was expanded from an initial state of five water districts on the west-side of the San Joaquin Valley to a total of twenty-two water districts. By updating the input data for APSIDE, the model more accurately reflects current conditions as well as past trends.
SULI Intern Summer 2015
Education: University of California, San Diego
Iron Solutions: Developing New Algal Growth Media for Increased Iron Uptake
Research Focus: The goal of this project was to lay the groundwork for a growth medium capable of saturating Nanochlorposis occulata. with iron at low molarities, allowing for sustained rapid growth after transfer to a nutrient deprived culture, and preventing the growth of contaminants. This term I completed multiple assays to determine culture’s remaining iron levels, and calculated biomass density using packed volume and optical density testing. Dr. Mehlhorn and I also developed a ferene assay that may provide labs unable to afford the equipment to measure radioisotopes with a means of accurately determining the quantity of residual iron in a solution via optical density. The traditionally used ferric iron composition proved the most effective for rapidly increasing biomass, but the majority of the released iron did not enter the cells, and the high concentration required lead to a culture crash. My results showed that ferrous sulfate should be more suitable for biofuel production. It was effective at a much lower concentration, and while the initial growth rate was lower than the ferric composition, a far greater proportion of the cells survived until the end of the experiment.
SULI Intern Fall 2015
Education: University of Colorado Boulder, B.S., Chemical and biological engineering, with minor in business
Water quality modeling of biofuel crop substitution in the San Joaquin River Basin Using WARMF
Research Focus: My task was to use the watershed analysis risk management framework (WARMF) to analyze the river salinity impacts of a large-scale biofuel crop substitution. I did this by researching biofuel crops that could inhabit the ecosystem of the San Joaquin River Basin, and I implemented them into the WARMF model in place of currently grown crops. This research is especially relevant at the moment due to the drafting of the renewable fuel standard 2 (RFS2), which mandates biofuel production at the federal level. In my research, we found that the salinity impacts of a large-scale biofuel crop substitution could be minimal or even positive, if biofuel crops are chosen to minimize water demand, and biofuel processing facility discharge is regulated properly.
- Research Paper
- Research Poster
SULI Intern Spring 2015
Education: Hamilton College
The effects of feed-and-starve nutrition on the growth of microalgae as a biofuel feedstock
Research Focus: Microalgae are becoming increasingly attractive as potential feedstocks for biofuels because of their efficient growth dynamics. However, there are many technical constraints to algal biofuel production; contamination of open pond cultivation systems is among the most pressing issues to resolve. Some species of microalgae utilize “luxury uptake” to survive off of previously stored nutrient reserves in nutrient-deficient conditions, which allows them to outcompete contaminants that lack the same ability. My research used a feed-and-starve strategy to investigate whether or not two microalgal species were able to demonstrate luxury uptake in iron-deficient media. My results showed that the saltwater species was able to grow slowly regardless of the media composition, while the freshwater species was unable to accumulate biomass without iron present.
SULI Intern Spring 2015
Education: Middlebury College
Evaluation of the WARMF model simulation for the west-side tributaries on the San Joaquin River, CA
Research Focus: The focus of this study was to determine the accuracy of the Watershed Analysis Risk Management Framework (WARMF) model at eight previously unexamined catchments along the San Joaquin River. The model has been calibrated at the Vernalis water quality monitoring station and the simulations for that area show strong agreement with observed values. In order to begin real-time salinity management, in which stakeholders use real time data to make management decisions, the WARMF model simulations must be accurate on a local scale. In order to determine model accuracy I compared the WARMF simulation values for flow, EC and salt load to observed data for a 10 year period. I found that in the majority of the catchments examined the model was overestimating flow, and simulating a steady, gradual increase in EC. Deepening the first soil layer to allow for greater water absorption did not have an affect on surface runoff. Working with model developers, we designed a method to simulate the process of deep percolation, the movement of water across the Corcoran clay at the bottom of the aquifer, and when implemented in all the catchments within the San Joaquin Basin should improve the simulation of both flow and EC.
SULI Intern Summer 2014
Education: Smith College, Northampton, MA
Forecasting and assessment of the WARMF model for real time salinity management within the San Joaquin River
Research Focus: The San Joaquin River (SJR) is an extensive river basin that provides water to more than two million acres of farmland. Over-allocation of river resources combined with extended drought has negatively impacted the SJR, and high salt loads entering the river via agricultural discharge, tributaries, pump stations, and other human activity are of particular concern. As drought and increased water demands persist, numerous entities are pushing for further implementation of tools to effectively assist in salinity monitoring, management and regulation. The focus of this project was to utilize the Watershed Analysis Risk Management Framework (WARMF) model, a decision support tool that simulates hydrology and water quality conditions, to compare model predictions with actual data in the west-side diversions and drainages of the SJR. Sensitivity simulations identified the relative impacts of diversions on electrical conductivity (EC) and salinity at Vernalis and the relationship between diversions and EC levels. Current efforts are underway to input west side drains into WARMF so that simulations may be compared against actual data to engage stakeholders and improve the model’s reliability.
SULI Intern Summer 2014
Education: James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Comparing Allowable Salinity of Applied Irrigation Water Supply in the San Joaquin River Basin using Steady-State and Transient Models
Research Focus: The San Joaquin River is one of the most regulated rivers in the nation and supplies a vast amount of water to California’s Central Valley, which produces a large amount of the United States’ agriculture. The San Joaquin River has documented salinity problems caused by increased amounts of irrigation drainage water. In this project the Hoffman model, a steady‐state model, and the Colorado State Irrigation and Drainage model, a transient model, were run using site-.‐specific data to simulate tomato growth in order to quantify the effects of San Joaquin River water use for irrigation. Root zone salinity outputs from each model were analyzed and compared. Hoffman modeling showed that irrigation water with an electrical conductivity between 0 and 2.5 deciSiemens per meter at leaching fractions of 0.20 and 0.25 would not induce crop yield reductions when annual rainfall is taken into account, but when applied irrigation water salinity rises above 2.5 deciSiemens per meter at a leaching fraction of 0.15 yield reductions occurred when annual precipitation fell below 4 inches. CSUID modeling showed that average root zone salinity was 2.44 deciSiemens per meter in the area of interest and that root zone salinity rose above the tomato salt threshold of 2.5 deciSiemens per meter between March 1st to March 22nd and from July 12th to August 2nd.
SULI Intern Spring 2014
Education: Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, B.S., Geology
Continuous salinity mass balance in seasonally managed ponds – an analog for wetland real-time salinity management
Research Focus: A pilot study was conducted to provide data for future development of a real-time salt management scheme that San Joaquin River (SJR) dischargers could utilize. My role was to perform water and mass balance for three ponds in the Grasslands Water District (GWD) and compare these values with the flow rates of the five major outlets in the north GWD. Protecting these wetlands is important because the wetlands allow native grasses to flourish, which creates an abundant source of protein for migrating birds along the Pacific Flyway. The study showed that the ponds provide reliable water and salt load balance when flow sensors are not compromised by low flows that cannot be accurately estimated. North GWD outlets provide good flow data that can be used to verify the reliability of outlet monitoring station data from each GWD pond. Evaporation and seepage estimates could be improved in future studies.
SULI Intern Fall 2013
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, B.Sc. Environmental Science
Optimizing Growth of Microalgae for Use as a Potential Biofuel Feedstock
Research Focus: Microalgae is a promising bioenergy feedstock alternative to address climate change concerns posed by fossil fuels. Some advantages of using microalgae include renewability, carbon neutrality and adaptability. My group in the Earth Sciences Division at LBNL plans to develop an outdoor high-rate algal pond facility of industrial scale to further research algae as a bioenergy source. My research focused on exploring microalgae cultivation techniques and how changing growth conditions can make algae a more feasible feedstock option. My main findings were that salinity stress optimizes lipid production, but too much salinity led to less than optimal lipid concentrations; growing more than one algae simultaneously can be a lot more productive than just growing one by itself; and a 10X scale-up factor was very effective in establishing healthy algae populations and avoiding potential scale-up shock.
SULI Intern Summer 2013
Education: Brown University, Providence, RI, Candidate for B. Sc. in Biochemical and Chemical Engineering
Evaluation of Watershed Models for Simulation of Salt Mass Balance of Seasonally Managed Wetlands in the San Joaquin River Basin
Research Focus: Increased demand for and over-allocation of fresh water resources in the San Joaquin River Basin has necessitated the creation of real-time water quality management (RTWQM) strategies to ensure that downstream water quality objectives are met. The Grasslands Water District, 47,795 acres of natural and artificial seasonal wetlands, has been identified as an area of priority for real-time salinity management. Salinity in the Grasslands Water District is of special concern as wetland drainage release periods that correspond to periods of low assimilative capacity in the San Joaquin River Basin and the irrigation season of salt-sensitive crops. The goal of my research is to verify the proposed RTWQM model, Watershed Analysis Risk Management Framework (WARMF), using the concept of mass balance. Through this study, I have gained a profound understanding of the WARMF conceptual model.
Intern April-August 2013
Education: Institut National des Sciences Appliquées (INSA) de Lyon, Villeurbanne, France, Candidate for Diploma in Energy and Environmental Engineering
Improving the WARMF Model’s Accuracy Through Adding New Point Sources at Different Locations (I am providing the link to a report on my Researchgate site
Research Focus: High salinity loads is presently a major issue in the San Joaquin River Basin. Excess salt loads can degrade the habitability of fresh water environments but more importantly degrade irrigation water used for valuable salt-sensitive crops. Real-time water quality management models such as the Watershed Analysis Risk Management Framework (WARMF) model have been developed in order to better manage water quality. WARMF is a water-quality forecasting model used to improve the timing, coordination and management of agricultural drainage and reservoir releases into the San Joaquin River. My research concerns improving the WARMF model’s accuracy through adding new point sources at different locations. The hope is if more inputs are provided to the model, the simulations will more accurately represent real observed data.
Monique de Brito Guedes
Science Teacher at Berkeley High School, Berkeley, CA
IISME Intern Summer 2013
Education: University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, B.A. Environmental Studies, B.A. Politics
Protocols For Scaling Up Scenedesmus Sp. Algae Production -Laboratory Bench To Open Pond Cultivation (poster only)
Research Focus: My research concerns the scale-up of algae growth for biofuel production and the presentation of this method in a high school classroom environment. I have developed protocols for scaling-up Scenedesmus Sp. Algae for production from starter cultures to open algae raceway ponds. Additionally I am working on experimental design lessons creating algae photobioreactors with students.
SULI Intern Spring 2013
Education: Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, B.Sc. Natural Resources
Investigation of EC:TDS Ratios to Improve Load Allocation in a Salinity TMD
Research Focus: This research focused on salinity in the San Joaquin River Basin. The question was whether Electrical Conductivity and its relationship to Total Dissolved Solids was changing through space and/or time, and if trends could be identified in the relationship. Data from several entities operating in the Basin was acquired, summarized, and analyzed. The results showed that there were differences in the ratio throughout the basin, by as much as 15%. There was also a seasonal change in the ratio at some of the sites, particularly those with large agricultural influence. It was found that the ratio can be reliably estimated using a volume-weighting approach, accounting for flow and the ratio of converging source waters to estimate the resulting ratio. Conclusions were drawn that groundwater use and agricultural drainage adds ions to the system that increase the ratio as the water moves through the Westside, whereas flow contributions from the Eastside and Wetlands tends to decrease the ratio. This project should be expanded upon to further understand the relationship of EC and TDS in the river basin and beyond.
ELP Intern 2012
Education: University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA, Candidate for B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering
Seasonal Wetland Salinity Management: Developing A Data-Centered Decision Support System
Research Focus: My main objectives were to develop a theoretical data flow model to be used for the seasonal wetland salinity management Decision Support System, and to Implement the core components of the DSS using the WISKI hydrologic data management system. The Decision Support System must undergo additional development before it will achieve it’s full potential, as the data network currently used encompasses intervals, which could potentially botch the continuous stream of data. HEADS group will continue to develop this Decision Support System to improve water quality through the availability of real-time data.
ELP Intern 2012
Education: Los Medanos College, Pittsburg, CAA.Sc. Engineering
California Polytechnic State University , San Luis Obispo, CA, Candidate for B.Sc. in Civil Engineering
Water Quality Forecasting in the San Joaquin River Basin
Research Focus: In the San Joaquin Valley, efforts are being made to restore wetland ecosystems in the Grasslands Water District (GWD) through seasonally managed flooding designed to simulate the natural flooding that once sustained the area. In this study, two water quality forecasting models used in aiding water management decisions (WARMF and SJRIODAY) were compared to determine forecast accuracy of flow and electric conductivity. WARMF is anticipated to phase out the SJRIODAY model with its enhanced capability to simulate watershed processes. Historical salt load trends were also looked at to determine if a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) objective set for 2014 could be met.
SULI Intern Summer 2012
Education: Arizona State University, Phoenix, Arizona, B.S.E. Civil Engineering
Candidate for M.S. in Civil, Environmental and Sustainable Engineering
Multitemporal Evapotranspiration Estimates and Wetland Delineation in the Seasonally-Managed San Joaquin River Basin Wetlands using Landsat ETM+ Satellite Imagery
Research Focus: My research focuses on wetland delineation and remote sensing-based ET estimation in the San Joaquin River basin to support the development of a real-time basin-scale water resource management decision-support model.
IISME Intern Summer 2011
Science Teacher at Lincoln Unified School District, Stockton, CA
Education: University of California Stanislaus, Stanislaus, CA, B.Sc. Geology and Earth Science
Remote Sensing Analysis for Salinity Management of Seasonal Wetlands
Research Focus: The Grasslands Water District (Fig.1)(GWD) wetlands are artificially managed to meet ecological objectives. Flood-up occurs in the fall when water is added to the wetands. The wetlands are drained in the spring. During flood-up water is lost due to seepage to groundwater, evaporation, and transpiration leaving salts behind. Changes in pond area indicates water losses. Remote sensing analysis can be used to determine the wetland footprint. Satellite spectral images can be used to calculate the percent water in each wetland pond. The results can inform water managers of the relative salinity changes and the effectiveness of the wetland management.
Intern June 2010-December 2011
Education: University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, B.Sc. Civil and Environmental Engineering
Evaluation of Methods for Improving Real-Time Environmental Data Quality Assurance
Research Focus: The San Joaquin Basin is home to countless wetland and serves are habitats to various species of vegetation, wildlife and waterfowl. The system of wetlands in the Grassland Water District (GWD) is one the largest remaining in the state after the destruction of over 90% of wetland area due to agricultural and urban use. The importance of maintaining the wetland water quality as well as meeting standards set by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) has created the need to fully understand water flow and salinity throughout the system.
CCI Intern Summer 2010
Education: Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles, CA, Civil Engineering
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, Candidate for B.Sc. in Civil Engineering
San Joaquin River Wetlands Water Flow And Salinity Balances: Developing Better Water Management Practices
Research Focus: The HydroEcological Engineering Advanced Decision Support (HEADS) group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is developing an improved water quality model to simulate wetland flow and salinity balances. HEADS chose to study twelve key managed wetland ponds that were considered surrogates of the water drainage distribution systems in the San Joaquin River Basin. Monitoring stations deployed in these studied wetlands provide real-time data for these sites. On this project, data quality assurance and adjustment techniques were applied to problematic and missing gaps of data. Some Depth and EC data were assigned values or shifted based on field QA data. All of the sites had small periods of missing depth, stage, flow, and EC data that were linearly interpolated. Together with evapo-transporation (ET), precipitation, and seepage estimates, data from the 2008-09 season
were applied to a mass balance model to estimate daily water and salinity balances. Mass balance graphs for both years were made for one of these sites. Results showed a negative residual salt load for the second year, while the first year had a small positive residual salt load. Performing this analysis for two successive years allows water managers to better understand the impact of their management practices on return flow water quality and use. It also raises the level of confidence in the assessment and improvements of the mass balance model currently being used in this study.
IISME Intern Summer 2009
Middle School Math Teacher at Ascend School, Oakland, CA
Education: M.A./M.S. in General Education, B.A./B.S. in Biology
CO2 Transfer in High pH Algal Environments
Research Focus: The world population is predicted to reach 9.3 billion in 20 years according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s International Data Base (IDB), which would equivalent of adding two more China’s or 2.6 billion more people to the planet. This increase in population coupled with the modernization of historically underdeveloped nations will cause an increase in global energy consumption which will increase anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Since awareness of climate change and anthropogenic causes have become common place, companies are now looking for ways of gaining carbon credits to make up for their greenhouse gas emissions and follow the trend of becoming more “green”. One method of gaining carbon credit under consideration is pumping CO2 from emitting factories directly into algal pounds with the thought that the algae will use the CO2 as their carbon source, thereby offsetting the amount of emissions produced. The algae produced can be potentially used as a biofeed for agriculture, fertilizer, protein supplements, or even as a biofuel.
This sounds ideal—carbon is reduced and a useful product or even a renewable fuel source is produced, yet there is not a complete understanding of CO2 transfer at the higher pH (pH 10-11) levels in which high yield algae typically grow.
BLIPS Intern Summer 2009
Education: Albany High School, Albany, CA
Implementation of a CUAHSI- HIS system at LBL
Research Focus: Small hydrology projects, especially those initiated at Universities pay little attention to database design or data management and at the end of the study much of this raw data is lost to the scientific community – because it is rarely in a form that it can be understood, metadata is poor or completely lacking and the data ontologies (what is meant by a particular measurement) are often lacking.
By migrating the data to a HIS server hosted at LBNL, we will provide a standardized way to access this information saving the wetlands agencies we are cooperating with upwards of $25,000 per year in data management fees.
SULI Intern Summer 2009
Education: University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, MPH Public Health, B.Sc. Environmental Science
Modeling the Resource Potential for Algae Biofuels in California: A Geographic Information System-Based Approach
Research Focus: Renewable biofuels are being evaluated for their use in replacing petroleum-based fuels. Currently under investigation is growing algae in open ponds to produce an oil that can be used as a substitute for petroleum. Here, a geographic information system (GIS)-based suitability analysis was performed to assess the resource availability in CA for growing algae by suggesting optimal areas for siting inland-open algae farms in CA. Digital shapefiles of wastewater treatment plants (WWTP), solar radiance, temperature, water evaporation, CO2 producing power plants, land use, roads, slope, and saline aquifers were used as inputs to a model to generate a map showing potential algae farm sites. The primary map output was created using economic cost data to weight the relative importance represented by the different GIS files. Monthly temperature and evaporation, and annual solar radiance values which are not conducive to cost-based weighting were weighted in a separate model. The results from this study have offered a methodology for combining important factors in the siting process of future algae biofuel farms.
SULI Intern Summer 2008
Education: Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
M.S. Chemical and Environmental Engineering
University of South Carolina- Columbia, Columbia, SC
B.Sc. Civil Engineering
Math & Science Teacher at Alameda Community Learning Center, Alameda CA, VFP Intern 2008
Education: University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, M.S. Civil and Environmental Engineering, B.Sc. Civil and Environmental Engineering
Spreadsheet Model for Computing Water and Salt Mass Balances in Seasonally Managed Wetlands in the San Joaquin Basin
Research Focus: Carlton Grizzle is a high school teacher with a background in Civil and Environmental Engineering – having worked as geotechnical engineer before teaching. Carlton’s summer project involved the development of spreadsheets that computed flow and salinity balances for twelve wetlands in Grassland Water District. The spreadsheets are provided 15 minute monitoring station for inflow, outflow and both inflow and outflow electrical conductivity. The spreadsheets demonstrated the difficulty in obtaining good flow and salinity balances in these wetlands – although these results are the best obtained for seasonally managed wetlands in the western San Joaquin Basin to date.
SULI Intern summer 2007
Determining Evapotranspiration By The Bowen Ratio-Energy Balance Method
Research Focus: Evapotranspiration (ET) is a significant component of the water budget for California’s Central Valley wetlands. To understand how changes in water drawdown and flood-up schedules may affect wetland hydrology and water quality, it is necessary to quantify all components of the water budget, including local water loss through evapotranspiration. Existing data for wetland ET is sparse and cannot be used to produce a reliable estimate at the study site without additional measurements. In June 2006, a Bowen ratio-energy balance (BREB) system was installed in the Los Banos Wildlife Management Complex over a broad stand of swamp timothy (Crypsis schoenoides). Data obtained from this system will be screened according to the criteria discussed below, and daily ET values will be reported for approximately 1 year. With the water budget that will be constructed from ET measurements and other hydrologic data, decision support can be provided to wetland managers who must control salinity levels and hydrologic conditions to promote wetland ecosystem integrity.
SULI Intern Summer 2007
Education: Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME
Estimating Evaporative Transpiration of Wetlands in the San Joaquin Valley
Research Focus: Seasonal wetlands within California’s San Joaquin Valley provide an important habitat and food source for migratory waterfowl along the Pacific flyway. Since the initiation of the Central Valley Project by the Bureau of Reclamation in 1935 the waters of the San Joaquin River have been intensively managed. The wetlands of the Valley, which John Muir once called “The floweriest part of the world I have yet seen (CITE)”, are now dependant on imported water provided by the US Bureau of Reclamation and managed by public agencies such as the Grassland Water District and private owners. Efficient use of water resources is at a premium as wetland managers must compete with agriculture and municipalities for water supplies.
A successful irrigation regime must provide sufficient moisture for desired plants during important parts of their growing seasons. Imported water from the Delta contains salts – the salt concentration increases in the wetland as a result of bird use, direct evaporation and evapotarnspiration and dissolution of salts from surface soils. Flood-up and draw-down of wetland waters can be timed to coincide with periods of salt assimilative capacity in the SJR – which makes it easier to achieve compliance with Regional Water Quality Control Board River water quality objectives.
The aim of this study is to model the loss of water to evapotranspiration (ET) over these wetlands. Our estimates of ET will be compared to local estimates of potential ET (ETo), that is the ET of well watered pasture, to see if estimates of wetland ET could be made from ETo data, which is more readily available. Accurate estimates of wetland ET promise to aid in improving wetland best management practices and improving water use efficiency while sustaining valuable wetland habitat.
SULI Intern Summers 2004 & 2005
Education: Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA
2004: Comparison of soil salinity analysis methods for wetland soils
2005: Evaluating the Effects of Tailwater Irrigation on Soil Salinity and Discharge Water Quality
SULI Intern 2003-2004
Education: California State University- Hayward, Hayward, CA, Environmental Science
Wetland Field Guide for Wetland Moist Soil Plants in the Grasslands Ecological Area
The Grasslands Ecological Area (GEA) is comprised of 178,000 acres of wetlands in the Central Valley of California and includes federally, state and privately owned land1. The primary forces protecting these wetlands are the organizations serving the duck hunters that are drawn to them October to January every year for recreation and sport. GEA wetlands are a hot spot on the Pacific Flyway, each year attracting over 200,000 shorebirds and more than twice that number of ducks2. Aerial counts in January 2004 estimated the GEA duck population at 583,0003.
Intern Summer 2000
Education: Northeastern Junior College, Sterling, CO
Grasslands Water District Real-Time Water Quality Management and Panoche Drainage District Algal-Bacterial Selenium Removal System
Research Focus: Two current projects being conducted in the San Joaquin Valley of California are the Grassland Water District Real-Time Water Quality Management project and the Panoche Drainage District Algal-Bacterial Selenium Removal System project. The Grassland Water District project focuses on the concentration of salinity in the 90,000-acre wetland area and the amount that is released to the San Joaquin River in the spring. The high salinity is a problem for farmers in the early spring irrigation because the salinity interferes with water uptake by the plant which causes poor germination and growth, resulting in poor production. Panoche Drainage District Algal-Bacterial Selenium Removal System utilizes algae and bacteria to reduce nitrate and selenate found in tile drainage water. The project incorporates two pilot systems to determine the most effective and cost efficient system in which a larger plant can be built. The nitrate is a problem because it influences unwanted algae growth in the canals. The selenate poses a threat to waterfowl and their offspring by acting as a teratagen. My role was to create a web page explaining the importance, location, and nature of each project.