Erick Carlson

Erick Carlson


  I moved to Colorado in 2007 and have been working in riparian and wetland systems at the landscape scale and the plot scale. My background came from a B.S. in Plant Ecology and Evolution and a B.S. in Physical Geography from Michigan State University. I moved to Colorado State University in 2007 and earned my Master of Science in Ecology in 2009 working with Dr. Brian Bledsoe. I remained in the area working for the Colorado Natural Heritage Program mapping and surveying wetlands across the state. It was while performing this work I began to ask questions about the wetland and riparian systems I saw being directly and indirectly affected by irrigation networks across the state. Through searching I noticed a gap in the science on this topic and felt that with my experience and education to date I could significantly contribute to better understanding the ecological function, risk to dewatering and the novelty of the irrigation channels themselves. While and IGERT I-WATER Fellow at Colorado State University working with Dr. David Cooper I plan to focus on the following questions: 1) detailing the ecologic function of novel irrigation derived wetlands in comparison to natural riparian wetlands, 2) developing a risk analysis methodology for quantifying the loss of wetland function through modeled de-watering of the irrigation network, and 3) how do irrigation channels compare to natural channels for geomorphic and ecologic function. These questions will be investigated in several semi-arid agricultural systems in Colorado.



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The primary mission of I-WATER is to prepare Ph.D. students to work in an interdisciplinary team-based activity. Our research themes involve interacting teams of hydrologists, meteorologists, ecologists, and management experts. I-WATER features problem-focused research to bridge basic and applied science by combining fundamental research on scientific problems with application of scientific knowledge to actual resource issues.

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