Dr. Lee MacDonald Lab
Professor, Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1499
Phone: (970) 491-6109
Office: A227 Natural and Environmental Sciences Building.
My general field of interest is land use hydrology, and this is broadly defined as the effects of changes in land use on the quantity, timing, and quality of runoff. My basic thesis is that one has to understand the underlying processes before one can begin to interpret an observed change or predict the effects of a given change in land use. Although much of my earlier work focused on the effects of forest management on runoff, from a management perspective one must also consider the effect on stream channels. In many cases erosion and sedimentation may also be a greater concern than changes in flow. Thus I have become increasingly involved in erosion and sedimentation issues, in channel monitoring, and cumulative watershed effects. Some current research projects relevant to this general topic include road erosion and sediment delivery in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the effects of fire on runoff and erosion in the Colorado Front Range, erosion on forest lands in the Sierra Nevada of California, and monitoring the effects of changes in flow and sediment loads on stream channels. These type of field studies have then been leading to more conceptual investigations into the analysis and management of cumulative effects, and the extent to which spatial scale determines the magnitude and detectability of cumulative effects. Another major interest is wetland hydrology, and much of this work has focused on how changes in flow affect both the hydrology and the ecology of hillslope and riparian wetlands. Other studies include the effects of forest management on runoff using flow duration curves, the seasonal development of the hyporheic zones in the Taylor Dry Valley of Antarctica, and the effects of afforestation on hillslope hydrology and runoff processes in the tussock grasslands of New Zealand.