Watershed Hydrology

Watershed research has been a focus at New Mexico Tech for over 25 years. We are proud to continue this research into the connection between humans, ecosystems, the hydrological cycle. Our current research faculty includes Dr. Dan Cadol, and Dr. John L. Wilson (emeritus) who currently supervise six watershed-focused masters and doctoral students.

Watershed scale science is key to managing water resources for a growing population in a changing environment. Issues of runoff, evapotranspiration, groundwater-surface water exchange, and erosion all interact to create a dynamic, complex system. Much of the western US depends on runoff from these complex forested mountain watersheds to meet their water demands. We apply tools such as geostatistical models, remote sensing, coupled surface water-groundwater flow models, and surface energy balance models to interrogate watershed systems. Frequently the goal is to understand the response of these systems to disturbances such as wildfires, floods, and droughts so that land and water managers can both prepare for disasters and proactively treat their watersheds to reduce risk. Collaborators range from federal agencies such as the US Bureau of Reclamation and US Geological Survey, to state and local entities including the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer and Interstate Stream Commission, and the City of Santa Fe.

Active and recent projects include: