Major Funding The Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation

Rivers: Guests

Elowyn Yager

Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Center for Ecohydraulics Research, University of Idaho

Dr. Elowyn Yager is a geomorphologist, which means that she studies the processes that shape the earth's surface. Dr. Yager received her BA in Geology at SUNY Buffalo and her PhD in Geology at University of California at Berkeley. She is an Associate Professor in the department of Civil Engineering and the Center for Ecohydraulics Research (CER) at the University of Idaho Boise campus. Dr. Yager teaches classes on Fluvial Geomorphology (essentially how rivers work), River Restoration (how do we improve river conditions for humans and aquatic organisms), and Scientific Writing.

Most of Dr. Yager's work focuses on processes in rivers such as sediment transport (movement of rocks), flow hydraulics (how fast/deep is a river), fluid mechanics, bedrock erosion (why do rivers have a certain shape), and aquatic habitat (where organisms in rivers live). To better understand these processes, she combines field measurements in rivers, computer models, and data collected in the Mountain Stream Lab at CER, which is an indoor facility used to create scaled down versions of rivers. Her work has applications in river structure stability (culverts, bridges), sedimentation and lifetime of dams, river stability and flooding, and restoration of rivers for fish and other organisms.

James McNamara

Professor and Chair, Department of Geosciences, Boise State University

Dr. Jim McNamara is a hydrologist, which means he studies how water moves around on earth and in its atmosphere. He received a PhD in Hydrology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, an MS in Hydrogeology from Syracuse University, and a BS in Geology from Western Michigan University. He's been teaching hydrology courses and conducting hydrologic research in the Department of Geosciences at Boise State University since 1997.

Dr. McNamara's research focuses on hydrologic processes that occur in mountain watersheds, with a particular emphasis on snow. He does his work in a network of long-term watersheds throughout the world. His contribution to this network is the Dry Creek Experimental Watershed in the foothills adjacent to Boise, Idaho ( There, he and his research group have been monitoring hydrologic processes since the turn of the century. Dr. McNamara's group describes the physical and geological controls on water movement in mountain watersheds in order to improve our abilities to predict how water resources might change in response to stresses such as climate variability and land use change.

Past guests for this topic include: Dr. Jan Boll, Cindy Busche.

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