All posts by Devin Lea

A year in review

The river group has had a busy past year, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it given our absence in posting about it! Below we highlight some of the most major achievements and trips over the past year.

Pat McDowell receives Melvin G. Marcus Distinguished Career Award at AAG 2018

Our own Pat McDowell was awarded the  Melvin G. Marcus Distinguished Career Award from the Geomorphology Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers at the 2018 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA. See the story from UO geography at this link:

Dr. McDowell received Melvin G. Marcus Distinguished Career Award at AAG

River Group McKenzie River Geomorphology Trip in Fall 2018

Many members of our river group took a weekend driving up and down the McKenzie River valley and its tributaries to discuss the geomorphology of the western cascades and view stage 0 river restoration efforts on tributaries such as Deer Creek.

Swagata Goswami defends Ph.D. dissertation in winter 2019

Swagata returned to Eugene after working remotely the last couple years to defend her dissertation regarding the hydrological and geomorphological impacts of infrastructure built on mega alluvial fans in India. Congratulations, Dr. Goswami!

Strong River Group Showing at River Restoration Northwest 2019

Several river group members attended the 2019 annual River Restoration Northwest conference in Stevenson, WA. Both present river group member Aaron Zettler-Mann and alumni Polly Lind shared their research related to river restoration theory and practice.

UO river group well represented at AAG 2016


Past and present River Rats were well represented at the Annual American Association of Geographers Meeting in San Francisco a couple weeks ago (March 29th – April 2nd). Present members Mark Fonstad, Pat McDowell, Pollyanna Lind, Matthew Goslin, and Devin Lea were joined by past members Didi Martinez, James Dietrich, Suzanne Walther, Sarah Praskievicz, Helen Beeson, and Denise Tu. Many of these individuals presented papers or posters, a sampling of which are provided here:

Mark Fonstad – Remote Sensing of River Discharge, Depth, and Velocity from Standing Wave Trains

Pollyanna Lind – Bedload Transport and Connectivity in a Steep Montane Tropical River – Rio Pacuare, Costa Rica

Matthew Goslin – Modeling Species Distributions of Carex Nudata, a Riparian Sedge Associated with Hydrological Variables within River Basins

Devin Lea – Channel migration and hazard vulnerability management in the Anthropocene

Didi Martinez – Sensitivity of Modeled Channel Hydraulic Variables to Invasive and Native Riparian Vegetation

Sarah Praskievicz – Satellite-Derived Local Topographic Lapse Rates of Precipitation for Use in Downscaling Climate-Model Output in Remote Mountainous Regions

James Dietrich – Detecting Fluvial Wood in Forested Watersheds Using LiDAR Data

Suzanne Walther – Flash flooding in Capitol Reef National Park, Utah: Quantifying Geomorphic Change on Pleasant Creek

San Francisco gave ample opportunity for past and present River Rats to (re)unite, and we look forward to another strong group attending AAG 2017 in Boston!

Picture: Pat Bartlein, Pat McDowell, Mark Fonstad, Didi Martinez, Suzanne Walther, Sarah Praskievicz, James Dietrich, Denise Hu, and Polly Lind (from left to right) at AAG 2016

New articles on remote sensing and rivers in the journal Geomorphology

This year’s newest river rat Devin Lea has had a pair of articles published in the journal Geomorphology in the past few months. The first article, titled Mapping spatial patterns of stream power and channel change along a gravel-bed river in northern Yellowstone highlights Devin’s Master’s work from the University of Wyoming with advisor Carl Legleiter. The article was part of a special issue (Volume 252) dedicated to the career of William Graf. Many articles in the issue were presented as a series of sessions at the 2014 annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers in Tampa, Florida, which was co-organized by Mark Fonstad and Bruce Rhoads at the University of Illinois. Devin paired again with Carl Legleiter to author the second article titled Refining measurements of lateral channel movement from image time series by quantifying spatial variations in registration error. The paper builds on quantifying error as done by past UO grad student Michael Hughes (et al., 2006) to provide a framework for calculating spatially varying error for images based on their ground control points. The paper can be found in Volume 258, and links to both papers through Geomorphology are provided below:

Mapping spatial patterns of stream power and channel change along a gravel-bed river in northern Yellowstone

Refining measurements of lateral channel movement from image time series by quantifying spatial variations in registration error

Before it’s river sediment: hillslope geomorphology and processes

Members of the UO river research group have been busy thinking about the ways rocks and soil move across the landscape before ending up as river channel sediment this autumn by attending field trips as part of Hillslope Geomorphology being taught by Josh Roering in the UO Geological Sciences department. Aaron Zettler-Mann, Christina Appleby, and Devin Lea all traveled as part of the class in October to the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument to measure and analyze hillslope processes occurring on the area’s badland topography. This trio, headed by Aaron, also obtained photographs and created a high-resolution DEM of the study area using structure-from-motion. Aaron and Devin more recently traveled with the class in early November to the Oregon Coast Range to study a series of debris flows that occurred on the Wolf Creek watershed in 2012. Understanding the failure rate and mechanisms of these debris flows are important for hazard risk assessments, landscape development over time, and how and when sediment is delivered to rivers.


Students ponder badland processes at the Painted Hills



Photographs taken at the Painted Hills were used to generate a high-resolution DEM

photo (2)

A great example of valley fog on the way to examine debris flows in the Oregon Coast Range

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Devin and Aaron helped measure the site of initial failure for a debris flow on a nearly 40 degree hillslope in the Coast Range