Mark Fonstad

Mark’s professional web site is here:

Although I work on a variety of geographically related topics (riverscapes, mountain environments, GIScience theory, etc.) and am associated with a number of entities at the University of Oregon (the Department of Geography, the Environmental Studies program, the Environmental Science Institute), I spend the bulk of my research efforts on river-related activities. This page is a brief description of those activities of mine which are river-related.


While I teach many kinds of classes, the courses I have taught at the University of Oregon that are at least partly related to river environments include:

GEOG 141: The Natural Environment.
The earth’s physical landscapes, vegetation patterns, weather, and climate; emphasis on the dynamic interactions among climate, landforms, vegetation, and soils.

GEOG 425/525: Hydrology and Water Resources
Emphasis on surface water including precipitation, evapotranspiration, surface runoff, and stream flow. Understanding and analysis of processes. Management for water supply and quality.

GEOG 607: Seminar — Physical Geography of Oregon
This seminar surveys modern research on the physical geography of Oregon, and work to place these works into the context of the overall history and spatial patterning of the physical environments of the state. We will have three overarching goals as we review the research.

GEOG 607: Seminar — The Willamette Riverscape
This seminar surveys modern research on the Willamette riverscape, and work to place these research activities into the context of the overall history and spatial patterning of the Willamette River’s environment.


My primary research interests focus on physical geography and geographic information science and the fusion of these two fields of study. In particular, I have specialized on researching river environments, developing new theories and tools to measure, model, and analyze riverscapes. I have deliberately chosen to work at a variety of spatial scales, from <1 cm to monitoring continental scale river environments. In addition to my river-related activities. I am also interested in the concept of habitat. My secondary interests in river studies include water law and management as well as river restoration.

More details of my individual research projects are available on my professional webpage. One of the main areas I have spent much of the past three years research is how simple tools such as pocket cameras can be used to produce massive datasets for river environments including their three-dimensional terrain, their distribution of materials and habitats, and their process flows.


I also work on river research related to modeling of rivers and watersheds, analysis of massive river datasets, and remote sensing of river channel environments.

CA-watershed Closest-Habitat Wisconsin-River


I serve as a member of the hydrology mission group for the NASA/CNES SWOT (Surface Water Ocean Topography) satellite currently under development with a scheduled launch of 2020. We work in the Willamette River on projects in support of SWOT. I have also edited several special issues of journals on river-related topics: (1) Complexity in Geomorphology (Geomorphology, 2007), (2) The Remote Sensing of Rivers (ESPL 2010), (2) Geographies of Water (Annals of the AAG, 2013), and (3) The Natural and Human Structuring of Rivers and other Geomorphic Systems (Geomorphology, 2015). I also occasionally help with other river group projects such as the restoration of the Middle Fork John Day river.

And, of course — teaching many, many students!

Blog Posts:
Binghamton Symposium 2016

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