Denielle M. Perry



Denielle Perry is now a tenure-track Assistant Professor at Northern Arizona University in the School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability. You may contact her at:


My research, broadly described, draws on a Political Ecology approach to analyze the drivers, priorities, and spatial dimensions of water governance. In particular, I examine how environmental institutions and values influence both the development and conservation of water resources, as well as the socio-ecological implications of these often competing agendas, in the face of climate change. I adopt a mixed-methods approach in my work, making use of both quantitative and qualitative analysis. I view the nexus of political ecology, water law and policy, and geospatial analysis as a powerful platform for solving some of the most pressing environmental problems of our time

Curriculum Vitae



  • Political ecology
  • Water governance
  • Climate adaptation & conservation
  • Public policy & natural resources
  • Water-energy-food nexus
  • Free trade & regional integration
  • Globalization & contestation
  • U.S. West    &      Latin America


My dissertation titled “The Uneven Geography of River Conservation in the U.S.: Insights from the Application of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act”,   explored the use of state legibility acts and  in the creation, application, and management of federal conservation policy and its potential use as a climate adaptation policy. I received funding from the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation, the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers, and the University of Oregon Women in Graduate Sciences in support of this project. The merit of this research was recognized by the Christopherson Geosystems Award for Excellence in Applied Geography at the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers 2016 annual meeting.




My work continues  on projects that examine the socio-ecological implications of water development projects and the socio-ecological benefits of conservation policy.  My publications, productions, and manuscripts include:

Perry, D.M. (In Press) “[Re]framing the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act for Ecosystem Based Resilience and Adaptation.” International Journal of Wilderness . 

Perry, M.D. and Praskievicz, S.J. (2017). “A new era of big infrastructure? [Re-]developing water storage in the U.S. West in the
context of climate change and environmental regulation.”
Water Alternatives 10(2): 134-151.

Perry, D.M. and Berry. K A. (2015). “Central American integration through infrastructure development: a case study of Costa Rican hydropowerRegions and Cohesion, 6(1).  doi:10.3167/reco.2016.060105

Perry, D. (Producer/Director). (2015). Troubled Waters: Costa Rica’s Rio Pacuare [Motion Picture]. United States: Jeremy Jensen Media. Featured in Green Unplugged Film Festival June 15, 2015- January 2, 2016.

Perry, D.M. (in preparation) “Legible Rivers, Resilient Rivers: Lessons in Adaptation for the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.”

Perry, D.M. (in preparation) “Hydropower Capital and Policy Matters: the nexus of climate change, energy development, and conservation in Costa Rica’s Rio Pacuare.”

Perry, D.M. and Ptak, T. (in preparation). “Regional integration through hydropower development: a trans-pacific comparison of Central America and Southeast Asia.”


Screening Poster

The documentary Troubled Waters: Costa Rica’s Rio Pacuare, influenced a presidential policy decreeing 25 years of no large dams on the Pacuare and Savegre Rivers. While I wasn’t able to travel to the event, I was interviewed by reporters. The film was featured in the Green Unplugged on-line film festival from June 2015-January 2016 and is available on the  International Rivers website as a resource for river conservation advocates around the globe. You can also watch the documentary here:  Troubled Waters .

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