Alexander “Sam” Fernald is knee deep in water research. The interim director of the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute is leading a multi-institutional, five-year National Science Foundation project centered on a group of acequia (community irrigation) systems and their surrounding watersheds in northern New Mexico.
The $1.4 million research project will study “the human management, physical structures, and changes in the watersheds and will communicate the successes of these shared methods for dealing with water scarcity,” Fernald said.
Fernald’s research focus includes the land use effects of infiltration, runoff, sediment yield and nonpoint source pollution. He is also looking at the effects of surface water/groundwater exchange on water availability and water quality.
- NSF, “Natural and Human Dynamics of Acequia Systems Innovation Working Group,” 2009
- NSF, “Mountain Snow Hydrology for Rio Grande Water Supply Modeling and Forecasting,” 2008-2013
- USDA, “Traditional Irrigation System Effects on Surface Water—Groundwater Interactions in the Rio Grande Basin,” 2008-2011
Fernald is a professor in the Department of Animal and Range Sciences. He earned his bachelor’s degree in international research conservation from Stanford University, his master’s degree in water and air resources from Duke University and his Ph.D. in watershed science from Colorado State University.
New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute
NMSU receives NSF grant to study link between acequia hydrology, culture, ecosystem
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