My research interests are in the areas of groundwater and surface water hydrology, numerical modeling to understand hydrologic exchanges, and in the use of shallow subsurface geophysics to characterize shallow aquifer systems in urban settings.
Groundwater and surface water systems in urban areas are often highly transformed by urbanization. Changes in land use affect runoff and infiltration processes, and changes in municipal water supply sources cause aquifer drawdown and recovery. Baseflow in streams that has been reduced by long-term groundwater pumping can recover as the water table rebounds. This is the case in the largely urbanized area in Queens.
Water quality in urban estuaries depends on the amounts and quality of surface water and groundwater discharge into them. In both Flushing Bay and Alley Creek/Little Neck Bay on the north shore of Queens, water quality has been severely degraded by many decades of discharges from combined sewer overflows (CSO). However, major improvements are currently being made in the stormwater infrastructure to retain and treat these CSO discharges. At the same time, groundwater discharge is projected to increase from the rebounding water table, since current municipal supply is no longer from the aquifer but primarily from the upstate reservoir and aqueduct system. With several graduate students, I am currently studying salinity and water quality changes in the Alley Pond Park wetlands as a result of these changes.
My interest in geological heterogeneity and how it affects groundwater flow, previously applied to bedrock aquitards in Wisconsin, has now shifted to the issue of water resources and natural gas drilling in the Marcellus shale. I am also interested in shallow aquifers in urbanized environments. Up to 20% of the land surface in NYC is composed of artificial fill that has replaced tidal wetlands. Groundwater discharges through these materials, about which little is known. Subsurface geophysical methods, such as ground penetrating radar (GPR) and earth resistivity, can be used to image these sediments. I am interested in using these technologies to distinguish different types of materials, natural and anthropogenic, and understand their impact on groundwater quality.Teaching Philosophy and Interests
My teaching interests are natural resources and environment, surface and groundwater hydrology, shallow subsurface geophysics, and field methods in environmental sciences.