Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Urban stream work with Inter-fluve.

Nobody's measured it, but I'm sure tens of thousands of miles of small urban channels have the unresolved problems I study.

I've just finished a couple of days in the field with Nick Nelson of Inter-fluve.  We're doing a geomorphic study of a small municipality in northern St. Louis County.  The EPA-funded project will help them preserve and restore environmental values in a small creek, resolve infrastructure problems, and, most importantly, have a sustainable plan.

Most of this community was built in the 1940's and 50's and has problems typical for the time--stormwater and even sanitary sewers were added late, weren't built properly, and the creeks are a Frankensteinian mix of public and private stabilization projects.  In the top photo you can see some of this, and yep, that is a utility pole set in the middle of the creek. 

We recorded reaches where more than 98% of the bed materials were anthropogenic:  concrete rubble, glass, asphalt, displaced riprap stones, even well rounded chert gravel mined from big rivers miles away and dumped on banks.  Beyond understanding the urban geomophology, we have to consider how it might all be fixed, things like access for construction; many of the houses are too close together to admit heavy equipment.  In St. Louis houses have been condemned and torn down so sections of creek could be stabilized. 

Last night Nick and I met with the City Council and about 25 residents, and in spite of the inevitable conflict and emotion over who's responsible when houses are falling into the creek, I enjoyed it very much, partly because it's a good use of my expertise, but mostly because both the citizens and aldermen impressed me greatly with their courage, character, and civility. 

It was cold, and we broke ice most of the time, surveying nearly a mile of creek.  We went underground, and there encountered a sewage spill--this municipality has a combined stormwater/sanitary system.  These are being phased out for good reason.

Here you can see Nick at the end of a long culvert, and also as we survey a section of stream with complex responses to multiple impacts; an undersized culvert outlet, displaced undersized rip rap.  You can't see the two houses 10 meters (to the left) above him, tenuously held by a rotting wooden retaining wall.  You can see the invasive shrubs and vines doing their best to kill the trees.  Another variable.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Our big NSF proposal, blog neglect.

One more day and we'll have our massive NSF proposal submitted to the Course Curriculum and Lab Improvement (CCLI) progam.  The time we have six PIs at SIUC, me and LRRD, and no less than nine "node" institutions participating.  Cara and I coordinated most of that, and did most of the rewrite this time (you can tell because my name's the largest).  I couldn't be more happy with this submission, it's awesome, and I think this will be the year.  It's a hell of a try, regardless.  More later.

And also this week we're submitting to Missouri's USEPA 319 program with a somewhat similar project.  We're proposing to site ~24 Em2 models around the state at schools, NGO's and Department of Conservation offices.  Models at the MDC offices will be loaners. And we'll develop video suppliments and G5-12 curricula for them.  This would dovetail beautifully with the NSF work, which focuse on undergraduate curriculum for movable-bed models (MBMs).

And of course all of this is why you haven't seem much of me here lately.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Yosemite time lapse

People in Yosemite: A TimeLapse Study from Steven M. Bumgardner on Vimeo.
I've been neglecting this blog, but with good excuses--we have two huge proposals  due in a couple of weeks (one with 17 collaborators at 11 institutions!), year-end business stuff, just too many other things for me to keep up!

So much going on.  The Carleton College NSF-funded SERC site has hosted several of my videos in full resolution.  And many thanks to BrianR for a guest post over at Clastic Detritus.   I'm working with some wonderful designers to adapt our models for museums.  We are writing proposals to NSF and also for EPA 319 funding in Missouri.

Here's a very cool video; People in Yosemite: A time lapse study from Steven M. Bumgardner on Vimeo (via The Daily Dish).   For years I've wanted to do something similar on Ozark National Scenic Riverways, where this video was shot. You can float that beautiful river in March and hardly see a soul. On a summer weekend, it's like Daytona Beach on spring break.