Saturday, April 21, 2012

Emriver models in space!

 An Emriver Em2 has boldly gone where none has gone before!

One of our models was featured on the flight deck of Blast Beyond, a space-themed children’s science show on PBS affiliate KCOS-13 in El Paso, Tex.

J.R. Lujan and Martin Christiansen, National Park Service Rangers from the Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso, taught “cadets” on the show about river habitats, morphology and the effects of building in a watershed.

The El Paso Emriver is helping teach lessons in history, too.  In that region, a hundred-year-long border dispute was the result of the Rio Grande River migrating to the south after a flood, moving Mexican land to the United States side.

The Chamizal National Memorial commemorates the peace treaty that settled the border dispute in 1963.
In the El Paso-Ciudad Juarez region, “river movement plays a big part in the story that we share,” Mr. Lujan told us.

Watch the episodes of Blast Beyond featuring the Emriver here and here.  We had a blast watching them in our office.  The amazing host, Captain Rob, keeps kids engaged and kept us entertained.  Don't miss his ultra-campy Captain Kirk imitation.

Thanks to J.R. Lujan for letting us know what he’s been up to!  We're always thrilled to see our models at work in the field!

By Alee Quick.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Grazie professore Zolezzi!

Steve, Guido Zolezzi and Christina talk around the Em3 in the Morris
Library rotunda on SIU campus.
Last week we helped SIU-Carbondale’s NSF-funded IGERT program welcome Guido Zolezzi for a special lecture.  Dr. Zolezzi is a professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Trento in Italy.

Dr. Zolezzi heads the European SMART (Science for Management of Rivers and their Tidal Systems) program, an interdisciplinary doctoral partnership much like SIUC’s IGERT program.

He gave a fascinating talk on the downstream effects of dam releases in European rivers.  His work has been recently published in various issues of  Ecohydrology and River Research and Applications and includes study of thermal effects of power plants, thermal peaking on inverts, and upstream aggradation related to channel expansion.

I thought I understood urban rivers, but Dr. Zolezzi's research on the Kugart River, in the Kyrgyz Republic, a great story of how Cold-War Soviet engineers struggled with design of a high-bedload urban channel, changed my view of urban channel hydraulics and sediment transport.  Map link here.

A fantastic speaker in English and a charming man, Dr. Zolezzi is  currently on sabbatical at Texas A & M University. 

We set up an Emriver Em3 in SIUC’s Morris Library for a pre-lecture reception; we had a wonderful talk with Dr. Zolezzi there.

Thanks to our colleagues at SIUC for organizing this meeting, especially Nicholas Pinter.

Here are recent publications.  I could not find a comprehensive list in English, these are from Dr. Zolezzi's CV in Italian(PDF):

Zolezzi, G., Siviglia, A., Toffolon, M., Maiolini, B. 2010. Thermopeaking in Alpine streams: event characterization and time scales. Ecohydrology. DOI: 10.1002/eco.132 (In corso di stampa)

Luchi, R., Zolezzi, G., Tubino, M. 2010. Modelling mid-channel bars in meandering rivers. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. DOI: 10.1002/esp.1947

Luchi, R., Hooke, J.M., Zolezzi, G., Bertoldi, W. 2010. Width variations and mid-channel bar inception in meanders: River Bollin (UK). Geomorphology. 119, 1–8. doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2010.01.010.

Zolezzi, G., Bellin, A., Bruno, M. C., Maiolini, B., Siviglia A., 2009, Assessing hydrological alterations at multiple temporal scales: Adige River, Italy, Water Resources. Research., 45, W12421, doi:10.1029/2008WR007266.

Bertoldi, W., Gurnell, A., Surian, N., Tockner, K., Zanoni, L., Ziliani, L., Zolezzi, G. 2009.
Understanding reference processes: linkages between river flows, sediment dynamics and vegetated landforms along the Tagliamento River, Italy. River Research and Applications, DOI:10.1002/rra.1233.

Zolezzi, G., Luchi, R. and Tubino, M. 2009, Morphodynamic regime of gravel bed, single-thread meandering rivers, J. Geophys. Res., 114, F01005, doi:10.1029/2007JF000968..

Siviglia, A., Repetto, R., Zolezzi, G. And Tubino, M. 2008 River bed evolution due to channel expansion: general behaviour and application to a case study (Kugart River, Kyrgyz Republic).River Research and Applications 24 (9),1272 - 1287, DOI: 10.1002/rra.1095.

NOTE:  Edited by Steve Gough on April 20; a few errors corrected and links to citations added.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Em2 number 100 ships!

Last week we shipped Emriver Em2 number 100 to Oglala Lakota College in South Dakota.

Our geomodels now reach thousands of people -- students, citizens, and decision-makers.

Six years ago, when I was building these models in our garage, my wife, Kate, said, “give your river models to the world.”   She knew this would be a labor of love, not profit. 

She was right, and in 2007, reluctantly, I gave up my well-paying consulting work and we bought a building and hired a few people to help. 

Then the economy tanked, and education budgets were slashed.  The first two years were exciting but terrible for me.   Stress and hard work landed me in the hospital in 2008.

For nearly five years we saw only losses.  Kate’s work as a pharmacist supported us.  NSF and others rejected our grant proposals.

We pushed past these hard times, and now we are a world-class force for science and river conservation education.

Little River Research & Design will be 20 years old this summer.   I’m told bosses aren’t supposed to, but I consider every one of my employees a friend, and am proud of them without reservation.

And proud of my Kate, who pushed me to do this. 

And thankful to the colleagues and friends around the world who’ve helped.

You know who you are.  Special thanks to my 1980s Missouri Department of Conservation colleagues, where we conceived these models, and to the people of Missouri who funded it.  The final photo here is of a circa 1990 river model we built there; it's filled with crushed walnut shells.

View Emriver geomodels in a larger map