Faculty

Veronica Acosta-​Martinez

Dr. Acosta-Martinez’s research is focused on evaluating and documenting soil quality/​health and the development, validation, and interpretation of soil health indicators under different crop management systems in the semiarid-​sandy soils of the Southern High Plains.

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Jonathan Aguilar

The major emphasis of Dr. Aguilar’s work is in technology development and management related to irrigated agriculture in western Kansas. He has a working background in GIS, remote sensing, database management, soil and water conservation, watershed modeling, hydrology, environmental assessment, water quality, lithology, and well drilling.

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Lal K. Almas

Dr. Almas’ research interests include production agriculture, environmental and resource economics, agribusiness analysis, water management and planning, economic impact assessment and policy analysis, statistical methods and agricultural marketing and trade. Dr. Almas has served as principal investigator conducting research on economic optimization and water policy modeling research efforts for many years through the USDA-​ARS funded Ogallala Aquifer Program.

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Allan A. Andales

Dr. Andales is an Agricultural Engineer focused on conserving soil and water resources in agricultural systems. His research team quantifies the effects of management practices and environmental factors on field hydrology and agricultural production. Experimental data are used to develop computer models and decision support tools that can improve agricultural water use efficiency and water quality. Dr. Andales engages the public in addressing agricultural water issues in Colorado.

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Brent Auvermann

Dr. Auvermann specializes in water quality, air quality, manure and mortality management, and biomass energy as they pertain to beef and dairy production in confinement. His projects focus on feedyard and dairy manure management, production and land application of composted manure, dust and odor abatement, feedyard dust characterization, and air pollution policy analysis.

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Ryan Bailey

Dr. Bailey is a groundwater hydrologist focused on the sustainability of watershed management practices in regards to water quantity and water quality. His research group studies groundwater availability, the movement of nutrients and trace elements in groundwater systems, and groundwater-​surface water interactions at a variety of spatial scales. 

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Jim Bordovsky

Dr. Bordovsky’s research focus is irrigation system design and management for water and energy conservation. Dr. Bordovsky is interested in developing tools and management systems that assist in the transition from irrigated to dryland agriculture.

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José L. Chávez

Dr. Chávez is an irrigation engineer with expertise in irrigation water management, crop/​vegetation water consumptive use (evapotranspiration, ET) determination and modeling, use of remote sensing for mapping ET, irrigation scheduling, irrigation systems design, drainage and wetlands engineering, and precision irrigation.

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Daniel L. Devlin

Dr. Devlin is a Professor of Agronomy. He currently serves as the Director of the Kansas Center for Agricultural Resources and the Environment and the Kansas Water Resources Institute at Kansas State University. His responsibilities include coordinating and enhancing research, extension, and teaching initiatives pertaining to new and emerging environmental issues from an agricultural perspective. 

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Rajan Ghimire

Dr. Ghimire is a cropping systems specialist interested in improving sustainability of cropping systems. His research focuses on soil organic carbon and nutrient dynamics, soil carbon sequestration, soil-​plant relations, greenhouse gas emissions, soil organic matter and microbial community interactions, and their soil microbial relationships with nutrient cycling and other ecosystem services.

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Chris Goemans

Dr. Goemans is an agricultural economist whose research focuses on the allocation and management of scarce resources, specifically water. 

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Bill Golden

Dr. Golden assists farmers, policy makers, and other stakeholders throughout Kansas in developing and implementing policies associated with the State’s natural resources. His current research and extension efforts involve evaluating producer and community impacts associated with alternative water conservation policies and the impacts of climate change.

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Prasanna Gowda

Dr. Gowda serves as a supervisory soil scientist for the Forage and Livestock Production Research Unit at the USDA-​ARS Grazinglands Research Laboratory El Reno, OK. He conducts research in forage and rangeland management, remote sensing, water resources management, and greenhouse gas emissions in the Southern Great Plains. 

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Bridget Guerrero

Dr. Guerrero’s research interests include socioeconomic modeling, water policy, production agriculture, and renewable energy. She is originally from Vega, Texas where her family farms.

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Andrew S. Jones

Andrew Jones is a satellite meteorologist working with hydrometeorological remote sensing applications for improved crop production and water use efficiency. He is an Assistant Director of the CSU Innovation Center for Sustainable Agriculture (ICSA), where he works with Big Data analytics and satellites on large-​scale collaborative problems.

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Isaya Kisekka

Dr. Kisekka’ s research program focuses on developing precision irrigation technologies, agricultural water management strategies for improving water productivity, and profitability of water limited cropping systems. 

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Xiaomao Lin

Dr. Lin is an agricultural climatologist. His research focus includes climate modeling applications, climate impacts on crop systems, and bio-​atmospheric interactions.

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Dale Manning

Dr. Manning uses econometrics and optimization tools to understand the use and value of natural resources, including water, land, fish, firewood, and other energy resources. He is particularly interested in the relationship between natural resources such as water, climate change, and economic development, considering the economic linkages that tie resource value into broader, local economies.

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Mark Marsalis

Mark Marsalis’s main research focus is on mitigating the impact of drought and low water supplies on forage producers in grazing, hay and silage systems.

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Donna Mitchell McCallister

Dr. McCallister is an agricultural economist at Texas Tech University. Her research interests include water conservation and policy, sustainability, food security, and climate change.

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Dana Porter

Dr. Porter is responsible for developing and implementing research and educational programs on irrigation technologies, water management and quality, and efficient use of water related to crop production. Her primary goal is to develop, adapt and evaluate technologies and practices that support water conservation and mitigate impacts of limited and declining water quality and quantity in agricultural systems.

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P.V. Vara Prasad

Dr. Prasad is an agronomist whose research focuses on understanding responses of food crops to climate change factors and developing crop, water and soil management strategies for efficient use of inputs and to improve crop yields. 

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Chittaranjan Ray

Dr. Ray is the director of Nebraska Water Center and professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Nebraska. His research group studies water productivity of irrigated agriculture, surface-​ground water interaction modeling, and soil and ground water contamination in agricultural settings.

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Charles Rice

Dr. Rice’s research focuses on the relationships between soil quality and soil microbiology. Dr. Rice is the recipient of many awards for his work, including the Nobel Peace Prize for his involvement as a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the 2015 International Educator of the Year.

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Danny Rogers

Dr. Roger works to promote, direct, and conduct effective extension educational programs in the area of water resources management, including both quantity and quality issues, concentrating on agricultural production. 

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Daran R. Rudnick

Dr. Rudnick is an assistant professor of Biological Systems Engineering at the University of Nebraska-​Lincoln, specializing in irrigation/​water management and is located at the West Central Research and Extension Center in North Platte, Nebraska. His research interests are full and deficit irrigation management, soil water monitoring technologies, water and nitrogen interactions, and crop water uptake dynamics.

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Matthew R. Sanderson

Dr. Sanderson is a social scientist with interests in population, environment, and development. His recent research focuses on the social aspects of natural resource use and conservation. 

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Meagan Schipanski

OWCAP Project Co-Director

Dr. Schipanski is an agroecologist focused on developing more resilient cropping systems. Her research group studies water, carbon and nutrient cycling, plant-​soil interactions and soil organic matter dynamics from rhizosphere to landscape scales.

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Alan Schlegel

Dr. Schlegel is an agronomist and soil scientist based at a field research center in western KS. His primary research efforts have focused on water and nutrient management strategies for cropping systems in a semi-​arid environment. 

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Joel Schneekloth

Mr. Schneekloth focuses on crop and irrigation management practices in limited water agricultural systems. 

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Karina Schoengold

Dr. Schoengold is a natural resource economist focused on water resource management. Her research examines the impact of alternative water management policies on land and water use decisions, the role of irrigation in managing climate risk, and the adoption of conservation practices.

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Jordan Suter

Dr. Suter is an environmental and natural resource economist whose research focuses on groundwater use behavior and conservation policies and the development of policies designed to improve water quality. 

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Venki Uddameri

Dr. Uddameri is a professor in the department of civil, environmental and construction engineering at Texas Tech University. His research is focused on sustainable water resources management in groundwater dependent and agriculturally dominant environments (GRADES).

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Jason Warren

Jason Warren is the Oklahoma Soil and Water Conservation/​Management Extension Specialist. His extension program focuses on evaluating and demonstrating conservation management practices with respect to their impact on agronomic productivity and economic viability as well as Oklahoma’s soil and water resources.

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Reagan Waskom

OWCAP Co-​Director

Dr. Waskom’s current research emphasis is on the integrated use of surface and groundwater, the impacts of shale gas development on water resources, and agricultural water conservation in the Colorado River basin and Ogallala Aquifer.

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Chuck West

Dr. Chuck West is a forage ecophysiologist concentrating on water relations, nitrogen dynamics, plant-​microbial symbioses in forage species, and grass growth modeling in pasture systems. He has extensive experience with switchgrass as a bioenergy crop, and has worked in Morocco, Bolivia, France, and New Zealand of forage projects. Dr. West was on the agronomy faculty at the University of Arkansas for 28 years before joining Texas Tech University in 2012 to lead plant and soil science aimed at sustainable land and water use in the High Plains. 

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Postdocs

Pradip Adhikari

Dr. Adhikari a postdoctoral research associate at Oklahoma State University. His areas of research interest are soil water and irrigation management in different land use system under changing climate by conducting field experiment and using statistical and cropping system modeling tools. Currently, he is calibrating and validating DSSAT-​CSM for some of the major crops (cotton, maize, sorghum and winter wheat) grown in the Texas High Plains (THP) using long term crop management data to simulate future crop ET, crop yield and irrigation management.


Araya A. Berhe

Dr. Berhe is a postdoctoral research associate at Kansas State University. His area of specialization is on application of agro-​meteorological techniques and crop modeling for improving water productivities and reducing drought risk. Currently his research focuses on developing water limited cropping systems, improving irrigation water management, developing optimal irrigation water strategy and developing climate smart adaptation strategy. 


Amanda Cano

Dr. Cano is a post-​doctoral research associate working in the department of Plant and Soil Science at Texas Tech University and USDA-​ARS, Lubbock. Her research is focused on improving water use efficiency and soil health/​quality by identifying better management practices which conserve water while keeping an effective crop yield. Through her work in science, she is interested in sustaining our resources and the natural environment for future generations.



Erin Haacker

Dr. Haacker is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Nebraska-​Lincoln. Her work involves groundwater and soil modeling of the Northern High Plains Aquifer in Nebraska, where stakeholders including several of the Nebraska Natural Resource Districts are interested in assessments and predictions of water resource availability for irrigation and ecosystem support.


Vaishali Sharda

Dr. Sharda’s is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Nebraska-​Lincoln. She is studying crop variability in the Ogallala aquifer region in response to factors like climate, soils and farming practices with an aim of designing decision support systems for producers and stakeholders using tools like GIS, and concepts of agrometeorology and climatology. 


Sumit Sharma

Dr. Sharma will be studying various irrigation treatment on corn in the Southern Great Plains region. This work will aims at irrigation optimization for different yield goals of corn in the semi-​arid Southern Great Plains, where crops largely depend upon the Ogallala aquifer for irrigation. The work will help in judicious use of water from the Ogallala aquifer and water conservation in the long-term.



Sreeram Singaraju

Dr. Singaraju is a post-​doctoral research associate engineer in the Water Resources Center of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering at the Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX. His research interests include use of data analysis to study the impacts of droughts and climate change on availability and management of water resources in groundwater dependent arid and semi – arid regions of the world and understanding, developing and solving mathematical models for surface water and groundwater systems.


Yongjun Zhang

Dr. Zhang has specific modeling experience with general circulation models (GCMs) and regional climate models (RCMs). I have used the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Earth System Model (CESM) and the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model to explore the sensitivity of the climate system to different forcing mechanisms. My current work is to use WRF to derive high-​resolution climate change scenarios for the Great Plains.



Students

Aaron Hrozencik

Mr. Hrozencik is a PhD student at Colorado State University. His research focuses on evaluating the economic impacts of differing groundwater conservation policies. He integrates the disciplines of economics and hydrology to understand how the physical attributes of the Ogallala aquifer influence the distribution of policy costs and benefits across users. These results can be used to inform the creation of effective management policies that account for the feedback that exists between economic and hydrologic systems in the rural economies that rely on the Ogallala’s groundwater resources.


Stephen Lauer

Stephen Lauer is pursuing a PhD in Sociology at Kansas State University. Mr. Lauer’s research focuses on the role of values, motivations, and civic engagement in water management on the High Plains. 


Kellen L. Liebsch

Ms. Liebsch is an economist for the Kansas Department of Agriculture. She has spent her professional career dedicated to government service in the agriculture industry. She works to ensure that economic analysis and the impact of the agriculture, food, and food processing sectors are disseminated to stakeholders and the general public, as well as administers multiple federal grant programs. As a life-​long Kansan, her family also owns and operates a cattle ranching operation in south central Kansas. 



Himmy Lo

Mr. Lo is a PhD student at the University of Nebraska-​Lincoln. He is working on projects investigating 1) calibration and evaluation of soil moisture sensors, 2) application of ground-​based and aerial crop canopy sensors for measuring water and nitrogen stresses, and 3) site-​specific integrated management of fertigation and deficit irrigation.


Cullen McGovern

Mr. McGovern is an MSc student at Colorado State University. He is working to incorporate low-​cost sensors and short-​term forecast data into the W.I.S.E. irrigation scheduling tool (see wise​.colostate​.edu/). Improving this tool will help farmers better understand both their current water status and their future water needs.


Soheil Nozari

Mr. Nozari is pursuing his PhD in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado State University. His main focus of research is on surface water-​groundwater coupled models (SWAT-​MODFLOW). SWAT and MODFLOW models are linked to obtain a comprehensive hydrologic model that makes it possible to predict groundwater head values spatially and temporally under different scenarios. Currently, he is applying this research to watersheds located in central parts of the Ogallala aquifer (Republican River Basin and southwestern Kansas).



Agustín Núñez

Mr. Núñez is a PhD student at Colorado State University. His is focused on soil quality changes during the transition from irrigated to dryland cropping systems in the Ogallala Aquifer Region. The results from this research will advance our understanding of the interaction between water management, soil health and crop production and will help identify effective cropping system management practices for improving water use efficiency. 


Saeedeh Ravan Shad

Ms. Ravan Shad is a PhD student at the University of Nebraska-​Lincoln. Her work in natural resource management is mostly focused on mathematical modeling aimed to find the optimal level of groundwater use in the Ogallala aquifer region. 


Garvey Smith

Garvey Smith is an MSc student at Colorado State University. His research interests include agricultural water management, agro-​meteorology, crop and environmental modeling. He is currently working on: 1) improving the accuracy and functionality of the cloud-​based WISE irrigation scheduling tool (Water Irrigation Scheduler for Efficient application) for the Republican River basin and other parts of the Ogallala aquifer and 2) implementing, calibrating and validating select cropping systems using the DSSAT cropping system model. 



Vesh Thapa

Mr. Thapa is studying the effect of reduced tillage and crop diversification on soil conservation and sustainable dryland crop production in New Mexico. His research compares soil health indicators such as active carbon ©, mineralizable C, available nitrogen (N), soil aggregation, and crop yields under different tillage practices and cover crops used in dryland systems. In addition, Mr. Thapa is studying profile distribution of soil water and available N in grasslands, with and without cattle grazing, and fields managed using different tillage systems.


Zaichen Xiang

Zaichen Xiang is currently a Ph.D student at Colorado State University working with Dr. Ryan Bailey in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Shanghai Ocean University and his Master’s Degree from Northeastern University. His research focuses on groundwater sustainability in the Ogallala Aquifer Region through coupled agronomic-​groundwater modeling. Currently, he is working with the Ogallala Water CAP team for the linkage between MODFLOW and DSSAT models to assess management strategies for groundwater use sustainability.


Zachary Zambreski

Mr. Zambreski is a PhD student at Colorado State University. He is modeling the effects of extreme temperature and climate on winter wheat, sorghum, and maize to assess impacts on crop yields in the High Plains. These models are used in combination with multiple seasonal and long-​term projections of downscaled precipitation and temperature to forecast crop production. In addition, he uses multiple drought indices to assess historical, near real-​time and projected drought variability at local and regional levels for drought risk management.



Staff

Amy Kremen

Amy is OWCAP’s Project Manager. She has worked in agriculture for nearly two decades as a farmer, researcher, writer, editor and policy consultant in the U.S. and Canada. She earned her MSc in soil science studying nitrogen capture and turnover from Brassica cover crops.


Morgan Marley

Morgan Marley is a current graduate student at Colorado State University pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Communication and Technology. She moved to continue her education in Colorado after receiving a Bachelor’s in Agricultural Communications from the University of Arkansas. Although her true passion lies in the beef industry, she loves everything agriculture and hopes to have a career in the agricultural industry utilizing her strengths in communication. 


Lacey Moore

Lacey is a Master’s student at Colorado State University, working towards earning a degree in Agriculture and Resource Economics. She earned an Bachelor’s in Environmental Economics and Policy and GIS certificate from Oregon State University. Before starting her graduate program, Lacey acquired professional experience working cooperatively with landowners to allocate water for the benefit of agriculturalists and native fish species. Lacey’s research is focused on using indirect market techniques to assess how changes in aquifer levels impact the value of agricultural water.



Beth Plombon

Beth is a Master’s student in the Department of Sociology at Colorado State University. She is also a research assistant for the Colorado Water Institute and CSU Water Center where she is investigating collaborative, community-​based resource management on the Poudre River and arid-​West, including agricultural water conservation. Beth also manages the Ag Water Conservation website (agwaterconservation​.colostate​.edu/), a compilation of information about water conservation in agriculture from around the world, with a particular focus on the semi-​arid and arid western United States.