Paper on water and wildfire named runner-up in case study competition
A PhD student and professor at Colorado School of Mines were named runners-up in the 2019 Case Studies in the Environment Prize Competition for their paper on protecting water resources in the aftermath of wildfires.
Kyle Blount, a PhD student in hydrologic science and engineering, and Adrianne Kroepsch, assistant professor of humanities, arts and social sciences, co-authored the paper “Improving the Resilience of Water Resources after Wildfire through Collaborative Watershed Management: A Case Study from Colorado,” which was one of three runners-up in the annual competition. The journal Case Studies in the Environment publishes research-based environmental case studies for teaching at the university level.
Blount and Kroepsch’s case study focused on collaborative problem-solving to protect water resources in the aftermath of wildfires upstream of Fort Collins, Colorado, which threatened the water supply of several Front Range communities.
Their case study introduced students to the impacts that wildfires have on water resources, as well as the challenges associated with managing those risks. Specifically, it explored the role that collaborative stakeholder groups are playing in addressing water resources problems at the scale of the watershed despite fragmented governance at that level.
This line of inquiry is increasingly significant as collaborative watershed management groups proliferate in the United States, in many instances catalyzed by a disaster. Ultimately, the case explored how collaborative watershed groups emerge and the role they play in tackling long-term, multi-jurisdictional, watershed-scale management challenges.
“We thought this was an extremely valuable contribution to the journal’s collection of case studies, addressing issues of water resource conflict with ramifications for many similar conflicts throughout the world,” journal editor Wil Burns wrote.