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The Big Picture - Water

Volume 14 | Number 2 | January 2013

By Steve Kiggins
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What happens to water when it falls from the sky?

How does oil and gas development, climate variability and pine beetle outbreaks impact water?

How can Wyoming get the most out of its water for decades to come?

The Wyoming Center for Environmental Hydrology and Geophysics (WyCEHG) is working on the answers.

The multidisciplinary center at the University of Wyoming, established in July 2012 as part of the single largest grant in university history, a five-year, $20 million award from the National Science Foundation to Wyoming EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research), encompasses new physical and intellectual infrastructure that enables a comprehensive research program linking surface and subsurface watershed hydrology, geophysics, remote sensing and computational modeling.

Steve Holbrook (Department of Geology and Geophysics) and Scott Miller (Department of Ecosystem Science and Management) serve as the center’s co-directors.

The WyCEHG has three primary goals:

  • To improve understanding of mountain front hydrology by characterizing the processes that partition water into streams, soils, plants, rivers and aquifers in several locations throughout the state.

  • To improve understanding of how disturbances affect water flux by studying effects on hydrological systems from climate change, bark beetle infestations and energy extraction.

  • To improve integrated modeling of the fate and transport of water by creating integrated computer models that will provide the scientific knowledge and tools for improved prediction of hydrological processes.

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