Professor and Graduate Group Chair
Catchment hydrology, forest management, natural tracers, stakeholder engagement, citizen science
Dr. Martha Conklin, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and member of the Environmental Systems Graduate Group, joined UC Merced in 2003 as one of the Founding Faculty. Dr. Conklin studies montane catchment hydrology, specializing in the water movement and the interaction of surface water and groundwater in natural settings. She has published widely on contaminant hydrology of surface and groundwaters, chemical processes in natural waters, and processes controlling water balances in forested and mountain catchments. Her current research focuses on how forest-management actions affect stream discharge in headwater catchments, assessing how better hydrologic data will improve river modeling and forecasting, and determining groundwater contributions to stream flow using natural tracers and modeling. She has pioneered the development and use of distributed measurements in catchment hydrology. Using innovative methods to determine travel times (isotopic tracers), sediment load (load cells) and snow depth (acoustic sounders) and deploying them in high elevation basins, her group and collaborators are developing unique data sets. Using the Sierra Nevada as a laboratory, with others, she is developing a “whole-basin” approach to water-resources management: from headwater-catchment vegetation management to optimized reservoir operations to strategic agricultural water use. She has also led multiple K-12 and stakeholder educational programs in hydrology, including the international GLOBE program and multiple initiatives with local schools and non-profit organizations. Her degrees include a B.A. in Physics (Mount Holyoke Conklin), and M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering Science (California Institute of Technology).