News & Awards

Below is a collection of accomplishments by OSU water faculty and students. These items are also posted in H2OSU, the weekly campus water newsletter. To add to this list, please email


A new whitepaper by IWW and INR about Water and Wine in Oregon. (10/15/2012)

Water is Oregon’s most precious resource and the opportunity for vineyards to improve efficient irrigation beckons. The wine industry is answering that call through responsible stewardship of sustainable practices and great advancements in vineyard irrigation. The wine industry’s attention to sustainable practices reaps many ecological benefits including improved water and soil quality. Although there are many ways to approach water conservation, a standardized certification of efficient irrigation practices has yet to be implemented. Each land steward determines its own watering practices and many are based on conventional wisdom rather than empirical evidence. It is time for the wine producing and wine consuming community to collaborate in
addressing the most serious natural resource concern: Water Quantity Supply. It is imperative that all Oregon vineyards collaborate in practicing a standardized way of turning water into wine, efficiently!

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A new whitepaper by IWW on Bottled Water in Oregon (08/29/2012)

Bottled water is a big and controversial business. Over the past two decades it has grown and become a huge economic force. Bottlers say it is a healthy alternative to coffee, soft and energy drinks. Also they state that bottled water provides customers with clean and great tasting water. Opponents on the other hand say there is no significant difference between bottled and tap water. They note that almost half bottled water is in fact tap water. In addition to that they note the immense amount of plastic in the bottles, and the environmental impact derived from fabrication to disposal.

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Congratulations Water Resource Graduate Program Students for earning prestigious AWRA Scholarships! (08/21/2012)

Kim OgrenKim Ogren from the Geosciences Department received $2,000 and Luke Luke PanglePangle from the Forest Engineering Management and Resources Department received a $1,000 scholarship from the 2012-2013 Herbert Scholarship.




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Water and Climate in the Pacific Northwest, a white paper from IWW and OCCRI. (08/02/2012)

Water and climate in the Pacific Northwest are inextricably linked. This new white paper from IWW and the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute (OCCRI) explores how climate has changed and is projected to change during the 21st century, and the implications for water in the Pacific Northwest and greater western United States.

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2012 Water Resources Graduate Program Awards Winners Announced (06/11/2012)

Congratulations to the 2012 WRGP awards winners!

Kim Ogren (WRPM) won the Williamson Water Prize, which in addition to a certificate and the honor of being the award recipient provides the recipient with a $500 scholarship.

Julie Elkins Watson (WRPM) and Harmony Paulsen Burright (WRPM) both won the Faculty Excellence Award, which in addition to a certificate and the honor of being the award recipient provides the recipient with a $500 scholarship.

Rachel Lovellford (WRS) and Cally Whitman (WRS and WRPM) both won the Alumni Award, which in addition to a certificate and the honor of being the award recipient provides the recipient with a $250 scholarship.

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Message from Jeff McDonnell (06/11/2012)

Dear Hydrophiles,

It’s with mixed emotions that I say “goodbye” to OSU. I’m off to the University of Saskatchewan to take up a new appointment in the Global Institute for Water Security. I’ve enjoyed the past 12 ½ years at OSU immensely. Working with Hydrophiles and the Institute for Water and Watersheds has been the highlight. What we have here in water at OSU is second to none. I hope to take many of things I’ve learned at OSU to help build the water program in Saskatoon. I’ll continue an adjunct appointment in FERM for the foreseeable future and will seek, over the coming years, many new opportunities for Can-Am linkages through our respective programs (where I hope to continue to work with many of you).

Bye, for now! – Jeff McDonnell

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IWW sponsored student film about the Three Waters Program (a local water conservation project), including the first greywater project in Corvallis. (06/07/2012)

Rain Harvest Sign

WRGP student and IWW employee, Perry Morrow has produced a video, Water_Sustainability, which explores a number of Three Waters Program demonstration projects located at the first Alternative Natural Foods Co-op that are reducing municipal water use, and stormwater and wastewater discharge . The demonstration projects outlined in the video include high efficiency appliances, rainwater harvesting, and grey-water.  Three OSU engineering students (Dennis Peterson, Brittany Park and Jon Isaacs) highlighted in this video created the first official grey-water system in Corvallis!


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OSU's Hydrophiles Club Publishes 2012 Newsletter (05/14/2012)

Hydrophiles Happenings 2012 reviews and celebrates the 2011-2012 happenings of the Oregon State University Hydrophiles, OSU's Student Chapter of American Water Resources Association and the American Institute for Hydrology.  This year the club had 42 members from 10 different departments across campus.

The club's objective is to provide a forum for academic, professional, and social interaction among students, faculty, and other members of the Oregon State University community who share a common interest in all areas of water resources and hydrology, including science, policy, and engineering.

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OSU Team Wins EPA P3 Award for Their Proposal: Developing Sustainable Alternatives to Plastic Mulch (04/27/2012)

An Oregon State University team consisting of graduate students from the Water Resources Graduate Program and Biological and Ecological Engineering undergraduates competed in the EPA People, Prosperity and the Planet Sustainability Design Competition in Washington D.C. over the Earth Day Weekend and were one of 12 teams that won a Phase II award !  They also met with U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and participated in the Sustainability Design Expo where the 45 other Phase I award winners (out of 165 applicants)  exhibited their work and competed for Phase II awards.

Mulching is an agricultural practice that has been used for centuries, but now, instead of using biodegradable products such as straw as mulch, farmers use plastic sheeting to serve the same purposes (soil water retention, warming, and weed suppression). Globally, enough plastic sheeting is laid down each year that it would cover an area the size of the state of Washington, and when it is pulled up at the end of the growing season,  most of it either goes to landfills or is burned. Team member Mark Ingman has seen the pollution resulting from this practice first hand in China, as well as in the U.S.,  and produced a documentary film, “Following a Plastic Trail” on the subject that can be viewed on Planet Forward at:

The project “Developing Sustainable Alternatives to the Plastic Mulch Used in Agriculture” included efforts to raise awareness of the problems farmers face as a result of lack of disposal or recycling options for used plastic sheeting,  and testing (both in the field and in the laboratory) of commercially available mulch products along with a prototype mulch developed by the OSU  team that uses waste agricultural materials (flax and waste wool)  to replace plastic sheeting used extensively as an agricultural “mulch” around the world. 

Team members include:  Mark Ingman and Tucker Selko (WRPM), Kara DiFrancesco (WRE), Alison Doniger (WRS),  and BEE undergraduates Dustin DeGeorge, Courtney Holley, and Isaiah Miller.  Two other undergraduates (Michelle Anderson, Crop and Soil Science and Randi Ponce, Textiles science) were unable to travel to the Expo in D.C. but assisted on the Phase I project. The student team was advised by Mary Santelmann (College of Earth, Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences), with assistance from faculty members Hsiou-Lien Chen and Brigitte Cluver (Design and Human Environment), James Cassidy (Crop and Soil Science), and Kaichang Li (Wood Science and Engineering).   

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Oregon’s Water Markets, a new white paper from IWW and INR. (04/16/2012)

When it comes to developing, testing, and practicing solutions to environmental issues, Oregon is full of pioneers and innovators. Over the last decade Oregon has made remarkable progress using the environmental market approach to managing the quality and quantity of our water. Link to a document that explains environmental markets, how they work, and how Oregon is using this approach to protect our fresh water.

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