I earned a Ph.D. in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation (FREC) at Virginia Tech. My co-advisors were Dr. W. Michael Aust and Dr. Kevin J. McGuire. I worked in the Forest Operations and Watershed Hydrology research groups. The bulk of my field work regarding sediment delivery at forest road-stream crossings was conducted at the Reynolds Homestead Forest Resources Research Center. I was a field research assistant for other studies in the Piedmont Physiographic Region of Virginia that evaluated the effectiveness of best management practices (BMPs) reducing sediment delivery.
In January 2015, I began working as a Post-doctoral Fellow in Forest Engineering at the University of Canterbury, in Christchurch, New Zealand. I work with Dr. Rien Visser and Dr. Hunter Harrill in supporting the program through research and teaching. I teach the Forest Transportation and Road Design course. I am interested in enhancing knowledge about the cost-effectiveness of BMPs to reduce sediment delivery from forest harvesting operations in New Zealand. The importance of this research is evidenced by the 2014 National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management, which requires New Zealand’s Regional Councils to adopt stricter rules for water quality protection. This includes setting limits on sediment loading, which requires the quantification of sediment delivery rates from major sources such as roads and stream crossings.
More stringent water quality standards means that forest growers will be held accountable for negative effects on water quality caused by forest operations. My research aims to present forest growers with effective and affordable means of controlling sediment delivery from major sources, while maintaining fit-for-purpose roads and complying with water quality regulations. Careful planning and design of road networks is critical to maintain cost-competitive forest harvesting operations in New Zealand, as approximately 1600 km of new roads will be constructed annually for the next 5-10 years.