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Graduate Student Named USGS Fellow

Lise Montefiore was awarded a 2020 USGS National Climate Adaptation Science Center (NCASC) Science to Action Fellowship. Her research, advised by assistant professor Natalie Nelson, investigates how land use and climate change impact water quality and hydrology processes in the United States’ coastal watersheds.

As part of the fellowship, she will spend about two months at the Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center in Massachusetts this fall to develop an interactive web-based decision-support tool as part of the last chapter of her dissertation, under the guidance of Dr. Natalie Nelson, that focuses on estimating estuarine vulnerability to water quality change under potential future climate and land use scenarios.

“Estuarine systems support numerous coastal communities,” explains Montefiore. “However, these systems are facing many adverse impacts (e.g., land-use and climate change) that can alter their ecosystem healths. I think it is essential to understand how and where these changes can affect water quality of the U.S. estuarine systems to inform natural managers and decision-makers.”

The fellowship will give her the resources needed to maximize the benefits of her research.

“During this time I will work with Dr. Michelle Staudinger who has expertise in climate adaptation strategies for coastal ecosystems, vulnerability assessments, and in designing decision support tools,” Montefiore notes. “I also see this fellowship as a continuity of the training I received during my Global Change Fellowship with the Southeast CASC.”

As part of the fellowship, she plans to develop a national-scale, interactive, web-based data visualization application displaying the vulnerability of U.S. estuarine systems to projected water quality change.

“I hope this application will provide resource managers with science- based information with which to formulate management actions needed to reduce future degradation of estuarine systems and allow decision-makers to anticipate where the impacts to estuaries may be greatest under future conditions,” Montefiore says.