Skip to main content

Jack Kurki-Fox

Research Scholar

Weaver Administration Bldg 209


Ph.D. Biological and Agricultural Engineering North Carolina State University 2018

M.E. Civil Engineering University of Florida 2013

B.S. Civil Engineering University of Florida 2012


View all publications 


Date: 01/01/22 - 6/30/27
Amount: $2,092,237.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)

Rivers are the lifeblood of the communities throughout eastern North Carolina. The communities that occupy the edges of waterways owe their location and existence to the abundant resources provided by their corresponding rivers, tributaries, and floodplains. These natural features have made lasting physical and cultural impressions that continue to shape and influence both local community and greater region. Recognizing that rivers and communities are inseparable, the processes and products outlined in the following proposal are guided by a process referred to as a ????????????????floodprint????????????????????????????????? a landscape planning approach developed by the NC State University Coastal Dynamics Design Lab that addresses land/water relationships, including the powerful forces associated with flooding. The goal of each Community Floodprint is to help increase social and physical resilience within their respective focus area(s), specifically through recommending strategies that reduce flood risk, improve public safety, and enhance long-term environmental function within historically flood-prone areas. All aspects of the process aspire to co-create actionable plans used to attract resources that enable communities to forge ahead through the difficult tasks of rebuilding and preparing for future natural disasters.

Date: 02/01/23 - 1/31/25
Amount: $107,264.00
Funding Agencies: NCSU Southeast Climate Science Center

NC Sea Grant and NCSU BAE will participate in a multidisciplinary collaborative project led by the USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to develop quantitative, scenario-based modeling for the Roanoke River basin using publicly available models that are commonly specified for reservoirs. The overall purpose of the modeling effort will be to assess ongoing climate change, as well as key impacts, uncertainties, and risk to stakeholder values. Specific objectives of the project are to: (1) Identify changes in the timing, magnitude, duration, and frequency of decision-relevant inflows into Kerr Reservoir across the period of record; (2) Characterize the modeled inflows into Kerr Reservoir based on climate change scenarios from the USGS Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) for 1952-2099; (3) Assess past and future floodplain hydrology and floodplain inundation, incorporating PRMS results into Corps??? suite of models (HEC Reservoir Simulation Model, HEC RAS); (4) Examine implications for downstream floodplain vegetation and fisheries using the Corps??? spatial ecosystem process model and (5) Characterize risk of dam management and downstream restoration activities with projections of likely recurrence of high flow events within and across years. NC Sea Grant and NCSU BAE will run the hydrodynamic models and assess hydrology impacts in the basin.

Date: 02/01/18 - 1/31/25
Amount: $9,328,402.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Commerce (DOC)

The North Carolina Sea Grant College Program integrates three university functions ?????????????????? research, education and outreach ?????????????????? into a cohesive, innovative, program that addresses priorities of the state??????????????????s numerous coastal communities. These include, but are not limited to: communities of individuals located along the 300 miles of oceanfront shoreline and those within the 20 counties designated by the Coastal Area Management Act; coastal and estuarine water- and land-based industries; the vast natural environmental resources including the 2.3 million acres of estuarine habitat that provide important ecological and cultural resources for the entire state. North Carolina Sea Grant (NCSG) positions itself at this intersection of research and outreach, working to ensure results are translated to actionable information in support of the varied stakeholders invested in North Carolina??????????????????s coast. Taking discoveries, demonstrations and experiential knowledge developed by experts and delivering those results to identified audiences is a model our program embodies. These efforts support improved understanding and appreciation of the near-shore and coastal ocean environment and the sustainable use and development of its resources. We join other coastal and Great Lakes states in a national network of Sea Grant universities charged with meeting the needs of society in our home state, our regions, and the nation as a whole.

Date: 01/01/21 - 12/31/23
Amount: $189,737.00
Funding Agencies: NC Department of Transportation

Recent extreme rainfall events have revealed the transportation network??????????????????s vulnerabilities to road washouts. Currently, NC DOT reacts to these problems as are reported from the field. This inability to predict where washouts are likely to occur leads to long response times and inefficient positioning of resources. The availability of high quality statewide elevation data, historical rainfall records and advances in computer processing presents the opportunity to modify and develop programs to predict where washouts are likely to occur during extreme rainfall events. The purpose of this project is to develop models and test several approaches for predicting crossing washouts based on forecasted rainfall. A team of NCSU BAE engineers will first characterize and analyze historical washouts during extreme events. Then, detailed HEC-HMS models will be developed and calibrated and validated for one watershed in each physiographic region. A user interface will be created to run the models using forecasted rainfall, relate the predicted discharge to potential washouts using water surface elevation-discharge relationships, and then output the results for display in a GIS map. The model output for a large number of historical events will then be used to test different machine learning algorithms for their ability to predict discharge and potential washout locations. The information on historical washouts and the model predictions will be used to develop a network of ????????????????safe??????????????? routes for each watershed. The results will help determine if existing hydrologic models can be leveraged to accurately predict potential washout locations and to evaluate if machine learning technology can be employed for accurate flood prediction. This project has the potential to substantially enhance NC DOT??????????????????s ability to respond to storm events and position resources appropriately. Results will be disseminated in NC DOT meetings, a training workshop for NC DOT personnel, and through extension factsheets and academic publications.

Date: 09/16/20 - 1/31/23
Amount: $46,686.00
Funding Agencies: NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund

The proposed research will utilize geospatial and statistical analyses combined with water quality modeling to evaluate a large water quality database for streams located within the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. The data will be provided by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Stormwater Services (CMSWS) including 15 years of monthly grab samples, data from automated ISCO samplers, data collected at YSI monitoring stations and annual macroinvertebrate data. The overall goal of the proposed project is to identify future monitoring, management and planning decisions that North Carolina municipalities can employ to better protect and restore urban stream water quality. To achieve this goal, extensive statistical analyses and watershed modeling will be conducted. In addition, contemporary watershed models and watershed pollutant load estimation tools will be employed to individual sub-watersheds of specific stream sampling locations in order to identify which models and tools best predict water quality of Charlotte??????????????????s highly urbanized streams.

Date: 05/01/20 - 1/31/23
Amount: $49,979.00
Funding Agencies: NCSU Sea Grant Program

Plastics currently comprise the bulk of marine debris. Over the last decade, researchers have documented the proliferation of plastics (both macro and micro) in aquatic environments around the globe. However, little sampling and quantification of plastics in North Carolina coastal rivers and estuaries has been conducted. Recent research results vary considerably, both spatially and temporally, and sample collection procedures and reporting methods also differ widely. North Carolina Sea Grant in partnership with other university programs and environmental groups proposes to conduct a variety of field sampling protocols for both macro and micro plastics in the Neuse River Basin. Specifically, netting, trawling and/or regular trash removal from gridded sample sites will be implemented over a one year period at 15 US Geological Survey stream gage monitoring sites in the basin. The purpose of this effort is to better understand the concentration and loadings of plastics reaching the lower Neuse River and entering the Pamlico Sound. This work will enable us to determine the relative contributions based on the scale and land-use characteristics of the watersheds and the sampling protocols that best fit North Carolina waterways based on their size, flow and access.

Date: 10/25/19 - 7/31/22
Amount: $138,164.00
Funding Agencies: USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

NCSU will conduct streambank erosion studies along 16 eroded stream reaches in the Ridge and Valley (Clinch, Powell and Holston Rivers) and Blue Ridge (New River) physiographic regions of Virginia. The purpose of this work is to help prioritize implementation of conservation practices through the NRCS Working Lands for Wildlife and EQIP Program that will prioritized for protecting and improving habitat for the Eastern Hellbender population. The BANCS model (Bank Assessment for Non-point Source Consequences of Sediment) and annual streambank measurements will be conducted in order to develop a regional streambank erosion rate curve for each physiographic region. The erosion rating curve will be used to provide an estimate of sediment loading from streambank erosion in Eastern Hellbender watersheds. In addition, streambank sediment will be sampled and laboratory analyses will be performed to determine the associated load of nutrients from streambank erosion.

Date: 04/27/17 - 6/30/22
Amount: $183,023.00
Funding Agencies: Raleigh, NC

In cooperation with the City of Raleigh, Engineering Services Division, NCSU will design and monitor an innovative restoration project located at the Millbrook Exchange Park in Raleigh. The site of the proposed project is approximately 1,000 linear feet reach of channel that is an unnamed tributary to Perry Creek that passes through City of Raleigh??????????????????s Millbrook Exchange Park. The purpose of this project is to evaluate the efficacy of an innovative approach for repairing an incised and eroding urban channel that has been degraded by stormwater runoff from upstream development. The proposed project is expected to reduce the export of channel sediment and nutrients to downstream reaches and surface waters, build a new stream bed with watershed-supplied and upstream channel-supplied sediment, and connect the channel to its floodplain. This approach also is expected to be cost-effective and minimally invasive to existing riparian vegetation. It is intended to improve on traditional stream restoration whereby a new meandering channel and floodplain are constructed and on the RSC approach of filling the channel with a blend of imported washed sand and wood chips.

Date: 10/01/16 - 6/30/22
Amount: $199,900.00
Funding Agencies: NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

The Division of Mitigation Services (DMS) requests the services of NC State University (NCSU) for production of stream restoration related work on sites identified and managed under DMS. NC Sea Grant and the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at NCSU will work with DMS to resurvey reference reaches to evaluate reference channel adjustments and functional assessments. These services will evaluate the functional efficacy of stream mitigation projects designed to provide compensatory mitigation. The information from these services will inform design, construction and monitoring efforts to help optimize future project selection in the form of intervention in order to maximize functional returns on investment. Within the context of mitigation, this will provide DMS and other practitioners within an improved functional basis for maximizing mitigation credit yields. The services associated with this work may include monitoring and assessment of water quality, biotic community, stream morphology, hydrology, habitat, structure, and bank erosion as well as other technical services/support. The provided services will be undertaken to both support mitigation monitoring and to gain a better understanding of the effectiveness of utilized restoration approaches to enable more cost-effective mitigation and enhance future mitigation site selection, design and construction.

Date: 07/25/19 - 4/25/21
Amount: $90,000.00
Funding Agencies: NC Community Foundation

The requested funding will advance recovery and rebuilding activities within two Lumberton Floodprint focus areas: 1) Meadow Branch Floodway Restoration adjacent to the Best Drive neighborhood, and 2) Repurposing the Scottish Meatpacking Plant property into an environmental outreach and education amenity associated with the Lumber River State Park and/or NC Wildlife Resource Commission. The funding will support research, engagement, design, and communication activities including, but not limited to: [1] a minimum of three (3) community workshops to elicit participation and input from neighborhood residents and two (2) meetings with city council/staff; [2] hydrologic modeling and development of schematic restoration concepts for Meadow Branch; [3] development of schematic design alternatives for both project areas to be used by the city as evidence/leverage for seeking larger implementation grants and to inform respective requests for proposals (RFPs); and [4] continued evaluation of issues and opportunities related to both Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Florence impacts (i.e., FEMA flood map updates, incorporation of new property acquisition data, etc.), including associated updates and revisions to the Lumberton Floodprint.

View all grants