Graduate Student Excellence-in-Research Award 2010
Katie Price, a recent doctoral graduate in geography, studied the linkages between surface hydrology and geomorphic systems of the southern Appalachian region. She developed field-based models of the relationship of low-flow conditions to terrain features and land use. The first chapter of her dissertation, which contrasts the physical properties of soil and associated hydraulic conductivity between forested versus cleared terrain, was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Hydrology. It demonstrates a pronounced decline in soil permeability on cleared ground, which causes more dramatic overland flow and soil erosion. Her work is a critical warning that human activity exacerbates water shortages in this region. Her paper received the John Fraser Hart Award for best PhD paper at the 10-state regional meetings of the Southeast Division of the Association of American Geographers. Her second chapter describes more precisely the diminishing base flow water supplies as a result of clearing forestland. Collectively, Price’s research contributes to our understanding of the physical and human drivers that should inform future decision- making about regional development and its effects on water supplies in the southern Appalachians. Price is currently working as a post-doctoral research hydrologist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.