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US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Jim McKean

James (Jim) A. McKean

Research Geomorphologist
322 East Front Street, Suite 401
Boise, ID 83702
Phone: 406-249-6954
Fax: 208-373-4391
Contact James (Jim) A. McKean


Current Research

Research Interests

  • Modeling effects of spatially varying root strength on the location, frequency and size of shallow landslides
  • Mechanistic controls on shallow landslide size and shape revealed by 3D stability analysis
  • Mechanistic analyses of the effects of climate change on aquatic physical habitat
  • Understanding the responses of hill slopes to channel base level changes
  • Quantitative descriptions and analyses of controls on spatial distribution of channel physical habitat
  • Development and testing of a new terrestrial-aquatic LIDAR to map and monitor stream habitat

Past Research

  • Response of hillslopes to channel baselevel changes 
  • Effects of climate induced changes in winter flows on bed mobility and Chinook spawning success
  • Investigations with a new bathymetric LIDAR
  • Controls on the size, location, and frequency of debris flow landslides by spatial patterns of forest root strength
  • Effects of topographic boundary condition errors on multi-dimensional computational fluid dynamics models
  • Predictions of physical/biological process interactions in channels

Why This Research is Important

Airborne bathymetric LIDARs could revolutionize the way the Forest Service and other agencies manage streams. The technology may allow us to move from local samples of channel habitat toward full inventory of physical conditions in channel networks. This will support new analyses/management of aquatic habitat and species at unprecedented spatial scales.

Debris flow research will allow spatially explicit modeling of changes in the hazard of shallow landsliding caused by variations in root strength from sources such as climate change, logging, root disease, or forest insect infestations. The 3D slope stability model also allows a prediction of landslide size.

The interactions of hillslopes and their bounding channels strongly control the hazard of large landslides and the rate and style of sediment introduced to streams by the landslides. This research should improve our understanding of slide behavior and environmental consequences.

Education

  • University of California Berkeley, Ph.D. Geology, 1993
  • University of California Berkeley, MS Geotechnical Engineering, 1981
  • Colorado State University, MS Geology, 1977
  • Colorado State University, BS Geology, 1973

Professional Experience

  • Project Geomorphologist, US Forest Service, Rocky Mtn. Res. Station, Air Water and Aquatic Environments Program
    2003 - Current

Professional Organizations

  • American Geophysical Union, Member (1985 - Current)
  • Geological Society of America, Member (1985 - Current)

Featured Publications & Products

Publications & Products


Last updated on : 03/12/2014