Sandra E Ryan Burkett
240 West Prospect Road
Fort Collins, CO 80526
Contact Sandra E Ryan Burkett
Current research projects include: The impacts of wildfire on runoff, sedimentation, large wood dynamics and channel morphologyGeomorphic impacts of large-scale forest loss (blowdown, beetle-kill, salvage logging, wildfire)Baseline channel processes in steep mountain streamsRoad-related gully erosion
Outcomes of the current research effort are improved understanding of the contribution of forest loss on erosion processes, the connectivity of streams to their sediment sources, and the ability of streams to recover from increased sediment loads following forest disturbances. Currently identifying funding opportunities to work with land managers in further defining the influence of various environmental changes on channel form and processes, including the influence of large wood on riverine characteristics.
Sediment production from headwater streams is a major control on downstream water quality, river processes, and aquatic habitat. Increased sedimentation is a concern due to its predicted sensitivity to environmental change. Past and on-going research on the relationships between forest loss, stream sediment loads and channel morphology shows that riverine landscapes can have inherently different sediment signals and responses following disturbance, depending on the nature of sedimentation and mass wasting processes and the relative sensitivity of watershed. Current research interests also address the effects of newly delivered large wood from several types of forest disturbances on channel erosion and instability in headwater channels. In light of the current suite of beetle epidemics and their expected impacts on existing forest infrastructures, land managers are implementing streamside fuels reduction prescriptions to reduce hazards posed by dead timber along miles of riparian areas and perennial fish-bearing streams. Current and proposed research will help in developing guidelines for this activity.
Why This Research is Important
Characterizing and modeling bedload transport processes in coarse-grained stream channels Refinement and verification of bedload measurement techniques including comparing data collected with different types of sediment samplers (including the use of an underwater camera for monitoring bedload movement) and testing the feasibility of an acoustic sampler for detecting gravel movement in coarse-grained channels. Impacts of flow diversion on channel form and process.
- State University of New York, Plattsburgh, BA Geography/ Environmental Studies, 1983
- Oregon State University, MA Physical Geography, 1989
- University of Colorado, Ph.D. Geography, 1994
Featured Publications & Products
- Ryan, Sandra E.; Dwire, Kathleen A.; Dixon, Mark K. 2011. Impacts of wildfire on runoff and sediment loads at Little Granite Creek, western Wyoming.
- Wohl, Ellen; Cenderelli, Daniel A.; Dwire, Kathleen A.; Ryan-Burkett, Sandra E.; Young, Michael K.; Fausch, Kurt D. 2010. Large in-stream wood studies: A call for common metrics.
Publications & Products
- Katz, Harry Alexander; Daniels, J. Michael; Ryan, Sandra. 2013. Slope-area thresholds of road-induced gully erosion and consequent hillslope-channel interactions.
- Meyer, Kristen E.; Dwire, Kathleen A.; Champ, Patricia A.; Ryan, Sandra E.; Riegel, Gregg M.; Burton, Timothy A. 2012. Burning questions for managers: Fuels management practices in riparian areas.
- Ryan, Sandra; Dwire, Kathleen. 2012. Wildfire impacts on stream sedimentation: re-visiting the Boulder Creek Burn in Little Granite Creek, Wyoming, USA.
- Ryan, Sandra E.; Porth, Laurie S.; Troendle, C. A. 2002. Defining phases of bedload transport using piecewise regression.