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Institute of Advanced Study

Dr Elowyn Yager

COFUND Senior Research Fellow at Ustinov College, Durham University (August 2014 - January 2015)

Dr Elowyn Yager is Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Center for Ecohydraulics Research at the University of Idaho, USA. Dr Yager has a national and international reputation in the field of fluvial geomorphology and sediment transport and has received recognition of this from a variety of sources. She is a recipient of an NSF CAREER Award (the highest funding award given by the National Science Foundation to promising early career Faculty) and has generated about $2million in personal grants in the past six and a half years.

Sediment transport in steep mountain streams: Accurate predictions of the rate at which sediment moves through steep mountain streams are critical for understanding both how these streams evolve and how humans interact with landscapes in mountainous regions. For example, without estimates of sediment transport, we cannot determine the impacts of human practices (logging, grazing, mining etc.) on aquatic habitat throughout channel networks. Thus, we cannot evaluate the potential success of the several billion dollars per year that are spent on river restoration. Existing sediment transport equations, however, typically over-predict the sediment flux in mountain streams by several orders of magnitude. In this project, Dr Yager will test the hypotheses that sediment transport equations do not perform well because they do not account for:

(1) the sediment supply from hillslopes and how this varies with local curvature and aspect, and

(2) detailed interactions between fluid turbulence and sediment movement. 

Her research will provide improved understanding of both hillslope and fluvial sediment transport and the coupling between these processes, along with management tools for predicting sediment transport and hillslope erosion.