Media Tip Sheet: Drought and Water-Related Experts at Colorado State University

Note to Editors: In anticipation of a potentially serious drought throughout the upcoming summer months, Colorado State is providing the following list of drought-related experts who can address a variety of information about water and weather. The tip sheet is intended to provide resources to the media but not contact information for the public. This list will be updated throughout the summer.

Drought, weather observation and climate history:

Climatologist Nolan Doesken is available to discuss drought, weather observation, weather instruments, historical climate data, descriptive climatology, precipitation and seasonal weather patterns. He also can address agricultural, recreational, hydrologic and industrial applications of climate information. Doesken’s 33 years of professional experience in weather research monitoring, data acquisition, analysis and archiving provides him the expertise to address a wide variety of drought and other climate-related questions. He can also talk about the statewide volunteer network that improves precipitation monitoring and helps provide detailed drought, water supply and other water decision-making information to municipalities, homeowners, industries, utility providers, resource managers and educators. To speak with Doesken, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Colorado’s water: Science, history and politics:

Neil Grigg, civil engineering professor and renowned water resources engineering consultant, can discuss Colorado’s water history, drought management, government water resources planning, Western water management issues, water system infrastructure engineering, flood control and urban water systems management. Grigg recently published the book, "Colorado’s Water: Science and Management, History and Politics," which presents long-range views about Colorado’s water issues, including drought. He has authored or co-authored about 200 publications and several other books about water resources engineering and infrastructure. To speak with Grigg, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Home gardens:

David Whiting, a professor in horticulture, oversees Colorado State University Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener program. He can speak on the effects drought will have on home gardens, irrigation management and water-wise gardening. To speak with Whiting, contact Nik Olsen at (970) 491-7766 or

Drought effects on farm labor and immigrants:

Dawn Thilmany, an agriculture economist, can speak on the effect a drought will have on farm labor and immigration, among other topics such as rural economic development. To speak with Thilmany, contact Nik Olsen at (970) 491-7766 or

Water law and cropping strategies:

James Pritchett, an agriculture economist, can speak on Colorado water law. He is also conducting research on economically sustainable cropping strategies for small- and medium-sized farms during times in which water is increasingly scarce. To speak with Pritchett, contact Nik Olsen at (970) 491-7766 or

Cloud seeding:

William Cotton, professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State, is an expert in the areas of clouds and storm systems, including cloud seeding. As part of his research, Cotton authored a groundbreaking research paper on the use and effectiveness of cloud seeding and co-authored the book, "Human Impacts on Weather and Climate," which describes cloud-seeding principles. According to Cotton, "We have seen that, with few exceptions, the scientific evidence is not conclusive that cloud seeding is causing the desired results. Cloud seeding may increase precipitation, but it is very modest. It’s not going to be a drought-breaker." To speak with Cotton, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Water resources support systems:

Darrell Fontane is the director of the International School for Water Resources and a civil engineering professor at Colorado State University. He can discuss water resources decision support systems, reservoir system management and integrated water quantity and quality management. As director of the International School for Water Resources, he is responsible for organizing and administering special, non-degree training for international engineers in various aspects of water resources engineering. To speak with Fontane, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Sustainable water resources development and irrigated agriculture:

Ramchand Oad’s professional career has focused on promoting economic welfare through sustainable water resources development and management for irrigated agriculture. It has included teaching and research, policy planning, project design and implementation and institutional strengthening. Oad has worked with several state and federal government agencies on issues related to water resources management in the western United States. He led a comprehensive research effort on water rights to irrigation return flows, for the Colorado State Engineer’s office (1989-96). Since 2000, he has worked with various water management institutions in the Middle Rio Grande in New Mexico, including the Office of State Engineer and the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, to promote more efficient use of available water supplies for irrigated agriculture. To speak with Oad, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Rivers and stream restoration:

Pierre Julien, a civil engineering professor, has more than 20 years of experience in the field of sediment transport and river engineering. He has carried out projects for more than 25 different professional organizations and governmental agencies. He can talk about river mechanics, stream restoration, erosion and surface runoff modeling. To speak with Julien, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Water quality analysis:

Jim Loftis’ projects include identifying the sources of contamination in our rivers and streams to reduce the impact on water supplies and endangered fish. Drought can exacerbate these problems. Loftis, a civil engineering professor, develops statistical tools for water quality data analysis to enable communities to better manage their water. To speak with Loftis, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Urban runoff management and graywater:

Larry Roesner, a civil engineering professor, studies urban water management. He specializes in urban hydrology, which is the impact of rainfall and runoff on the water quality and the ecology of streams.  He also studies how municipal wastewater discharges impact water quality in reservoirs, estuaries and streams. He explores practices to improve urban runoff management such as how "graywater" from bathtubs and other indoor uses might be reused outdoors for landscape irrigation. To speak with Roesner, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Special care for trees, shrubs and gardens:

Jim Klett, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension horticulture and landscape architecture specialist, can talk about how to best care for trees, shrubs and gardens throughout this unseasonably warm and dry spring. To speak with Klett, contact Nik Olsen at (970) 491-7766 or

Lawn care tips for drought conditions:

Tony Koski, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension turfgrass specialist and horticulture professor, can discuss winter and spring lawn care tips for drought conditions such as fertilizing and watering recommendations. To speak with Koski, contact Nik Olsen at (970) 491-7766 or

Benefits of no-till farming:

Gary Peterson, the chair of the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, initiated the dryland agroecosytem project in 1985, with research goals to increase overall precipitation-use efficiency, decrease soil erosion and reverse the long-term organic matter loss pattern that has accompanied conventional cropping practices in dryland areas. Peterson can discuss the benefits of no-till farming, which helps the soil retain moisture for longer periods. To speak with Peterson, contact Nik Olsen at (970) 491-7766 or

Forest fire effect on soil:

Mary Stromberger studies soil microbiology and microbial diversity of soil ecosystem

functions. Some of her recent projects include monitoring the recovery of soil microorganisms following forest fires, including the Hayman fire. To speak with Stromberger, contact Nik Olsen at (970) 491-7766 or