Media Tip Sheet: Colorado State University Experts Available to Talk about Historic Floods

Note to Reporters: To help reporters put this week’s historic floods in Colorado, their causes and their aftermath, in perspective, Colorado State University can arrange for interviews with some of the nation’s leading weather and water experts. Contact the specified PR person to speak to an expert. This information is for media only, not for publication.

Nolan Doesken, State Climatologist for Colorado at the Colorado Climate Center at Colorado State University, pays particularly close attention to precipitation. After the Fort Collins flash flood of 1997, he established the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network (CoCoRaHS), a volunteer rain gauge network to track and map the local variations in precipitation that has now spread nationwide. To speak with Doesken, contact Kate Jeracki, (970) 491-2658, or

Russ Schumacher, assistant professor in the Colorado State University Department of Atmospheric Science, is a member of the Precipitation Systems Research Group at CSU. His primary research interests involve understanding storms that produce extreme amounts of rain because of the potential they have for causing destructive flooding and flash flooding. To speak with Schumacher, contact Kate Jeracki, (970) 491-2658, or

Susan van den Heever, professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State, whose expertise is in precipitation – storm formation, behavior and longevity, including rain, hail, snow, tornadoes, severe winds, and other phenomena. To speak with Dr. van den Heever, contact Kate Jeracki, (970) 491-2658, or

WEATHER WHIPLASH — impacts of alternating drought and flood events
Melinda Laituri
, professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability can speak to disaster issues related to weather whiplash – the coincidence of multiple weather-related disasters. She also can speak to disaster adaptation and water resource issues using geographic information systems GIS. To speak with Laituri, contact Jennifer Dimas at (970) 491-1543 or

Reagan Waskom, director of the Colorado Water Institute and the CSU Water Center, can discuss long-term impact of flooding on agriculture as well as the impact of drought. His other areas of expertise include water conservation, Colorado water uses and needs, agricultural water use, water quality, Colorado water law, administration and policy. He currently serves as the President of the Colorado Water Congress and as the President of the National Institutes of Water Resources, and has research projects underway on the South Platte alluvial aquifer, agriculture water use in the Colorado River basin, water issues related to oil and gas production, drought impacts and climate change, and water sharing arrangements on the Cache la Poudre River. To speak with Waskom, contact Jim Beers at (970) 491-2332 or

Steven Fassnacht, associate professor of snow hydrology in CSU’s Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, can discuss hydrological systems, water availability and water quality issues related to precipitation events, and he is also an expert in snowpack measurements and modeling. He earned his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering, and has a passion for the analytics, conservation and field work related to hydrology. To speak with Fassnacht, contact Jennifer Dimas at (970) 491-1543 or

Troy Bauder, extension water quality specialist with the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, is available to discuss nutrient and irrigation management to prevent nonpoint source pollution in irrigated agriculture. He also can discuss soil fertility management, soil salinity and irrigation water quality, irrigation scheduling using soil moisture and evapotranspiration methodology, and limited irrigation management and crop water use. He is a collaborator with the Colorado Water Institute on the Ag Water Conservation Clearinghouse – – a one-stop-shop for resources, tools, news, and policy and technical information about agricultural water and its use. The AWCC has information for all types of agriculture, focusing on irrigation particularly in semi-arid and arid environments. To speak with Bauder, contact Jennifer Dimas at (970) 491-1543 or

Chris Thornton, director of the Engineering Research Center and associate professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado State University, has expertise in river mechanics and erosion and sedimentation. Part of his research involves testing soils from storm-prone areas such as along the Gulf of Mexico on CSU’s Wave Overtopping Simulator to gather data on how actual levees can withstand hurricanes and other storms of varying intensity. To speak with Thornton, contact Kate Jeracki, (970) 491-2658, or

Neil Grigg is a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado State University where he teaches courses in water resources and infrastructure management. He has worked as a consulting engineer and state environmental official, and on a number of international projects, as well as government policy and advisory panels. In addition to his work as a professor, he serves the U.S. Supreme Court as River Master of the Pecos River. He is a registered professional engineer in three states and has written a number of articles and books. His expertise in flooding emphasizes damages and how to rebuild. To speak with Grigg, contact Kate Jeracki, (970) 491-2658, or

Martin Shields
, regional economist for Colorado State University and the Northern Colorado Economic Development Corp., can talk about the impact of the floods on Colorado’s economy and how the state and region can emerge from this crisis. To speak with Shields, contact Tony Phifer (970) 491-7712 or

Lori Peek
, associate professor of sociology, is co-director of CSU’s Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis. She’s also associate chair of the Social Science Research Council Task Force on Hurricane Katrina and Rebuilding the Gulf Coast. Her work focuses on socially vulnerable populations – including children, women, racial and ethnic minorities, and persons with disabilities – in disaster. She has authored a book on Muslim Americans after 9/11; co-authored a book on children’s long-term recovery after Hurricane Katrina; and co-edited a book on the mass population displacement that followed Hurricane Katrina. To speak with Lori, contact Tony Phifer at or (970) 491-7712.

Marisa Bunning
, associate professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, is available discuss food safety issues surrounding the recent Colorado floods. She can talk about steps for cleaning kitchens and food storage areas after a flood as well as offer tips on food to discard. Bunning says that if there is a chance of contact with contaminated water, food should be discarded. The safety of produce from a garden or farm needs to be assessed after flooding. To speak with Bunning, contact Tony Phifer at or (970) 491-7712.

Lorann Stallones, 
a professor in the Department of Psychology at Colorado State University and the Colorado School of Public Health, can speak about acute traumatic injuries resulting from slips, trips, falls and drowning, and discuss some of the risks associated with the high river currents, falling into the water, or being swept away in a car. To speak with Stallones, contact Kayla Green at (970) 491-7099 or

Lee MacDonald
, emeritus professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, can discuss erosion / runoff and hill slope hydrology, particularly in burned areas, and the effects of changes in flow and sediment loads on stream channels. To speak with MacDonald, contact Jennifer Dimas at (970) 491-1543 or

Sara Rathburn, associate professor in the Department of Geosciences at CSU can speak to channel stability and restoration, hydraulics and sediment transport, debris flow and reservoir sediment management. To speak with Rathburn, contact Jennifer Dimas at (970) 491-1543 or

Kurt Fausch
, professor in the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology can discuss the impacts of flooding on aquatic ecosystems and fishes. He is a renowned stream fish ecologist and has taught courses in population and community ecology, fish ecology, fisheries science and ichthyology, and is currently teaching courses in fish conservation and sustaining river hydroecosystems. He also is an expert on Colorado native and rare species, including the cutthroat trout. To speak with Fausch, contact Jennifer Dimas at (970) 491-1543 or