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Wyoming Center for Environmental Hydrology and Geophysics


Many of the most pressing issues facing the western United States hinge on the fate and transport of water and its response to diverse disturbances, including climate change, bark beetle infestations, and energy extraction. A grand challenge for water resources management is to optimize water allocation among stakeholders whose diverse needs range from watering crops to extracting fossil fuels, safeguarding drinking water, and delivering water to downstream communities. To meet this multifaceted challenge, managers need scientific advances that reduce longstanding uncertainties in understanding water pathways and will lead to improved water resource management. The goal of this project is to establish a lasting center of excellence in environmental hydrology and geophysics that transforms science and watershed management in Wyoming by providing cutting-edge knowledge and tools to water resource managers and scientists in the public and private sectors. To achieve this, the Wyoming Center for Environmental Hydrology and Geophysics (WyCEHG) was established. This multidisciplinary center encompasses new physical and intellectual infrastructure that enables a comprehensive research program linking surface and subsurface watershed hydrology, geophysics, remote sensing, and computational modeling. This effort builds on existing intellectual strengths in Wyoming and exploits unique infrastructural advantages such as the new NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC). The scientific focus of this project aligns with the State Science and Technology Plan and also coordinates with Wyoming’s recently funded EPSCoR Track-2 collaborative program to develop computing resources for hydrology modeling.

The goals of WyCEGH are:

  • To improve understanding of mountain front hydrology by characterizing the processes that partition water into streams, soils, plants,
    rivers and aquifers in several locations throughout the state.
  • To improve understanding of how disturbances affect water flux by studying effects on hydrological systems from climate change, bark beetle infestations, and energy extraction.
  • To improve integrated modeling of the fate and transport of water by creating integrated computer models that will provide the scientific knowledge and tools for improved prediction of
    hydrological processes.