Colorado Governor Recognizes Rocky Mountain Research Station, Colorado State University Research


Here’s the release from Colorado State University (Emily Narvaes Wilmsen):

Tom Brown of the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station and his team, Colorado State University Professor Jorge Ramirez and recent CSU graduate Romano Foti, received recognition by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper as Designated Finalists in CO-LABS 2011 Governor’s Award for High Impact Research awards for their research, “Quantifying the Current and Future Vulnerability of the United States Water Supply System.”

Brown is the lead Water Resources Scientist for the U.S. Forest Service Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act (RPA) 2010 update. For the last 15 years, he has been researching, evaluating, and modeling water supply and demand. Ramirez and Foti were both key partners in this research.

This research assesses the current and future vulnerability of our nation’s water supply system and models projected changes in vulnerability using three climate models with several emission scenarios. One key finding shows that future increases in the vulnerability of the U.S. water supply to shortage will depend more on changes in supply than on growth in water demand. This research maps out the demand for, and supply of, water in the contiguous U.S. today and into the future and will be a foundation for water management policy decisions. The publication of this study is anticipated in spring 2012.

“The research conducted by Brown and his team is exemplary of the Station’s mission to ‘develop and deliver knowledge and innovative technology to improve the health and use of the nation’s forests and rangelands’,” said Sam Foster, Rocky Mountain Research Station Director.

Colorado State is known internationally for its water expertise with about 150 scientists in all eight colleges dedicated to some aspect of water research. The university is also home to the Colorado Water Institute, a state-funded institution that exists to assist agencies and state residents with evolving water concerns. Ramirez, a Colorado State professor of civil and environmental engineering, leads the I-WATER (Integrated Water, Atmosphere, Ecosystems Education and Research) program, a $2.75 million research and education program funded by the National Science Foundation to train the next generation of water scientists. He teaches courses in hydrologic science and engineering and does research on eco-hydrology, land surface atmosphere interactions, sustainability and integrated vulnerability analysis of water and environmental systems, regional evapotranspiration trends and climate change, and the impacts of climate variability on hydrologic processes.

The RMRS is one of seven regional units that make up the U.S. Forest Service Research and Development organization – the most extensive natural resources research organization in the world. The Station maintains 12 field laboratories throughout a 12-state territory encompassing the Great Basin, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, and parts of the Great Basin, and administers and conducts research on 14 experimental forests, ranges, and watersheds, while maintaining long-term databases for these areas. To find out more about the RMRS go to

The CO-LABS organization is a non-profit that informs the public about the breakthroughs and impacts from the 24 federal labs in Colorado. The annual awards for “High Impact Research” acknowledge Colorado-based research centers for breakthroughs in atmospheric science, renewable energy, sustainability and disease prevention. For more information about CO-LABS and the 2011 Governor’s Awards for High Impact Research go to

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