Idaho Scientist To Lead National Research

Dec 24, 2015

USGS scientist Molly Wood has been given a national position with the federal agency. She'll keep working from Idaho, but will oversee efforts across states to deal with sediment issues.
Credit USGS

The Environmental Protection Agency says when sediment gets into waterways, it can be a big problem. The deposits can be contaminated with pollutants we put in the environment, and then those pollutants get in rivers and streams.

Molly Wood hopes to figure out better ways to deal with that issue. Wood is a soil scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Boise. She was recently promoted to oversee the direction of sediment science on a national level.

Wood says in her new role she plans to focus on figuring out the best methods to measure how much sediment has piled up in a waterway – which could help scientists manage sediment issues more efficiently.

“We’re trying to promote natural healthy streams," says Wood, "we’re trying to promote natural healthy fish populations, but we need information about the amount of sediment in our rivers to be able to make those decisions.”

Wood says one promising technology she's been working with could make collecting sediment data easier. The device uses sound waves to measure how much sediment is already in a river. She says by harnessing these measurements, federal and state scientists can better understand ways to manage the problem.

Follow reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

Copyright 2015 Boise State Public Radio