Postdoctoral Fellowship in Water Resources

Friday, April 30, 2021
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Job Rank: 
Job Institution: 
US Forest Service (USFS)- ORISE
Job Description: 

*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.


USFS Office/Lab and Location: A postdoctoral research opportunity is available with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Center for Forest Watershed Research. The Center is currently implementing a telework policy in response to the current coronavirus pandemic. As long as this is the case, the participant may be expected to participate in research and other mentoring activities 100% or less depending upon situations remotely. If and when the Center returns to normal in-office operations, the project will be based at the Santee Experimental Forest in Cordesville, South Carolina.

Research Project: Forest roads and associated stream crossing structures (e.g. relief culverts, bridges, etc) provide access for forest management. These essential infrastructures need to be properly designed, installed, and maintained for flooding resiliency and ecological benefits purposes. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) manages approximately 370,000 miles of roads and at least 40,000 stream crossings along these roads. Undersized stream crossing structures (i.e. culverts) could result in structural failures, and, subsequently, increased flooding, soil erosion, causing significant economic losses and could affect stream connectivity, creating barriers to aquatic organisms. It is thus fundamentally important to conduct proper hydraulic design to accommodate extreme flow events impacting design life of these structures. Extreme precipitation events are growing more severe and more frequent in recent years due to increased atmospheric water vapor content resulting from rising air temperatures. As a result, land and water managers, planners, and researchers are increasingly concerned how such extreme precipitation events would affect design discharges, obtained by various widely used methods with currently available information, and ultimately the road drainage facilities, culverts, bridges, stream crossings and water management structures.

We are looking for a research postdoctoral fellow who has a good knowledge of extreme precipitation event dynamics due to changing climate and associated impacts on flooding dynamics, including design and risk analysis of road cross-drainage structures and stream crossings. Under the guidance of a mentor, the participant will examine and analyze large data sets from long-term hydro-climatic monitoring to derive precipitation intensity duration and flood frequency analyses for associated peak discharges impacting forest road cross-draining structures at three US Forest Service long-term experimental forest sites (Hubbard-Brook in New Hampshire, Frazier in Colorado, and H.J. Andrews in Oregon).

Learning Objectives: 

  • Measurement methods and resolutions of spatial and temporal distribution of historic precipitation and peak discharge data measured on long-term experimental forest watersheds
  • Developing/analyzing regional precipitation intensity duration frequencies and flood frequencies using statistical probability distribution models
  • Evaluation of widely used flood peak discharge methods for headwater forest watersheds
  • Risk and vulnerability analysis of forest road culverts using the current data and future climate projections
  • Geospatial modeling assessment of morphological vulnerability of forest road culverts
  • Developing research manuscripts for journal publications and presenting results at professional society meetings/conferences

Mentor:  The mentor for this opportunity is Devendra Amatya ( If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: July 19, 2021.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment Length: The appointment will initially be for one year, but may be extended upon recommendation of USFS and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of Participation: The appointment is full-time.

Participant Stipend: The participant will receive a monthly stipend of $6,000, commensurate with educational level and experience, as well as partial coverage (75% of total premium) of individual health insurance. The participant will also receive a travel stipend for attendance at project meetings and presentations at scientific conferences.

Citizenship Requirements: This opportunity is available to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR), and foreign nationals. Non-U.S. citizen applicants should refer to the Guidelines for Non-U.S. Citizens Details page of the program website for information about the valid immigration statuses that are acceptable for program participation.

ORISE Information: This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and USFS. Participants do not become employees of USDA, USFS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity.