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Research and Programs

Hand with soil: 50/50 screened chocolate loam dillo dirtThe following links are for WSU research websites showcasing faculty, staff, students, and partners who are conducting research that is changing the way water is used and managed across Washington State and beyond.

Extension Training Programs

WSU Extension offers on-line, classroom, field programs and training opportunities for homeowners and professionals on a variety of water topics. Programs include Beach Watchers, Shore Stewards, Master Gardeners, Forest Stewards and for professionals, Low Impact Development certification.


AgWeatherNet (AWN) provides access to current and historical weather data from Washington State University’s automated weather station network along with a range of models and decision aids. The weather data, advisories, weather data products and decision support systems provided by AgWeatherNet and WSU can help improve production and product quality, optimize resource use and reduce environmental impact.


Hand holding a Pacific Chorus Frog

Aquatic Ecology Lab

This lab hosts the Coastal & Estuarine Ecology Lab and the Microbial Aquatic Ecology Lab at WSU Vancouver, where research focused on the ecology of marine and estuarine zooplankton and fish. Research spans the sub-disciplines of behavior, population biology, community ecology and ecosystem dynamics. Scientists employ a wide variety of approaches to “doing science”, including field (observational), modeling and experimental techniques on the west coast and around the world.

Benthic Ecology Lab

Research in this lab, located at WSU Vancouver, studies the interface between biology, management, and policy. Focused on the ecology of marine fishes and invertebrates, human impacts, and the role of the community in managing marine resources scientists studied abalone, coral reefs and megafuanal invertebrate communities. Video, identification lists, publications and pictures are on the site.

Environmental Hydrodynamics Lab

The Environmental Hydrodynamics Laboratory at WSU Vancouver, studies waves, currents and sediment transport in the coastal ocean. To study these topics scientists take a variety of approaches, ranging from extensive field measurements to computer simulations and original theoretical models. An improved understanding of environmental hydrodynamics could help managers plan for such problems as coastal pollution, flooding, and erosion, and might help engineers to design better coastal structures (such as jetties and breakwaters).

Hydrology, Ecohydrology, and Landscape Dynamics 

The Moffett Research Group located at WSU Vancouver takes an interdisciplinary view of the linked roles of groundwater, surface water, plant-water interactions, and human water use in the spatially and temporally variable physical, chemical, and biological cycles of the Earth System. Scientists use field studies, numerical modeling, remote sensing analysis, and laboratory experimentation to answer compelling and important research questions from plant and pore to planetary scales.

Jar with fish in itSalmon Toxicology Lab

The WSU Salmon Research Laboratory located at WSU Puyallup was developed to investigate the effects of multiple pesticides and other toxicants commonly found in Pacific Northwest surface waters on salmon health. NOAA and WSU scientists are studying the effects of multiple insecticides on neurobiology and behavior of salmon, adjuvants used in agriculture and industry on salmon growth and development, and pesticides on the salmonid food chain.

Water Research Center

The State of Washington Water Research Center (SWWRC) is a collaborative effort by researchers from throughout Washington to oversee and conduct applied water-related research within the context of economic, social, and cultural well-being. It was established in 1964 and is one of 54 water research institutions in the US. Led by Washington State University, the SWWRC serves as the integral connection between the academic community members who conduct research on water management issues and the organizations that regulate public water resources, including city, state, and federal government agencies and private industry.

Center for Environmental Research, Education, and Outreach

CEREO serves as a progressive hub for environmental research, education and outreach at Washington State University. With a reputation for excellence and international reach, CEREO seeks to apply innovative technologies and management tools to the ever-growing challenges of climate change and environmental sustainability. CEREO operates as a clearinghouse for a wide range of environmental projects such as watershed management, tracking the nitrogen cycle, and studying urban socio-ecological systems.

Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources

The mission of the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources is to foster approaches to agriculture and natural resource stewardship that are economically viable, environmentally sound, and socially responsive. Features Water Publications including journal articles and articles from the user-friendly Sustaining the Pacific Northwest newsletter.

GK-12 Program

The Partners in Discovery GK-12 project develops and supports learning environments where 6th-9th grade teachers and students partner with graduate student scientists to investigate the natural world around them. The project “Global Change in a Local Context” focuses on the implications of growth and change on the Columbia River and its watershed.

Global Change & Watershed Biogeochemistry Lab

This lab housed at WSU Vancouver, uses experimental, remote sensing, and spatially explicit modeling approaches to understand processes governing the impacts of land-based nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and other bio-active elements. The world is experiencing an unprecedented mobilization of bio-active nutrients such N and P. A substantial portion of mobilized N and P flows into streams and rivers, and eventually down to coastal waters, where nutrient over-enrichment has been associated with a host of environmental impacts, including low-oxygen events, harmful algal blooms (e.g. red and brown tides), and loss of biodiversity. En route to the ocean, these nutrients can strongly affect ecosystem function as well as the balance of atmospheric greenhouse gases.

Irrigation in the Pacific NorthwestOnions crop with dripirrigation

Extensive website dedicated to increasing grower profitability while protecting and improving our environment. Includes irrigation calculator and online tutorials. Covers Washington, Oregon and Idaho. This website was developed by the extension irrigation specialists from the land grant universities of the Pacific Northwest states of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon.

Multi-Scale Land Surface Hydrology Group

The MSLSH Group in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Washington State University conducts diverse research with hydrologic models. From macroscale modeling of the Pacific Northwest to microscale modeling of the Potlatch River Basin, MSLSH’s research spans a large spatial range. From climate change research to inclusion of biogeochemistry within hydrologic models, our projects represent the forefront of hydrology research.