Kristen works as an ecologist for The Nature Conservancy in the Sierra Nevada and Cascades. She focuses on watershed/conservation planning and monitoring the impacts of restoration projects. She uses spatially-explicit models, stakeholder-input, and cost-effectiveness in conservation planning to quantify ecosystem services and trade-offs associated with different land management and restoration scenarios. She is currently working with partners on a meadow restoration and research study (2015-2020) to evaluate the impact of beaver biomimicry and livestock grazing management on carbon, water, and habitat for two threatened species. While at U.C. Berkeley, her dissertation research addressed a variety of constructed river landscapes to understand how aesthetic, ecological, and recreational functions intersect and potentially conflict. She found that understanding the forms that people prefer—perhaps because they are beautiful—and patterns of recreational use need to be considered alongside biophysical river processes such as streamflow and channel pattern.
Podolak, K. and G.M. Kondolf. 2016. The ideal s-curve: Evaluating the influence of Hogarth’s aesthetic theory on Capability Brown’s 18th century river bends and 20th century river restoration meanders. Landscape Research 41(1): 149-167.