Lab Members

Yuka Muto

Visiting Ph.D. student

Yuka's research focuses on the interaction between human activity and the environment within river basins. Her main research topic is the characteristics of the forestry situation such as systems and the scale of forestry operation in different regions, and how that affect the environment of river basins in Japan. She analyzes the relationship focusing mainly on the geological and topographical differences of river basins. She is also concerned with research topics such as the population trend around frequently flooded areas, and assessment of the impacts of both climate change and land use change to the water environment.

Yuka received her B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering from University of Tokyo, Japan, and is now a PhD student at the same department.

Sandra Lee

Visiting Scholar

Dr. Sandra Lee is an environmental planner with PhD from Tsinghua University and MSc from Wageningen University. She has conducted interdisciplinary research on sustainable management of water across Europe and Asia, notably in eastern China (e.g., water resource and environmental planning, costal lowland revitalization planning and design, rural-urban ecological planning, climate-resilient urban design, community participatory planning and design ).

Jungsub Yeom

Visiting Scholar

In 2004, Mr. Yeom started professional career as government officer in Ministry of Environment, South Korea. His tasks were nationwide policies on solid waste treatment, laws & regulations on water quality, energy R&D & ministry’s whole budgetary process, public relation via on-line, etc. He also worked at WHO Western Pacific Regional Office base in Manila, Philippines for 3 years covering regional environmental health issues such as climate change, air quality, asbestos, etc. Before joining the River lab, He had worked as one of directors in “Task Force for Investigation and Assessment for Natural Recovery for Four Major Rivers”, Ministry of Environment, South Korea for 1 year.

This year, Mr. Yeom will conduct research on river restoration practice in the US, including dam removal and visit sites of recent dam removals and other restoration projects. South Korea now faces tremendous challenges in determining the best way forward to restore its four major rivers impacts by dams, dikes, and massive dredging from 2009 to 2012(so called Four Rivers Project). In one year’s research, he will write a report summarizing key lessons learned from international experience applicable to the rivers in South Korea, and their implications for restoration impacted by the Four Rivers Project.

Ting Da

Visiting Scholar

Ting’s research involves the social functions and social connections of urban waterfronts. Specially, she is analyzing the social impacts of urban waterfront redevelopment projects in China.Her current research focuses on the social connectivity of urban waterfront parks along the Yangtze River. Ting is now teaching in school of Landscape Architecture, Beijing Forestry University, as an associate professor. As an architect and urban planner, she has designed some waterfront and wetland  parks in China. Ting got  her M.E. of urban planning in Southeast University, China and Ph.D of Landscape Architecture in Beijing Forestry University, China.

Faisal Ashraf

Visiting Ph.D. Student

Faisal’s Research involves quantifying the impacts of changing climate and hydropower reservoir operations on river regimes. Specifically, he is analysing the impacts of increasing penetration of renewables (wind, solar, etc.) on sub-daily flow conditions of the major regulated rivers in the Nordic region. Faisal’s PhD project also includes hydraulic and fish habitat modelling for optimization of hydropower reservoir operations. He is also working with natural resources institute of Finland (LUKE) and Finnish Environmental institute (SYKE) on other research projects related to management of hydropower regulated watershed in Finland. He is Currently a PhD candidate at Water, Energy and Environmental Engineering Research Unit, University of Oulu, Finland. Faisal received his B.E in Civil Engineering from University of Kashmir, India and M.S. in Environmental Engineering from University of Oulu, Finland.

Mafe González

Master´s Student

Mafe is a botanist with a strong interest in taxonomy, ecology and conservation of tropical forests. She has participated in several research projects organized by the Institute of Natural Sciences of the National University of Colombia, Alexander von Humboldt Research Institute, Amazonian Institute of Scientific Research (SINCHI) and Chingaza National Natural Park (Colombia). She participated in research internships at the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) on participatory monitoring of endangered flora species, at Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (Paris) identifying the historical plant collections (Humboldt and Bonpland) of the Neotropics and at the Ulu Temburong National Park (Brunei) identifying tree species with the greatest food supply for Gibbons and Hornbills. In 2015 she completed a master's degree in Biology, and in the fall of 2019 she began the UC Berkeley Master of  Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning. In her master's degree, she hopes to learn new tools to strengthen conservation strategies in tropical ecosystems.

Will Pitkin

Master's Student

Will's research focuses on climate change adaptation, flood management policy, and financial incentives for responsible land use. He emphasizes big-picture thinking and expressing complex issues in simple ways. He seeks solutions that reduce flood risk, enhance habitat and water quality, and support outdoor recreation. Will has worked as a Lake Monitor on two lakes in Vermont and interned at an environmental law firm in Buenos Aires, a wind energy developer in Vermont, and a winery lab in Napa Valley. After receiving a BA in Environmental Analysis from Pomona College, he did a Fulbright Grant in Curitiba, Brazil and spent three years as a private investigator in San Francisco. He is a managing editor of the student-run journal of the UC Berkeley Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning.

Alev Bilginsoy

Master's Student

Alev is a Master's student interested in climate change adaptation methods for urban watersheds and riverfront communities. Previously, Alev worked for Coastal Watershed Council in Santa Cruz, designing and coordinating water quality monitoring and pollution prevention programs that address regulatory requirements while engaging youth and adults in science education. She has a B.S. in City and Metropolitan Planning and B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Utah. 

Tyler Nodine

Master's Student

A Master's Student in RiverLab, Tyler is interested in relationships between physical processes and ecological function at landscape and watershed scales. His current research focuses on the habitat impacts of dams in the Columbia basin to inform management alternatives for the Columbia River Treaty, a transboundary water agreement between the U.S. and Canada. Tyler’s interests encompass ecological restoration, floodplain connectivity, salmon ecology, remote sensing and spatial analysis. Tyler received a B.Sc. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from UC Santa Cruz and has worked in watershed restoration, invasive plant control, ornithology and fisheries. Before graduate school he worked for NOAA Fisheries in Seattle, WA assessing salmon habitat capacity and restoration potential in the Columbia River basin.

Contact Email: tnodine AT berkeley.edu

Spencer Lacy

Master's Student

Spencer is a master’s student in Berkeley’s environmental engineering department. With a river-centric upbringing, Spencer has been studying fluvial systems, river hydraulics, and hydrology since he could hold a paddle in his hands. His life revolves around the river; being in it, bringing it into people’s lives, protecting and restoring it, and making it accessible and enjoyable for all. Spencer’s research interests lie in human interaction with rivers and the benefits it can lead to as well as ubiquitous low-head dams and the immediate public safety hazard that they present. Before coming to Berkeley, Spencer worked in Colorado as a design engineer and project manager designing whitewater parks, river waves, in-stream and bank restoration, dam modification, and greenways that connect communities to their river corridors. Spencer is also a passionate and accomplished whitewater athlete.

Jennifer Natali (and Dom)

Jennifer Natali

Ph.D. Candidate

Jen's research explores interactions of sediment, water, and vegetation in montane meadows of California's Sierra Nevada.  Through field observation, remote sensing and numerical models, she works to improve our understanding of the geomorphic and hydrologic processes that influence the ecological function of meadows. By understanding driving factors of ecosystem resilience, we can better prioritize restoration investments and apply techniques to sustain meadow ecosystems and understand their role as hydrologic refugia with climate shifts. Jen earned a B.A. from Smith College. After working as a software engineer for ten years, Jen sought an M.L.A. from UC Berkeley and now works toward a Ph.D. that will inform management of watershed, river and ecosystem functions.

Contact Email: jennifer.natali AT gmail.com

Sooyeon Yi

Sooyeon Yi

Ph.D. Candidate

Sooyeon Yi’s research is focused on the water-energy nexus in the Southwestern US and China. Specifically, she is looking at regional impacts of policies to manage groundwater and restrict State Water Project exports and energy implications of changes to groundwater, hydropower, and reservoir operations in Northern California that might result from reduced exports to Southern California. She is also conducting a comparative study of energy demands of long-distance water transfer projects in California, China, India and Spain, to shed light on environmental and economic conflicts surrounding these projects. She is working with the China Energy Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Sooyeon received her B.S. and M.S. in Hydrology from University of California, Davis.

Contact email:  sooyeon AT berkeley.edu, sooyeon AT lbl.gov

Vicente Tinoco

Vicente Tinoco

Ph.D. Candidate

Vicente’s research addresses water infrastructure and environment: sustainable reservoir sediment management, flood management, and river restoration. His research is focused on strategic planning for sustainable sediment management in Andean River Basins in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, where several new dams are proposed or under construction, some in areas of high natural hazard and high sediment yield. During his professional experience, Vicente has conducted physical and mathematical models for evaluating river diversion structures, and developed a model for reservoir’s water management. He was lecturer at the Department of Civil Engineering, U Cuenca, from 2014 until 2016. Vicente received his BS in Civil Engineering at Universidad de Cuenca, Ecuador (2011), and his MSc. In Water Resources Engineering at KULeuven and VUB Universities in Belgium (2014). He was granted a VLIR Scholarship (2012), from the Flemish Government, for his Master studies, a SENESCYT Scholarship (2013), from the Ecuadorian Government, for conducting his Master thesis research, and a Fulbright Scholarship for his PhD studies. While earning his undergraduate degree, he served as Volunteer Firefighter in Cuenca, Ecuador for four years, and one year as Catechist.

Contact email:  vicente.tinoco AT berkeley.edu

Celina Balderas Guzman

Ph.D. Candidate

Celina’s research interests focus on urban stormwater landscapes, particularly constructed wetlands. Stormwater pollutes thousands of miles of rivers and streams, along with lakes, bays, and estuaries. It also poses flooding risks. Because climate change is exacerbating the intensity of storms, greater volumes of stormwater are in our future. Celina’s research attempts to find solutions for urban stormwater by bringing together landscape design, planning, and environmental engineering. Previously, she led a two-year, funded research project at MIT that explored new forms of stormwater wetlands and ponds that merge hydrologic, ecologic, and urban functions. She has three degrees from MIT in architecture, urban planning, and urbanism.

Contact email: celina AT berkeley.edu

Anneliese Sytsma

Ph.D. Candidate

Anneliese’s research investigates patterns of altered hydrologic pathways across developed landscapes, and explores planning, policy, and design strategies to minimize the negative ecological impacts of these alterations. Through collaboration with a range of municipalities from different geographic and political settings, she seeks to understand and develop solutions for natural and institutional barriers to restoring watershed functions in human altered environments. Anneliese received an M.Sc. in environmental engineering from UC Berkeley in 2017 and a B.Sc. in civil/environmental engineering from Seattle University in 2012. Between degrees, she worked as a water resources engineer for an environmental consulting firm in Seattle.

Contact email: anneliese_sytsma AT berkeley.edu

Website: anneliesesytsma.wordpress.com

Vanessa Lee

Dual Master's Student

Vanessa explores climate-related adaptation policies and design in coastal cities internationally. Her current focus is on designing with typhoons in her home town, Hong Kong, using process-based and multiscalar approaches. She works across the fields of environmental modelling, city planning for racial justice and equity, and landscape master planning and site design. Her parallel research on the planning side delves into the relations of historic racialization and heat vulnerability in Richmond, Virginia. Before coming to Berkeley, she was a landscape designer and her favourite project is landscape restoration of landfills in Hong Kong, aimed at transforming bays reclaimed by landfills into native woodlands.

Contact email: vanessa_lee AT berkeley.edu

Alison Zau

Undergraduate Student

Allison Zau (they/he) assists Jennifer Natali's research into riparian meadows in the Northeast Sierra Nevada. Utilizing seismic and electrical resistivity surveys, they hope to identify geologic structures and evidence of historic geomorphic events that shape groundwater aquifers. These shallow aquifers are a critical control on the type of vegetation cover, especially in light of rapid climate change. They are a 4th-year undergraduate studying geophysics in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science.

Contact email: zaua AT berkeley.edu

Adrienne Dodd

Ph.D. Candidate

Adrienne is a PhD student in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning. Her research is focused on just planning in disaster management. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Southwestern University in Environmental Studies and her Master of Science from National Cheng Kung University in Disaster Mitigation and Management. She has worked at the Water Sustainability Lab in Taiwan since 2017, where she utilizes science based participatory environmental planning methods in projects focused on sustainable community planning, wise use of coastal wetlands, as well as least conflict renewable energy planning.

Contact email: adrienne_dodd AT berkeley.edu

Karen Jin

Master's Candidate

Karen’s research focuses on the impact of climate change and anthropogenic activities on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. With an undergraduate degree in biology and statistics from Duke University, she conducted her honor thesis with Dr. Emily Bernhardt on soil microbial communities’ responses to saltwater intrusion on coastal wetlands. After graduation, she continues collaborating with researchers from the Bernhardt lab and works on analyzing microbial data to investigate the impact of mountaintop mining on stream sediment microbiomes in Central Appalachia. She also participated in a data science internship where she worked with an interdisciplinary team to analyze the impact of climate change on northern boreal lakes in Canada, which got her interested in water-related research. In her master’s study, she hopes to explore different fields of environmental studies and acquire new skills and knowledge to refine her research interests

Contact email: lingrong_jin@berkeley.edu

Zhaohui YANG

Dr. Zhaohui YANG is a professional engineer with the China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research (IWHR).  She has played a key role in water conservation planning for Chengdu and Anyang City, and  in water resources planning for Ningxia Autonomous Region , Xiamen City and Jinan City.  She has assessed supply and demand for water resources in areas affected by water transfers (an increasingly important topic in China with the large south-to-north transfers being implemented).  Zhaohui has published 8 monographs and over 30 scientific papers.  During her stay as a visiting scholar with Riverlab, Zhaohui is researching river restoration projects undertaken in several Chinese cities, highlighting the ecological aspects of the projects, which are often neglected in project planning and implementation.

Skyler Lewis

Skyler Lewis is a masters student specializing in geospatial data science and remote sensing applications for watershed management, ecohydrology and fluvial geomorphology. He is particularly interested in the restoration of California's inland riparian, floodplain forest, and estuarine wetland ecosystems, especially those in built-up and urbanizing watersheds. Skyler has worked on projects including the long-term post-restoration monitoring of Tassajara Creek (Dublin, Calif.) riparian vegetation and channel morphology, and also worked with the PPIC Water Policy Center on San Joaquin Valley groundwater monitoring and prediction based on climate and stream discharge data. Skyler received a bachelor's degree in Environmental Analysis from Pomona College in Claremont, California, focusing on environmental economics and spatial statistics, and worked for several years as a business data analyst before pursuing a concurrent master's degree between Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning (MLA-EP) and City & Regional Planning (MCP).

Contact email: skylerlewis [at] berkeley.edu

Portfolio website: www.skylerlewis.com

Marina Stern

Marina is a masters student in the Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning program. Her research interests include planning and designing for habitat restoration and wildlife conservation along shorelines and in wetlands. She aims to work within social contexts and toward equitable outcomes. Currently, her research includes developing a vulnerability analysis of West Maui’s shoreline, involving infrastructure, tourism development, social factors, and Endangered Monk Seal habitat. She will also be working toward compiling ecotourism design suggestions and plans for migratory bird conservation in South Korea’s Hwaseong wetlands. She has previously worked with the Town of Greenburgh to organize support for a Solar Overlay District as well as in environmental education in the Rivertowns of New York. She graduated with B.A. degrees in Environmental Planning, Geography, and Graphic Design from Binghamton University.

Hannah Hansen

Hannah is a masters student in the Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning program and is interested in hydrology, geomorphology, and multi-benefit engineering approaches for water resource management and ecosystem health. Hannah is excited by the practice of river and stream restoration, especially as related to reconsidering traditional engineering methods, such as channelization and damming, and the concept of restoration as a component of social justice through the returning of Indigenous lands. Hannah received her bachelor's degree in civil engineering with a concentration in sustainable engineering from Barrett, the Honors College, at Arizona State University, where she was involved with the university chapter of Engineers Without Borders in developing a sustainable pipeline system for the Varoti Khurd community just outside of Pune, India. Hannah received her EIT certification and worked as a project engineer on commercial site development projects in the Bay Area for several years before beginning her graduate studies at UC Berkeley in 2021. Hannah’s current research efforts are focused on the Upper San Pedro River at the location of the US-Mexico border wall.

Contact: hannah_hansen [at] berkeley.edu

Joana Guerrin

Joana Guerrin

Visiting Scholar

Joana GUERRIN is a researcher in political science at INRAE, the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment in Strasbourg (France). Her research addresses issues of governance of water-related risks such as floods and droughts. She has been specifically involved in fieldwork in France (Rhône river), Switzerland (Lausanne) and Brazil (Saõ Paulo). Currently, she is developing a research project on the environmental turn of flood management tools such as Nature-based Solutions (NbS) in France and the U.S.

She is hosted at the Berkeley Water Center and the College of Environmental Design as a Fulbright Visiting Scholar from August 2022 to June 2023. During this stay, she is analysing how US flood policies develop, institutionalize and implement Nature-based Solutions projects at Federal, State (California and Oregon) and local levels. Along with Anna Serra Llobet (CCRM) and Prof. Matt Kondolf, Joana will be conducting field trips and interviews with US flood actors. The analysis will be compared to flood policy in France.

Mariolina Papa

Maria Nicolina Papa

Visiting Scholar

Maria Nicolina Papa is an environmental engineer and professor of hydraulic engineering and river management at the University of Salerno (Italy). Her research interests are in river management. She has worked on flood risk mitigation and debris flows. More recently she has been interested in the restoration of the hydro-morphological quality of rivers to defend ecosystems and biodiversity. To monitor the hydro-morphological evolution of rivers, she has developed satellite observation techniques. In particular, she has collaborated in developing techniques for automatic classification of different land covers (vegetation, sediment, water) and for describing the hydrological regime in ungauged intermittent rivers.

Kim Deniz

Kim Deniz

Master's Student

Kim is a master’s student in the Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning program and her focus lies in ecological restoration, specifically, the intersection of fisheries, river restoration, and environmental problem solving. From salmon runs to thorough analysis of large or small alterations to a river, these “interstitial spaces” are the complex interconnections of land, water, humans, and fish, which Kim is seeking to integrate and facilitate through restoration. Kim graduated from Humboldt State University with a degree in environmental science and an emphasis in geospatial analysis. Since then, Kim has been in the field above and below the Klamath River dams, conducting salmon spawning ground surveys in the mid-Klamath basin as well as assessed habitat and identified restoration projects in the tributaries of the Klamath River from Iron Gate Reservoir to Klamath Lake. Kim has held a supportive role as a GIS Specialist mapping wildfires around the American West, and as an Environmental Scientist focusing on environmental review, including CEQA, CESA, and issuance of Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreements.

Beth Clifton

Britne Clifton

Britne’s research encompasses various earth sciences including systems ecology, river sciences, natural resource management, ecosystem restoration, climate change, and the use of interdisciplinary research to answer complex questions. Her current research primarily investigates the various outcomes of restoration approaches applied along the largest river west of the Sierra Nevada without a major dam project and quantifying those outcomes into ecosystem services. Britne’s PhD work also includes evaluating policies around the world that influence (positively or negatively) deltaic and upstream efforts to mitigate climate change and the impacts of anthropogenic alterations. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Environmental Systems Graduate Group at the University of California - Merced and part of Professor Joshua H. Viers’s VICElab. Previously, she worked as a researcher in a variety of projects ranging from LEED certification and food security to GIS & Remote Sensing services and ecosystem modeling. Beth’s past experience included an assortment of professional settings such as Oak Ridge National Laboratory, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Universidad de Concepción, and the Political Science and Earth System Science Departments at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She earned a Masters in Earth System Sciences from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2016 and has a Bachelors in Biology from Athens State University.

Kat Palermo

Kat Palermo

Kat is a Masters student in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning studying urban ecology, spatial data analysis and the socio-environmental impacts of a changing climate. Kat’s research focuses on remote sensing methods to characterize urban riparian buffers and explores urban river corridors as migratory stopover habitat for birds. Kat is passionate about environmental planning with a focus on equity and greening without gentrification. Prior to joining the MLA-EP program, Kat worked in both the public and private sector with work centered on natural resource management, project planning and GIS analysis. Kat graduated from UC Berkeley in 2017 with an undergraduate degree in Conservation and Resource Studies (Area of Interest: Conservation Biology) and a minor in Geospatial Information Science and Technology.

Contact Kat: katarinapalermo [at] gmail.com

Kat’s Work: tinyurl.com/kat-pal