USGS Researchers Awarded James R. Balsley Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer

Release Date:

Ryan Toohey, Science Applications Coordinator and Hydrologist with the Alaska CASC, along with Nicole Herman-Mercer and Paul Schuster, will be presented with the James R. Balsley Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer for their work with the Indigenous Observation Network (ION).

A lake in the Yukon River Basin, Alaska.

A lake in the Yukon River Basin, Alaska (public domain).

The three award recipients are being honored for their work with the Indigenous Observation Network (ION), during which they monitored the hydrological changes in the Yukon River Basin. The project is comprised of four closely related objectives: 1) increase the capacity of Tribes and First Nations to collect high quality data for their own use and the global scientific community, 2) create a long-term baseline water chemistry database of the Yukon River and major tributaries to characterize hydrologic and biogeochemical changes to the Yukon River due to climate impacts in the Arctic and sub-Arctic, 3) research active layer dynamics across the Yukon River Basin of Alaska and Canada including active layer depth, temperature, and moisture and 4) provide publicly accessible data with innovative ways to visualize and analyze the data.

This collaborative work with ION is being continued in 2019 with support from the National Science Foundation. This new funding will keep this important work going through May 2021. Toohey, Herman-Mercer, and Schuster will continue to play active roles in this work, along with partners Edda Mutter, Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council, Alexander Kholodov and Jennifer Guerard, University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Kelly Elder, U.S. Forest Service.

The purpose of the James R. Balsley Award is to recognize USGS scientific, engineering, technical, and science support employees for: (1) inventions or other outstanding scientific or technological contributions of value to the United States due to commercial applications and (2) exemplary activities that promote the domestic transfer of science and technology developed within USGS and result in the use of such science and technology by American industry or business, universities, State or local Government, or other non-Federal parties.

The Honor Awards Ceremony will be held at U.S. Geological Survey HQ, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, Virginia 20192, in the Dallas Peck Memorial Auditorium on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 from 1:00-2:30 p.m. Paul Schuster will attend the ceremony to receive the award.

The ION was founded in 2006 through collaborative efforts between USGS and the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council. ION was designed to aid Tribes and First Nations of the Yukon River Basin of Alaska and Canada increase the Yukon River Basin data quality and accessibility.

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