Jennifer Rapp leads the Decision Support Branch of the Integrated Information Dissemination Division of the Water Resources Mission Area.
Within the Decision Support Branch she has many opportunities to build collaborations across disciplines (social scientists, geographers, decision scientists, physical scientists, modelers, and IT specialists) to study human factors that affect water availability and water insecurity, develop decision support tools, and enhance participatory science with indigenous groups, community science organizations, and under-represented groups across the Nation. Current project work in the branch involves development of the National Water Census to deliver routinely updated water availability information in the United States.
Jennifer has a Master's degree in Geography with a focus on aquatic habitat from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, which led to USGS research focused on GIS and ecological flows for fish habitat in in Virginia. Throughout her career she has paired data science and visualizations to help policy makers and managers make sense of complex hydrologic and biologic information. Many of her studies involved anthropogenic impacts on endangered species and monitoring of environmental conditions to inform management actions.
USGS Decision Support Branch, Integrated Information Dissemination Division: Branch Chief and Project Manager: 2020 – present. Lead social scientists, geographers, decision scientists, and physical scientists, to study human factors that affect water availability and water insecurity, develop decision support tools, and enhance participatory science.
USGS Virginia and West Virginia Water Science Center: Wastewater Re-use and Exposure Risk in the Chesapeake Bay: 2015 – 2020. Key member of an inter-disciplinary team studying wastewater treatment plan discharges to streams. Lead the modeling application development efforts to accumulate all wastewater and estimate concentrations of emerging contaminants, consumer products, and PFAS.
USGS Virginia and West Virginia Water Science Center: Team Lead Spatial Data and Analysis 2012 – 2020. Team lead of the Spatial Data Analysis and Mapping team with three developers working closely to bring the scientific data developed in our center into the hands of managers, stakeholders, and the public in creative and effective ways.
USGS Virginia and West Virginia Water Science Center: Clinch River Water-Quality, Energy production, and Endangered Freshwater Mussels: 2009 – 2013. Investigation spans two Regions of the USGS, FWS, EPA, USACE, multiple universities, and two states to synthesize water-quality, hydrology, geomorphology, biology, and land use change effects on freshwater mussel populations.
USGS Virginia and West Virginia Water Science Center: Ecohydrology: 2001 – 2020. Ecological Flows for Fish Habitat and Public Water Supply in the Shenandoah River Basin, throughout Virginia, and Chesapeake Bay watershed: Conduct field research and modeling to characterize fish habitat needs and water availability.
USGS Virginia and West Virginia Water Science Center: Project Manager 2001 – 2020. Works closely with scientists, stakeholders, planners, policy makers, and citizens to design applied research studies and management applications. Write proposals, manages budgets, conducts field research, writes peer-reviewed publications, and presents findings at local and national professional meetings.
Education and Certifications
University of Tennessee, Knoxville M.S. Geography (2001)
Valparaiso University, Valparaiso B.S. Biology and Geography (1998)
Affiliations and Memberships*
American Water Resources Association
American Fisheries Society
Honors and Awards
November 2021: Outstanding Technology Paper in JAWRA - Application of a New Species-Richness Based Flow Ecology Framework for Assessing Flow Reduction Effects on Aquatic Communities
*Disclaimer: Listing outside positions with professional scientific organizations on this Staff Profile are for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement of those professional scientific organizations or their activities by the USGS, Department of the Interior, or U.S. Government