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Alexandra Etheridge

Alex Etheridge (she/her/hers) is the Associate Director for Studies in the USGS Oregon Water Science Center

I started with USGS as a hydrologic technician in 2006 in the Arizona Water Science Center. I spent my time in Arizona canvasing wells in support of a Colorado River Decree Accounting project where USGS was charged with collecting precise GPS positions and water levels for wells screened in alluvium connected to the lower Colorado River. In 2008, I joined the Idaho Water Science Center as a member of the Boise Field Office to operate surface water gages and manage data collection for a project aimed at characterizing nutrient, sediment, and chlorophyll-a transport in the Boise and Snake Rivers. In 2010, I became a project hydrologist in Idaho Water Science Center and interpreted the data I had collected in the Boise and Snake Rivers. As a project hydrologist, I proposed and managed several projects assessing nutrient loading and habitat quality in the Boise River watershed and kicked off a project in the headwaters of the Salmon River looking at metals loading and transport through a mining district scarred by recent fires. When I moved to California to become a Water-Quality Specialist in 2016, I helped lead the center through NWIS Time-Series database modernization. I served as a member of the USGS Continuous Water-Quality Committee from 2019-22, and continue to collaborate with co-authors on forthcoming updates to techniques and methods for quality assuring time-series water-quality data. I have also had the privilege of sharing USGS methods for time-series water-quality data collection and review on international projects in Iraq and Brazil. 

After serving the California Water Science Center as a water-quality specialist for 5 years, which also offered me the opportunity to champion employee-led workplace inclusion efforts, I was ready for a new challenge where I could pair my expertise on problem-solving and guidance on data collection, review, and interpretation with my passion for supporting, mentoring, and empowering employees to be and do their best. Thus, I jumped at the opportunity to join Oregon Water Science Center in 2021 as the Associate Director for Hydrologic Studies. In addition to offering a new professional challenge, working in Oregon Water Science Center brings me closer to places I have intimately studied and explored earlier in my academic and professional careers. Oregon Water Science Center offers ample opportunity to engage in projects aimed at assessing post-fire watershed response and sediment transport. As a long-time Western resident, I directly appreciate Western water-resources management challenges during times of drought and increased susceptibility to landscape disturbances related to climate change. As ORWSC enters a new era of data-collection and research funded through Water Mission Area appropriated programs, I remain dedicated to a longer-term vision supporting our place-based funding partners such that they can effectively manage the water-resources needs of diverse communities and ecosystems.

Professional Experience

  • Associate Director for Hydrologic Studies, Oregon Water Science Center, 2021-present

  • Water-Quality Specialist, California Water Science Center, 2016-2021

  • Project Hydrologist, Idaho Water Science Center, 2010-2016

  • Hydrologic Technician, Boise Field Office, Idaho Water Science Center, 2008-2010

  • Hydrologic Technician, Colorado River Decree Accounting Project, Arizona Water Science Center, 2006-2008 

  • Project Hydrogeologist, Hydro Geo Chem Consulting and Zelen Environmental, Tucson Arizona, 2002-2006

     

Education and Certifications

  • BS Geology - Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA

  • MA Writing and Publishing - Emerson College, Boston, MA

  • Principles of Subsurface Flow - Graduate Level GW Course - University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

  • Professional Geologist - Arizona Board of Technical Registration

Affiliations and Memberships*

  • American Geophysical Union

Honors and Awards

  • Department of Interior - Diversity Award 2022

  • DOI Ally Engagement & Enrichment Week - Ally Award 2022

  • Association of Women Geoscientists - Presidential Award 2019

  • USGS National Group Leadership Award - 2018

Science and Products

*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