Brett Hayhurst

Principal Investigator -- Western New York Critical Pollutants


Brett Hayhurst has worked multidisciplinary studies and data collection with the U.S. Geological Survey since 2002 with focus in hydrological processes in streamflow, surface and ground water quality, water chemistry, nonpoint and point-source pollution, remote real-time sensor installations, and ecological surveys.  


  • Hydrologist, USGS, Ithaca, New York 2006 to current
  • Hydrologist technician, USGS, Carlsbad, New Mexico.  2002-06
  • Operator, National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), West Virginia 1997-98  


  • Great Lakes Water Quality, Annex 4, Objectives and Targets Task Team for international recommendations for monitoring, modeling, research and reporting to support adaptive managemnet, since 2015
  • Lake Ontario Nutrient Working Group Co-lead for Critical Pollutants, Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and Lakewide Action Management Plan (LAMP), since 2014
  • Lake Ontario Partnership Working Group (LOPWG) member since 2014
  • Great Lakes Watershed Loads Team, Great Lakes Restoration Intiative, Great Lake National Program Office (GLNPO), since 2011


Principal Investigator, Lake Ontario Tributaries Loading, 2010-2018

Cooperators - US EPA, Lakewide Action Management Plans

  • Measurements include nutrients, inorganics, metals, antibiotics, PAHs, PCBs, dioxins, furans, mercury, carbon, PFAS, PFOS, metabolomics, transcriptomics, toxcast, and microplastics.
  • Manage real-time monitoring to assess temporal variability
  • Use short term USGS LOADEST AMLE seasonal regressions to determine direct loading of watersheds and ESTREND analysis for watershed contributions to Lake Ontario to produce environmental pollution assessment on a basin wide scales.  
  • Evaluating the connecting channels of the Niagara River Upstream/Downstream and St. Lawrence for critical pollutants and emerging toxin loading into Lake Ontario from Lake Erie Inputs, in cooperation with the U.S. EPA, LaMPS


Co-Investigator, Great Lakes NowCast, 2010-2018

Cooperators – NYS DOH, OH DOH, PA DOH, MI DOH&HS, US EPA, GLRI, Multiple County Health Departments

  • Quantifies Escherichia coli and enterococci in beach waters and dominant source materials, correlates these with ambient conditions and models the estimations base on multi-variant regressions for near-real-time predictions of fecal contamination.
  • Instructs NowCast development on the National and State level to incorporate and merge near-real-time model beach advisories into local networks and maintains third-party source data collection; such as USGS NWIS, National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Environmental Data Discovery and Transformation data portals.  


Co-Investigator, GLRI Great Lakes watershed Edge-of-Field Monitoring2015-2018

GLRI Focus Area III.

  • Characterizing high density agricultural land use with ecosystem impairments that have been clearly identified as Priority Watersheds targeted by GLNPO and EPA Regional Working Group’s Phosphorus Reduction Work Groups.  The Priority Watersheds are Fox, Saginaw, Genesee, and Maumee. 
  • Monitoring sub-watershed (~HUC12), edge-of-field, and subsurface-tile scale. Targeting areas within each watershed that are directly affected by the conservation efforts using rapid assessment techniques. 
  • Assessing data to determine the effectiveness of the efforts in the watershed for reducing nonpoint source pollution. The principle objective is to develop an understanding of the effect of differing agriculture practices on the quality and quantity of runoff water from monitored farmland, including edges of fields and subsurface drains and the effect of this water on streams receiving runoff water.
  • Watershed model­ing component are assess the effectiveness of USDA–NRCS implemented Best Management Practices (BMPs), and nutrient reductions.


Co-Investigator, GLRI Great Lakes Watershed Urban Stormwater Monitoring, 2016-2018

cooperator - City of Buffalo, Niagara River Greenway Project, and GLRI Focus Area III

  • Assessing the ability of green infrastructure to reduce the volume of stormwater runoff and limit the risk of combined sewer overflows in the Niagara River Area of Concern (AOC).
  • Correlating of meteorological variables such as precipitation depth and intensity, hydrologic fluxes, and antecedent dry days to pre- and post-construction stormwater discharge and volume
  • Development and calibration of a model for extrapolation of monitoring results to the larger sewershed. This will help simulate hydrologic processes to quantify elements of the water budget, estimate effectiveness of stormwater control measures, and identify gaps in our understanding of processes affected by green infrastructure.


Co-Investigator, Occurrence and Potential Risk of Microplastics in NPS Waterways, 2018-present

cooperator - National Park Service

  • This study characterizes the occurrence and potential risk of MPs at four NPS parks vulnerable to MP pollution. Each of the four parks will be sampled to determine (1) the occurrence of MP particles in different stream compartments (water column and sediment), flow conditions, and land uses, (2) sources of different types of MP particles, and (3) potential risk to aquatic organisms.
  • Park Unit/Network: Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway, Mississippi National River and Rec.Area, Upper/Middle/Lower Delaware National Wild and Scenic River, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Lake Mead National Recreation Area.


Principal Investigator, Water Resources of Monroe County, NY, 2006-Present

Cooperator - Monroe County Department of Health  

  • Evaluating streamflow, constituent loads, and trends in water quality.  
  • Using Exploration and Graphics for RivEr Trends (EGRET), an R-package for the analysis of long-term changes in water quality and streamflow, including weighted regressions on time, discharge, and season (WRTDS).
  • Applying new methods to study long-term streamflow change associated with land use and water use change, estimations in concentrations, flow-normalization, and estimated flux by integrating flux over the frequency distributions of flow.
  • Used short term USGS LOADEST AMLE seasonal regressions to estimate direct loading of watersheds and ESTREND analysis for watersheds, 5, 10, 20 and 35 year trends in Monroe County.


Co-Investigator, Ground-Water in Western New York 305b, 2006-2010

Cooperator - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

  • Conducted water-quality analysis of 226 constituents in selected basins, including physical attributes, trace metals, nutrients, inorganics, pesticides, radiological elements, gross alpha-beta, bacteriological pathogens and VOCs.
  • Coordinated long-term, continuous, ground water monitoring and assessment.


Co-Investigator, Estimating Loading Above and Below Agricultural BMPs and CAFOs in the Genesee River Watershed, 2012-2017

US EPA, Lakewide Action Management Plans

  • Coordinated with NYS Department of Environment Conservation, Monroe County Department of Environmental Services, and Citizen Scientist for sampling throughout the basin.
  • Used short term USGS LOADEST AMLE seasonal regressions to determine direct loading of the Genesee River watershed and evaluate spatial BMPs for manure applications.