Brian Wagner

The goal of this project is to develop and apply tools to identify sustainable groundwater-development strategies that balance the benefits of groundwater use with the hydrologic, ecologic, and socioeconomic impacts of groundwater development.

Biography

In my work, I use tools of numerical modeling, statistics, and optimization to analyze a broad class of problems associated with assessing and managing water resources. My recent focus has been modeling and sustainable management of groundwater resources in the upper Klamath Basin of Oregon and California. For this work, I developed a decision model that accommodates the complex issues associated with groundwater development in the basin, including the dynamics of groundwater and surface water interactions, the requirements of groundwater-dependent ecosystems, the need for groundwater to supplement surface-water irrigation supplies, and the legal restraints on groundwater development.

 

During my tenure at the USGS I have focused on advancing our capabilities to assess and manage groundwater and surface water systems.  The general approach that I use is to combine three classes of tools: (1) numerical modeling to simulate flow and solute transport in complex groundwater and surface-water systems, (2) statistical methods to characterize the uncertainty inherent in models and their predictions, and (3) optimization techniques to identify efficient groundwater management plans and experimental designs.  I have applied these tools to a diverse set of water-resource problems, such as designing optimal groundwater-management strategies, evaluating data worth for model calibration, identifying risk-averse plans for groundwater development, and designing tracer experiments for stream-transport studies.

 

Publications

A catalog of USGS groundwater-modeling studies in California, 2016, https://ca.water.usgs.gov/sustainable-groundwater-management/california-groundwater-modeling.html

Wagner, B.J. and Gannett, M.W., 2014, Evaluation of alternative groundwater-management strategies for the Bureau of Reclamation Klamath Project, Oregon and California: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2014–5054, 48 p.,http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20145054.  

Ponti, D.J., Wagner, B.J., Land, M., and Landon, M.K., 2014, Characterization of potential transport pathways and implications for groundwater management near an anticline in the Central Basin area, Los Angeles County, California: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014-1087, 75 p. and appendix,  http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20141087.

Gannett, M.W., Wagner, B.J., and Lite, K.E., Jr., 2012, Groundwater simulation and management models for the upper Klamath Basin, Oregon and California: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2012–5062, 92 p.Interior

Pinder, G. F., Dougherty,  D. E., Greenwald, R. M., Karatzas, G. P., Kitanidis, P. K.,Loaiciga, H. A., Maxwell, R. M., Mayer, A. S., McLaughlin, D. B., Peralta, R. C., Rizzo, D. M., Wagner, B. J., Yager, K. M., and Yeh, W. W-G., 2003. Optimization and Modeling for Remediation and Monitoring: in Chien, C. C. and others, eds., Contaminated Ground Water and Sediment. Modeling for Management and Remediation, Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton 2000, p. 107 - 178.

Pinder, G. F., Dougherty,  D. E., Greenwald, R. M., Karatzas, G. P., Kitanidis, P. K.,Loaiciga, H. A., Maxwell, R. M., Mayer, A. S., McLaughlin, D. B., Peralta, R. C., Rizzo, D. M., Wagner, B. J., Yager, K. M., and Yeh, W. W-G., 2002. Optimization and Modeling for Remediation and Monitoring: in Chien, C. C. and others, eds., Environmental Modeling and Management. Theory, Practice, and Future Directions, Dupont workshop on Modeling and Management of Emerging Environmental Issues, Philidelphia,  p. 111 – 185

Wagner, B.J., and Harvey, J. W., 2002, Analysing the capabilities and limitations of tracer tests in stream-aquifer systems: in Gehrels, H. and others, eds., Impact of Human Activity on Groundwater DynamicsIAHS pub. no. 269, Proceedings: Sixth Scientific Assembly of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences, Maastricht, 2001, p. 191-198.

Wagner, B.J., 1999. Evaluating data worth for groundwater management under uncertainty: ASCE Jour. Wat. Resour. Planning and Management, vol. 125, no. 5, p. 281-288.

Angeroth, C.E., Leake, S.A., and Wagner, B.J., 1999, Development of a Groundwater Flow Model for the Pinal Creek Basin, Arizona: in Morganwalp, D.W., and Buxton, H.T., eds., U.S. Geological Survey Toxic Substances Hydrology Program -- Proceedings of the Technical Meeting, Charleston, South Carolina, March 8-12, 1999 -- Volume 1 of 3 -- Contamination from Hardrock Mining: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 99-4018A, vol. 1, p211 – 216.

Wagner, B.J., and Harvey, J.W., 1999, Evaluating the Ability of Tracer Tests to Quantify Reactive Solute Transport in Stream-Aquifer Systems: in Morganwalp, D.W., and Buxton, H.T., eds., U.S. Geological Survey Toxic Substances Hydrology Program -- Proceedings of the Technical Meeting, Charleston, South Carolina, March 8-12, 1999 -- Volume 1 of 3 -- Contamination from Hardrock Mining: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 99-4018A, p201 - 210.

Harvey, J.W., and Wagner, B. J., 1999. Quantifying hydrologic interactions between streams and their subsurface hyporheic zones: in Jones, J. A. and Mulholland, P. J. (eds.), Surface-Subsurface Interactions in Stream Ecosystems. Academic Press, San Diego.

National Research Council, 1999. Environmental Cleanup at Navy Facilities: Risk-Based Methods: National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. 143p.

Wagner, B.J., and Harvey, J.W., 1997. Experimental design for estimating parameters of rate-limited mass transfer: Analysis of stream tracer studies: Water Resources Research, 33(7), 1731-1741.

National Research Council, 1997. Innovation in Ground Water and Soil Cleanup: From Concept to Commercialization: Washington, D.C, National Academy Press. 292 p.

Harvey, J.W., Wagner, B.J., and Bencala, K.E., 1996, Evaluating the reliability of the stream tracer approach to characterize stream-subsurface water exchange: Water Resources Research, v. 32, no. 8, p. 2441-2451.

Barlow, P.M, Wagner, B.J., and Belitz, K., 1996, Optimal pumping strategies for control of the shallow water table in California’s western San Joaquin Valley: The value of the simulation-optimization approach: Ground Water, vol. 34, no. 2, p. 305-317.

Harvey, J.W., Fuller, C.C., and Wagner, B.J., 1996, Interactions between shallow ground water and surface water that affect metal contaminant transport in Pinal Creek Basin, Arizona: in Morganwalp, D.W., and Aronson, D.A., eds., U.S. Geological Survey Toxic Substances Hydrology Program -- Proceedings of the Technical Meeting, Colorado Springs, Colorado, September 20 - 24, 1993: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 94-4015, vol. 2, p. 1081-1087.

Wagner, B.J., and Harvey, J.W., 1996, Solute transport parameter estimation for an injection experiment at Pinal Creek, Arizona: in Morganwalp, D.W., and Aronson, D.A., eds., U.S. Geological Survey Toxic Substances Hydrology Program -- Proceedings of the Technical Meeting, Colorado Springs, Colorado, September 20 - 24, 1993: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 94-4015, vol. 2, p. 1081-1087.

Wagner, B.J., Illangasekare, T.H., and Jensen, K.H., eds., 1995, Models for Assessing and Monitoring Groundwater Quality, Proceedings of the Boulder Symposium: IAHS pub. no. 227, 200 p.

Barlow, P.M, Wagner, B.J., and Belitz, K., 1995, Optimal pumping strategies for managing shallow, poor-quality groundwater, western San Joaquin Valley, California: in Wagner, B.J. and others, eds., Models for monitoring and assessing groundwater qualityIAHS pub. no. 227, p. 141-148.

Wagner, B.J., 1995b, Sampling design methods for groundwater modeling under uncertainty: Water Resources Research, vol. 31, no. 10, p. 2581-2591.

Wagner, B.J., 1995a, Recent advances in simulation-optimization groundwater management modeling: in Vogel, R., ed.: U.S. Natl. Rep. Int. Union Geod. Geophys. 1991-1994, Rev. Geophys., v. 33, p. 1021-1028.

Barlow, P.M, Wagner, B.J., Belitz, K., and Fio, J.L., 1993, Effects of management alternatives on the shallow, saline ground water in the western San Joaquin Valley, California: Water Fact Sheet, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 93-665.

Wagner, B. J., 1992, Simultaneous parameter estimation and contaminant source characterization for coupled groundwater flow and contaminant transport modeling: Journal of Hydrology, v. 135, p. 275 - 303.

Wagner B.J., 1989, Optimal groundwater quality management under uncertainty: incorporating the effects of spatial variability of hydraulic conductivity: in Sahuquillo, A. and others, eds., Groundwater management: quantity and quality: IAHS publication no. 188, p. 419 - 430.

Wagner, B.J. and Gorelick, S.M., 1989, Reliable aquifer remediation in the presence of spatially variable hydraulic conductivity: from data to design: Water Resources Research, v. 25, no. 10, p. 2211-2225. [C/D = 75%, DC = na, I = 90%, W, 100%]

Wagner, B.J., 1988, Parameter estimation by inverse methods: in Peck, A., Gorelick, S., de Marsily, G., Foster, S., and Kovalevsky, V., eds., Consequences of spatial variability in aquifer properties and data limitations for groundwater modeling practice: IAHS publication no. 175, p. 44-55.

Wagner B.J. and Gorelick, S.M., 1987, Optimal groundwater quality management under parameter uncertainty: Water Resources Research, v. 23, no. 7, p. 1162-1174.

Wagner, B.J. and Gorelick, S.M., 1986, A statistical methodology for estimating transport parameters: theory and applications to one-dimensional advective-dispersive systems: Water Resources Research, v. 22, no. 8, p. 1303-1315.

Gorelick, S.M. and Wagner, B.J., 1986, Evaluating strategies for groundwater contaminant plume stabilization and removal: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 2290, 81-89.