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Carol Kendall

Carol Kendall is a Scientist Emeritus Research Hydrologist (isotope biogeochemist) for the USGS Water Resources Mission Area.

Carol worked in the USGS National Research Program from 1980 to 2016. She is a 4th generation Californian who got her BS and MS in geology at UC-Riverside, and later her PhD in geology (with emphasis on geochemistry) at the University of Maryland while working full-time at the USGS Headquarters in Reston, VA.  Since 1990, she has been the head of the USGS Isotope Tracers research project in Menlo Park, CA.  The purpose of this NRP project is to develop new isotope methods and applications to solve problems of national importance.  In so doing, she has worked in watersheds all over the USA, at scales ranging from small pristine catchments in the Rockies and Appalachians, to large wetlands like the Everglades, and to large human-impacted basins like the Mississippi. The main focus of her recent research is using a multi-isotope approach to investigate the effects of flow and nutrients on various ecosystem problems in the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers, their delta, and the San Francisco Bay.  Common aspects of most of her studies are: (1) that she usually piggybacks them on large-scale state and federal environmental monitoring programs (water quality, ecological, and atmospheric); and (2) that she uses a multi-isotope, multi-tracer approach for the various ecosystems studies, resulting in the development of many regional to continental-scale isoscapes.   


Professional Studies/Experience

  • Project Chief, Isotope Tracers Project     
  • 1990 to Present:  Research Hydrologist and Project Chief of the NRP Isotope Tracers Project, Menlo Park CA.
  • 1980-1990:  Research Hydrologist, USGS, Reston VA
  • 1976‑1979:  Geochemist at the Department of Geology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena CA.
  • 1973‑1976:  Staff research associate at the University of California, Riverside CA.


  • Coordinator of and main lecturer at multi-day USGS Isotope Hydrology courses in 1990-1995, 1997-1998, 2000, 2002, 2004; main lecturer in courses in 1983-84, 1987-89.
  • Presented 1-day short-courses on Isotope Hydrology at the Geological Society of America (GSA) national meetings in Boston (10/93), Seattle (10/94), Denver (10/96), Salt Lake City (10/97), Denver (10/99), Boston (11/01), Seattle (10/03). 
  • Other isotope hydro-biogeochemistry short-courses taught:  Australian Nat'l University (2/95), Minnesota Groundwater Assoc. (10/95, 11/05), New Zealand IGNS (9/99), SUNY-Syracuse (1/96), Oregon State Univ. (3/01), USEPA-Denver (10/01), EPRI Nat’l meeting (7/02), Stanford University (fall, 02)