Faith Fitzpatrick is a research hydrologist at the Upper Midwest Water Science Center.
She has spent much of her career studying geomorphic characteristics and sediment dynamics of rivers related to land use and climate change. Her area of expertise is in historical watershed geomorphology and sediment budgets, specifically identifying natural and human causes for accelerated erosion and sedimentation problems, flooding, habitat degradation, eutrophication, and sources of contaminants. She works closely with water resources and fisheries managers from a variety of agencies in a scientific support role for decision-making. She recently completed an assignment as scientific support coordinator for EPA for the pipeline release of diluted bitumen into the Kalamazoo River Michigan. She is a lecturer in the UW-Madison Geography Department and an instructor for the USGS Training Center.
Education and Certifications
Ph.D. Physical Geography (Fluvial Geomorphology), Minor in Civil Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin. Dissertation: "Geomorphic and hydrologic responses to vegetation, climate, and
M.S. in Geology, University of Illinois, Illinois. Thesis: "Fluvial geomorphology of two contrasting tributaries of the Vermilion River, east-central Illinois", 1985-1988
B.S. in Geology, Minor in Chemistry, Lake Superior State University, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, 1981-1985
Science and Products
MMSD Watercourse Corridor Study: Nutrient Evaluations
MMSD Watercourse Corridor Study: Geomorphology and Sediment Studies Related to Stream and Estuary Rehabilitation
Hydrogeomorphic Classification and Conceptual Model
Environmental Effects of Agricultural Practices
Fluvial geomorphology studies
Measuring Suspended-Sediment Concentrations, Grain Sizes and Bedload using Acoustic Doppler Velocity Meters and Echologgers in the Lower Chippewa River, Wisconsin
Upper Pecatonica River Wisconsin Buffer Initiative pilot project
Rapid Deployment Gages (RDGs)
USGS Flood Information
Surge, Wave, and Tide Hydrodynamics (SWaTH) Network
USGS Flood Event Viewer: Providing Hurricane and Flood Response Data
Flood Inundation Mapping Toolbox
Topobathymetric Digital Elevation Model (TBDEM) of the Milwaukee River Estuary, MIlwaukee, WI and adjacent terrestrial and Lake Michigan nearshore coastal areas
Fluvial Erosion Hazard Rapid Geomorphic Assessment Data from the Marengo Watershed, Ashland County, Wisconsin
Suspended-sediment, bedload, bed-sediment, and multibeam sonar data in the Chippewa River, WI
Code associated with analysis and modeling of benthic and pelagic inorganic nutrient processing rates at the interface between a river and lake
Black Creek Rapid Geomorphic Assessment, Allen County, Indiana
Historic Lake Superior shorelines near Odanah, Wisconsin (1852 - 2013)
Selected sediment data and results from regression models, modified Einstein Prodecure, and loads estimation for the Nemadji River, 1973-2016
Hydrogeochemical mixing data from Lake Michigan tributaries 2011
Aquatic community and environmental data for 14 rivers and streams in the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District Planning Area, 2004-13
Flood Inundation, Flood Depth, and High-Water Marks Associated with the Flood of July 2016 in Northern Wisconsin and the Bad River Reservation
Building a library of source samples for sediment fingerprinting – Potential and proof of concept
FluOil: A novel tool for modeling the transport of oil-particle aggregates in inland waterways
The use of continuous sediment-transport measurements to improve sand-load estimates in a large sand-bedded river: The Lower Chippewa River, WI
Geomorphic responses of fluvial systems to climate change: A habitat perspective
Benthic and planktonic inorganic nutrient processing rates at the interface between a river and lake
Sediment characteristics of northwestern Wisconsin’s Nemadji River, 1973–2016
The formation, transport, and breakup of submerged oil-particle aggregates in Great Lakes riverine environments
Recent planform changes in the Upper Mississippi River
Effectiveness of submerged vanes for stabilizing streamside bluffs
Physical and chemical stressors on algal, invertebrate, and fish communities in 14 Milwaukee area streams, 2004–2013
Fate and behavior tools related to inland spill response—Workshop on the U.S. Geological Survey’s role in Federal science support
Ecological status of aquatic communities in selected streams in the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District planning area of Wisconsin, 2004–13
Science and Products
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MMSD Watercourse Corridor Study: Nutrient EvaluationsEutrophication and harmful algal blooms (HABs) are becoming an increasing concern in the Great Lakes. Although there is a total maximum daily load (TMDL) for phosphorus in the Milwaukee Estuary, abundance/biovolume of potential HAB-producing cyanobacteria and cyanotoxin presence in Milwaukee-area rivers and the estuary are largely unknown. USGS evaluations of nutrients in the MMSD Watercourse...
MMSD Watercourse Corridor Study: Geomorphology and Sediment Studies Related to Stream and Estuary RehabilitationGeomorphology and habitat studies related to stream and estuary rehabilitation consist of three subproject areas: evaluating the efficacy of fish passage restoration efforts (across multiple watersheds), a targeted assessment of fish passage in the Underwood Creek watershed, and characterization of the Milwaukee River estuary.
Hydrogeomorphic Classification and Conceptual ModelThe overall objective of this study is to develop a hydrogeomorphic based conceptual model and hierarchical classification system for the UMRS. This model and classification system will build off the existing classification systems for the UMRS with a new aspect of potential for geomorphic change.
Environmental Effects of Agricultural PracticesAs agricultural land in the Minnesota River Basin is retired, tile drains are removed or broken and riparian corridors are planted to reduce runoff. Early studies saw decreased sediment and nitrogen and improved biological indicators but no significant changes in phosphorus. This project continues to investigate the linkages between riparian buffer extent, age, and continuity; stream water; and...
Fluvial geomorphology studiesFluvial geomorphology studies provide an understanding of the physical processes responsible for shaping the character of streams and their riparian zones across both glaciatied and unglaciated regions of Wisconsin and the midwestern U.S.
Measuring Suspended-Sediment Concentrations, Grain Sizes and Bedload using Acoustic Doppler Velocity Meters and Echologgers in the Lower Chippewa River, WisconsinSediment from the Chippewa River deposits in the Mississippi River navigation channel, sometimes disrupting commercial barge traffic and resulting in expensive and ecologically disruptive dredging operations. The USGS is using new applications of hydroacoustic technologies to better understand sediment transport in the Chippewa River and associated effects on commercial navigation.
Upper Pecatonica River Wisconsin Buffer Initiative pilot projectThe Upper Pecatonica River pilot project is testing targeted water-quality improvement strategies in small agricultural watersheds. The USGS is contributing by monitoring phosphorus and sediment at the watershed outlets, quantifying in-stream sources and sinks of phosphorus and sediment, and developing innovative approaches for quantifying sediment-related stream impairments and TMDLs.
Rapid Deployment Gages (RDGs)Rapid Deployment Gages (RDGs) are fully-functional streamgages designed to be deployed quickly and temporarily to measure and transmit stream stage data in emergency situations.
USGS Flood InformationThe USGS collects flood data and conducts targeted flood science to help Federal, State, and local agencies, decision makers, and the public before, during, and after a flood. Our efforts provide situational awareness, drive predictive models, inform infrastructure design and operation, undergird floodplain mapping, assist flood constituent/load quantification, and facilitate flood impact...
Surge, Wave, and Tide Hydrodynamics (SWaTH) NetworkDuring large coastal storms, the storm surge and waves are the main cause of destruction and landscape change, transporting saline water, sediment, and debris inland. The USGS, in collaboration with stakeholders, has constructed a national Surge, Wave, and Tide Hydrodynamics (SWaTH) Network for the Atlantic, Eastern Pacific, and Central Pacific. SWaTH monitors and documents the height, extent, and...
USGS Flood Event Viewer: Providing Hurricane and Flood Response DataDuring large, short-term floods, the USGS collects additional data to help document these high-water events. This data is uploaded to the USGS Short-Term Network (STN) for long-term archival, and served out to the public through the USGS Flood Event Viewer (FEV) which provides convenient, map-based access to storm-surge and other event-based data.
Flood Inundation Mapping ToolboxThe FIM Toolbox contains comprehensive information on the Flood Inundation Mapping program, including how to develop a flood inundation map library. Resources include process documents, scientific and technical requirements, forms and templates, outreach and educational materials, and contact information. The FIM Toolbox is updated as new resources become available.
Topobathymetric Digital Elevation Model (TBDEM) of the Milwaukee River Estuary, MIlwaukee, WI and adjacent terrestrial and Lake Michigan nearshore coastal areasThis topobathymetric digital elevation model (TBDEM) mosaic represents the topography and bathymetry for the Milwaukee River Estuary in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and adjacent terrestrial and Lake Michigan nearshore coastal areas. The TBDEM was produced in support of modeling and for developing a physical habitat framework to help with understanding the effects from multidirectional currents and seiche
Fluvial Erosion Hazard Rapid Geomorphic Assessment Data from the Marengo Watershed, Ashland County, WisconsinAn extreme flood in 2016 caused widespread culvert blockages and road failures across northern Wisconsin, including extensive damage along steep tributaries and ravines in the Marengo River watershed. Along with the flooding, there were fluvial erosion hazards (FEH) associated with a large amount of erosion in headwater areas. Of special concern were FEHs associated with gullying, loss of wetland
Suspended-sediment, bedload, bed-sediment, and multibeam sonar data in the Chippewa River, WIThese data were compiled for analyses of sediment transport within the Chippewa River, WI. Objective(s) of our study were to determine sand loads contributed by the Chippewa River to the Mississippi River. These data include physical suspended-sediment samples, acoustical suspended-sediment measurements, acoustical suspended-sediment loads, quasi-continuous measurements of bed-elevation, multibeam
Code associated with analysis and modeling of benthic and pelagic inorganic nutrient processing rates at the interface between a river and lakeIn this data release the authors have code and 'data' that are used to model how sediment flux and water column processing of soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP), ammonium (NH4/NHX) and nitrate (NOX). The file 'README.md' contains background information on how to access and use the data and code files.
Black Creek Rapid Geomorphic Assessment, Allen County, IndianaThe Maumee River network contributes a significant amount of total phosphorus (P), including both sediment-bound P (sed-P) and dissolved reactive P (DRP, also known as orthophosphate). Most headwater streams of the Maumee River are predominantly agricultural in land use, interspersed with rural communities. Implementation of best management practices on agricultural operations has worked to limit
Historic Lake Superior shorelines near Odanah, Wisconsin (1852 - 2013)This USGS data release presents historic shorelines of Lake Superior near Odanah, Wisconsin encompassing the delta complex of the Bad River from 1852 to 2013 compiled in a Geographic Information System. The coverage of the shorelines starts approximately 8 km northeast of Ashland and extends for about 40 km to approximately 3 km east of the Bad River mouth. The shorelines were derived from land su
Selected sediment data and results from regression models, modified Einstein Prodecure, and loads estimation for the Nemadji River, 1973-2016This data set includes new and historical sediment data collected at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) streamgage on the Nemadji River near South Superior, Wisconsin (station number 04024430) from 1973 through 2016. The data were used in a comparison study of stream sediment collection and laboratory techniques for characterizing suspended sediment, bedload, and total sediment loads. Data results
Hydrogeochemical mixing data from Lake Michigan tributaries 2011This dataset describes the hydrogeomorphic structure and lake-tributary mixing in three intermediate-sized Lake Michigan rivermouths: Ford River, Manitowoc River, and Pere Marquette River. Data were collected from May to October 2011. Water chemistry variables were measured with a multiparameter sonde along longitudinal, lateral, and vertical transects. Magnesium, boron, and stable water isotope c
Aquatic community and environmental data for 14 rivers and streams in the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District Planning Area, 2004-13In 2004, 2007, 2010, and 2013, the U.S. Geological Survey sampled benthic algae and invertebrates, and fish to assess the condition of the aquatic communities and water quality in 14 wadable streams near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Additional community sampling was also done at a subset of three sites in 2011 and 2012 to assess temporal variation. Selected environmental (physical and chemical) data in t
Flood Inundation, Flood Depth, and High-Water Marks Associated with the Flood of July 2016 in Northern Wisconsin and the Bad River ReservationThis data set contains shapefiles and metadata associated with flood inundation maps for three areas of the Bad River, associated with the flood of July 2016 in northern Wisconsin and the Bad River Reservation. The shapefiles are grouped by subarea and include the Bad River (Bad_layers), Beartrap Creek (Beartrap_layers), and Denomie Creek (Denomie_layers). Shapefiles were created for the flood inu
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Building a library of source samples for sediment fingerprinting – Potential and proof of conceptPurposeSediment fingerprinting of fluvial targets has proven useful to guide conservation management and prioritize sediment sources for Federal and State supported programs in the United States. However, the collection and analysis of source samples can make these studies unaffordable, especially when needed for multiple drainage basins. We investigate the potential use of source samples from a b
FluOil: A novel tool for modeling the transport of oil-particle aggregates in inland waterwaysSpilled oil in inland waterways can aggregate with mineral and organic particles to form oil-particle aggregates (OPAs). OPAs can be transported in suspension or deposited to the bed. Modeling the fate and transport of OPAs can provide useful information for making mitigation decisions. A novel open-source tool, FluOil, is developed to predict where OPAs may deposit and when they arrive in affecte
The use of continuous sediment-transport measurements to improve sand-load estimates in a large sand-bedded river: The Lower Chippewa River, WIAccurately determining sediment loads is necessary for managing river environments but is difficult because multiple processes can lead to large discharge-independent changes in sediment transport. Thus, estimations of sediment load using discharge–sediment rating curves fit to sparse or historical sediment-transport measurements can be inaccurate, necessitating alternative approaches to reduce un
Geomorphic responses of fluvial systems to climate change: A habitat perspectiveFluvial systems provide a variety of habitats that support thousands of species including many that are threatened or endangered. Moreover, these habitats, which range from aquatic and riparian to floodplain, are important for the variety of ecosystem services they provide. In addition to water temperature and streamflow change, geomorphic change is important and warrants consideration as one of t
Benthic and planktonic inorganic nutrient processing rates at the interface between a river and lakeThe interface between lotic and lentic ecosystems is often a zone of intense metabolic activity, as primary production in streams and rivers can be light limited whereas nutrients often limit primary production in lake ecosystems. Our objective was to model the influence that rivermouths (the lotic-lentic interface) could have on the loads of soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) and dissolved inorgan
Sediment characteristics of northwestern Wisconsin’s Nemadji River, 1973–2016In 2015–16, a comparison study of stream sediment collection techniques was done for a U.S. Geological Survey streamgage on the Nemadji River near South Superior, Wisconsin (U.S. Geological Survey station number 04024430) to provide an adjustment factor for comparing suspended-sediment rating curves for two historical periods 1973–86 and 2006–16. During 1973–1986, the U.S. Geological Survey used t
The formation, transport, and breakup of submerged oil-particle aggregates in Great Lakes riverine environmentsThe formation, transport, and resuspension of oil-particle aggregates (OPA) in freshwater environments are of much interest to oil spill responders and scientists, especially as transportation of light and heavy crude oils has substantially increased across river corridors and coasts in the Great Lakes Basin. The persistent sheening from accumulated OPA along 60 km of the Kalamazoo River in Michig
Recent planform changes in the Upper Mississippi RiverGeomorphic changes in the Upper Mississippi River (UMR) have long been a concern of river agencies charged with maintaining and restoring river habitat (GREAT 1980; Jackson et al. 1981; USFWS 1992). Large meandering alluvial rivers like the UMR are expected to constantly change and adjust their fluvial landforms within their riparian corridors as a result of the natural interaction of hydrologic p
Effectiveness of submerged vanes for stabilizing streamside bluffsThe effectiveness of submerged vanes for stabilizing streamside bluffs varied over a 10-year monitoring period in a tributary to Lake Superior, United States. Submerged vanes are a river training device used to divert river flows away from eroding banks along meander bends and ultimately hold constant or reverse the direction of lateral migration. At the study site, the relatively steep slope, lar
Physical and chemical stressors on algal, invertebrate, and fish communities in 14 Milwaukee area streams, 2004–2013In 2004, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) began sampling 14 wadable streams in urban or urbanizing watersheds near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The overall goal of the study is to assess the health of the aquatic communities in the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District planning area to inform current and future watershed management. In addition to collection of biological data on aquatic communities,
Fate and behavior tools related to inland spill response—Workshop on the U.S. Geological Survey’s role in Federal science supportExecutive SummaryThere is a growing body of tools available for science support for determining the fate and behavior of industrial and agricultural chemicals that are rapidly injected (“spilled”) into aquatic environments. A 2-day roundtable-style workshop was held by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Middleton, Wisconsin, in December 2017 to describe and explore existing Federal science suppo
Ecological status of aquatic communities in selected streams in the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District planning area of Wisconsin, 2004–13A total of 14 wadable streams in urban or urbanizing watersheds near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, were sampled in 2004, 2007, 2010, and 2013 to assess the ecological status of aquatic communities (biota), including benthic algae and invertebrates, and fish. To assess temporal variation, additional community sampling was also done at a subset of three sites in 2011 and 2012. Relative abundances of each ty