Faith A Fitzpatrick
Faith Fitzpatrick is a research hydrologist at the U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Water Science Center in Middleton, WI. 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.
Ph.D. Physical Geography (Fluvial Geomorphology), Minor in Civil Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin. Dissertation: "Geomorphic and hydrologic responses to vegetation, climate, and base level changes, North Fish Creek, Wisconsin", 1992-1998
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
Fluvial 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.
In June 2008, heavy rain caused severe flooding across southern Wisconsin. Record gage heights and streamflows occurred at 21 U.S. Geological Survey streamgages across southern Wisconsin from June 7 to June 21.
The 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.
This study identified major geomorphic processes and factors for Duluth-area streams, assessed their sensitivity to geomorphic change, summarized the effects of the 2012 flood. It also identified channel processes, sediment dynamics, and geomorphic setting can be used to assist managers in post-flood reconstruction activities and stream restoration.
The Bad River has one of the highest sediment loads of all Lake Superior tributaries and is an important resource for lake sturgeon and the Bad River Tribe. This study monitors the effects of streamflow variability on sediment-related problems, including understanding the influence of land cover on hydrology, habitat, erosion and sedimentation rates, and water quality of the Bad River.
The Kalamazoo River, a federal Superfund site, contains sediments contaminated with PCBs from historical paper mills. Dam control and erosion has exposed and mobilized the contaminated sediment, transporting and depositing it downstream. This study determined the historical geomorphic changes, measured bank stability, and evaluated the potential effects of future dam failure and removal...
The USGS is helping develop regional regression curves that relate channel geometry characteristics with streamflow and basin characteristics to improve the design of channel restoration projects for small, ungaged streams with limited data and streamflow relations.
North Fish Creek, Wis., has accelerated erosion and sedimentation that negatively affects aquatic habitat. This project monitored three rehabilitation projects (including submerged flow-deflecting vanes) to determine their effect on bluff erosion rates and sediment volumes, and to describe the upland land cover and soils. This data will help guide runoff management and bluff restoration...
Riparian grazing allows cattle free access to streams, but may accelerate erosion by the removal or trampling of vegetation. This study measured stream bank erosion, channel morphology, and stream substrate through seven experimental intensive-rotational pastures. It also evaluated the use of photo-electronic erosion pins (PEEPs) for measuring bank erosion in this type of geomorphic setting....
Lake Superior tributaries in Bayfield County, Wis., have accelerated erosion and sedimentation influenced by changing land use, steep slopes, erodible soils, and flashy runoff. This project assessed the geomorpology of five tributaries, identified problem areas, and assessed rehabilitation alternatives and watershed management strategies specifically related to the rehabilitation of brook...
Water column nutrient processing rates in rivermouths of Green Bay (Lake Michigan)
Understanding the quantity and form of nutrient loads to large lakes is necessary to understand controls over primary production, phytoplankton community composition and the production of phytotoxins. Nutrient loading estimates to large lakes are primarily made at stream gages that are deliberately placed outside the direct influence of lake...Larson, James H.; Evans, Mary Anne; Fitzpatrick, Faith A.; Frost, Paul C.; Bailey, Sean; Kennedy, Robert J.; James, William F.; Richardson, William B.; Reneau, Paul C.
Testing a two-scale focused conservation strategy for reducing phosphorus and sediment loads from agricultural watersheds
This study tested a focused strategy for reducing phosphorus (P) and sediment loads in agricultural streams. The strategy involved selecting small watersheds identified as likely to respond relatively quickly, and then focusing conservation practices on high-contributing fields within those watersheds. Two 5,000 ha (12,360 ac) watersheds in the...Carvin, Rebecca; Good, Laura W.; Fitzpatrick, Faith A.; Diehl, Curt; Songer, Katherine; Meyer, Kimberly J.; Panuska, John C.; Richter, Steve; Whalley, Kyle
Collection methods, data compilation, and lessons learned from a study of stream geomorphology associated with riparian cattle grazing along the Fever River, University of Wisconsin- Platteville Pioneer Farm, Wisconsin, 2004–11
Stream geomorphic characteristics were monitored along a 0.8-mile reach of the Fever River in the Driftless Area of southwestern Wisconsin from 2004 to 2011 where cattle grazed in paddocks along the riverbank at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Pioneer Farm. The study reach encompassed seven paddocks that covered a total of 30 acres on...Peppler, Marie C.; Fitzpatrick, Faith A.
Flood of July 2016 in northern Wisconsin and the Bad River Reservation
Heavy rain fell across northern Wisconsin and the Bad River Reservation on July 11, 2016, as a result of several rounds of thunderstorms. The storms caused major flooding in the Bad River Basin and nearby tributaries along the south shore of Lake Superior. Rainfall totals were 8–10 inches or more and most of the rain fell in an 8-hour period. A...Fitzpatrick, Faith A.; Dantoin, Eric D.; Tillison, Naomi; Watson, Kara M.; Waschbusch, Robert J.; Blount, James D.
A manual to identify sources of fluvial sediment
Sediment is an important pollutant of concern that can degrade and alter aquatic habitat. A sediment budget is an accounting of the sources, storage, and export of sediment over a defined spatial and temporal scale. This manual focuses on field approaches to estimate a sediment budget. We also highlight the sediment fingerprinting approach to...Gellis, Allen C.; Fitzpatrick, Faith A.; Schubauer-Berigan, Joseph
A-DROP: A predictive model for the formation of oil particle aggregates (OPAs)
Oil–particle interactions play a major role in removal of free oil from the water column. We present a new conceptual–numerical model, A-DROP, to predict oil amount trapped in oil–particle aggregates. A new conceptual formulation of oil–particle coagulation efficiency is introduced to account for the effects of oil stabilization by particles,...Zhao, Lin; Boufadel, Michel C.; Geng, Xiaolong; Lee, Kenneth; King, Thomas; Robinson, Brian H.; Fitzpatrick, Faith A.
Watershed geomorphological characteristics
This chapter describes commonly used geomorphological characteristics that are useful for analyzing watershed-scale hydrology and sediment dynamics. It includes calculations and measurements for stream network features and areal basin characteristics that cover a range of spatial and temporal scales and dimensions of watersheds. Construction and...Fitzpatrick, Faith A.
Geomorphic responses of Duluth-area streams to the June 2012 flood, Minnesota
In 2013, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, completed a geomorphic assessment of 51 Duluth-area stream sites in 20 basins to describe and document the stream geomorphic changes associated with the June 2012 flood. Heavy rainfall caused flood peaks with annual exceedance probabilities of less...Fitzpatrick, Faith A.; Ellison, Christopher A.; Czuba, Christiana R.; Young, Benjamin M.; McCool, Molly M.; Groten, Joel T.
Stream geomorphic and habitat data from a baseline study of Underwood Creek, Wisconsin, 2012
Geomorphic and habitat data were collected along Underwood Creek as part of a larger study of stream water quality conditions in the greater Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area. The data were collected to characterize baseline physical conditions in Underwood Creek prior to a potential discharge of wastewater return flow to the stream from the city of...Young, Benjamin M.; Fitzpatrick, Faith A.; Blount, James D.
Hydrodynamic assessment data associated with the July 2010 line 6B spill into the Kalamazoo River, Michigan, 2012–14
Hydrodynamic-assessment data for the Kalamazoo River were collected by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) during 2012–14 to augment other hydrodynamic data-collection efforts by Enbridge Energy L.P. and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency associated with the 2010 Enbridge Line 6B oil spill. Specifically, the USGS data-collection efforts...Reneau, Paul C.; Soong, David T.; Hoard, Christopher J.; Fitzpatrick, Faith A.
Oil-particle interactions and submergence from crude oil spills in marine and freshwater environments: review of the science and future research needs
Oil-particle interactions and oil submergence are of much interest to oil spill responders and scientists, especially as transportation of light and heavy crude oils increases in North America’s coastal marine and freshwater environments. This report contains an up-to-date review of the state of the science for oil-particle aggregates (OPAs...Fitzpatrick, Faith A.; Boufadel, Michael C.; Johnson, Rex; Lee, Kenneth W.; Graan, Thomas P.; Bejarano, Adriana C.; Zhu, Zhenduo; Waterman, David; Capone, Daniel M.; Hayter, Earl; Hamilton, Stephen K.; Dekker, Timothy; Garcia, Marcelo H.; Hassan, Jacob S.
Geomorphic, flood, and groundwater-flow characteristics of Bayfield Peninsula streams, Wisconsin, and implications for brook-trout habitat
In 2002–03, the U.S. Geological Survey conducted a study of the geomorphic, flood, and groundwater-flow characteristics of five Bayfield Peninsula streams, Wisconsin (Cranberry River, Bark River, Raspberry River, Sioux River, and Whittlesey Creek) to determine the physical limitations for brook-trout habitat. The goals of the study were...Fitzpatrick, Faith A.; Peppler, Marie C.; Saad, David A.; Pratt, Dennis M.; Lenz, Bernard N.