Jonathan Warrick

My research focuses on the intersection of rivers and the sea.  Topics include the movement of sediment within and from coastal watersheds, and how sediment can alter coastal landscapes and habitats. Recently these subjects have been addressed in my work on the Elwha River, Washington, where the largest dam removal project in U.S. history was completed in 2014.



Ph.D., 2002, University of California, Santa Barbara

M.Sc., 1995, University Wisconsin-Madison

B.Sc., 1993, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo


Research Geologist, GS-15, 2016-present, USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, Santa Cruz, California

Research Geologist, GS-14, 2008-2016, USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, Santa Cruz, California

Research Geologist, GS-13, 2004-2008, USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, Santa Cruz, California

Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow, GS-12, 2002-2004, USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program, Menlo Park, California

Follow me on Google Scholar and ResearchGate

In The News

2017, Los Angeles Times article,  "Highway 1 was buried under a massive landslide. Months later, engineers battle Mother Nature to fix it." about the USGS remote sensing work to characterize the Mud Creek landslide in Big Sur, California.

2016, The Department of Interior and Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, International RiverPrize Finalist, for the Elwha River Restoration Project

2015, New York Times article, “When Dams Come Down, Salmon and Sand Can Prosper” about the coastal changes from new supplies sediment.

2014, National Geographic news article, “World’s Largest Dam Removal Unleashes U.S. River After Century of Electric Production” about final stages of dam removal on the Elwha River.

2013, Elwha: A River Reborn by AAAS Kavli Science Journalism award winners Lynda Mapes and Steve Ringman.

2012, Front-page Seattle Times article, “Dam gone, nature rebuilds Elwha River beach” about sediment transport from the Elwha River during dam removal. August 6, 2012.

2009, Science Daily article, “Sediment Yield From The Tectonically Active Semiarid Western Transverse Ranges Of California” about sources of sediment and sand for southern California beaches. 

2006, Environmental Science & Technology news article, “California’s Shifting Sands” (vol. 40, no.1, pp. 6-7) about river sources of beach sand.

Selected Publications

Sediment Sources and Budgets

Warrick, JA, Bountry, JA, East, A, Magirl, CS, Randle, TJ, Gelfenbaum, GR, Ritchie, AC, Pess, GR, Leung, V, Duda, J, 2015, Large-scale dam removal on the Elwha River, Washington, USA: source-to-sink sediment budget and synthesis. Geomorphology, v. 246, pp. 729–750, doi: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2015.01.010

Warrick, JA, JM Melack, and BM Goodridge, 2015, Sediment yields from small, steep coastal watersheds of California.  Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, v. 4, Part B, p. 516-534, doi: 10.1016/j.ejrh.2015.08.004

Warrick, JA, 2015, Trend analyses with river sediment rating curves.  Hydrological Processes, v. 29 no. 6 pp. 936-949, doi: 10.1002/hyp.10198,.

Warrick, JA, 2014, Eel River margin source-to-sink sediment budget: revisited.  Marine Geology, v. 351, p. 25-37, doi: 10.1016/j.margeo.2014.03.008

Warrick, JA, MA Madej, MA Goñi, and RA Wheatcroft, 2013, Trends in the suspended-sediment yields of coastal rivers of northern California, 1955-2010. Journal of Hydrology, vol. 489, p. 108-123.

Warrick JA, JA Hatten, GB Pasternack, AB Gray, MA Goni, and RA Wheatcroft, 2012, The effects of wildfire on the sediment yield of a coastal California watershed, Geological Society of America, Bulletin, vol. 124, no. 7/8, pp. 1130-1146.

Sediment Dispersal in the Ocean

Warrick, JA, AR Simms, A Ritchie, E Steel, P Dartnell, J Conrad, and D Finlayson, 2013, Hyperpycnal-derived fans of the Santa Barbara Channel, California.  Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 40, no. 50488, p. 1-6.

Warrick JA, 2013, Dispersal of fine sediment in nearshore coastal waters. Journal of Coastal Research, vol. 29, no. 3, p. 579-596

Warrick JA and PL Barnard, 2012, The offshore export of sand during exceptional discharge from California rivers. Geology, vol. 40, no. 9, pp. 787-790.

Warrick JA, J Xu, M Noble, and HJ Lee.  2008. Rapid formation of hyperpycnal sediment gravity currents offshore of a semi-arid California river. Continental Shelf Research.  vol. 28, pp. 991-1009.

Warrick JA, Milliman JD.  2003.  Hyperpycnal sediment discharge from semi-arid southern California rivers - implications for coastal sediment budgets.  Geology, vol. 31, no. 9, pp. 781-784.

Coastal River Plumes

Warrick JA and KL Farnsworth, 2017, Coastal river plumes: Collisions and coalescence, Progress in Oceaography, vol. 151, pp. 245-260.

Warrick JA and AW Stevens, 2011, A buoyant plume adjacent to a headland - Observations of the Elwha River plume, Continental Shelf Research, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 85-97.

Warrick JA, PM DiGiacomo, SB Weisberg, NP Nezlin, M Mengel, BH Jones, JC Ohlmann, L Washburn, EJ Terrill and KL Farnsworth.  2007.  River plume patterns and dynamics within the Southern California Bight.  Continental Shelf Research, vol. 27, pp. 2427-2448.

Warrick JA, Fong DA.  2004.  Dispersal scaling from the world’s rivers. Geophysical Research Letters.  vol. 34, pp. L04301. doi: 10.1029/2003GL019114.  [2004 AGU Journal Highlight]

Elwha River Dam Removal

Warrick, JA, JA Bountry, AE East, CS Magirl, TJ Randle, G Gelfenbaum, AC Ritchie, GR Pess, V Leung, JJ Duda, 2015, Large-scale dam removal on the Elwha River, Washington, USA: Source-to-sink sediment budget and synthesis. Geomorphology, v. 246, doi: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2015.01.010

Warrick JA, JJ Duda, CS Magirl, and CA Curran, 2012, River turbidity and sediment loads during dam removal. Eos, vol. 93, no. 43, pp. 425-426.

Duda JJ, JA Warrick and CS Magirl (eds.), 2011, Coastal habitats of the Elwha River—Biological and physical patterns and processes prior to dam removal, U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2011-5120, 263 pp.

Measurement Techniques

Warrick JA, AC Ritchie, G Adelman, K Adelmann, PW Limber, 2017, New techniques to measure cliff change from historical oblique photographs and structure-from-motion photogrammetry. Journal of Coastal Research, vol. 33, no. 1, pp.39-55.

Miller IM and JA Warrick, 2012, Measuring sediment transport and bed disturbance with tracers on a mixed beach. Marine Geology, vol. 299-302, pp.1-17.

Warrick JA, DM Rubin, P Ruggiero, J Harney, AE Draut, and D Buscombe.  2009. Cobble Cam:  Grain-size measurements of sand to boulder from digital photographs and autocorrelation analyses.  Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, vol. 34, no. 13, pp. 1811-1821.  Computer code

Warrick JA, Mertes LAK, Siegel DA, MacKenzie C.  2004.  Estimating suspended sediment concentrations in turbid coastal waters of the Santa Barbara Channel with SeaWiFS.  International Journal of Remote Sensing-Remote Sensing Letters, vol. 25, no. 10, pp. 1995-2002.