Kimberly Taylor, PhD


Kim’s academic expertise lies in collaborative processes that allow scientists and resource managers to co-develop scientific knowledge that is both relevant and useful to resource managers and of high scientific quality. In other words, how can we get away from trying to “deliver science like a pizza?”[1]. This kind of collaboration requires expert knowledge of water management issues, when and why managers seek new scientific knowledge, broad understanding of water sciences, how USGS scientific work differs from others', and how scientists can frame their research questions to better mesh with resource management needs. Kim has spent most of her career working on California water issues in roles that bridge research and resource management for the USGS California Water Science Center, the multi-agency consortium CALFED for the USGS, and the State of California.

Specific programs Kim has been involved in include:

  • The USGS California Oil, Gas, and Groundwater Program (COGG) where she helped design an overarching science plan that would answer the State’s questions about oil and gas development and groundwater quality and organized a science team to carry out the program that included multiple USGS Centers and academic partners. She currently manages external affairs associated with the program.
  • The USGS California Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment Program (GAMA) where she works to connect local resource management groups to GAMA activities and new knowledge, and helps the GAMA team frame questions that address statewide groundwater quality management concerns. In this program, her particular interest is how patterns in groundwater quality can inform groundwater basin management problems such as low-quality drinking water supplies in disadvantaged communities, long-term shifts in groundwater quality associated with water use patterns, and vulnerability of domestic supplies in highland areas with fractured rock aquifers.
  • The USGS International Water Program where she managed projects designed to provide multiple organizations in Pakistan with water quality assessment tools and Indonesian agencies with biosafety protocol tools.
  • The CALFED Bay-Delta Program where she served as the Deputy Director for Science. In this capacity she assisted in the design and implementation of a new umbrella interagency scientific program that included scientists ranging from junior field technicians engaged in long-term monitoring efforts within multiple state and federal agencies to NAS-level experts serving as programmatic peer reviewers and advisors. Her favorite accomplishment in this capacity was starting the Delta Science Fellowship program in partnership with California Sea Grant that pairs new scientific graduates with resource managers working in the Bay-Delta arena. Between its inception in 2003 and 2020, more than 85 fellows have brought their interest and cutting-edge research capacities to the Bay-Delta community.
  • Kim also served as the Program Chief for Bay-Delta Scientific Programs in the USGS California Water Science Center before being recruited to the CALFED position.
  • Prior to joining the USGS, Kim worked for the State of California designing new narrative water quality objectives that accurately reflected selenium biogeochemical cycling in the San Francisco Estuary and served as the State’s manager of a long-term water quality monitoring program in San Francisco Bay.

She received her PhD and MA in Energy and Resources from UC Berkeley (where she made the shift from natural science to qualitative research in the social sciences), and her BA from Reed College where she conducted novel photochemistry experiments her senior year and later received a travel fellowship to Ecole Polytechnique in Lausanne, Switzerland to pursue.


[1] William Ruckelshaus