Kurt Carpenter is a research hydrologist in the USGS Oregon Water Science Center.
Kurt joined the USGS Oregon District in 1992 to work for the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program, an interdisciplinary program characterizing land use impacts to algae, benthic invertebrates, fish, and water quality of streams in the Willamette Basin. For nearly 30 years Kurt’s research has focused on the interface between water quality and hydrobiology, primarily impacts from nutrients (eutrophication) and contaminants (pesticides, volatile organic compounds). Kurt is currently PI of several harmful algal bloom (HAB) related projects in Oregon including at Detroit, Cougar and Blue Lakes where cyanobacterial toxins pose a threat to drinking water. Kurt is also active in post-fire monitoring and research following the 2020 Labor Day fires that threatens several major drinking water supplies. His most recent collaboration includes using remote sensing to detect algae in rivers, lakes, and reservoirs using hyperspectral data from ground- and space-based tools, including cameras aboard the International Space Station. In a project with Clean Water Services in the Tualatin River Basin, Kurt is investigating plankton communities in streams along with environmental DNA (“eDNA”) signatures to examine potential benefits of stream restoration.