Richard Webb


Rick Webb is a research hydrologist with the Earth System Processes Division in the U.S. Geological Survey's Water Resources Mission Area. Rick grew up on the shores of the Atlantic and later the Great Lakes. Beaches, jellyfish, hurricanes, and alewive dieoffs all left indelible memories that helped shape Rick's career studying waters both salty and fresh. As an undergraduate physical scientist working for NOAA, Rick deployed current meters in Lake Erie. After graduating with a BS in marine geology in 1982, Rick landed on the island of Puerto Rico for a two week vacation. The two week vacation turned into an eighteen year tenure with the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Geological Survey during which he studied anthropogenic impacts on coastal waters and upland watersheds. In 1999, Rick and his family moved to Denver, Colorado to better understand fundamental processes driving water and solutes through watersheds from the continental divide to tropical rain forests. Current projects include Reaction-Transport Modeling in Groundwater and Watershed Systems and the Shingobee Headwaters Aquatic Ecosystems Project (SHAEP).


Career Plans and Objectives

As a steward of the environment, I work with colleagues to understand the processes that 1) shape the surface of the earth and 2) change the composition of the water.  This information can then be used to evaluate and manage our limited resources. Most challenging is the need to compile and synthesize a wide array of data from multiple sources.  This may involve state-of-the-art signal processing or using a sextant to better locate a study site. My background and interests are centered on the premise of understanding the global picture while attempting to solve local  problems in our streams, rivers, lakes and oceans.


Work Experience

1999 – present

Research Hydrologist

U.S. Geological Survey

Denver, CO

Research Topics: Numerical simulations of natural and managed watersheds.


1990 – 1999


U.S. Geological Survey

Water Science Center

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Research Topics: Mixing models of wastewater discharge to the ocean. Uplands erosion and reservoir sedimentation. Effect of sediments and nutrients on corals. Anthropogenic impacts on estuarine water quality. Land cover mapping by remote sensing


1988 - 1990


U.S. Geological Survey

Office of Marine Geology

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Research Topics: Sea Level Fluctuations. Marine Geology of Mayagüez, PR. Beach Erosion Sedimentation. Coauthor a book, "Living with the Puerto Rico Shoreline"


1985 - 1987

Physical Oceanographer (Graduate Student)

Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, MI

Advisor: Dr. G.A. Meadows

Research Topic:  Periodicities observed in sediment motion under storm waves.


1982 - 1985

Marine Geologist

Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources

Marine Resource Section

Puerta de Tierra, PR

Research Topics: Define quantity and quality of submarine sand deposits. Evaluate Holocene and recent sedimentary processes on the insular shelf. Analyze erosional-accretional trends of the beaches in San Juan, Puerto Rico.



Master of Science in Physical Oceanography (received, May 1987)

Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies

University of Michigan.

(Regent's Fellowship awarded both years)


Bachelor of Science in Oceanography - Geological Option (received, May 1982)

Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

College of Engineering

University of Michigan