Rodney R Knight

Biography

Rodney began his career with the USGS in 1992 as a student in the Nashville field office.  Upon finishing his degree (Bachelor of Science, Civil / Environmental Engineering, Tennessee Technological University), Rodney returned to the USGS and has worked on a variety projects and programs during his 28-year career. His early-career work included working with the Lower Tennessee River NAWQA team in a variety of roles as well as directing local projects with state partners on developing a program focused on ecological-flow analysis in the Tennessee River basin.  These afforded him the opportunity to begin partnering with other states in the Lower Mississippi-Gulf footprint to bring USGS science interests to the table, particularly in the context of ecological flow. Through these efforts, the USGS has been funded through 2025 to evaluate freshwater inflows to the Gulf of Mexico across the 5 Gulf States and develop decision-support frameworks capable of incorporating ecological outcomes for 3 major river basins. 

Along the way, Rodney collaborated with EPA Headquarters on the development of a Report to Congress, was an expert witness in a federal trial, and participated in a Powell Center workgroup focused on estimating water availability.  Over the last several years, Rodney has enjoyed meeting with a variety of Federal, state, and local partners to develop partnerships and to help connect USGS science and data to real-world needs. 

As Center Director for the Lower Mississippi-Gulf WSC, Rodney leads and manages a Center with almost 200 people on staff to provide high-quality water data, interpretations, and visualizations for federal, state, tribal, local and non-governmental agencies and further the mission of the USGS.  Being a Director of a Center with a 5-state footprint (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee) requires him to develop and maintain an understanding of the scientific interests and needs of partner agencies, quite often extending beyond that of a single partner agency.  Many times, this affords the opportunity to bring together different agencies from neighboring states to focus on a topic of common interest.