Sarah Stackpoole


I am a Research Ecologist with the US Geological Survey in Denver. I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, my graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and I joined the USGS in 2009. I use field studies along with large-scale data assimilation and statistical approaches to document water quality status and trends. I also use a variety of methods to integrate water quality metrics with climate and land-use datasets to identify drivers of change in surface water quality and potential stessors on human and aquatic ecosystem health.  

Current and Past Projects:

  • USGS National Water Quality Program Surface Water Status and Trends Team (2018 - present) - Document the impact of current and past anthropogenic phosphorus sources on soil saturation and water quality. Characterize the occurrence and distribution of pesticides in surface waters.
  • USGS LandCarbon Team (2009 - 2017) - Assimilate large-scale datasets and determine the best statistical models and extrapolation methods to provide an assessment of current rates of freshwater carbon storage, transport, and emissions for the conterminous United States and Alaska.


Stackpoole, S.M., E.G. Stets, L.A. Sprague. 2019. Variable impacts of contemporary versus legacy agricultural phosphorus on US river water quality. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116:20562-20567,

Butman, D. E., R. G. Striegl, S. M. Stackpoole, P. A. Del Giorgio, Y. T. Prairie, D. J. Pilcher, P. A. Raymond, F. Paz Pellat, and J. Alcocer. 2018. Chapter 14: Inland waters. In Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report: A Sustained Assessment Report [Cavallero, N., G. Shrestha, R. Birdsey, M.A. Mayes, R. G. Najjar, S.C. Reed, P. Romero-Lankao, and Z. Zhu (eds.)]. US Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA, pp.568-595,

Mc Guire, A.D., H. Genet, Z. Lyu, N. Pastick, S. Stackpoole, R. Birdsey, D. D'Amore, Y. He, T. S. Rupp, R. Striegl, B.K. Wylie, X. Zhou, Q. Zhuang, Z. Zhu. 2018. Assessing Historical and Projected Carbon Balance of Alaska: A Synthesis of Results and Policy/Management Implications. Ecological Applications, 28(6) 1396-1412.

Stackpoole, S. M., D. E. Butman, D. W. Clow, K. L. Verdin, B. V. Gaglioti, H. Genet, and R. Striegl. 2017. Inland waters and their role in the carbon cycle of Alaska. Ecological Applications, 27(5) 1403-1420.

Stets, E. G., D. Butman, C. P. McDonald, S. Stackpoole, M. D. DeGrandpre, and R. G. Striegl. 2017. Carbonate buffering and metabolic controls on carbon dioxide in rivers. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, (31) 663-677.

Stackpoole, S., E.G. Stets, D.W. Clow, D.A. Burns, G.R. Aiken, B.T. Aulenbach, I.F. Creed, R.M. Hirsch, H. Laudon, B.A. Pellerin, R.G. Striegl. 2017. Spatial and temporal patterns of dissolved organic matter quantity and quality in the Mississippi River Basin, 1997-2013. Hydrological Processes, (31) 902-915.

Stackpoole, S., D. Butman, D. Clow, K. Verdin, B. Gaglioti, R. Striegl. 2016. Chapter 8 - Carbon burial, transport, and emission from inland aquatic ecosystems in Alaska. Z. Zhu and A.D. Mc Guire (Eds.) In Baseline and projected future carbon storage and greenhouse-gas fluxes in ecosystems of Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1826, 208 p. [Link]

Butman, D., S. Stackpoole, E. Stets, C. McDonald, D. Clow, R. Striegl. 2016. Aquatic carbon cycling in the conterminous US and implications for terrestrial carbon accounting. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 113(1) 58-63. [Link]

Clow, D.W., Stackpoole, S.M., Verdin, K.L., Butman, D.E., Zhu, Z., Krabbenhoft, D.P., and Striegl, R.G., 2015, Organic Carbon Burial in Lakes and Reservoirs of the Conterminous United States: Environmental Science & Technology. [Link]

Creed, I.F., McKnight, D.M., Pellerin, B.A., Green, M.B., Bergamaschi, B.A., Aiken, G.R., Burns, D.A., Findlay, S.E.G., Shanley, J.B., Striegl, R.G., Aulenbach, B.T., Clow, D.W., Laudon, H., McGlynn, B.L., McGuire, K.J., Smith, R.A., and Stackpoole, S.M., 2015, The river as a chemostat: fresh perspectives on dissolved organic matter flowing down the river continuum: Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. [Link]

Stackpoole SM, Stets EG, Striegl RG. 2014. The impact of climate and reservoirs on longitudinal riverine carbon fluxes from two major watersheds in the Central and Intermontane West. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 119:2013JG002496. [Link]

Stackpoole, S., D. Butman, D. Clow, C. McDonald, E. Stets, R. Striegl. 2014. Chapter 6 - Baseline carbon sequestration, transport, and emission from aquatic ecosystems in the eastern United States. Z. Zhu (Ed.) In Baseline and projected future carbon storage and greenhouse-gas fluxes in ecosystems of the Eastern United States: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1804, 204 p. [Link]

Stackpoole, S., D. Butman, D. Clow, C. McDonald, E. Stets, R. Striegl. Chapter 10 - Baseline carbon sequestration, transport, and emission from aquatic ecosystems in the western United States. Z. Zhu (Ed.). 2012. In Baseline and projected future carbon storage and greenhouse-gas fluxes in ecosystems of the Western United States: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1797, 192 p., [Link]

Zhu, Z., ed., M. Bouchard, D. Butman, T. Hawbaker, Z. Li, J. Liu, S. Liu, C. McDonald, R. Reker, K. Sayler, B. Sleeter, T. Sohl., S. Stackpoole, A. Wein, Z. Zhu. 2011. Baseline and projected future carbon storage and greenhouse-gas fluxes in the Great Plains region of the United States: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1787, 28 p., [Link]

Stackpoole, S. M.; Kosola, K. R.; Workmaster, B. A. A.; Guldan, N. M.; Browne, B. A.; Jackson, R. D. , 2011. Looking beyond fertilizer: Assessing the contribution of nitrogen from hydrologic inputs and organic matter to plant growth in the cranberry agroecosystem , Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 90:41-54.

Zhu, Zhiliang, ed.; Bergamaschi, Brian; Bernknopf, Richard; Clow, David; Dye, Dennis; Faulkner, Stephen; Forney, William; Gleason, Robert; Hawbaker,Todd; Liu, Jinxun; Liu, Shuguang; Prisley, Stephen; Reed, Bradley; Reeves, Matthew; Rollins, Matthew; Sleeter, Benjamin; Sohl, Terry; Stackpoole, Sarah; Stehman, Stephen; Striegl, Robert; Wein, Anne; Zhu, Zhiliang , 2010. A method for assessing carbon stocks, carbon sequestration, and greenhouse-gas fluxes in ecosystems of the United States under present conditions and future scenarios. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010-5233, xviii, 85 p. ; appendices; Download Files: Main body; Appendix A; Appendix B; Appendix C; Appendix D; Appendix E; Appendix F; Appendix G; Appendix H; Appendix I.

Stackpoole, S., B. Workmaster, R. Jackson, K. Kosola. 2008. Nitrogen conservation strategies of cranberry plants and ericoid mycorrhizal fungi in an agroecosystem. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 40: 2736-2742. [Link]

Data Releases

Stackpoole, S.M., Stets, E.G., and Sprague, L.A., 2019, Watershed-scale agricultural phosphorus balances and river export trends for the conterminous United States, 1992-2012: U.S. Geological Survey data release,

Foks, S.S., S.M. Stackpoole, M. M. Dornblaser, E.T. Whiddon, S.E. Breitmeyer, D.A. Campbell, J.T. Crawford, E.B. Metcalf, E.G. Stets, B.A. Uhle, B.M. Voss, K.P. Wickland, R.G. Striegl. 2018. Water quality, quantity, and gas fluxes of the Upper Mississippi River Basin (WY 2012-2016). U.S. Geological Survey Data Release.