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Wells Hively

W. Dean Hively is a Research Physical Scientist with the USGS Eastern Geographic Science Center, where he leads a task titled 'Understanding Agricultural Conservation Practices.' He is posted to the USDA Agricultural Research Service, Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory.


His research uses a combination of satellite and proximal multispectral and hyperspectral sensors, along with on-farm sampling and access to farm management records, to map and evaluate the plant biomass, nitrogen content, and vegetative ground cover associated with winter cover cropped fields.  Separate toolkits are developed using privacy protected datasets (farm management practices and cover crop performance) and using public datasets (wintertime vegetative groundcover by crop type). Additionally, using the SWIR bands provided by the Worldview 3 satellite, the project is able to map the distribution of crop residue and tillage intensity on working farms, based on detection of cellulose absorption features.

In addition, Dean is the lead for maintaining the USGS status as a Conservation Cooperator with the USDA, and coordinates the annual acquisition of privacy protected conservation data from USDA agencies and the production of aggregated datasets for public release.

This information informs adaptive management of conservation resources by Chesapeake Bay Program Partners, and links the agricultural landscape to water quality outcomes by documenting the implementation and performance of conservation practices at the watershed scale.

The work is supported by the USGS Land Change Science and Priority Ecosystem Services programs



Ph.D. 2004. Cornell University Department of Natural Resources

Masters of Science. 1998. Cornell University Department of Soil, Crop and Atmospheric Sciences

Bachelor of Arts. 1990. Harvard University



 Research Physical Scientist, April 2009 –present, United States Geological Survey (USGS), Eastern Geographic Science Center, Reston, VA.

 Soil Scientist, March 2005 – April 2009, United States Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, Beltsville, MD.

 Consulting Scientist, Part time, 2002 – March 2005, New York State Water Resources Institute.

 Postdoctoral Associate, April 2004 – March 2005, Van Es Soil Physical Health Laboratory, Department of Crop and Soil Science, Cornell University.

 Farm Worker,  part and full time, 1996 - 2000 and 2003 - 2004  Potenza Organic Farms, Trumansburg, N.Y.

 Field Educator, part-time, 2000 - 2002  Black Locust Initiative, Trumansburg, N.Y.

 Coordinator, part time, 1996 - 1998 Cornell Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Seminar Series.

 Agroforestry Extension Agent   1991 - 1993 U.S. Peace Corps, Senegal, West Africa.



Bronze Medal award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 201

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