Who Am I?

The majority of my research has been focused on sustainably integrating ecological and human needs into water resource management, both from engineering and social science perspectives. My work emphasizes the impacts of river management on aquatic ecosystems and explores new methods for mitigating management effects.

I earned a PhD in civil engineering from the University of New Mexico in 2014. Before finishing my PhD I earned my bachelor's degree (2005) and master's degree (2006) in civil engineering from Washington State University. I have also worked as a consultant engineer (2006-2010) and am a licensed professional engineer. Check out my Curriculum Vitae for my full professional history and a complete list of recent publications.

What I Study


Human impacts on ecohydrologic systems vary across spatial and temporal scales. My research explores the influence of human activities at different scales to help us better understand the aggregate effects of water management strategies. I've examined alterations to river-floodplain connectivity, hydrogeomorphic systems, and riparian ecosystems.


Water management activities for human needs can have negative impacts on aquatic and riparian ecosystems. A large portion of my research focuses on quantifying these impacts and developing methodologies for exploring the tradeoffs of management alternatives. I've spent time studying a wide range of aquatic systems, including unique Travertine springs in Death Valley, heavily modified rivers such as the Rio Chama, NM, and threatened systems such as the Gila River, NM.


The dynamic interaction between a river and its floodplain is important for a variety of hydrologic, ecological, and geomorphic processes. However, water management activities have widely disrupted the natural flow regime and in many cases reduced floodplain connectivity. I've worked on projects to delineate floodplains using hydrogeomorphic indicators and evaluate the impacts of hydrologic alterations on floodplain dynamics and connectivity.


How should we manage our water resources with growing threats from climate change, population growth, economic shifts, and new demands? I've worked on studying this question within a social-ecological framework. Examples include developing a decision structure to determine the feasibility of adaptive management actions, exploring water management challenges in the Rio Grande basin using resiliency theory, and assessing socio-ecological risk to water resource development in Nepal.

What I've Written Recently

Harm Benson, M., Lippitt, C.D., Morrison, R.R., Cosens, B., Boll, J., Chaffin, B.C., Fremier, A.K., Heinse, R., Kauneckis, D., Link, T.E., Scruggs, C., Stone, M., and Vanessa, V. 2016. Five ways to support interdisciplinary work before tenure. Journal of Environmental Studies and Science 6(2):260-267. DOI: 10.1007/s13412-015-0326-9.

Morrison, R.R. and Stone, M.C. 2015. Investigating environmental flows for riparian vegetation recruitment using system dynamics modeling. River Research and Applications 31(4):485-496. DOI: 10.1002/rra.2758.

Morrison, R.R. and Stone, M.C. 2015. Evaluating the impacts of environmental flow alternatives on reservoir and recreational operations using system dynamics modeling. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 51(1):33-46. DOI: 10.1111/jawr.12231.

Harm Benson, M., Llewellyn, D., Morrison, R.R., and Stone, M.C. Water governance challenges in New Mexico’s Middle Rio Grande Valley: a resilience assessment. Idaho Law Review 51(1):195-228. Access URL: http://www.uidaho.edu/law/law-review/articles.

Morrison, R.R. and Stone, M.C. 2014. Spatially implemented Bayesian network model to assess environmental impacts of water management. Water Resources Research 50(1):8107-8124. DOI: 10.1002/2014WR015600.

Get In Touch

Feel free to use this form or my contact information on the right to reach me.

  • Address

    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Colorado State University
    Campus Delivery 1372
    Fort Collins, CO 80523-1372
    Office Location: Engineering B208
  • Phone

    (970) 491-6057
  • Email