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About Joanna Crowe Curran

   I am an Assistant Professor in the Environmental and Water Resources

   Engineering group in the Civil and Environmental Engineering 

   Department at the University of Virginia. My research interests are in the

   areas of water resources engineering and applied river engineering, which

   is the combined study of open channel hydraulics, sediment transport

   mechanics, and quantitative geomorphology where the built and natural

   environments intersect.

   My research is founded in environmental engineering where there is

   application to today's river channel and watershed management issues.

   Many of my interests have developed from the problems associated

   with stormwater management practices for low impact development,

   river restoration, dam removal, in-stream and flushing flows, and

   techniques to reduce scour around bridge piers. Through my research, I

   hope to find the physical rules and processes that affect river function,

   river morphology, and watershed function.

My research is motivated by a need to improve understanding of the inter-related processes and feedbacks active between the bulk river bed, the

bed surface structure, and river flows so that improved predictive tools can be developed related to river engineering and watershed management.

The flux of sediment through a channel has implications for channel ecosystems, fish spawning, contaminant transport, reservoir sedimentation rates, impacts to bridges and other river adjacent infrastructure, and river restoration projects. My goal is to enhance the state of knowledge while providing tools for better decision making where interests of land development and preservation compete. As watersheds and rivers are impacted by urbanization, stormwater management techniques, and land use decisions, it is increasingly necessary to examine the processes behind river morphology so that the implications of management decisions and river engineering can be predicted beforehand or mitigated afterward. Through this knowledge, the natural and anthropogenic changes occurring in watersheds can be better understood and separated.

My research is housed at the UVA Sustainable Rivers Lab. I employ a combination of computer, laboratory, and field methods and technologies.

The flume provides a controlled setting where theories may be tested and models may be developed. A field research component is necessary to

bring these models into the real world. My research group exists in an interdisciplinary environment, in which the students can learn from each other.