Environmental Sciences

Environmental Sciences Experts

Ronald B Zelt

California Water Science Center
The U.S. Geological Survey
United States Virgin Islands


Education: 2002      M.S. Watershed Science (Fluvial Geomorphology), Colorado State University, Fort Collins 1988      M.A. Geography (Cartography), University of Nebraska-Lincoln 1981      B.S. Education, Concordia College, Seward, Nebr. Recent Professional Experience: 2016-present — Hydrologist, USGS California Water Science Center, Sacramento Reports Specialist Center approving official for all information products except data releases Review all USGS reports and abstracts produced in CAWSC Consult with authors and editors to finalize content and format Manage CAWSC records in the USGS Information Products Data System   2012-16 — Assoc. Director, USGS Nebraska Water Science Center, Lincoln, Nebr. Section chief responsible for supervision of staff, typically of 3 to 4 hydrologists and trainees. Watersheds and Rivers Integrated Science Team (WRIST Section) Manage NAWQA investigations of Nebraska streams and aquifers. Project chief: develop, design, execute, and reporting of scientific studies and technical support projects.   Reimburseable projects: ensure section’s projects are within budget, meet deadlines consistently, address science objectives, and produce high-quality scientific information products. Additional duty: WSC Reports Specialist—review all information products for technical, policy, and editorial quality.  Nebraska WSC was ranked highly among water science centers in USGS for information products per FTE.     2011-14     Assistant Leader of Science Support to U.S. EPA On-Scene Coordinator, Enbridge Line 6B Incident, Marshall, Mich.     Provided on-site science support for Containment Branch, Submerged Oil Branch, and Hydrodynamic Modeling Group pertaining to emergency responses to oil spill into Kalamazoo River. Member of EPA On-Scene Coordinator’s Science Support Coordination Group (SSCG) Chaired the SSCG subgroup on Chemical Fingerprinting and Biodegradation (Jan-June 2012) Data analysis tool development and application for submerged oil volume quantification. Reviewed numerous technical reports and work plans produced during oil spill response. Provided data analysis applying statistical, spatial analysis, and SW hydrologic analysis skills.   2005-12   Assoc. Director (NAWQA), USGS Nebraska Water Science Center, Lincoln, Nebr. Section Chief for NAWQA investigation of Central Nebraska Basins study unit. Project management to ensure that section’s projects are within budget, meet deadlines consistently, address objectives, and produce high-quality information products. Project produced multiple reports and journal papers. (http://ne.water.usgs.gov/Nawqa/) Continued to serve as Topical Team member for NAWQA study of nutrient enrichment effects; served as science advisor and GIS technical specialty advisor. Additional duty: Served as WSC Reports Specialist.   2002-05   Supervisory Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Lincoln, Nebr. Study Unit Chief for NAWQA investigation of Central Nebraska Basins study unit. Topical Team member for NAWQA study of nutrient enrichment effects; served as science advisor, GIS technical specialty consultant.  

Research Interest

Fluvial sediment, stream hydrology, channel forms and processes, submerged oil, technical reviews, GIS, cartography, water quality, statistical analysis, geospatial analysis, stream habitat characterization, riparian habitat, fire effects on hydrology.


  • Emergent sandbar dynamics in the lower Platte River in eastern Nebraska: methods and results of pilot study, 2011

  • Response to heavy, non-floating oil spilled in a Great Lakes river environment: a multiple-lines-of-evidence approach for submerged oil assessment and recovery

  • Suitability of river delta sediment as proppant, Missouri and Niobrara Rivers, Nebraska and South Dakota, 2015

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