Dan Auerbach

Water and data
Flow unceasing, our currents

Dip into the stream –
Joy is here, interstitial
And coded in sight.

I’m interested in data-driven solutions to water-related challenges. I believe that fun matters, that a stewardship ethic is foundational, that diverse and durable regional economies need healthy waters, and that competing interests must find ways to negotiate just compromises on the basis of reproducible and transparently-derived information. My technical expertise and policy experience is focused on conservation and management applications of freshwater science, and I’ve investigated river and catchment questions with a range of quantitative analysis and simulation approaches. My interests are cross-cutting, but, if pressed, I might call myself an “applied landscape ecohydrologist”.

Despite now typically working behind several computer monitors, my professional track began with fieldwork. I pride myself on equanimity, creativity and adaptability in the face of bad weather, flat tires, equipment smashed by bears, and other storytelling material. Prior to graduate training, time spent installing bank vaults in Portland, moving irrigation pipes in Montana, baking bread in Massachusetts, and serving as a ski-town concierge in Colorado also helped round out my sensibility.

Most recently I conducted a fellowship with the EPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds. While there, I engaged with national-scale datasets concerning Clean Water Act implementation, including jurisdiction, permitting, compensatory mitigation, integrated reporting and aquatic resources surveys. I can honestly say that I felt privileged to enjoy the daily combination of reviewing SCOTUS briefs and regulatory memos and then turning to script data visualizations. Few subjects are more contentious than the WOTUS issues in which I was immersed, and the regular discussions of litigation risks, outreach strategies, and inter/intra-agency coordination deepened my appreciation for the critical importance of good communication among stakeholders and within organizations. I also gained a more nuanced perspective on the tradeoffs in the bureaucratic and legal processes.

Previous work has included scripting the rapid and reproducible initiation of the SWAT rainfall-runoff platform as a means to examine watershed best management practices across multiple Latin American catchments, collaborating with an international team to develop methods of catchment classification in data-scarce settings, and evaluating Tamarix populations subject to climate change-altered hydrology and water infrastructure. My peer-reviewed papers have ranged from aquatic metacommunity theory to refining Endangered Species Act implementation. I’m proud of time that I’ve committed to informally mentoring younger coworkers and students; more formally, I’ve developed and conducted several workshops/short courses on technical water-related analyses, have regularly served as an “on-call” quantitative resource to others (particularly for the R language), and have given numerous scientific conference presentations, webinars and lectures.

Learn more on Google Scholar or LinkedIn.

Contact Dan at dan.auerbach@ronininstitute.org