Postdoctoral Fellowship in Sustainable Groundwater-Irrigated Agroecosystems, USDA

ARS Office/Lab and Location: A research opportunity is available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS) located in Oxford, Mississippi.

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific in-house research agency with a mission to find solutions to agricultural problems that affect Americans every day from field to table. ARS will deliver cutting-edge, scientific tools and innovative solutions for American farmers, producers, industry, and communities to support the nourishment and well-being of all people; sustain our nation’s agroecosystems and natural resources; and ensure the economic competitiveness and excellence of our agriculture. The vision of the agency is to provide global leadership in agricultural discoveries through scientific excellence.

Research Project: The research will address the feasibility of artificial recharge in the Mississippi River Valley Alluvial Aquifer through a pilot project combining riverbank filtration and aquifer storage to capture surface water for direct injection into the aquifer. Construction of the facility by USDA-ARS is complete and full operation began April 2021. A substantial amount of water-level and water-quality data have been collected during the pre-operation period and will continue to be collected during facility operation. Detailed geologic and geophysical data have been collected by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), including airborne electromagnetic data throughout the study area and waterborne resistivity data in major rivers. Research will contribute to developing an understanding of the engineering challenges and technical and economic feasibility of subsurface injection as a component of managed aquifer recharge in the region. Hydrologic modeling tools developed in collaboration with USGS and the University of Mississippi (UM) will be used to evaluate the pilot project and support decision making for water resources management in the region.

 

Under the guidance of a mentor, the participant will collaborate with USDA-ARS, USGS, and UM research scientists to perform the following research activities:

  • Participate in all phases of field-based data collection, operation, and evaluation of the pilot project well field;
  • Seek out relevant data and review literature for existing knowledge related to riverbank filtration and other artificial recharge technologies and use this information to evaluate hydrogeology of the region and develop operational parameters for sustained managed aquifer recharge; and
  • Assist with the development and application of physics-based and data-driven models to evaluate groundwater storage benefits and potential risks for stakeholders.

Full position and application available here.