Skip to main content


An Illiquid Market in the Desert: The Role of Interest Groups in Shaping Environmental Regulaton

A seminar by Dr. Eric Edwards
Friday, April 22 at 3:10pm in UI Hubert room 27

We present a lobby model to explain the adoption and persistence of seemingly costly environmental  policies relative to the likely benefits generated. The arguments of the model are illustrated by water  trade restrictions for mining firms in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The area is one of the driest  in the world but also the world’s top copper producer. Due to regulation of access to local water in  the region, firms have begun using desalinated water at a cost of up to $19,542 per m3/day while agricultural  water trades at median price of $343 per m3/day. We explore how governmental maintenance of environmental  and indigenous water supplies through restrictions on water trades causes these large price differentials.  We provide a simple framework that explains how this type of policy can be supported under reasonable  assumptions about lobbying. Interest group lobbying, limited information to unorganized general citizens  about policy costs and benefits, and their associated distribution can lead to strong regulation, even  when the protected environmental areas and agricultural populations are small and isolated. Differencein-  difference modeling of sector prices indicates that after an abrupt increase in regulatory denials,  prices diverged in a manner consistent with the lobbying model. Using market price and desalination  cost data, policy costs are estimated at $6.15 billion dollars or approximately $350 per citizen, which  may or may not equate to perceived general benefits.

More Info

“‘Smart’ water markets for agriculture: Innovation on the High Plains, and prospects for Washington State” Seminar

WRC and CEREO are pleased to sponsor a seminar by Nick Brozovic and Richael Young

Wednesday, 16, December 2015
Lighty 405, 12:00pm
WSU Pullman

Nicholas Brozovic is an economist with extensive experience in water policy and management worldwide. His research focuses on using economic analysis to evaluate and design management policies for spatial, dynamic natural resource systems. Much of his work is interdisciplinary and involves collaborations with engineers, urban planners and others. He is currently working to establish functioning resource markets, such as groundwater markets, that can be used as research and teaching platforms and as models of sustainability for industry. Brozovic joined the Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska in July 2014. In addition to teaching, he works to ensure that the Water for Food Institute’s scientific and policy research effectively informs both policy and decision makers. Previously, Brozovic was an associate professor of agriculture and consumer economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Brozovoc holds doctoral and master’s degrees in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California-Berkley, a master’s degree in geology from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree in geology from Oxford University.

Richael Young specializes in market design for the exchange of natural resource rights. As an economist, engineer, and entrepreneur, she brings together complementary skillsets for natural resources management and policy. She strives to create tailored solutions that meet local needs and economic goals. In 2014, Richael cofounded Mammoth Trading, where she serves as president. In this capacity, Richael led the development and implementation of the first smart market for groundwater in the world. Mammoth Trading’s smart markets help producers put limited water to its most productive uses, all while meeting stream flow and regulatory obligations. Richael holds a B.S. in civil and environmental engineering and an M.S. in agricultural and applied economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“The Essential Element” – Science After Hours

A Science After Hours program hosted by the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute.

A goal of Science After Hours is for scientists and researchers to share their research with the community!
Three students from the NSF IGERT NSPIRE (Isaac Madsen, Jacqueline Burgher, and Julian Reyes) program at Washington State University will be presenting

The event will be held at the Camas Prairie Winery in Moscow, ID on Thursday, Nov 5th from 7-8pm.
(For more information).

Can Low Impact Development Fix the Urban Stream Syndrome?

Associate Professor and LID Specialist

The talk will focus on the transformation of hydrologic processes associated with land use change, and how engineering using ecosystem-centric principles could lead to the better management of surface runoff in urbanizing watersheds. Ani will outline some of his work and those done by colleagues at three spatial scales, as well as relating past efforts to current work that promote the use of Low Impact Development techniques in the state of Washington.

Date: Monday, November 2, 2015
Place: Sloan 175
Time: 4:10 p.m.—5:00 p.m.

For more information

“What’s the Dam Problem?: A Panel Discussion on the Future of the Four Lower Snake River Dams”

Thursday, November 5th, University of Idaho is hosting a panel discussion consisting of:

(1) David Doeringsfeld, the Lewiston Port Manager
(2) Linwood Laughy, a local Citizen activist, author and historian
(3) John McKern, a Retired U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Fish and Wildlife Biologist
(4) Patrick Wilson, a Professor of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho
(5) Todd Myers, the Environmental Director of The Washington Policy Center
(6) Rebecca Miles, the Executive Director of the Nez Perce Tribe

The discussion will be moderated by Professor of Law & Coordinator of the Natural Resources and Environmental Law Program, Barbara Cosens.

When: Thursday November 5, 2015 at the
Where: University of Idaho College of Law, Courtroom
Meet and greet with refreshments: from 5 to 5:30 p.m.
Panel discussion: from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.
more info

Dr. Tim Scheibe

“A hybrid multiscale framework for subsurface flow and reactive transport simulations”

Dr. Tim Scheibe, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Date: Monday, October 12, 2015
Place: Sloan 175
Time: 4:10 p.m.—5:00 p.m.

Seminar: Hydraulic geometry: Looking at an old concept in new ways

  • Wednesday, 8 April 2015
  • Lighty 405, 2-3pm
  • Washington State University, Pullman

Sponsored by The Center for Environmental Research, Education and Outreach

Throughout history, humans have relied on rivers for a variety of uses including transportation, food, water for drinking and irrigation, renewable energy, and recreation. River channels also form the physical basis for riparian ecosystems with flow and sediment processes in the channel coevolving with flora and fauna. This process often leads to a state of dynamic equilibrium where the channel is essentially stable in form. Both anthropogenic activities and natural events may alter flow and sediment dynamics in the channel, disrupting this equilibrium. Disruptions may be due to direct or indirect impacts and often have significant environmental effects. Direct impacts occur within the channel and include channelization, instream structures, and gravel mining. Indirect impacts occur outside of the channel and alter the magnitude and timing of water and sediment delivery to streams. Examples of indirect impacts include changes in land use or climate. Hydraulic geometry, or regime equations, is a tool to relate hydrologic variables to channel form. While this concept is more than 50 years old, regional regime equations now form the basis of many stream restoration projects. This presentation revisits the concept of hydraulic geometry and investigates new applications. Using example data, it is demonstrated how hydraulic geometry clarifies the physics underlying fluvial processes as well as predicts generalized changes in channel form.

Dr. Petrie is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at WSU.  His research focuses on rivers and sediment transport and the impact of hydropower operations on river morphology and ecology.