About Steven

Steven Fassnacht grew up in the Great Lakes region that has a lot of water falling from the sky (three times as much as the Front Range of Colorado, where he now lives). However, even in a place where water resources appeared to be limitless, water availability was an issue, due to the timing of rain and snow, and water quality problems that come with long term development. Dr. Fassnacht was drawn to study water because there is an analytical component, a resources conservation component, and an environmental field component. He has focused on the physical aspects of watershed science, but acknowledges that to solve the bigger and more important problems, that often include water quality issues, we must work in interdisciplinary teams. Such groups expand our boundaries and build our understanding of physical, biological, and social systems. As an undergraduate, Dr. Fassnacht was exposed to a number of water quality issues and he graduated with a water resources concentration.

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Interests

  • Water is the essence of life. Everyone needs water. In studying snow and water resources, we are at the top or the beginning of the hydrological cycle in many of the world's systems. As our climate changes, our land cover changes, and our land use is altered, so does the amount of water flowing in our streams. To further confound this, we have been using our lands, water and air in ways that create water quality problems. An understanding of our natural systems will help bring more and better quality water to everyone. My main interests are in measuring snow, where I can hopefully get a few turns in, as well as variability and change in hydrological systems. I need to be and wander amongst my medium, the snowpack. This allows me to think about the problems of sampling, resolution and processes. To be an effective teacher, I try to take students into the field to share the great outdoors. I also try to share the importance of developing analytical skills.

Education

Ph.D., Civil Engineering - University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 2000

M.A.Sc., Civil Engineering - University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 1995

B.A.Sc., Civil Engineering (Water Resources) - University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 1992

Awards, Honors, Grants

  • Natural Resources Ecology Laboratory Outstanding Advisor Award, 2013
  • Eastern Snow Conference SNOFOO, 2008

Memberships

  • International Association of Cryospheric Sciences
  • International Association of Hydrological Sciences
  • Eastern Snow Conference
  • Canadian Geophysical Union
  • American Geophysical Union
  • Professional Engineers Ontario