Better engagement with disadvantaged populations. How to better reach/educate our non-English speaking or minority groups.
Project: Marginalized communities often exist in hazardous areas less suitable for development, such as floodplains. This project aims to identify and describe where in the state the presence of flood risk intersects with socially or economically disadvantaged populations. Describe the nature or degree of disadvantage in identified areas. Identify effective means and develop messages to communicate the following:
• Presence of flood risk
• Opportunities for protection
• Resources for mitigation
Deliverables: Maps; survey; report including methods, analysis, and conclusions; communications matrix describing audience, messaging, and medium; list of potential community or communications partners such as non-profits or foundations.
Skill set/Knowledge areas: multi-lingual, GIS, socio-economics, communications.
How to message climate change and flooding risks and impacts.
Project: Changing climate will affect the frequency and intensity of storm events, as well as resulting flooding and flood dynamics. Research anticipated climate changes within the state, as well as upstream/headwater regions such as Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota. Describe or categorize the audiences of flood-hazard-related information. For each audience, identify effective means and develop messages to communicate the increased flood risk posed by climate change. Format research for future integration into state and local hazard mitigation plans.
Deliverables: charts and maps describing areas of climate-change-driven flood impact and degree of impact; compilation of regional climate research/resources; report including analysis, conclusions, and sources; communications matrix describing audience, messaging, and medium; list of potential science, community, and communications partners such as research institutes, non-profits, or foundations.
Skill set/Knowledge areas: research and analysis, environmental science, communications.
How to bridge and promote upstream/non-floodplain conservation actions to reduce downstream flooding.
Project: Land use decisions in rural, upstream, non-flood-prone areas have a great impact on downstream floodplain areas. Identify areas upstream of flood-prone locations, describe characteristics, and identify conservation or mitigation actions that would reduce downstream flooding effects. Provide cost-benefit analysis of conservation or mitigation actions. Identify and describe barriers to the implementation of conservation or mitigation actions. Barriers may be policy, ideology, financial, or knowledge-based, etc. May select rural or urban case-study areas upon which to focus: such as a rural or urban flooding location and associated upstream rural region.
Deliverables: maps; survey; report including analysis, conclusions, and sources; communications matrix describing audience, messaging, and medium; list of potential science, community, and communications partners such as research institutes, non-profits, or foundations.
Skill set/Knowledge areas: research and analysis, agri-business, agronomy, environmental science, communications.
How to Better Promote Nature-Based Solutions.
Project: There are many ways to mitigate flooding in urban and rural setting; however, the predominant approach brought to mind in both the general public and engineering community is that of berms and levees. Nature-based and green infrastructure solutions promise to be more cost effective than levees and conventional grey infrastructure approaches, yet common knowledge of them is limited. Identify barriers to understanding and implementing nature-based flood mitigation solutions. Identify potential solutions, financial instruments, or messaging to promote nature-based solutions.
Deliverables: survey; report including analysis, conclusions, and sources; communications matrix describing audience, messaging, and medium; list of potential science, community, and communications partners such as research institutes, non-profits, or foundations.
Skill set/Knowledge areas: research and analysis, agri-business, agronomy, environmental science and engineering, communications.
Identifying Nebraska’s Levees.
Project: Nebraska’s flooding in 2019 left the state with many questions about levees that might have been constructed decades ago but are not inventoried. What available methods, data, and information could be synthesized to estimate the locations of berms and levees not identified in the National Levee Inventory: Additionally, how could you simply characterize the benefits each structure provides?
Deliverables: survey; maps; report synthesizing costs, staffing levels, and effectiveness of available methodologies; report on description and benefits of structure types.
Skill set/Knowledge areas: GIS; remote sensing; hydrology; hydrogeology; environmental science; engineering; geography.
Identifying Nebraskans’ Understanding of the State’s Water Resources.
Project: The significance of water resources to Nebraska’s economy is without question; however, many Nebraskans do not regularly access information related to water quantity and quality. What methods could be used to evaluate the knowledge/interest of Nebraskans’ understanding of water resource issues: What tools might facilitate improved engagement and increased knowledge?
Deliverables: survey; report including methods, analysis, and conclusions; communications matrix describing audience(s), messaging, and medium(s); list of potential community or communication partners such as non-profits or foundations.
Skill set/Knowledge areas: research methods; analysis; innovation; communication; organization; social media; public involvement/ engagement; advertising/ public relations; natural resources.
Drought monitoring/Response Network.
Project: Drought (and, likewise, flooding) has a major impact to the economy of Nebraska. How would an effective drought monitoring and response network be designed/managed? What considerations would be most important? What benefits do you believe could be derived from its implementation?
Deliverables: maps, survey; report including current efforts, analysis of pitfalls, recommendations and conclusions, and effects and benefits; list of potential community or communication partners such as non-profits or foundations.
Skill set/Knowledge areas: research methods; analysis; organization; environmental science, communications; community/disaster planning.
Designing a Conjunctive Water Management System.
Project: Nebraska has many water resources; however, they may not be at the right place and time for their most efficient use. Nebraska’s aquifers serve as an important buffer to drought impacts and existing infrastructure of surface water irrigation systems can be used to augment naturally occurring recharge. How would you design a conjunctive management system to optimize the use of competing uses of water? An area of interest is the so-called “Mound Area” in central Nebraska. There, for decades, surface water systems have infiltrated large amounts of water raising groundwater levels much beyond natural conditions. How could a management system be designed to optimize water management outcomes through the integrated use of both surface water and groundwater.
Deliverables: maps; report including current efforts, analysis of pitfalls, recommendations and conclusions, and effects and benefits; list of interested/affected stakeholders.
Skill set/Knowledge areas: research methods; analysis; organization; environmental science, communications; hydrology; hydrogeology; public policy; law.
Estimating Yearly Water Use.
Project: How would you design a database to efficiently estimate annual water use for each river basin in Nebraska? How would you estimate water use for those uses that are not measured? How would you implement a program to enhance the reliability of these estimates and reduce the uncertainty of key data? How would you present the information to identify areas of uncertainty to water experts, policy makers, politicians, and the general public?
Deliverables: database mock-up; documentation; communications matrix describing audience(s), messaging, and medium(s); list of potential community or communication partners such as non-profits or foundations.
Skill set/Knowledge areas: database design; programming; analysis; innovation; communication; organization; social media; public involvement/engagement; advertising/ public relations; natural resources.
Improving the Management of Degrading Stream Systems.
Project: How would you improve the management of degrading stream systems in the Niobrara River Basin (Long Pine Creek sub-basin, as an example)? What structural and non-structural strategies could be deployed?
Deliverables: survey; maps; inventory and report that includes identification of management sites and solutions – by subbasin and strategy; write up of potential community partners such as non-profits, agencies, or foundations.
Skill set/Knowledge areas: GIS; water quality; geomorphology; habitat restoration; sustainable agriculture; hydrology; hydrogeology; environmental science; engineering.
Educate kayakers, anglers, boaters, and other recreationists on the dangers associated with low-head dams.
Project: Low head dams have been nicknamed “Drowning Machines.” Under certain flow conditions, low head dams create an underwater roller that can trap and drown unsuspecting victims. There are many lowhead dams scattered across Nebraska on our canals, rivers, and streams. Too often, people become trapped and drown at these low-head dams. Most people are unfamiliar with the dangers posed by these dams. What can be done to educate people and reduce loss of life at these dams.
Deliverables: Maps, surveys, analysis, conclusions, reports, communication plans that include audience, messaging, and medium, and list of potential community and communication partners.
Skill set/ Knowledge areas: Data gathering, GIS, communications, social media, natural resources.
Water Planning Specialist Opportunity.
There are opportunities within the Water Planning Division available that would include work on some of the above opportunities as well as other activities as needed. The Water Planning Division at NeDNR works with local, regional, state, and interstate partners and stakeholders on integrated management of surface water and groundwater and on interstate water agreements. Our vision is advancing collaborative water management across the state of Nebraska based on sound science, and our mission is to sustain and protect Nebraska s water supplies and water users for both the near and long term. The Division’s work blends hydrogeological modeling and analyses with water policy and planning. Under supervision, you would be responsible for performing technical work for the analysis of hydrologically connected groundwater and surface water supplies and for the implementation of state statutes and integrated management plans within Nebraska. You will be able to develop your knowledge of the complex integrated modeling tools such as: MODFLOW groundwater models (including the latest version MODFLOW 6), CROPSIM and/or other watershed models, STELLA surface water operations models, and other models as needed.
How to apply:
Email a resume and cover letter to:
Resumes and cover letters will be reviewed. Candidates who meet the position qualifications will be contacted concerning temporary internships.