Andrea K. Gerlak, University of Arizona research professor in the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy and professor in the School of Geography, Development and Environment, has been named acting director of the Udall Center.
Dr. Gerlak replaces Director Christopher Scott as he leaves the university in May to serve as the Maurice K. Goddard Chair in Forestry and Environmental Resource Conservation in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at The Pennsylvania State University.
Dr. Gerlak, who holds a PhD in political science from the University, most recently served as the Udall Center’s associate director. Her research focuses on cooperation and conflict around water, including questions of institutional change and adaptation to climate change in river basins and human rights and equity issues in water governance. She is a senior research fellow with the Earth System Governance Project and recently served as a lead author on the Earth Systems Governance Science and Implementation Plan. Additionally, she serves as a co-editor for the Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning and is a member of the editorial board for Anthropocene, a journal addressing the nature, scale and extent of the influence that people have on Earth.
Tucson’s forceful monsoon rains make stormwater management a high priority. But the aridity of the Southwest demands water conservation. Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) meets both of these needs by reducing precipitation-related flooding, pollution, and erosion while allowing for urban water storage. GSI takes a variety of forms in Tucson, including vegetated bioswales, rain barrels, curb cuts, and water retention basins.
Water is interwoven through every aspect of human activity, and is linked to a range of climate change impacts – droughts, intense rainstorms, floods, and sea level rise. A warmer world will bring increasing ecological, social, and economic challenges. What are the solutions? The University of Arizona, with a long history of excellence in water-related research and policy, is helping to build water-related resilience at multiple scales.
As conveners of conversations and leaders in finding innovative and collaborative solutions to the world’s most pressing water issues, the Arizona Institutes for Resilience (AIR), the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, and the Water Resources Research Center are excited to host Water Solutions for Our Warmer World, a six-part public webinar series. We invite the community to engage with us in exploring regional water-related challenges and solutions.
Christopher Scott, Udall Center Director in his role as 2020-22 Mountain Chair of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), will coordinate a synthesis workshop on energy transitions in mountain regions. The virtual workshop will be held on three consecutive days, April 7–9, 2021, each day from 7am-9:30am MST (12:00-14:30 Argentina time, 16:00–18:30 Central European time, 19:45–22:15 Nepal time).
The López-Hoffman Lab pursues solutions-oriented research on a diverse set of environmental governance challenges at multiple scales and across boundaries.
The NEPAccess project uses data science to help modernize the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Until now, the lack of systematic data on NEPA’s performance has hindered decision-makers, and public participation in NEPA processes has been stymied by limited access to documents. The NEPAccess project brings together a team of data scientists, public policy and legal scholars, and environmental researchers to address these limitations.
The Udall Center’s Dr. Stephanie Buechler, who also holds a position with the School of Geography, Development, and Environment (SGDE), is leading the Tucson-focused applied research project "Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic through Community Gardens: A Lifeline to Food Security" in collaboration with the Community Gardens of Tucson (CGT) NGO. Twenty qualitative interviews are being conducted with under- and un-employed gardeners to investigate the effect of gardening on vegetable-produce accessibility for gardeners and their household members, limitations experienced gardening under COVID-19 and climate change conditions, and strengths and weaknesses of social and institutional networks related to gardening during COVID-19. These interviews were complemented by four others with CGT staff on the financial effects of water meters subsidized by the Tucson Water. Funding for the project comes from SGDE, the Udall Foundation, the Spicer Foundation, and the University of Arizona Center for Regional Food Studies
Udall Center staff Bob Varady, Andrea Gerlak, Molli Bryson and Chris Scott focus on research, publishing, public speaking, and policy engagement on environmental and hydrodiplomacy themes. This includes such signature events as the Stewart Udall Centennial on November 19th. On October 16th, Chris was quoted in a New York Times front-page story on the U.S.-Mexico water treaty. On October 28th, Chris was a panelist in the inaugural webinar of Harvard University's Food Security in the Americas series, presenting "Food, energy and water security in the borderlands: Chihuahua as the linchpin of Mexico-U.S. hydrodiplomacy.” Additionally, Bob and Andrea, together with associates Margaret Wilder and Nicolas Pineda, are putting the final touches on a special issue of Environmental Science and Policy, which brings together 14 essays featuring hydrodiplomacy across the globe. Finally, led by Andrea and Bob, the Udall Center serves as an active member of and participant in the Universities Partnership for Water Cooperation and Diplomacy.
Dr. Andrea Gerlak sheds light on the effects of COVID-19 on water insecurity, especially in rural communities. Read the full article here: https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/511299-heat-waves-to-heighten-energy-and-water-insecurity-during-covid-19
New podcast from Journal of the Southwest Radio Hour featuring the green infrastructure expertise from Dr. Adriana Zuniga-Teran: Better Monsooner than Later, with Patricia Schwartz.
Depending on where you’re standing, summer rains in the desert can mean rejuvenation or destruction (or both). Rapid urbanization has put borderlands cities out of touch with the storm waters that sustain them, an oversight for which they pay dearly in flood damages and eroded soils. What predictions can we make about the future of the monsoon in the Sonoran Desert? What are we doing to make use of the rain and prevent it from sweeping us away? How can storm water management be used to promote environmental justice and urban equity?
Written, produced, and narrated by Patricia Schwartz, a graduate student in the School of Geography, Development and Environment, University of Arizona, this ~40 minute podcast features interviews with Dr. Gregg Garfin, University Director of the Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center and Associate Professor/Extension Specialist at the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona; and Dr. Adriana Zuniga-Teran, Assistant Research Scientist and Professor at the School of Landscape Architecture and Planning and the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at the University of Arizona.
Here is the link to the full podcast episode: https://jsw.arizona.edu/multimedia/podcasts/