Dr. Sam Fernald was appointed interim director of the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute (NM WRRI) in January 2011. As interim director, he will lead the institute in its mission to develop and disseminate knowledge that will assist the state, region, and nation in solving water resources problems.
The NM WRRI, one of 54 water institutes in the nation, encourages university faculty statewide to pursue critical areas of water resources research while providing training opportunities for students, and provides an outlet for transferring research findings to the academic community, water managers and the general public. Professor Fernald also is a faculty member in the Department of Animal and Range Sciences at New Mexico State University.
Dr. Fernald's earned degrees include a 1987 B.A. in international relations from Stanford University, an M.E.M. in 1993 in water and air resources from Duke University, and a Ph.D. in watershed science from Colorado State University in 1997. His primary research interests include water quality hydrology; land use effects on infiltration, runoff, sediment yield, and nonpoint source pollution; and effects of surface water/groundwater exchange on water availability and water quality. Dr. Fernald received a Fulbright Scholarship to Patagonian National University, Trelew, Argentina in 2008, and another Fulbright Scholarship to the University of Concepcion, Concepcion, Chile in 2000.
Dr. Fernald currently is leading a multi-institutional, five year, $1.4 million water research project funded by the National Science Foundation. In addition to NMSU, partners in the study include the University of New Mexico, New Mexico Tech, Sandia National Laboratories, the New Mexico Acequia Association, and the Maxwell Museum.
As interim director of NM WRRI, Dr. Fernald is an active member of the National Institute of Water Resources and the Universities Council on Water Resources, both nationwide water organizations. He also serves on the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Sciences, Inc.; the Consortium of Higher Investigations for Water and Wastewater, a regional organization; the Lower Rio Grande Water User Organization, a southern New Mexico water group; co-chairs the New Mexico-Texas Water Commission; is a member of the Paso del Norte Water Task Force, which brings together all the water entities in the Las Cruces/El Paso/ Ciudad Juarez area; the Paso del Norte Watershed Council, an environmental oriented regional group; and the newly created South Central Consortium comprised of six state water institutes in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Region 6.