Ryan Rowland

Hydrologist and Data Chief

U.S. Geological Survey


Ryan Rowland is a Hydrologist and Data Chief at the U.S. Geological Survey, Utah Water Science Center, West Valley City, Utah. During his 20+ year career, he has participated in and lead numerous ground and surface water studies on topics including sulfate reduction in a zero valence iron reactive barrier for uranium sequestration in shallow groundwater, installation and operation of four water quality and weather platforms for hydrodynamic modeling and evaporation estimates for Lake Mead, Nevada and Arizona, uranium transport near an active uranium mill in southeastern Utah, and more recent studies on Great Salt Lake and Bear Lake water quality. He graduated from the University of Utah in 1997 with a B.S. degree in Environmental Earth Science.

Title: Monitoring Bidirectional Discharge at the New Causeway Breach: A Key to Improved Estimates of Water, Salt, and Nutrient Exchange Between the North and South Arms of Great Salt Lake, Utah

Abstract: A key component to understanding water and mass balances of Great Salt Lake is to quantify discharge through the new causeway breach. To address this need, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, has completed monthly field measurements of bidirectional discharge at the new causeway breach since its opening in December 2016. In addition, lake elevation sensors, a weather station, and an up-looking acoustic Doppler velocity meter (ADVM), which measures water velocities and flow direction along a vertical profile in the water column, were installed at the site and log data at 15-minute intervals. A robust relationship between ADVM velocity data, lake elevation, and monthly field discharge measurements of bidirectional discharge has been identified and allows computation of a near continuous record of bidirectional discharge going back to June 2018. During this period, mean daily discharges for south to north and north to south flow directions were 1,440 and 412 cubic feet per second (cfs), respectively. South to north instantaneous discharge ranged from 6,600 to 0 cfs, and north to south instantaneous discharge ranged from 5,000 to 0 cfs. The data set indicates that rapid fluctuations in bidirectional discharge and periods of unidirectional discharge are common, underscoring the importance of near real-time discharge data for computing water, salt, and nutrient exchange between the north and south arms of Great Salt Lake.  


Why We Care

  • "Great Salt Lake is a special place. There is nothing else like it. Do we really want to imagine a time when we have to say "I remember when there used to be a big salty lake out there?" Can we really be so disconnected from our landscape that we fail to act before it's too late? We must protect this resource, this place of life and reflection."

    Janessa Edwards, FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake Education and Outreach Director