Jonathon Loos, a graduate student in Plymouth State University’s Master of Science program in Environmental Science and Policy and the Center for the Environment, has been awarded the American Rivers’ Anthony A. Lapham River Conservation Fellowship. This fellowship honors the memory of Anthony A. Lapham who served for many years on the board of American Rivers, including as its Chairman.
The Lapham Fellowship provides an excellent professional development opportunity for talented post-graduates pursuing careers as leaders in the field of conservation advocacy. One recipient is selected every two years out of a national pool of applicants. The goals of the Lapham Fellowship Program are to develop the next generation of conservation leaders, and to generate research products that directly support the mission and goals of American Rivers. Lapham Fellows focus on an applied research project that will make a tangible contribution to American River’s mission, develop advocacy skills and create a network of professional contacts.
During this two-year fellowship, Loos will work in Washington, DC with the American Rivers Director of Restoration Policy to carry out a collaborative project focused within the Connecticut River watershed and contribute to current policy initiatives within the American Rivers organization. His proposed research project will examine the ecological and social benefits that come from intact floodplain ecosystems, and will generate frameworks for including local values in management of floodplains at local and regional community levels.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to have been selected for the Lapham Fellowship and have the opportunity to apply my research to river management and conservation,” said Loos. “I’m also eager to engage with American Rivers on the policy process in our Nation’s Capitol”.
As a student and research assistant at PSU, Loos is studying community-level decision-making surrounding ecosystem-based adaptation to flooding within the Connecticut River watershed for his master’s thesis. His work is part of a project focused on “Understanding and Valuing Watershed Ecosystem Services in New Hampshire” that is being lead by his advisor, Dr. Shannon Rogers. Rogers work is part of NH EPSCoR’s statewide “Ecosystems and Society” project funded by the National Science Foundation’
Dr. Rogers, assistant professor of ecological economics in PSU’s Department of Environmental Science and Policy and the Center for the Environment, will also serve as Loos’ academic mentor during his time as a Lapham Fellow. Rogers noted, “Jonathon is an excellent student, and I look forward to the opportunity to build upon his research success and leverage the stakeholder connections we’ve made to further conservation efforts in this region and beyond. We are both grateful for the support of Plymouth State, the Center for the Environment, and NH EPSCoR in allowing us to build capacity to pursue nationally recognized engaged scholarship.”
While at American Rivers, Loos will work on identifying ecosystems critical in ecological function and natural heritage to the Connecticut River basin, and develop a set of stakeholder values associated with each. This will involve identifying priority areas of wetlands, floodplain forest, and intact riparian systems that provide water regulation and flood mitigation services. In addition, an understanding of the environmental values, perceptions of ecosystem services, and land management objectives of stakeholder groups will be developed through a process of focus groups, workshops, and survey techniques.This will set the stage for development of land management and conservation initiatives that address regional needs for maintenance of water regulation and hazard mitigating ecosystem services, and localized needs for projects that ensure economic viability and cultural identity.
“It is exciting to have Jonathon’s work as a student at PSU carry on at national organization. We strive to have our students develop research projects that are meaningful to the region and Jonathon’s success is a wonderful example of this,” noted June Hammond Rowan, associate director of the Center for the Environment and coordinator of the Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy program.