About CWE

CWE Vision

CWE is a collective of CSU, Chico faculty engaged in interdisciplinary research focused on water and the environment. 

CWE Mission

CWE is a Center of Excellence within CSU, Chico's College of Natural Sciences created to:

  • Create a scientific peer community.
  • Involve faculty with expertise in water and the environment from across campus.
  • Respond to societal needs.
  • Expand competitiveness in the research of water and the environment.
  • Expand and explore out-of-classroom learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.

CWE Objectives

  • Expand and support research of water and the environment
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Facilitation of interdisciplinary work
  • Share ideas
  • Share research space
  • Share common equipment
  • Serve the North State and beyond
  • Expand learning opportunities
  • Provide organizational structure and support
  • Support and expand productivity
  • Build on our strengths in water and environmental research
  • Create relationships and open the lines of communication between administration, colleges, departments, research centers (both on- and off-campus), with off-campus individuals, businesses, non-profits, governmental agencies, and funders.

CWE Goals

  • Expand and adapt the center to reflect and emcompass its new name (CWE)
  • Revisit vision, mission, ojectives, and goals to reflect changes in the center with new name (CWE)
  • Enhance educational activities and competitive research in water and the environment
  • Promote and facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration amongst faculty.
  • Provide the infrastructure for coordinating shared use of laboratories, equipment, staff, and other resources supporting research.
  • Assist faculty in pursuit of external funding to support research activities, employ students, and purchasing equipment and technology.
  • Connect with the community to provide quality outreach that meets the environmental-science needs of Northern California.

CWE Staff

Jennifer Rotnem

Jennifer RotnemManaging Director
Center for Water and the Environment

Jennifer Rotnem co-directs for the Center for Ecosystem Research with the Science Director Colleen Hatfield. Her role is to oversee the administration and management of CER: she supports CER grant-proposal development and management of projects; she works to partner the Campus with the community on environmental issues; and she coordinates CER outreach and publicity.Rotnem has been directing the College of Natural Sciences' environmental programs since 1998. During that time, the college has been successful with its environmental initiatives in a variety of disciplines including aquatic bioassessment, anadramous fisheries, watershed restoration, water quality, remote sensing, and conservation ecology.

Norma Myers

Norma MyersEnvironmental Projects Manager
Center for Water and the Environment

Norma Myers is the environmental projects manager for the Center for Ecosystem Research. She provides project management for CER and the Aquatic Bioassessment Lab (ABL), which includes: working with the Office of Sponsored Programs tracking research proposals through contract/grant award and project completion; she oversees the financial management to insure fiduciary compliance for approximately 20-30 sponsored and internal projects; she develops bioassessment agreements with off-campus clients for the ABL; and she also develops and processes the daily forms and paperwork, i.e. purchase orders, employment forms, check request, and independent contract agreements for CER and ABL. Norma has over 30 years experience in grant/contract management maintaining the fiduciary-integrity of a variety of funded projects. She worked at the University of California, Berkeley for 18 years, mainly in the Department of Higher Education and the Department of Physics. Norma worked for the CSU, Chico Research Foundation Sponsored Programs for 19 years, and managed environmental projects funded by various federal, state, and non-profit agencies such as U.S. EPA, CALFED, USFWS, California Department of Fish & Game, and The Nature Conservancy.

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Research Staff

Dan Pickard

Dan PickardTaxonomist
Chico Aquatic Bioassessment Lab

Dan is a taxonomist with the Aquatic Bioassessment Lab (ABL). Dan has worked with aquatic macroinvertebrates for over 20 years, he joined the ABL in October 2000. He is experienced with various macroinvertebrates from the U.S., with emphasis on those in the western states. Currently, he is involved in identification for all of the projects of the ABL. He is also developing a digital reference collection for aquatic macroinvertebrates of California. He received a BA in biology from University of California, Santa Barbara and MS in biology/aquatic ecology from the University of Alabama.

Brady Richards

Brady RichardsTaxonomist
Aquatic Bioassessment Lab

Brady joined the ABL in October of 2001. He has 20 years of experience with aquatic macroinvertebrates from all across the U.S.; his taxonomic specialty is with Coleoptera, Heteroptera, and Trichoptera. He is currently involved with the identification for a wide range of projects with the ABL, and external QC for other labs in California. He has a BS and MS in biology from Arkansas State University.

Joseph Slusark

Joseph SlusarkTaxonomist
Chico Aquatic Bioassessment Lab

Joe joined the ABL in 2001. He has over 20 years of macroinvertebrate identification. His current work includes identification for all ABL projects, and internal QC of other ABL projects. His taxonomic expertise is with Ephemeroptera and Chironomidae. He holds a BS in wildlife science and MS in entomology/ecology from Penn State University.

John Sandberg

John SandbergTaxonomist
Chico Aquatic Bioassessment Lab

John joined the ABL in 2006. He has over 20 years of macroinvertebrate identification. His current work includes identification for all ABL projects. His taxonomic expertise is with Plecoptera. He has a BS in fisheries and biology and an MS in natural resources/limnology from University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point. He also has PhD in biology/aquatic ecology from University of North Texas.

Jennifer York

Jennifer YorkField Biologist
Chico Aquatic Bioassessment Lab

Jennifer joined the ABL in December 2000. She has worked on all aspects of probabilistic and targeted field projects for the ABL, which includes: research, leading and managing field crews, reconnaissance, and permitting. She received a BS in zoology from CSU, Humboldt.

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