Martin Doyle is director of the Water Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and a professor of river science and policy at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.
His research is at the interface of science, economics and policy of river management and restoration. His background is in hydraulics and sediment transport in rivers, but he also works on river infrastructure, including decommissioning dams and levees, as well as research on financing rehabilitation of aging hydropower dams and the impacts of infrastructure on river ecosystems across the United States. He holds a Ph.D. in earth science from Purdue University, and a master's degree in engineering from the University of Mississippi. His research has resulted in several awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship (2009), a National Science Foundation Early Career Award (2005), the Nystrom Award from the Association of American Geographers (2004), the Horton Grant from the American Geophysical Union (2001), and the Chorafas Prize from the Chorafas Foundation in Switzerland (2002). For his work in bridging environmental science and policy, in 2009 was named the inaugural Frederick J. Clarke Scholar by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In 2008 Doyle was named an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow by Stanford University, and received a GlaxoSmithKline Faculty Fellowship for Public Policy from the Institute for Emerging Issues.
The 2016 Aspen-Nicholas Water Forum focused on the shifting role of public and private financing for water infrastructure and the new universe of innovative financing solutions to create impacts in the water sector, including how impact investing can hold the multiple roles of bridging the ever growing funding gap for infrastructure, improve water use efficiencies, and protect water resources while at the same time making a financial profit. Among the forum report's key findings: 1) Business as usual is not sustainable—we as a society are now paying for the “can-kicking” that has occurred while we debated responsibility for U.S. water resources; 2) The water issues we face as a nation continue to grow as the water community dithers and invests in one-off projects, rather than focusing on scaled solutions like regionalization and integration; 3) Money is not the issue; there is plenty of private capital available to meet the current water funding gap, but there are significant barriers to impactful and innovative financing; 4) Government regulation and public education can go hand in hand to gain public support for improved water management while supporting social equity; and 5) Leadership is one of the prime movers for innovative finance projects in the water space.
Authors: Lauren Patterson, Martin Doyle, and Nicole Buckley
Aspen-Nicholas Institute Water Forum
The 2015 Aspen-Nicholas Water Forum, brought together a select group of water experts to explore water and big data to understand how the emergence of large, but dispersed, amounts of data in the water sector can best be utilized to improve the management and delivery of water for a more sustainable future. Understanding what water data we have, how we collect it, and how to standardize and integrate it may well be a prerequisite to taking action to address a wide range of water challenges. The report from the 2015 forum captures ideas and sentiments expressed by the group and concludes with five points: The rise of big data and new measurement technologies can transform the way that water is managed in the coming decades; However, water data must be synthesized more rapidly than government agencies’ current pace of analysis; A national water data policy is needed that standarizes data integration and storage for more effective water management across sectors; Overcoming privacy constraints would help to maximize the potential of water data; and Accurate assessments of water risk require better matched data sources and data analytics at the individual site level.
Aspen-Nicholas Institute Water Forum
This analysis uses geomorphic surveys to quantify the differences between restored and nonrestored streams as well as the differences between streams restored for market purposes (compensatory mitigation) and those restored for nonmarket programs. In addition, it examines the social and political-economic drivers of the stream restoration and mitigation industry using policy documents and interviews with key personnel, including regulators, mitigation bankers, stream designers, and scientists. Among the findings: Restored streams are typically wider and geomorphically more homogenous than nonrestored streams. Streams restored for the mitigation market are typically headwater streams and are part of a large complex of long restored main channels and many restored tributaries; streams restored for nonmarket purposes are typically shorter and consist of the main channel only. Interviews reveal that designers integrate many influences, including economic and regulatory constraints, but traditions of practice have a large influence as well. Thus, social forces shape the morphology of restored streams.
Authors: Martin W. Doyle, Jai Singh, Rebecca Lave, and Morgan W. Robertson
Wetland and Stream Mitigation
The United States federal government invested significant resources to build dams in the mid-twentieth century to increase water storage capacity nationwide; while only 5% of the dams in the United States are federally owned, they account for 61% of the total national storage capacity. Society is increasingly dependent on reservoir storage capacity due to increased water demand, increased population growth on floodplains protected by flood control dams, or increased demand on hydropower as a critical part of the electricity grid. Simultaneously, reservoir sedimentation diminishes storage capacity. Thus, there is a persistent chronic loss of the very resource upon which many aspects of modern society depend. Not measuring, assessing, and managing this resource undervalues it, and also perpetuates ignorance of threats to existing beneficiaries as well as obscuring opportunities for additional benefits. In order to most efficiently use the nation’s increasingly scarce reservoir storage capacity, the authors propose three modest actions for the hydraulic engineering community in the Journal of Hydraulic Engineering: expand nationwide reservoir sedementation surveys, supplement RESSED with initial planned sedimentation rates, and share responsibility for building reservoir sedimentation knowledge.
Author(s): Charles Podolak, Martin Doyle