Matt Berg holds Tom Slick Fellowship

Congratulations to Matt Berg! He received a Tom Slick Fellowship for the 2012–2013 academic year. The Tom Slick Fellowship is the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' most prestigious competitive fellowship. It is awarded to outstanding graduate students to support the completion of their dissertation after they have been admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.

Matt is researching the impact of rangeland erosion on water quantity and quality in reservoirs in Central Texas. By taking sediment cores from reservoir beds and analyzing the layers within those cores for radioactive isotopes, he aims to track changes in the rate of sediment deposition over time. Incorporating land cover change analysis and historical weather and streamflow data, he hopes to identify major erosion events and outline the causes of erosion in the surrounding landscape. The goal is to understand how the dynamics of these landscapes change over time under different pressures and the potential for impacts on water resources. Water availability is at the heart of the study. With its rapidly growing population, Texas is particularly focused on quality and quantity of surface water sources to sustain the needs of its people and economy, while predictions indicate reservoirs may face a serious loss of storage capacity due to sedimentation. Results from Matt’s research will inform land use and water policy decision making in Texas.

During his undergraduate and master’s degree programs, Matt focused on wetland ecology in coastal and inland systems and ecosystem restoration. After earning his Master of Science, Matt worked for several years with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension on watershed planning efforts around the state and cooperated with watershed professionals across the country. Through engaging with many organizations, officials, agencies and private citizens, he gained an appreciation for the applied aspect of science, and discovered a passion for communicating science clearly and involving stakeholders in decision making.

Matt plans to complete his doctorate in December 2013. With a background in both the science of ecology and social aspects of resource management, Matt would like to bring an informed, well-balanced voice to a career in water policy.