Melanie realized that she could pursue her interests in geological sciences and environmental studies as major areas of study while at Tufts University. Her environmental studies focused on the intersection of science with policy and economics especially regarding water resources. She has always been fascinated by the effects of dams and impoundments on the geomorphic processes in the watershed, the ecological impacts, and the social effects upstream and downstream.
She moved to Portland, Oregon in 2008 to serve as an AmeriCorps member for the City of Gresham’s Natural Resources Program restoring urban watershed health. She obtained the River Restoration Professional Certificate while serving as an AmeriCorps volunteer and decided that engineering sounded quite fun, especially in the context of removing constraints on rivers previously imposed by civil engineers of the past. She completed a masters of science degree in civil and environmental engineering at Portland State University and her research focused on groundwater-surface water interactions in former quarry ponds. She regularly volunteers with the Johnson Creek Watershed Council, River Restoration Northwest, and the Geologic Society of the Oregon Country.
At River Design Group, Melanie brings her interdisciplinary background and experiences to develop river restoration designs that are sustainable in the watershed context and encourage change over time to sustain healthy ecosystems. She particularly enjoys the intersection of geology and geomorphology with restoration design and setting expectations for how systems are likely to continue to change in years to come. She has experience applying river restoration principles including hydrologic and hydraulic analysis, sediment dynamics and geomorphic evaluation, large woody material design, and riparian revegetation for public agencies and watershed councils. She is an experienced project manager and has worked with diverse teams to prepare scopes, budgets and schedules; perform QA/QC for design; prepare design drawings and PS&E packages; and manage subcontractors. Melanie is a registered/licensed geologist in Oregon and Washington and a professional engineer licensed in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana.
“Geologists on the whole are inconsistent drivers. When a roadcut presents itself, they tend to lurch and weave. To them, the roadcut is a portal, a fragment of a regional story, a proscenium arch that leads their imaginations into the earth and through the surrounding terrane.”
― John McPhee, Annals of the Former World
Melanie set up rock stands rather than lemonade stands in the summer and purveyed interesting rocks rather than refreshing drinks.
Melanie has been a volunteer with the watershed council of every watershed she has lived in, starting as a water quality intern for the Organization for the Assabet River in high school. She led cleanups on the Mystic River during college and co-founded the annual Johnson Creek Cleanup when she moved to Oregon.
Melanie and her husband Matt built a catio at their house in Portland which was featured in the 2017 “Cats Safe at Home” tour.
Melanie played bass guitar in a heavy metal band during high school.
Johnson Creek (Clackamas/Multnomah, Oregon)