Rebecca Schneider’s program focuses on integrated, watershed-based, and sustainable water resource management in the face of climate change. Her research, extension, and teaching all revolve around different facets of this topic. Currently, her primary research program is focused on how networks of roadside ditches that criss-cross watersheds contribute to flooding, droughts, and degraded water quality in downstream waters. A second effort is investigating how restoration of organic matter in wetland and terrestrial soils can help to improve hydrologic and biogeochemical functions.Over the past several years, she has worked with students and collaborators and developed a successful research-extension program that addresses both the theoretical and applied sides of plant-water interactions. The research findings have been translated into several extension programs aimed at improving management of roadside drainage networks to reduce flooding and water pollution, improving watershed management as a buffer against climate change, a sustainable approach to managing aquatic weeds, and improving streamside protection. She has also developed a successful companion undergraduate course that teaches the broader set of ecological issues associated with water resource management.
Schneider has an integrated theoretical and applied research program examining the ecological processes in watersheds that are critical for protection of water resource quantity and quality. Research by her lab group is currently addressing: (1) impacts of roadside ditch networks on flooding, droughts, and pollution; (2) restoring desertified grassland soils and ecosystems in Ningxia, China and the Great Plains, USA; (3) evaluating the role of groundwater seepage into lakeshores as a source of nutrients.
Outreach and Extension Focus
The overall focus on her program is the integrated research and outreach for improved watershed management to protect the quantity and quality of water resources. Specific extension programs focus on (1) "re-plumbing" roadside drainage networks across watersheds to reduce floods, droughts and degraded water quality, (2) improved watershed management to increase community resilience to climate changes, (3) integrated pest management approaches to aquatic weeds in ponds and lakes, and (4) streamside protection.
Her teaching program is focused on sustainable, integrated, and ecologically-based water resource management. Schneider teaches an upper-level, undergraduate course (NTRES 3240) on this topic to students with a diversity of backgrounds including natural resources, engineering, landscape architecture, and city planning. The course teaches basic hydrology, ecological connections, and strategies for better water management on 8 different areas of water management. She has developed a companion course for graduate students (NTRES 6240) that focuses on an in-depth investigation of a case study related to the course content.
Awards and Honors
- Fuertes Diversity Award - Honorable Mention (2016) Cornell Office of Academic Diversity
Presentations and Activities
- Rethinking Glyphosate: A Multidisciplinary Approach. 8th Annual Sustainability Pitch and Poster Competition. October 2017. Cornell - Atkinson Center for Sustainable Futures. Ithaca, NY.
- Improving Management of Globally Scarce Water Resources. Blueprint for Sustainable Watersheds: Lessons Learned Globally. August 2011. Cornell University, Beijing Normal University, Ningxia State Forestry Institute of China. Beijing, China .