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John Schwartz

Tennessee Water Resources Research Center

John Schwartz has over 30 years of experience in academics and professional engineering practice. His research interests include watershed hydrology and sediment modeling, river mechanics, ecological engineering, ecohydraulics, stream restoration, and water quality. Schwartz joined the faculty of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Tennessee in August 2003. He has a PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a MS in Fisheries Science (Water Resources) from Oregon State University, and a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Missouri at Columbia. Professional experience includes private consulting in the State of Oregon as a licensed engineer, US Environmental Protection Agency (NPDES compliance), and US Peace Corps. Schwartz is an active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Environmental and Water Resources Institute serving on the Urban Water Resources Research Council and River Restoration and Sedimentation committees.


  • Ph.D., Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2002
  • MS, Fisheries Science (Minor in Water Resources), Oregon State University, Corvallis, 1990
  • BS, Civil Engineering, University of Missouri, Columbia, 1982


My research program at the University of Tennessee has focused on the study of stressed natural systems, leading to a better understanding of adjustments in physical, chemical, and biological processes resulting in the degradation of rivers and streams. Improving our understanding on how natural processes are degraded is essential to developing innovative methodologies for watershed assessment and management, and stream restoration design. At present, such methodologies are site-specific and based on limited theoretical constructs. To make advancements in this area, my research integrates engineering tools, i.e., hydraulic, hydrological and pollutant transport models, with field-based monitoring and assessment applications. Laboratory-based analysis and experiments are included in my research program forming a triad approach with computer modeling and field monitoring. Studies to date have included degraded watershed conditions from urban development and runoff hydromodification, poor agricultural and timber harvest practices, surface coal mining, and atmospheric deposition of acid pollutants. My research at the University of Tennessee has primarily focused on three thematic areas: 1) river channel adjustments through sediment transport and bank erosion processes, integrated with ecohydraulics restoration for aquatic physical habitat structure, 2) soil erosion processes and pollutant transport on disturbed land surfaces, including surface mining, bioenergy crop conversions, and stormwater runoff, and 3) biogeochemical processes in forested watersheds impacted by acid pollutant deposition in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. More recent research has included water resource management of the Tennessee Valley Authority river system examining potential effects of climate and land use change.