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Deborah Martin

Research Hydrologist

Contact Info

Short Biography

I started working with the U.S. Geological Survey in 1983. My initial research efforts were on the topics of carbon cycling and the geochemistry of large river systems. Since 1996 my research has focused on the hydrologic and erosional effects of wildfires in collaboration with John Moody and others. My particular expertise is the chemical and hydrological characteristics of wildfire ash and my recent research seeks to quantify and predict the effects of wildfire on water supplies, including water availability, timing, quality, and treatability for municipal use. I place a strong emphasis on communicating results to the public, legislators, and resource managers. Annually, I teach a class at the National Advanced Fire and Resource Institute, a multi-agency training center.

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Murphy, S.F., Writer, J.H., McCleskey, R.B., and Martin, D.A., 2015, The role of precipitation type, intensity, and spatial distribution in source water quality after wildfire. Environmental Research Letters, v. 10, no. 8, 084007: 1-13. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/10/8/084007

Moody, J.A., Martin, D.A., Meade, R.H., 2015, Preserving geomorphic data records of flood disturbances, GeoResJ, doi: 10.1016/j.grj.2015.02.016.

Moody, J.A., Ebel, B.A., Nyman P., Martin, D.A., Stoof, C., and McKinley, R., 2015, Relations between soil hydraulic properties and burn severity, International Journal of Wildland Fire, doi: 10.1071/WF14062.

Moody, J.A., D. Martin, D.A., Robichaud, P.R., Shakesby, R.A., 2014, Fostering post-wildfire research. Eos Trans. AGU, 95(4), 37.

Bodí, M.B., Martin, D.A., Balfour, V.N., Santín, C., Doerr, S.H., Pereira, P., Cerdá, A., Mataix-Solera, J., 2014, Wildland fire ash—Production, composition and eco-hydro-geomorphic effects: Earth-Science Reviews 130, p. 103–127.

Moody, J.A., Shakesby, R.A., Robichaud, P.R., Cannon, S.H., Martin, D.A., 2013. Current research issues related to post-wildfire runoff and erosion processes, Earth-Science Reviews 122, 10-37.

Ebel, B.A., Moody, J.A., and Martin, D.A., 2012, Hydrologic conditions controlling runoff generation immediately after wildfire: Water Resources Research, v. 48, W03529. [Link]

Ebel, B.A., Hinckley, E.S., Martin, D.A., 2012, Soil-water dynamics and unsaturated storage during snowmelt following wildfire: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, v. 16, p. 1401–1417. doi:10.5194/hess-16-1401-2012.

Pereira, P., Úbeda, X., Martin, D., Mataix-Solera, J., and Guerrero, C., 2011, Effects of a low severity prescribed fire on water-soluble elements in ash from a Cork Oak (Quercus suber) forest located in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula: Environmental Research, v. 111, no. 2, p. 237-247. [Link]

Hoefen, Todd M.; Kokaly, Raymond F.; Martin, Deborah A.; Rochester, Carlton; Plumlee, Geoffrey S.; Mendez, Greg; Reichard, Eric G.; Fisher, Robert N., 2009. Sample Collection of Ash and Burned Soils from the October 2007 Southern California Wildfires. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009-1038, 64 p. [Link]

Semmens, D.J., Briggs, J.S., and Martin, D.A., 2009, An Ecosystem Services Framework for Multidisciplinary Research in the Colorado River Headwaters, in Webb, R.M.T., and Semmens, D.J., eds, Proceedings of the Third Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds: Planning for an Uncertain Future: Monitoring, Integration, and Adaptation: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2009-5049, p. 59-64. Edited by Webb, Richard M. T.; Semmens, Darius J., 2009. Planning for an Uncertain Future - Monitoring, Integration, and Adaptation. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2009-5049, Report: xii, 293 p.; Available online and on DVD-ROM [Link]

Úbeda, X., Pereira, P., Outeiro, L., and Martin, D.A., 2009, Effects of fire temperature on the physical and chemical characteristics of the ash from two plots of Cork oak (Quercus Suber): Land Degradation and Development, v. 20, no. 6, p. 589-608. [Link]

Moody, J.A., and Martin, D.A., 2009, Synthesis of sediment yields after wildland fire in different rainfall regimes in the western United States: International Journal of Wildland Fire, v. 18 no. 1, p. 96-115. [Link]

Moody, J.A., and Martin, D.A., 2009, Forest fire effects on geomorphic processes, in Cerdá, A., and Robichaud, P., eds., Fire Effects on Soils and Restoration Strategies: Science Publishers, Inc, Enfield,New Hampshire, USA, p. 41-79.

Doerr, S.H., Woods, S.W., Martin, D.A., and Casimiro, M., 2009, 'Natural background' soil water repellency in conifer forests of the north-western USA: Its prediction and relationship to wildfire occurrence: Journal of Hydrology, v. 371, no. 1-4, p. 12-21. [Link]

Hageman, Philip L.; Plumlee, Geoffrey S.; Martin, Deborah A.; Hoefen, Todd M.; Adams, Monique; Lamothe, Paul J.; Todorov, Todor; Anthony, Michael W., 2008. Leachate Geochemical Results for Ash Samples from the June 2007 Angora Wildfire Near Lake Tahoe in Northern California. Geological Survey (U.S.) Open-File Report 2008-1170, iii, 11 p. [Link]

Hageman, Philip L.; Plumlee, Geoffrey S.; Martin, Deborah A.; Hoefen, Todd M.; Meeker, Gregory P.; Adams, Monique; Lamothe, Paul J.; Anthony, Michael W., 2008. Leachate Geochemical Results for Ash and Burned Soil Samples from the October 2007 Southern California Wildfires. Geological Survey (U.S.) Open-File Report 2008-1139, iii, 14 p. [Link]

Moody, J.A., Martin, D.A., Haire, S.L., and Kinner, D. A., 2008, Linking runoff response to burn severity after wildfire: Hydrological Processes, v. 22, no. 13, p. 2063-2074. [Link]

Moody, J.A., Martin, D.A., and Cannon, S.H., 2008, Post-wildfire erosion response in two geologic terrains in the western USA: Geomorphology, v. 95, p. 103-118 [Link]

Plumlee, Geoffrey S.; Martin, Deborah A.; Hoefen, Todd; Kokaly, Raymond; Hageman, Philip; Eckberg, Alison; Meeker, Gregory P.; Adams, Monique; Anthony, Michael; Lamothe, Paul J., 2007. Preliminary Analytical Results for Ash and Burned Soils from the October 2007 Southern California Wildfires. Geological Survey (U.S.) Open-File Report 2007-1407, 15 p. [Link]

Moody, J.A., and Martin, D.A., 2004, Wildfire impacts on reservoir sedimentation in the western United States, in Hu, C.-h, and Tan, Y., eds., Proceedings of the Ninth International Symposium on River Sedimentation, October 18-21, 2004, Yichang, China: Beijing, Tsinghua University Press, p. 1095-1102.

Martin, D.A. and Murphy, S.F., 2004, Water-quality effects of wildland fire: chemical and biological sampling in streams draining areas burned by the 2003 Overland Fire near Jamestown, Colorado: Colorado Watershed Assembly Newsletter, Summer 2004.

Martin, D.A., 2003, Post-wildfire hydrology - effects of wildfire in New Mexico ecosystems and hydrological response of burned watershed, in Johnson, P.S., Land, L.A., Price, L.G., and Titus, F., eds., Water Resources of the Lower Pecos Region, New Mexico, Science, Policy, and a Look to the Future, Decision-Makers field Conference 2003, Socorro, New Mexico: New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, p. 80-82. [Link]

Robichaud, P., L. MacDonald, J. Freeouf, D. Neary, D. Martin, and L. Ashmun, 2003, Postfire Rehabilitation of the Hayman Fire, in Graham, R.T., technical editor, Hayman Fire Case Study, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-114, p. 293-313. [Link]

Moody, John A.; Martin, Deborah A., 2001. Hydrologic and sedimentologic response of two burned watersheds in Colorado. Water-Resources Investigations Report 2001-4122, 1 v. (138 p.) : ill., maps ; 28 cm. + 1 CD-ROM (4 3/4 in.)

Moody, J. A. and Martin, D. A. (2001), Post-fire, rainfall intensity–peak discharge relations for three mountainous watersheds in the western USA. Hydrol. Process., 15: 2981–2993. [Link]

Martin, D. A. and Moody, J. A. (2001), Comparison of soil infiltration rates in burned and unburned mountainous watersheds. Hydrol. Process., 15: 2893–2903 [Link]

Martin, D.A., and Moody, J.A., 2001, The flux and particle size distribution of sediment collected in hillslope traps after a Colorado wildfire, in Proceedings of the Seventh Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference, March 25-29, 2001, Reno, Nevada, p. III-40 to III-47 [Link]

Moody, J.A., and Martin, D.A., 2001, Initial hydrologic and geomorphic response following a wildfire in the Colorado Front Range, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, v. 26, p. 1049-1070. [Link]

Martin, D.A., 2000, Studies of post-fire erosion in the Colorado Front Range benefit the Upper South Platte Watershed Protection and Restoration Project: Watershed Management Council Networker, Winter issue, p. 5-8.

MacDonald, L. H., Sampson, R., Brady, D., Juarros, Leah, and Martin, D. A., 2000, Predicting Post-Fire Erosion and Sedimentation Risk on a Landscape Scale: A Case Study for Colorado, Journal of Sustainable Forestry, v. 11, no. 1/2, p. 57-87. [Link]

Moody, J.A., Shakesby, R.A., Robichaud, P.R., Cannon, S.H., Martin, D.A., 2013. Current research issues related to post-wildfire runoff and erosion processes, Earth-Science Reviews 122, 10-37.  


My Science Topics

Science Topic
Hydrologic Processessediment transport
Hydrologic Processeshydrology
Hydrologic Processesrunoff
Hydrologic Processeswater cycle
Natural Hazardsfires
Natural Hazardsfloods
Natural Hazardshazards
Geologic Processeserosion
Geologic Processesgeochemistry
Geologic Processeswater chemistry
Water Resourcesdomestic water use
Water Resourcesrunoff
Water Resourcessurface water quality
Water Resourceswater quality
Water Resourceswater supply and demand
Ecology and Environmentecosystem functions
Ecology and Environmentforests

My USGS Science Strategy Areas

A National Hazard, Risk, and Resilience Assessment Program

A Water Census of the United States

Climate Variability & Change

Understanding Ecosystems & Predicting Ecosystems Change

Wildfire Science


Ever since I nearly caught the woods on fire in Virginia while burning a pile of Tree-of-Heaven stumps, I have been interested in fire. After moving to Colorado in 1988 my encounters with fire increased, and eventually the study of wildfire and its consequences became my research priorities. Now I see the world through the multi-disciplinary lens of fire and its effects on ecosystems, landscapes, and humans. Fire is the major ecological disturbance in large areas of the globe and, yet, the destructive effects of fire are categorized as natural hazards. Both perspectives are accommodated under the mission of the U.S. Geological Survey: “The USGS serves the Nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.”

Contact Information

Deborah Martin
3215 Marine St, Bldg 6
Boulder, CO 80309
303-541-3084 - Fax
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