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Eleanor Griffin

Research Hydrologist

Contact Info

Short Biography

Eleanor Griffin is a Research Hydrologist who has been with the National Research Program in Boulder, Colorado since 1993. Her areas of expertise include spatial analyses of geomorphic systems using GIS and application of process-based algorithms to compute streamflow and sediment transport. She has applied these skills to evaluating the susceptibility of streambanks and floodplains to erosion during large floods and to studying processes of sediment erosion and deposition within the Rio Puerco arroyo in New Mexico.


Eleanor previously served 5 ½ years as a communication-electronics officer in the U.S. Army and 7 years as a communication systems engineer with a commercial communications corporation (GTE).




M.S., 1997, University of Colorado, Boulder, Geology (Focus on Hydrogeology)

B.S., 1980, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY (no major)

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Griffin, E.R., Perignon, M.C., Friedman, J.M., and Tucker, G.E., 2014, Effects of woody vegetation on overbank sand transport during a large flood, Rio Puerco, New Mexico, Geomorphology, 207, 30-50. doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2013.10.025 [Link]

Benson, L.V., Griffin, E.R., Stein, J.R., Friedman, R.A., and Andrae, S.W., 2014, Mummy Lake: an unroofed ceremonial structure within a large-scale ritual landscape, Journal of Archaeological Science, 44, 164-179. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2014.01.021 [Link]

Friedman, J.M., Vincent, K.R., Griffin, E.R., Scott, M.L., Shafroth, P.B., Auble, G.T., 2014, Processes of arroyo filling in northern New Mexico, USA, GSA Bulletin (in press). doi: 10.1130/B31046.1 [Link]

Perignon, M. C., Tucker, G. E., Griffin, E. R., and Friedman, J. M., 2013, Effects of riparian vegetation on topographic change during a large flood event, Rio Puerco, New Mexico, USA, J. Geophys. Res.: Earth Surface, 118, 1193-1209. doi: 10.1002/jgrf.20073 [Link]

Griffin, E. R., Friedman, J. M., and Vincent, K. R., 2010, Progression of streambank erosion during a large flood, Rio Puerco Arroyo, New Mexico, in Proceedings of the 2nd Joint Federal Interagency Conference, Las Vegas, NV, June 27 – July 1, 2010, 12 p. [Link]

Vincent, K. R., Friedman, J. M., and Griffin, E. R., 2009, Erosional consequence of saltcedar control, Environmental Management, Vol. 44, pp. 218-227. doi: 10.1007/s00267-009-9314-8 [Link]

Friedman, J. M., Auble, G. T., Andrews, E. D., Kittel, G., Madole, R. F., Griffin, E. R., and Allred, T. M., 2006, Transverse and longitudinal variation in woody riparian vegetation along a montane river, Western North American Naturalist, Vol. 66, No. 1, pp.78-91.

Price, F.D., Light, H.M., Darst, M.R., Griffin, E.R., Vincent, K.R., and Ziewitz, J.W., 2006, Change in channel width from 1941 to 2004, and change in mean bed elevation from 1960 to 2001, in the nontidal Apalachicola River, Florida: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 191, 5 p.

Friedman, J.M.; Auble, G.T.; Shafroth, P.B.; Scott, M.L.; Merigliano, M.F.; Freehling, M.D.; Griffin, E.R., 2005. Dominance of non-native riparian trees in western USA, Biological Invasions, 7(4), 747-751. doi:10.1007/s10530-004-5849-z [Link]

Griffin, E. R., Kean, J. W., Vincent, K. R., Smith, J. D., and Friedman, J. M., 2005, Modeling effects of bank friction and woody bank vegetation on channel flow and boundary shear stress in the Rio Puerco, New Mexico, J. Geophys. Res., 110, F04023, doi:10.1029/2005JF000322. [Link]

Griffin, E. R. and Smith, J. Dungan, 2004, Floodplain stabilization by woody riparian vegetation during an extreme flood, in Bennett, S.J., and Simon, A., eds., Riparian Vegetation and Fluvial Geomorphology, Water Science and Application 8, American Geophysical Union, pp. 221-236.

Smith, J. Dungan and Griffin, E.R., 2002, Relation between geomorphic stability and the density of large shrubs on the flood plain of the Clark Fork of the Columbia River in the Deer Lodge Valley, Montana: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 02-4070, 25 p.

Griffin, E.R. and Smith, J. Dungan, 2002, State of flood plain vegetation with the meander belt of the Clark Fork of the Columbia River, Deer Lodge Valley, Montana: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 02-4109, 17 p.

Griffin, E.R. and Smith, J. Dungan, 2001, Computation of bankfull and flood-generated hydraulic geometries in East Plum Creek, Colorado, in Proceedings of the Seventh Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference, Reno, Nevada, vol. 1, section II, p. 50-56.

Griffin, E. R. and Smith, J. Dungan, 2001, Analysis of vegetation controls on bank erosion rates, Clark Fork of the Columbia River, Deer Lodge Valley, Montana: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 01-4115, 8 p.

Wiele, S. M., Andrews, E. D., and Griffin, E. R., 1999, The effect of sand concentration on depositional rate, magnitude, and location in the Colorado River below the Little Colorado River, in The Controlled Flood in Grand Canyon, Webb et. al., ed., Geophysical Monograph 110, AGU, Washington, DC, pp. 131-145.

Wiele, S. M. and Griffin, E. R., 1997, Modifications to a one-dimensional model of unsteady flow in the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Water- Resources Investigations Report 97-4046, 17 p.

Griffin, E. R. and Wiele, S. M., 1996, Calculated hydrographs for unsteady research flows at selected sites along the Colorado River downstream from Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona, 1990 and 1991: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 95-4266, 30 p.


My Science Topics

Science Topic
Hydrologic Processesrunoff
Hydrologic Processessediment transport
Hydrologic Processesstreamflow

My USGS Science Strategy Areas

Understanding Ecosystems & Predicting Ecosystems Change

Climate Variability & Change

Effects of woody vegetation on flow and sediment transport

Image of Current Focus for Effects of woody vegetation on flow and sediment transport

My work provides a link between the local-scale processes involving erosion, transport and deposition of sediment and landscape-scale effects. Distributions and density of woody vegetation play a major role in determining the outcome of these processes. For the Rio Puerco arroyo, time-series of aerial photographs provide the landscape-scale history of the arroyo, and high-resolution topographic and vegetation data provide the tools to evaluate local-scale processes. Data collected during high-precision field surveys, aerial LiDAR surveys, and mapping from imagery have been combined into a single Geographic Information System (GIS) integrating the local data into the landscape. The integrated dataset provides context for understanding the relation between local and landscape-scale erosion and deposition processes in this semi-arid environment. Process-based algorithms have been applied to in-channel and floodplain flow along the Rio Puerco to explain observed patterns of erosion and deposition. A large flood following saltcedar eradication efforts along the Rio Puerco provided the opportunity to demonstrate the predictive capability of existing algorithms.


Predicting the effects of changing climate on a landscape requires an understanding of the connection between regional hydrology and the local stream environment. Process-based algorithms are needed to identify potential alterations of flow timing and magnitude that may have direct impacts on riverine ecosystems. The next direction for my work as a member of an interdisciplinary team will be to use down-scaled climate model predictions to assess potential changes in basin-scale hydrology that may alter the stream channel and floodplain morphology and riparian forest along the Little Missouri River in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota.

Professional Memberships

American Geophysical Union

Geological Society of America

Rocky Mountain Hydrologic Research Center

Contact Information

Eleanor Griffin
3215 Marine Street, Suite E-127
Boulder, CO 80303
303-541-3084 - Fax
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