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Brent Aulenbach

Research Hydrologist

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Short Biography



B.S. in Geology in 1988 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY. M.S in Hydrogeology in 1992 from Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY. Work at U.S. Geological Survey, Georgia Water Science Center, Atlanta, GA from 1992 to present as a Hydrologist and a Research Hydrologist. Worked on various water-quality and hydrologic studies.

Current responsibilities include being project chief of Panola Mountain Research Watershed (PMRW), a Water, Energy and Biogeochemical Budgets (WEBB) Program watershed. The WEBB programs goal is to understand processes controlling water, energy and biogeochemical budgets over a range of spatial and temporal scales, including the effects of atmospheric and climatic variables; and is part of the USGS’s Climate and Land Use Change Program. Also responsible for method design, estimation, and reporting of streamwater constituent fluxes and trends for the USGS’s National Stream Quality Accounting Network (NASQAN), which monitors the water quality of U.S.’s large rivers.


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Sprague, Lori A.; Hirsch, Robert M.; Aulenbach, Brent T., 2011. Nitrate in the Mississippi River and its tributaries, 1980 to 2008: Are we making progress?. ACS Publications , 8 p. [Link]

McNamara, J.P., Tetzlaff, D., Kevin Bishop, K., Soulsby, C., Seyfried, M. Peters, N.E., Aulenbach, B.T., and Hooper, R.P., 2011. Storage as a metric of catchment comparison. Hydrologic Processes 25:3364-3371.

Peters, N.E. and Aulenbach, B.T., 2011. Water storage at the Panola Mountain Research Watershed, Georgia, USA. Hydrologic Processes. 12p. (currently online DOI: 10.1002/hyp.8334).

Battaglin, William A.; Aulenbach, Brent T.; Vecchia, Aldo; Buxton, Herbert T. , 2010. Changes in Streamflow and the Flux of Nutrients in the Mississippi-Atchafalaya River Basin, USA, 1980-2007. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2009-5164, viii, 47 p. [Link]

Aulenbach, B.T., 2009 Bacteria holding times for fecal coliform by mFC agar method and total coliform, and Eschericha coli by Colilert®-18 Quanti-Tray® method. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 13p.

Aulenbach, Brent T.; Buxton, Herbert T.; Battaglin, William A.; Coupe, Richard H., 2007. Streamflow and Nutrient Fluxes of the Mississippi-Atchafalaya River Basin and Subbasins for the Period of Record Through 2005. Open-File Report 2007-1080, Available online only [Link]

Aulenbach, Brent T., 2006. Annual dissolved nitrite plus nitrate and total phosphorous loads for the Susquehanna, St. Lawrence, Mississippi-Atchafalaya, and Columbia River basins, 1968-2004. Open-File Report 2006-1087, 16 p. [Link]

Peters, N.E., Shanley, J.B., Aulenbach, B.T., Webb, R.M., Campbell, D.H., Hunt, Randall, Larsen, M.C., Stallard, R.F., Troester, J.W., and Walker, J.F., 2006, Water and solute mass balance of five small, relatively undisturbed watersheds in the U.S. Science of the Total Environment 358:221-242.

Aulenbach, B.T. and Hooper, R.P., 2006, The composite method: an improved method for streamwater solute load estimation. Hydrological Processes 20:3028-3047.

Aulenbach, B.T. and Hooper, R.P. 2005, Improving stream solute load estimation by the composite method: a comparative analysis using data from the Panola Mountain Research Watershed. In: Proceedings of the 2005 Georgia Water Resources Conference, April 25–27, 2005, K.J. Hatcher (ed.), Institute of Ecology, The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, 5 p., (CD-ROM).

Dalton, Melinda S.; Aulenbach, Brent T.; Torak, Lynn J., 2004. Ground-water and surface-water flow and estimated water budget for Lake Seminole, southwestern Georgia and northwestern Florida. Scientific Investigations Report 2004-5073, 49 p. [Link]

Peters, N.E., Freer, J., and Aulenbach, B.T. 2003, Hydrologic dynamics of the Panola Mountain Research Watershed, Georgia, USA. Ground Water 41(7): 973-988.

Kelly, Valerie J.; Hooper, Richard P.; Aulenbach, Brent T.; Janet, Mary, 2001. Concentrations and annual fluxes for selected water-quality constituents from the USGS National Stream Quality Accounting Network (NASQAN) 1996-2000. Water-Resources Investigations Report 2001-4255, Unpaginated [Link]

Aulenbach, B.T. and Hooper, R.P. 2001, Removing climatic effects from trends in streamwater load estimates. In: Warwick, J.J. (ed.), Proceedings of the AWRA Conference on Water Quality Monitoring and Modeling, April 30-May 2, 2001, San Antonio, Texas: 47-52.

Hooper, R.P., Aulenbach, B.T., and Kelly, V.J. 2001, The National Stream Quality Accounting Network: A flux-based approach to monitoring the water quality of large rivers. Hydrological Processes 15(7): 1089-1106.

Goolsby, D.A., Battaglin, W.A., Aulenbach, B.A., and Hooper, R.P. 2000, Nitrogen flux and sources in the Mississippi River Basin. Science of the Total Environment 248: 75-86.

Goolsby, D.A., Battaglin, W.A., Lawrence, G.B., Artz, R.S., Aulenbach, B.T., Hooper, R.P., Keeney, D.R., and Stensland, G.J. 1999, Flux and sources of nutrients in the Mississippi-Atchafalaya river basin. White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, Hypoxia Work Group. 152 pp.

Hooper, R.P., Aulenbach, B.T., Burns, D.A., McDonnell, J., Freer, J., Kendall, C., and Beven, K, 1998, Riparian control of streamwater chemistry: implications for hydrochemical basin models. In: K. Kovar, U. Tappeiner, N.E. Peters and R.G. Craig (eds.), Hydrology, Water Resources and Ecology in Headwaters, IAHS Publication 248: 451-458.

Aulenbach, B.T., Hooper, R.P., and Bricker, O.P., 1996, Trends in precipitation and surface-water chemistry in a national network of small watersheds. Hydrological Processes 10(2): 151-181. Also in: Peters, N.E., Bricker, O.P., and Kennedy, M.M. (eds.), Water Quality Trends and Geochemical Mass Balances, 1997, Advances in Hydrological Processes, John Wiley and Sons, London, 27-57.

Huntington, T.G., Hooper, R.P., and Aulenbach, B.T., 1994, Hydrologic processes controlling sulfate mobility in a small forested watershed. Water Resources Research 30(2): 283-295.

Hooper, R.P and Aulenbach, B.T., 1993, Managing the data explosion. Civil Engineering 63: 74-76.

Aulenbach, Brent T., 1992, Streamflow generation and episodic acidification during hydrologic events at Woods Lake, Adirondack Mountains, New York, USA. Masters of Science Thesis, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY. 163 pp.


My Science Topics

Science Topic
Hydrologic Processesground-water level
Hydrologic Processeshydrodynamics
Hydrologic Processeshydrology
Hydrologic Processesrunoff
Hydrologic Processessediment transport
Hydrologic Processesstreamflow
Hydrologic Processeswater cycle
Environmental Issuessurface water quality
Environmental Issueswater quality

My USGS Science Strategy Areas

Understanding Ecosystems & Predicting Ecosystems Change

Climate Variability & Change

Research Interests & Actvities

Research at Panola Mountain Research Watershed (PMRW), a Water, Energy and Biogeochemcial Budgets (WEBB) Program watershed, includes investigating processes that control the movement and solute composition of water along hydrologic pathways that produce streamflow; determining the relative contributions from a variety of sources of solutes observed in streamwater, including atmospheric deposition, cation exchange, and primary mineral weathering; investigating biogeochemical processes controlling the regulation of soil-solution chemistry and element cycling, and; determining and predicting the effects of climate change on these processes. Research activities for USGS's National Stream Quality Accounting Network (NASQAN) program include optimizing sample design and streamwater constituent flux estimation implementation for improving constituent fluxes. Through both the PMRW project and the NASQAN program, I have worked on improving the prediction of empirical water-quality regression models, developed new methodology for estimating streamwater constituent fluxes, and developed a technique for identifying trends in streamwater constituent concentrations and fluxes. 

Contact Information

Brent Aulenbach
1770 Corporate Drive, Suite 500
Norcross, GA 30093
678-924-6710 - Fax
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