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John S. Schwartz

Associate Department Head of Undergraduate Studies and Professor


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.


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.


Doctor of Philosophy, Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2002

Master of Science, Fisheries Science (Minor in Water Resources), Oregon State University, Corvallis, 1990

Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering, University of Missouri, Columbia, 1982


Jones, J.R., J.S. Schwartz, K.N. Ellis, J.M. Hathaway, and C.M. Jawdy. 2014. Temporal variability of precipitation in the upper Tennessee Valley. Journal of Hydrology – Regional Studies. DOI 10.1016/j.ejrh.2014.10.006.

Schwartz, J.S., K.J. Neff, F.J. Dworak, and R.R. Woockman. 2014. Restoring riffle-pool structure in an incised, straightened urban stream channel using an ecohydraulic modeling approach. Ecological Engineering. DOI 10.1016/j.rcoleng.2014.06.002.

Grove, M.K., G.S. Bilotta, R.R. Woockman, and J.S. Schwartz. 2014. Suspended sediment regimes in contrasting reference-condition freshwater ecosystems: implications for water quality guidelines and management. Science of the Total Environment. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.09.054.

Hoomehr, S., J.S. Schwartz, D.C. Yoder, W. Wright, and E.C. Drumm. 2014. Erodibility of low-compaction steep-sloped reclaimed surface mine lands in the southern Appalachian region, USA. Hydrological Processes. DOI 10.1002/hyp.10135.

Niezgoda, S.L., P.R. Wilcock, D.W. Baker, J. Mueller Price, J.M. Castro, J.C. Curran, T. Wynn Thompson, J.S. Schwartz, and F. D. Shields. 2014. Defining a stream restoration body of knowledge as a basis for national certification. ASCE Journal of Hydraulic Engineering 140(2): 123-136. DOI 10.1061/(ASCE)HY.1943-7900.0000814.

Keck, B.P., Z.H. Marion, D.J. Martin, J.C. Kaufman, C.P. Harden, J.S. Schwartz, and R.J. Strange. 2014. Fish functional traits correlated with environmental traits in a temperate biodiversity hot spot. PLoS One 9(3): e93237. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0093237.

Neff, K.J., J.S. Schwartz, S.E. Moore, and M.A. Kulp. 2013. Influence of basin characteristics on episodic stream acidification in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA. Hydrological Processes 27: 2061-2074. DOI 10.1002/hyp.9366.

Schwartz, J.S., A. Simon, and L. Klimetz. 2011. Use of fish functional traits to associate in-stream suspended sediment transport metrics with biological impairment. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 179: 347-369. DOI 10.1007/s10661-010-1741-8.

Cai, M., A.M. Johnson, J.S. Schwartz, S.E. Moore, and M.A. Kulp. 2011. Response of soil water chemistry to simulated changes in acid deposition in the Great Smoky Mountains. ASCE Journal of Environmental Engineering 137(7): 617-628.

Cai, M., J.S. Schwartz, R.B. Robinson, S.E. Moore, and M.A. Kulp. 2011. Long-term annual and season patterns of acidic deposition and stream water quality in a Great Smoky Mountains high-elevation watershed. Water, Air and Soil Pollution 219: 547-562.

Cai, M. J.S. Schwartz, R.B. Robinson, S.E. Moore, and M.A. Kulp. 2010. Long-term effects of acidic deposition on water quality in a high-elevation Great Smoky Mountains National Park watershed: use of an ion input-output budget. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution 209: 143-156. DOI 10.1007/s11270-009-0187-5.

Deyton, E.B., J.S. Schwartz, R.B. Robinson, K.J. Neff, S.E. Moore, and M.A. Kulp. 2009. Characterizing episodic stream acidity during stormflows in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution 196: 3-18. DOI 10.1007/s11270-008-9753-5.

Neff, K.J., J.S. Schwartz, T.B. Henry, R.B. Robinson, S.E. Moore, and M.A. Kulp. 2009. Physiological stress in native brook trout during episodic stream acidification in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 57: 366-376.

Schwartz, J.S., M. Dahle, and R.B. Robinson. 2008. Concentration-frequency-duration curves for stream turbidity: possibilities for use assessing biological impairment. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 44(4): 879-886.

Schwartz, J.S., and E.E. Herricks. 2008. Fish use of ecohydraulic-based mesohabitat units in a low-gradient Illinois stream: implications for stream restoration. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 18(6): 852-866. DOI 10.1002/aqc.905.

Slate, L.O., F.D. Shields, J.S. Schwartz, D.D. Carpenter, and G. Freeman. 2007. Engineering design standards and liability for stream channel restoration. ASCE Journal of Hydraulic Engineering 133: 1099-1102.

Schwartz, J.S., and E.E. Herricks. 2007. Evaluation of pool-riffle naturalization structures on habitat complexity and the fish community in an urban Illinois stream. River Research and Applications 23: 451-466.

Schwartz, J.S., and E.E. Herricks. 2005. Fish use of stage-specific fluvial habitats as refuge patches during a flood in a low-gradient Illinois stream. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 62: 1540-1552.

Rhoads, B.L., J.S. Schwartz, and S. Porter. 2003. Stream geomorphology, bank vegetation and three-dimensional habitat hydraulics for fish in midwestern agricultural streams. Water Resources Research 39: 1218-1230.

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