Joe Wagenbrenner

Joseph Wagenbrenner


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School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science

Assistant Professor

Forest Hydrology

  • Ph.D., Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Washington State University
  • M.S., Watershed Science, Colorado State University
  • B.ME, Georgia Institute of Technology

Applied watershed hydrology

Most of my research has focused on quantifying the effects of wildfire on runoff and erosion and measuring how well we can mitigate these effects. I am also interested in erosion and sediment transport in unburned landscapes. Understanding the impacts of land or forest disturbance on hydrologic processes at the scales of hillslopes and watersheds will allow us to better predict and manage the potential changes in aquatic environments.

Research Interests

  • Forest hydrology
  • Effects of wildfire on hydrologic processes
  • Erosion and sediment transport
  • Land use/disturbance hydrology
  • Mitigation of post-fire runoff and erosion
  • Effects of post-fire management
  • Impacts of forest access on watersheds and stream habitat

Recent Publications

  • Prats, S.A., J.W. Wagenbrenner, M.A. Martins, M.C. Malvar, J.J. Keizer. In press. Mid-term and scaling effects of forest residue mulching on post-fire runoff and soil erosion. Science of the Total Environment.
  • Prats, S.A., J.W. Wagenbrenner, M.M.A. Martins, M. Malvar Cortizo, J.J. Keizer. In Press. Hydrologic implications of post-fire mulching across different spatial scales, Land Degradation and Development, DOI: 10.1002/ldr.2422 Read More
  • Robichaud, P.R., J.W. Wagenbrenner, F.B. Pierson, K.E. Spaeth, L.E. Ashmun, C.A. Moffet. 2016. Infiltration and interrill erosion rates after a wildfire in western Montana, USA. Catena 142: 77-88 Read More
  • Wagenbrenner, J.W., L.H. MacDonald, R.N. Coats, P.R. Robichaud, and R.E. Brown. 2015. Effects of post-fire salvage logging and a skid trail treatment on ground cover, soils, and sediment production in the interior western United States. Forest Ecology and Management, 335: 176–193. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2014.09.016. Read More
  • Wagenbrenner, J.W., and P.R. Robichaud. 2014. Post-fire bedload sediment delivery across spatial scales in the interior western United States. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 39: 865–876. DOI: 10.1002/esp.3488 Read More
  • Robichaud, P.R., S.A. Lewis, J.W. Wagenbrenner, L.E. Ashmun, and R.E. Brown. 2013. Post-fire mulching for runoff and erosion mitigation, Part I: Effectiveness at reducing hillslope erosion rates. Catena, 105:79-92 DOI: 10.1016/j.catena.2012.11.015 Read More
  • Robichaud, P.R., J.W. Wagenbrenner, S.A. Lewis, L.E. Ashmun, R.E. Brown, and P.M. Wohlgemuth. 2013. Post-fire mulching for runoff and erosion mitigation Part II: Effectiveness in reducing runoff and sediment yields from small catchments. Catena,105: 93-111 DOI: 10.1016/j.catena.2012.11.016 Read More
  • Robichaud, P.R., J.W. Wagenbrenner, and R.E. Brown. 2010. Rill erosion in natural and disturbed forests, part I: Measurements. Water Resources Research 46, W10506, DOI:10.1029/2009WR008314 Read More
  • Wagenbrenner, J.W., P.R. Robichaud, and W.J. Elliot. 2010. Rill erosion in natural and disturbed forests, part II: Modeling. Water Resources Research 46, W10507, DOI:10.1029/2009WR008315 Read More
  • Robichaud, P.R., J.W. Wagenbrenner, R.E. Brown, P.M. Wohlgemuth, and J.L. Beyers. 2008. Evaluating the effectiveness of contour-felled log erosion barriers as a post-fire runoff and erosion mitigation treatment in the western United States. International J. of Wildland Fire 17: 255–273 Read More
  • Robichaud, P.R., F.B. Pierson, R.E. Brown, and J.W. Wagenbrenner. 2008. Measuring effectiveness of three postfire hillslope erosion barrier treatments, western Montana, USA. Hydrological Processes 22: 159–170 Read More
  • Robichaud, P.R., T.R. Lillybridge, and J.W. Wagenbrenner. 2006. Effects of postfire seeding and fertilization on hillslope erosion in north-central Washington, USA. Catena 67: 56–67 Read More
  • Wagenbrenner, J.W., L.H. MacDonald, and D. Rough. 2006. Effectiveness of three post-fire rehabilitation treatments in the Colorado Front Range. Hydrological Processes 20: 2989–3006 Read More

Recent Funding

  • 2016-2017 Basin-wide decision support for connectivity restoration: expanding an online tool to facilitate high-resolution, species-specific analyses, University of Wisconsin, Great Lakes Fisheries Trust, $84,776
  • 2016-2017 Compiling a high spatial-resolution database of barriers to aquatic organism passage in the North Branch of the Paint River watershed, US Forest Service, Ottawa National Forest, $11,500
  • 2015-2018 Impacts of forest access and timber harvest on snow, soils, and hydrology in mixed hardwood forests of northern Michigan, USDA McIntire-Stennis Program, $21,000
  • 2014-2019 Future of Black Ash Wetlands, US Forest Service, Northern Research Station, $256,408
  • 2014-2016 Effects of Erosion Mitigation Treatments and Post-fire Salvage Logging on Hillslope Erosion, US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, $146,774
  • 2013-2015 Hillslope Sediment Production and Runoff Rates in Disturbed and Undisturbed Mixed Hardwood Forests in Northern Michigan, USDA McIntire-Stennis Program, $14,000
  • 2013-2015 Future of Black Ash Wetlands, US Forest Service, $112,160
  • 2013 Research-grade Weather Station at Ford Center and Research Forest, Michigan Tech C2E2 fund, $3,000


  • Land Use Hydrology, Watershed Measurements, and Watershed Practicum (Colorado State University)
  • Forest and Landscape Hydrology (FW 4370)
  • Introduction to Wildland Fire (FW 4300)
  • Integrated Resource Assessment (FW 4810) watershed analysis advisor
  • Hillslope and Watershed Hydrology (FW 5235)
  • Watershed Analysis and Management (FW 5510)