Acting dean of Graduate Studies Jesse Alemán announced that Rebecca Bixby is the new director of the Water Resources Program at The University of New Mexico.

The Water Resources Program is an interdisciplinary master's level professional degree program focused on the science and policies of water in the U.S. southwest. It draws from faculty across the university campus to give students a chance to explore a rich diversity of academic topics related to water, with the goal of improving the management of water in the arid West.

Rebecca Bixby
Rebecca Bixby, new director of UNM Water Resources Program

“Dr. Bixby is the perfect person to lead the Water Resources Program,” Alemán said. “She has been active in the program since 2007, teaching the program’s field methods class, mentoring students, and serving previously as the program’s associate director. She’s also an outstanding scholar in the field.”

Bixby leads a research program at the intersection of aquatic ecology, biodiversity, and water management, focused on rivers in the southwestern U.S. Her research examines responses of aquatic organisms and food webs to natural and anthropogenic stressors including fire, drought, and flooding in arid land aquatic systems. She earned a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in Natural Resources and has been research faculty in the Department of Biology and the Museum of Southwestern Biology since 2007. Central to her research are the roles of water management and restoration strategies that shape arid land river ecosystems.

“My involvement in the Water Resources Program over the last few years has been incredibly collaborative in terms of student training and research initiatives,” Bixby said. “This interdisciplinary program is one of the few at UNM with one foot in academics and one foot in the New Mexico water management community. As the new director, I am excited to build on this great program by continuing to support students in the program and strengthening connections within the University and the state’s water community.”

“Dr. Bixby has made such an impact on so many of our water resources students. She will strengthen the program further by bringing together students and faculty of various backgrounds to study, address, and strive for solutions to one of the more pressing issues of our region: the management and sustainability of our water resources in a climate of scarcity,” noted Graduate Studies Dean Julie Coonrod, who is herself a civil engineer with a focus on water resources and hydrology.