Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

David E. Rosenberg


David E. Rosenberg


Karin M. Kettenring


Gary Merkley


Mac McKee


Thomas B. Hardy


The degradation of water quality and wetlands is one of the most challenging environmental problems around the world. In spite of the magnitude of these environmental problems, few efforts identify how scarce resources (e.g., water, budget) can be more efficiently used to solve these problems. This dissertation presents a set of tools to help solve environmental problems related to excess phosphorus levels in water bodies and wetland degradation caused by water shortages and invasive vegetation. These tools are presented in three studies. The first study presents a simple optimization model that identifies the cost-effective combination of management practices to reduce excess of phosphorus in water bodies. The second study develops a nonlinear optimization model that recommends water allocation and invasive plant management to improve wetland bird habitat. And the third study develops a novel approach to provide strategies to control invasive vegetation. These studies were applied to real-case problems to reduce excess nutrients at the Echo Reservoir in Utah and improve wetland management at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, one of the most important wetlands on the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Stakeholders and decision-makers participated in the development of the tools and examination of results. Results provide recommendations and insights for water and environmental managers to make informed decisions to improve water quality and wetland management.