Ted Melis

United States Geological Survey (USGS)
Physical Science Program Manager
Ted Melis Image

Ted Melis has lived in Flagstaff, AZ, on and off since 1981. He originally moved to Flagstaff to study geology at Northern Arizona University, and to be close to Grand Canyon. From 1990-1997, Ted conducted hydrologic research through the Desert Laboratory in Tucson, as a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. In May 1997, he completed his Ph.D. in geosciences at the University of Arizona, under the supervision of Dr. Victor R. Baker. Ted has been involved in Colorado River research since 1985, and since 1989, he has studied highly sediment-laden floods, known as debris flows, that occur in hundreds of bedrock tributaries between Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Mead. He and has published numerous reports on the impacts of debris flows on the Colorado River ecosystem. This research, sponsored by the Glen Canyon Environmental Studies (GCES), contributed to the Operations of Glen Canyon Dam-Final EIS. Following his EIS studies on debris-flow impacts, Ted spent 1995-1996, working with members of the GCES and cooperating researchers identifying potential topics for future integration of existing biological and physical data. Ted coordinated and convened an integration workshop on biophysical linkages with over thirty Grand Canyon scientists during 1995; in 1996, he assisted the GCES project manager, and other participating agencies in planning and implementation of the 1996, Beach/Habitat-Building Flow Experiment. Besides planning the flood, he also conducted research to document its reworking effects on debris fans, campsite areas, mainstream sand storage, and rapids, with other USGS scientists. Ted is interested in adaptive management and its potential for integrating scientific information with social policies and management objectives toward sustaining river-ecosystem resources. He is also interested in the role of climate variability and use of long-term climate forecasting protocols with respect to adaptive management of the Colorado River. Ted joined the program staff of the GCMRC in March 1997, as the physical science advisor to Chief L.D. Garrett, who he assisted in implementing the physical science transition monitoring and research program. In November 1998, Ted was selected as the GCMRC's Physical Science Program Manager, and has been working since then on conducting a review of the physical science program and developing an integrated long-term monitoring plan for water and sediment resources of the Colorado River ecosystem.