Sediment, Erosion, and Water Quality

student measuring water samples

Water quality and stream channel morphology are affected by land use. Our research includes how to measure and model the impacts of land use on water chemistry and stream channels in diverse environments, including San Diego County, the US-Mexico border, and American Samoa.

SDSU Geography offers Master’s degree in Watershed Science for those wanting to take their studies further. Our faculty supervise PhD students undertaking research in hydrology, through our Joint Doctoral Program with UC Santa Barbara.


Real-time Water Quality of Pristine Ecosystems of Southern California

Telemetry provides the opportunity for real-time monitoring of water quality, especially in more pristine and remote locations. In this cooperative project between SDSU and the San Diego River Park Foundation, members of the Biggs Lab have installed water quality sondes and pressure transducers to measure stream level on Boulder Creek. Collected Data Leave geography site (Login required). Summary Story Leave geography site.

researchers taking water samples

Aeration of the Lower San Diego River

Aeration devices can be used to oxygenate hypoxic waters. In this cooperative project between SDSU and the San Diego River Park Foundation, members of the Biggs Lab are monitoring the impact of aerators on dissolved oxygen in pools of the lower San Diego River. A summary of the projects on the lower San Diego River Leave geography site.

sparse vegetation regrowth in mexicali

Water Quality in the Mexicali Valley

This project aims to map water quality and how it has changed in the Mexicali valley from 1980-2018, a period when land use and water management changed dramatically. The results of this project will help identify areas that are sensitive to future land use change, and where water quality impairs agricultural production. Principal Investigator: Trent Biggs



Survey of the location, function and spread of cities; the spatial and functional arrangement of activities in cities, leading to an analysis of current urban problems: sprawl, city decline, metropolitan transportation. Field trips may be arranged.

Political and economic forces shaping the structure and organization of cities; physical and human consequences of urbanization; environmental, economic and social sustainability of cities. Housing, transportation, land use, urban services, employment, segregation, and social inequality.

Worldwide trends in urbanization. Case studies of selected cities from various culture areas with focus on international variations in city structure and urban problems.

Intensive study of a spatial aspect of human geography. May be repeated with new content. See Class Schedule for specific content.