Photo of Sean Smith


Phone:  207.581.2198

Address:  University of Maine
School of Earth and Climate Sciences
213 Bryand Global Science Center
Orono, Maine  04469

Professional / Academic Interests:  Dr. Smith is an Associate Professor in the School of Earth and Climate Sciences with a joint appointment to the Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions. His master’s degree from the University of Maryland focused on fluvial geomorphology and his doctoral degree from Johns Hopkins University on watershed processes and geomorphology. His research seeks to expand understanding and knowledge about the processes that shape Earth’s landscape with attention towards modern alterations to hillslopes and streams caused by human activities (e.g. agriculture, development, dams) and climate change. Much of the work is thereby within the sub-disciplines of applied watershed, fluvial, and coastal geomorphology, surface water hydrology, Earth surface processes, land-sea connections, and sediment and water quality load estimation in contemporary landscapes. A primary goal of his research is to advance the capacity of natural resource managers to predict and mitigate alterations to streams, rivers, lakes, and estuaries across varied spatial and time scales.

Dr. Smith has over three decades of experience working on watershed, stream, and estuary management, including stormwater runoff, environmental regulations, stream science education, biophysical assessment techniques, and the planning, design and implementation of stream restoration projects. Since arrival at U Maine in 2011 Dr. Smith has collaboratively participated in multiple projects seeking to quantify watershed, stream, and river conditions and processes influencing surface water flows, aquatic habitat, and water quality loads to large rivers, lakes, and coastal estuaries through the collaborative Watershed Process and Estuary Sustainability Research Group (WPES) he co-leads at UMaine. The stakeholder driven projects use field measurements, spatial data, and hydrologic and hydraulic models to quantify watershed processes linked to pollution problems identified through collaborative engagement with other scientists, environmental agencies, and communities in the region.

In addition to current teaching and research activities, Dr. Smith has experience working on the collaborative development of solutions to watershed management challenges along the West Coast and in the Mid-Atlantic regions of North America, including extensive collaborations with Chesapeake Bay Program partners, as well as in Europe. Outcomes of his research has been published in multiple peer reviewed journals, monographs, and technical reports. He also led the creation of environmental education publications focused on descriptions and explanations for the appearance and dynamics of stream systems in varied physiographic settings.