Team Fluv at T+T

Team Fluv at T+T

Delve into the captivating field of Fluvial Geomorphology (or, as we call it, team fluv). We sat down with Selene Conn, our Technical Director of Fluvial Geomorphology, to provide insights into our capabilities within the team. Selene explains how our expertise supports clients and offers a broader perspective on the industry, including its challenges and opportunities.

How can Fluvial geomorphology capabilities support our clients?

Fluvial Geomorphology is the science of river landscapes and how they interact with and shape our environment in time and space. Primarily, our work at T+T focuses on the interactions between rivers (and river processes) and humans and infrastructure. Our key objective being to support resilient river environments and communities into the future.

We look at how a river may have changed through time and how it might behave with changing catchment and climatic conditions now and in the future, e.g., in response to changes in land use, rainfall/flow, and river management activities.

We frame our river assessments into the broader catchment contexts, as this provides a holistic and sustainable foundation for river/catchment/stormwater/floodplain management plans, flood risk assessments, erosion mitigation, gravel management, ecological assessments, and enhancements, as well as fish passage design, weir removal, stream diversion design, and stream enhancement projects.

What opportunities and challenges can you foresee in the industry? 

We seem to be on the cusp of a 'river revolution,' which is so exciting! I have never heard 'room for the river,' 'making space for water,' or 'nature-based solutions' used so frequently in my career. All of these concepts rely on the river having more space. This means we can let our rivers be 'rivers,' and our communities and infrastructure are (hopefully) less frequently impacted when rivers do rivery things.

Understanding how rivers behave (and therefore how much space they need) will require geomorphic input, and this is likely to be the biggest challenge our industry might face, as there are simply not enough suitably qualified fluvial geomorphologists in New Zealand or Australia to support these kinds of projects if they are rolled out en mass! 

Tell me more about yourself and who is on your team.

I graduated from UoA in 2009 with an MSc in Physical Geography but had to move to Australia to find out what a 'fluvial geomorph consultant' looked like. I started at T+T in 2017 and was hired as an 'ecologist' as being a 'fluvial geomorphologist' still wasn't a thing in New Zealand then! Now I work almost exclusively on 'fluv geo' projects, and we are a team of FOUR!

Alice Tilley joined T+T in 2020 through our graduate program after completing her BSc (Hons) at The University of Auckland in Physical Geography and recently also completed her masters at the University of Oxford in MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management. Alice has made a real name for herself as an eager and efficacious team member on a real diversity of projects throughout the business - so much so it's been hard to steal her for fluv geo projects sometimes!

Khendra H. joined us over a month ago and has her MSc in Physical Geography from The University of Auckland. Khendra lights up when she starts talking 'fluv,' and her GIS skills enable us to do some cool geospatial analysis on our projects.

“It’s exciting getting to work a group of people who are so passionate about protecting our rivers, within a company which encourages you to get the best outcomes for the environment”. Khendra says.

Ian Fuller is with us part-time and spends the rest of his days as a Professor of Physical Geography at Massey University in Palmerston North. Ian has so much knowledge of New Zealand river systems and is very generous in sharing his time and wisdom with students, clients, industry, and now us! 

"I'm excited to have the opportunity to apply nearly 30 years' research experience working in fluvial geomorphology to provide solutions to challenges faced in our rivers and catchments, alongside and as part of a dynamic team of dedicated and talented people." says Ian.