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Rebecca Muenich

Asst Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 3005
Asst Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 3005

Rebecca Muenich grew up in the rapidly-urbanizing area of Northwest Arkansas where the local conflicts between urban growth, food production and environmental quality were at the forefront of local and national news. Influenced by these ongoing struggles between human-needs and the environment, she chose to direct her personal career path towards understanding how to address human-induced environmental problems.

Muenich is a watershed modeler focused on surface hydrology and water quality, especially in agricultural ecosystems. She focuses on evaluating the impact of land management decisions within the food-energy-water nexus.

  • Ph.D. Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue University 2015
  • M.S. Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue University 2011
  • B.S. Biological Engineering, University of Arkansas 2009
Research Interests: 

Research Gate

  • Watershed and environmental modeling
  • Agricultural ecosystem managment
  • Urban agriculture
  • Food-energy-water nexus
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Climate and land management impacts on surface water hydrology and water quality
  • Multifunctional landscapes to enhance ecosystem services
Research Group: 

Current Lab Group:

  • Danica Schaffer-Smith, Postdoctoral Scholar
  • Lorrayne Miralha, Ph.D. Student
  • Eleanor Rauh, Ph.D. Student
  • Maria Elena Menchu Maldonado, Ph.D. Student
  • William Krukowski, M.S. Student
  • Noah Rudko, M.S. Student
  • Kelly Shea, M.S. Researcher
  • Emma Bonham, Undergraduate Researcher
  • Tannis Breure, Undergraduate Researcher
  1. Grebitus C, Chenarides L, Muenich RL, Mahalov A. Consumers’ Perception of Urban Farming—An Exploratory Study. Frontiers in Sustain. Food Syst., in press. DOI: 10.3389/fsufs.2020.00079
  2. Schaffer-Smith D, Myint SW, Muenich RL, Tong D, DeMeester JE. Repeated hurricanes reveal risks and opportunities for social-ecological resilience to flooding and water quality problems.  Environ. Sci. & Technol., in press. DOI:
  3. Pyron M, Muenich RL, Casper AF. The Conservation Potential of Large Rivers: A Legacy of Research on the Wabash River. Fisheries and Aquatic Sci., in press.
  4. Kujawa H, Kalcic M, Martin J, Aloysius N, Apostel A, Kast J, Murumkar A, Evenson G, Becker R, Boles C, Confesor R, Dagnew A, Guo T, Muenich RL, Redder T, Scavia D, Wang Y-C. The hydrologic model as a source of nutrient loading uncertainty in a future climate. Sci. Total Enviorn., 724: 138004. DOI:
  5. Hamilton KA, Ahmed W, Rauh E, Rock C, Mclain J, Muenich RL. (2020). Comparing microbial risks from multiple sustainable waste streams applied for agricultural use: Biosolids, manure, and diverted urine. Curr. Opinion in Environ. Sci. & Health, 14: 37-50. DOI:  
  6. Kast J, Long CM, Muenich RL, Martin J, Kalcic MM. Manure Management at Ohio Confined Animal Feeding Facilities in the Maumee River Watershed. J. Great Lakes Res., in press.
  7. Scavia D, Bocaniov S, Dagnew A, Hu Y, Kerkez B, Long CM, Muenich RL, Read J, Vaccaro L, Wang Y-C. Detroit River Phosphorus Loads: Anatomy of a Binational Watershed. J. Great Lakes Res., in press.
  8. Kalcic MM, Muenich RL, Basile S, Steiner AL, Kirchhoff C, Scavia D. (2019). Climate Change and Nutrient Loading in the Western Lake Erie Basin: Warming Can Counteract a Wetter Future. Environ. Sci. & Technol., 53(13): 7543-7550. DOI:
  9. Dagnew A, Scavia D, Wang Y-C, Muenich RL, Kalcic MM. (2019). Modeling phosphorus reduction strategies from the international St. Clair-Detroit River system watershed. J. Great Lakes. Res., 45(4): 742-751. DOI:
  10. Dagnew A, Scavia D, Wang Y-C, Muenich RL, Long, CM, Kalcic MM. (2019). Modeling Flow, Nutrient and Sediment Delivery from a Large International Watershed using a Field-Scale SWAT model. J. Amer. Wat. Resourc. Assoc., in press. DOI:
  11. Li P, Muenich RL, Chaubey I, Wei X, (2019). Evaluating Agricultural BMP Effectiveness in Improving Freshwater Provisioning Under Changing Climate. Wat. Resour. Mgt., 33(2): 453-473. DOI: 10.1007/s11269-018-2098-y​​
  12. Giudice DD, Muenich RL, Kalcic MM, Bosch NS, Scavia D, Michalak AM. (2018). On the practical usefulness of least squares for assessing uncertainty in hydrologic and water quality predictions. Environ. Model. & Software, 105: 286-295. DOI:​​​
  13. Long CM, Muenich RL, Kalcic MM, Scavia D. (2018). Use of manure nutrients from concentration animal feeding operations. J Great Lakes Res., 44(2): 245-252. DOI: 
  14. Muenich RL, Kalcic MM, Winsten J, Fisher K, Day M, O’Neil G, Wang Y-C, Scavia D. (2017). Pay-for-performance conservation using SWAT highlights need for field-level agricultural conservation. Trans. ASABE., 60(6): 1925-1937. DOI: 10.13031/trans.12379
  15. Raj C, Chaubey I, Muenich RL, et al. (2017). Influence of bioenergy crop production and climate change on ecosystem services. J. Amer. Water Resour. Assoc., 53(6). DOI: 10.1111/1752-1688.12591
  16. Xu X, Wang Y-C, Kalcic M, Muenich RL, Yang Y-C E, Scavia D. (2017). Evaluating the impact of climate change on fluvial flood risk in a mixed-use watershed. Environ. Model. & Software. DOI: 
  17. Scavia D, Kalcic MM, Muenich RL, et al. (2017). Multiple models guide strategies for agricultural nutrient reductions. Frontiers in Ecol. & Environ., 15(3):123-132. DOI: 1002/fee.1472.
  18. Steinman AD, et al., and Muenich RL. (2017). Ecosystem services in the Great Lakes. J.Great Lakes Res., 43(3): 161-168. DOI:
  19. Muenich RL, Kalcic M, Scavia D. (2016). Evaluating the impact of legacy P and agricultural conservation practices on nutrient loads from the Maumee River Watershed. Environ. Sci. & Technol., 50(15). DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b01421.
  20. Muenich RL, Chaubey I, Pyron M. (2016). Evaluating potential water quality drivers of a fish regime shift in the Wabash River using the SWAT model. Ecol. Modelling, 340: 116-125. DOI:
  21. Muenich RL, Bowling LC, Peel S, et al. (2016). The Wabash sampling blitz: A study on the effectiveness of citizen science. Citizen Sci. Theory & Practice, 1(1): 3, 1-15. DOI:
  22. Kalcic M, Kirchhoff C, Bosch N, Muenich RL, et al. (2016). Engaging stakeholders to define feasible and desirable agricultural conservation in Western Lake Erie watersheds. Environ. Sci. & Technol., 50(15). DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b01420.
  23. Dennedy-Frank PJ, Muenich RL, Chaubey I, Ziv G. (2016). Comparing two tools for ecosystem service assessments regarding water resources decisions. J. Environ. Mgt., 177: 331-340. DOI:
  24. Li P, Chaubey I, Muenich RL, Wei X. (2016). Evaluation of freshwater ecosystem service provision in the Upper Mississippi River Basin: current status and drivers. Water 8(7):288. DOI: 10.3390/w8070288
  25. Logsdon RA, Kalcic MM, Trybula EM, Chaubey I, Frankenberger J. (2015). Ecosystem services and Indiana agriculture: Farmers’ and conservationists’ perceptions. Interntl. J. Biodiv. Sci., Ecosys. Services & Mgt. 11(3): 262-282. DOI: 10.1080/21513732.2014.998711.
  26. Logsdon RA, Chaubey I. (2013). A quantitative approach to evaluating ecosystem services. Ecol. Modelling, 257: 57-65. DOI:
Research Activity: 

Active Awards

  1. Kerry Hamilton (PI), Rebecca Muenich (Co-PI), Treavor Boyer (Co-PI), Clinton Williams (Co-PI). Accelerating Water and Nutrient Recycling: Evaluating risk trade-offs to develop best management practices for nontraditional agricultural waste stream use. USDA NIFA. 2/1/2020 – 1/31/2023. 
  2. Rebecca Muenich (PI), Kerry Hamilton (Co-PI), Tianfang Xu (Co-PI). Quantifying trade-offs in water quantity and quality in a managed aquifer recharge system. Phoenix/Scottsdale Groundwater Contamination Endowment for Research on the Risks and Mitigation of Chemical Releases to the Environment. 1/1/2020 – 12/31/2020. 
  3. Rebecca Muenich (PI), Rebecca Hale (PI). Characterizing FEW system typologies across the continental U.S. for informed FEW research. Socio-environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) Pursuit. 1/1/2020 – 12/31/2021. 
  4. Rebecca Muenich (PI), Clinton Williams (Co-PI), Otakuye Conroy-Ben (Co-PI), Peter Conden (Co-PI). The nexus of agricultural and urban trade-offs: Enhancing interdisciplinary education and research to create emerging opportunities in Urban Agriculture. USDA Non Land Grant Colleges of Agriculture Building Capacity Grants, Project 1017146, Grant 2018-70001-28751. 10/1/2018 – 9/30/2021. 
  5. Ric Lawson (PI), Margaret Kalcic (Co-PI), Ronald Doetch (Co-PI), Rebecca Muenich (ASU PI/Senior Personnel). Agricultural nutrient reduction in the Huron River Watershed. EPA Great Lakes Research Initiative. 1/1/2018 –12/31/2019 (on no-cost extension). 
  6. Allison Steiner (PI), Donald Scavia (Co-PI), Maria Carmen-Lemos (Co-PI), Frank Lupi (Co-PI), Christine Kirchhoff (Co-PI), Daniel Obenour (Co-PI), Rebecca Muenich (ASU PI/Senior Personnel), Margaret Kalcic (Senior Personnel). Enhancing sustainability in coastal communities threatened by harmful algal blooms by advancing and integrating environmental and socioeconomic modeling. NSF Coastal SEES. Award # 1600012. 9/1/2017–6/30/2020. 

Completed Awards

  1. Glenn O’Neil (PI), Margaret Kalcic (Co-PI), Rebecca Muenich (Co-PI). SWAT modeled forecasts of nutrient loading to Lake Erie from the River Raisin Watershed. USGS. Project # 2018MI251B. 3/1/2018 – 2/28/2019. 
  2. Rebecca Muenich (PI). Evaluating ecosystem service change in a future climate in the Himalayas. CRDF Global. 5/1/2018 – 12/31/2018. 
Summer 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
CEE 590Reading and Conference
CEE 599Thesis
CEE 790Reading and Conference
CEE 792Research
CEE 799Dissertation
Spring 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
EVE 214Envr Engineer Mechanics
CEE 493Honors Thesis
EVE 494Special Topics
EVE 499Individualized Instruction
CEE 591Seminar
CEE 592Research
CEE 599Thesis
CEE 790Reading and Conference
CEE 792Research
CEE 799Dissertation
Fall 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
EVE 492Honors Directed Study
CEE 492Honors Directed Study
CEE 598Special Topics
CEE 790Reading and Conference
CEE 792Research
Summer 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
CEE 590Reading and Conference
CEE 599Thesis
CEE 790Reading and Conference
CEE 792Research
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
EVE 214Envr Engineer Mechanics
CEE 790Reading and Conference
CEE 792Research
CEE 799Dissertation
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
EVE 394Special Topics
CEE 494Special Topics
EVE 494Special Topics
CEE 598Special Topics
CEE 790Reading and Conference
CEE 792Research
Summer 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
CEE 790Reading and Conference
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
EVE 214Envr Engineer Mechanics
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
CEE 598Special Topics
Honors / Awards: 
  1. Inductee to the Arkansas Academy of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, 2020
  2. New Face of American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers, 2020
  3. France A. Cordova Leadership in Action Award, Purdue University, 2014
  4. ABE Outstanding Service Award, Purdue University College of Engineering, 2014
  5. Emily M. Wadsworth Graduate Mentoring Award, Women in Engineering Program, Purdue University, 2012
  6. Robert E. Stewart Engineering and Humanites Award, American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers, 2011
  7. National Science Foundation Gradaute Research Fellowship, 2009
Professional Associations: 
  1. American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers
  2. American Geophysical Union
  3. Association of Environmental Science and Engineering Professors
  4. American Society of Civil Engineers
  5. International Water Association
  1. Research Scientist, Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance
  2. International Joint Commission Fertilizer Work Group
  3. Great Lakes Harmful Aglal Blooms Collaboratory