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Awards & Honors

Research Grants Flow to Cal State Fullerton Hydrogeologist


November 12, 2003 :: No. 104


Richard Laton
Richard Laton

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Richard Laton, Cal State Fullerton assistant professor of geological sciences, is awash in grants dealing with the health of groundwater in two Southern California regions, a circumstance that has created a stream of opportunities for real-world research by the university’s students.

The Santa Ana resident has received grants totaling more than $250,000 from the Mojave Water Agency for research on water sources, water sampling and water supplies in the Victorville, Apple Valley and Lucerne Valley areas. The most recent grant awarded this fall — for $192,907 — funds various research projects.

The agency is looking ahead to the day when the area, which currently has about a half-million residents, will grow to 1.5 million. Reliable sources of water will be essential to support this growth, Laton noted. Already, the area is developing as one of Southern California’s newest commuter communities.

Laton and his students also have been conducting research on the San Gabriel River through a $32,000 Friends of the San Gabriel River grant. He and graduate students Brenda Nelson of Santa Fe Springs and Daneh Manouchehri of Fullerton have been surveying the river from the Whittier Narrows Dam to its southern end near Seal Beach in order to produce a series of maps in connection with a Watershed Management Plan for the area. The goal, noted Laton, is to maintain all water chemistry information on one database that can be used to determine the health of the river.

In addition, the researchers are working on standardizing areas for sampling so that citizen groups can monitor the river for the next 20 years.

In projects for the Mojave Water Agency — which covers an area of more than 5,000 square miles — Laton forecasts research work for the next two decades.

Students are learning valuable lessons in the various projects, Laton said. “In deep-well drilling, for example, students are getting hands-on experience no other CSU students are having. Students see everything from start to finish — drilling the holes, installing the pipes, sampling the water and writing reports. All of this experience can be of great help when looking for a job.”

Working on the Mojave Water Agency projects are graduate students Rene Perez of Riverside and Anna Garcia of La Mirada, as well as undergraduates Mike Blazevic and Andy Tang of Fullerton, Nick Napoli of Brea and Viva Ebbs of La Verne.

Students will be displaying their research findings in three poster presentations Dec. 8-12 at the National Groundwater Conference in Orlando. Four students presented research posters Oct. 28-29 at the California Groundwater Conference in Ontario. The CSUF student posters were the only student posters accepted for presentation at the Ontario conference.

Media Contacts: Richard Laton, assistant professor of geological sciences, 657-278-7514 or rlaton@fullerton.edu
Dave Reid, Public Affairs, 657-278-4855 or dreid@fullerton.edu

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