Team Member Candid Photo

Dr. Zan Rubin worked with Balance from 2005-2008 and again since 2015. He has designed and implemented investigations of complex hydrogeologic, geomorphic, bed-sedimentation, water-quality, and sediment-quality questions in streams, lakes, and wetlands in the working landscapes of the California and throughout the world. Zan has conducted many of the firm’s water quality studies, including multi-year TMDL sediment-transport and bed-condition investigations on San Francisquito Creek and other channels near Stanford University, and throughout Santa Cruz, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties. He has also led countywide investigations of water quality in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. For the Callippe Preserve Golf Course he designed and implemented a water quality and ‘nuisance flow’ management strategy. On the lower Colorado River, Zan investigated restoration potential in areas of limited water quality, habitat quality, and riparian areas with elevated soil salinity. Internationally, he has been part of a team supporting the national governments of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam to model sediment trapping from future hydropower development, to identify projects with the greatest impacts, and to propose dams with alternative sites, designs, and management strategies to minimize sediment trapping, barriers to fish migration, flood risk, and displacement of people.

  • PhD., Environmental Planning, University of California, Berkeley, 2015
  • M.S. Geosciences, Colorado State University, 2010
  • B.A. Geology/Religious Studies, Bowdoin College, 2002
  • 216158 Joseph D Grant Frog Ponds, Santa Clara County Parks, CA
  • 215203/215223, EOA, Water Quality Assessments, Santa Clara/ San Mateo Counties, CA
  • 217035 UTC Swale Design, EnSafe, Santa Clara County, CA
  • Kondolf, G.M., Schmitt, R.J.P., Carling, P.A., Goichot, M., Keskinen, M., Arias, M.E., Bizzi, S., Castelletti, A., Cochrane, T.A., Darby, S.E., Kummu, M., Minderhoud, P.S.J., Nguyen, H.T., Nguyen, N.T., Oeurng, C., Opperman, J., Rubin, Z., San, D.C., Schmeier, S., and Wild, T., 2022. Save the Mekong Delta from drowning. Science, 376(6593), pp.583-585.
  • Rubin, Z., Rios‐Touma, B., Kondolf, G. M., Power, M. E., Saffarinia, P. and Natali, J. (2019), Using prey availability to evaluate Lower Colorado River riparian restoration. Restoration Ecology, 27: 46-53.
  • Kondolf, G. M., Schmitt, R., Darby, S., Carling, P., Arias, M., Bizzi, S., Castelletti, A., Cochrane, T.A., Gibson, S., Kummu, M., Oeurng, C., Rubin, Z., and T. Wild (2018) Changing sediment budget of the Mekong: Cumulative threats and management strategies for a large river basin. Science of the Total Environment 625:114-134.
  • Schmitt, R.J.P., Rubin, Z.K., and G.M. Kondolf (2017) Losing ground - scenarios of land loss as consequence of shifting sediment budgets in the Mekong Delta. Geomorphology 294:58-69.
  • Rubin, Z.K, Kondolf, G.M and B. Rios-Touma (2017) Evaluating stream restoration projects: what do we learn from monitoring? Water, 9.3:174.
  • Zhao, G., Kondolf, G. M., Mu, X., Han, M., He, Z., Rubin, Z., and W. Sun (2017). Sediment yield reduction associated with land use changes and check dams in a catchment of the Loess Plateau, China. Catena, 148:126-137.
  • Kondolf, G.M., Annandale, G., and Z. Rubin, (2015). Sediment starvation from dams in the lower Mekong River basin: magnitude of the effect and potential mitigation opportunities. Proceedings of the 36th IAHR World Congress, June 28-July 3, 2015, The Hague, Netherland.
  • Rubin, Z.K., Kondolf, G.M., and P. Carling (2014). Anticipated geomorphic impacts from Mekong basin dam construction. International Journal of River Basin Management. DOI:10.1080/15715124.2014.981193
  • Kondolf, G. M., Rubin, Z.K., and J. T. Minear (2014), Dams on the Mekong: Cumulative sediment starvation, Water Resources Research, 50(6): 5158-5169.
  • Golet, G.H., Brown, D.L., Carlson, M., Gardali, T., Henderson, A., Holl, K.D., Howell, C.A., Holyoak, M., Kondolf, G.M., Larsen, E.W., Luster, R.A., McClain, C., Nelson, C., Nelson, C., Paine, S., Rainey, W., Rubin, Z.K., Shilling, F., Silveira, J.G., Swagerty, H., Williams, N.M and D.M. Wood (2013). Successes, failures and suggested future directions for ecosystem restoration of the Middle Sacramento River. San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science.
  • Kondolf, G.M., Rubin, Z.K., Alford, C., and J.T. Minear (2013). Cumulative sediment reduction to the Lower Mekong River from planned dams. In S. Fukuoka, H. Nakagawa, T. Sumi, and H. Zhang (Eds), Advances in River Sediment Research. London, UK. Taylor and Francis.
  • Rubin, Z.K, Rathburn, S.L., Wohl, E.E., and D.L. Harry (2012). Historic range of variability in geomorphic processes as a context for restoration: Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 37(2): 209-222.
  • Rathburn, S.L., Rubin, Z.K. and E.E. Wohl, (2012), Evaluating channel response to an extreme sedimentation event in the context of historical range of variability: Upper Colorado River, USA. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 38(4): 391-406.
  • Stein, E.D., Federico, F., Booth, D.B., Bledsoe, B.P., Bowles, C., Rubin, Z.K., Kondolf, G.M., and A. Sengupta, 2012, Hydromodification Assessment and Management in California. Rep., 151 pp, Southern California Coastal Water Research Project.
  • Golet, G.H., Brown, D.L., Carlson, M., Gardali, T., Henderson, A., Holl, K,D., Howell, C.A., Holyoak, M., Kondolf, G.M., Larsen, E.W., McClain, C., Minear, T., Nelson, C., Paine, S., Rainey, W., Rubin, Z.K., Schott, H., Shilling, F., Silveira, J.G., Swagerty, H., and Wood, D.M. 2011. Using Ecological Indicators to Evaluate Ecosystem Integrity and Assess Restoration Success on the Middle Sacramento River. Final Report to California State University Chico, and the California Bay-Delta Program’s Ecosystem Restoration Program.

Working together with a team of smart and curious people to answer questions and find solutions to complex questions in river management.

In the coastal ranges of California. I love the surprises when working in a landscape with such extreme variability in space- microclimates, lithology, vegetation, and variability in time- 2106-2017 has been remarkable, going from record drought to record rain.

I love the Colorado River. I’ve had the opportunity to do months of fieldwork in the headwaters, the Grand Canyon, and down to the Mexican border. It’s a fascinating river and a profound symbol of water in the western US.