Crawford Hydrology Lab Personnel
Chris Groves, Ph.D., Director
Dr. Groves is the director of the Crawford Hydrology Laboratory and Hoffman Environmental Research Institute and is a professor in the Department of Geography and Geology at Western Kentucky University. Dr. Groves has developed an active program in applied and basic hydrogeology, geochemistry, and international water issues. He is a co-principle investigator on the China Environmental Health Project, serves as a project leader of the “Global Study of Karst Aquifers and Water Resources” under the auspices of the UNESCO/IUGS International Geoscience program. Dr. Groves provides experienced oversight of karst groundwater flow investigations for CHL. He received a Doctorate of Philosophy in Environmental Science (Geology) from the University of Virginia in 1993, a Master of Science in Geography from Western Kentucky University in 1987, and a Bachelor of Science in Geology from Western Kentucky University in 1984.
Jason S. Polk, Ph.D.
Dr. Polk is the Associate Director of Science for the Hoffman Environmental Research Institute and an Assistant Professor of Geography and Geology at Westen Kentucky University. He earned his doctorate degree from the University of South Florida in Geography and Environmental Science and Policy, where his research focused on karst speleogenesis, climate change, and water resources. Dr. Polk’s current research investigates the geomorphology and hydrology (including water quality) of karst environments, isotope hydrology, and karst resource inventory and management. He has published over 30 peer-reviewed papers and abstracts, and is a member of the National Speleological Society, Geological Society of America, American Geophysical Union, and Association of American Geographers.
Patricia Kambesis, M.S.
Ms. Kambesis serves as the assistant director of the Hoffman Environmental Research Institute and is an instructor in the Department of Geography and Geology at Western Kentucky University. Ms. Kambesis provides expertise in mapping using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), underground mapping, and many additional aspects of karst hydrogeologic research. She received a Master of Science in Geography from Western Kentucky University in 2004.
Benjamin V. Miller, M.S.
Ben is an Environmental Research Specialist for the Hoffman Environmental Research Institute and Crawford Hydrology Laboratory. Ben currently leads the field and laboratory crew in our research with the US Department of Agriculture on agricultural impacts and contaminant transport in karst areas. Ben also supports the Hoffman research team in cave survey, cave restoration, and development of cave management plans and has worked internationally on projects in Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Belize. He is a prolific cave surveyor and documenter and is actively working with both state and national caving organizations.
Ben is a recent 2010 graduate from Western Kentucky University with a Master’s Degree in Hydrology and Geomorphology where his research focused on characterizing a complex distributary spring system through dye tracing and geochemistry. Previous to joining the Hoffman team, Ben specialized in cave resource management, karst education, and karst hydrology while working for the National Park Service at Jewel Cave National Monument and Lava Beds National Monument as well as Missouri’s Onondaga Cave State Park.
Lee Anne Bledsoe, RS, Lab Manager
Ms. Bledsoe is the manager for the Crawford Hydrology Laboratory. She communicates with clients and supervises all daily workings of the lab, including laboratory analysis, QA/QC, and field work. In her time with CHL, she has worked on dye traces for groundwater basin mapping, effluent and sewer pipe break investigations, determining groundwater flow routes from factories and quarries, and determining spring recharge areas.
Ms. Bledsoe also coordinates training and outreach events for the USAID China Environmental Health Project and other Hoffman Institute projects. Before joining the Hoffman team, she worked for private research institutes and the National Park Service on water quality, hydrology, ecosystem restoration, and public health research projects. She is a Registered Sanitarian with the Department of Public Health for the State of Kentucky and is a certified onsite wastewater disposal inspector. Ms. Bledsoe is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Geoscience at Western Kentucky University.
Affiliate Senior Hydrogeologists:
Joseph A. Ray, M.S., P.G.
Joseph A. Ray currently serves as an affiliate senior hydrologist for the Crawford Hydrology Laboratory at Western Kentucky University, where he designs and supervises karst groundwater flow investigations. After helping map the regional karst drainage at Mammoth Cave National Park in the 1970s and 80s, he worked as a Registered Geologist with the Kentucky Division of Water for 17 years. There he co-developed, with the Kentucky Geological Survey, the Kentucky Karst Atlas project, which leads the nation in compiling state-wide karst hydrologic maps and providing karst data to the public. While with the Division of Water, he conducted more than 350 groundwater tracer tests and has authored or co-authored more than 50 professional publications over the last 30 years. He received a Master of Science from Western Kentucky University in 1975 and a Bachelor of Science from Western Kentucky University in 1973.
Nicholas Crawford, Ph.D., P.G.
Nicholas Crawford currently serves as an affiliate senior hydrologist for the Crawford Hydrology Laboratory at Western Kentucky University, where he designs and supervises karst groundwater flow investigations. He is a professor in the Department of Geography and Geology and the former Director of Crawford Hydrology Laboratory and the Center for Cave and Karst Studies at Western Kentucky University. He has written over 200 articles and technical reports dealing primarily with groundwater contamination of carbonate aquifers. He is also the recipient of more than 200 grants and contracts for hydrological research on environmental problems of karst regions. He is the recipient of the 2006 Western Kentucky University Distinguished Professor Award, the 1985 Outstanding Achievement in Research Award, and the 1996 Professional Public Service Award. He is a Fellow and Honorary Life Member of the National Speleological Society. He received the Kentucky Outstanding Geologist Award in 1998 from the American Institute of Professional Geologists and the Karst Science Award from the Karst Waters Institute in 2005. As a consultant specializing in carbonate aquifers for the past 28 years, Dr. Crawford has worked on numerous groundwater contamination problems for private firms as well as federal, state, and local government agencies.