Steve Newbold, PhD
PhD in Ecology, University of California, Davis. 2002
MS in Agricultural Economics, University of California, Davis. 2002
BS in Environmental Engineering, University of Florida. 1995


newboldSteve Newbold completed his PhD in Ecology at UC Davis in 2002 with a dissertation entitled, "Targeting conservation activities: Cost-effective wetlands restoration in the Central Valley of California." [Also available online - restricted to UC campuses]

Steve's dissertation advisor was Dr. Marca Weinberg, although he worked closely with Dr. Eadie on several aspects of his dissertation. Steve also has a Masters degree in Agricultural Economics from UC Davis, and is generally interested in integrated applications of ecology and environmental economics. Steve’s dissertation was on the potential for improving the cost-effectiveness of wetlands policies through spatially targeting restoration activities.  He is now employed at the Environmental Protection Agency's National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE) in Washington, D.C.

In his dissertation, Steve developed predictive models of two wetland ecosystem services for the Central Valley of California: the provision of habitat for breeding mallards, and water quality enhancement through the attenuation of nutrients from nonpoint source pollution from agriculture.  These production functions for ecosystem services, along with estimates of wetlands restoration costs, were integrated into an optimization model that can determine the spatial configuration of restoration activities that maximizes water quality benefits, habitat benefits, or any weighted combination thereof subject to a budget constraint.  Steve’s dissertation shows that there can be substantial gains in effectiveness through spatially targeting restoration activities, and that there can be significant tradeoffs between environmental benefits from wetlands.

mallardThe mallard habitat selection model was estimated using Poisson regression where mallard counts at North American Breeding Bird Survey locations in the Central Valley were regressed on the proportion of land use types near those survey locations. This model provided a method to predict mallard abundance as a function of habitat types and admixtures.

Steve’s work clearly demonstrated that accounting for the spatial habitat preferences of mallards when selecting sites for wetlands restoration could yield substantial increases in mallard abundances in the breeding season.




Expected total abundance of mallards near BBS route-stops

Current conditions (1997-2000)


Uniform spatial distribution of restoration activity


Clumped spatial distribution of restoration activity


Optimal spatial distribution of restoration activity


Revised September 17, 2009