The F.R.E.S.H (Feminist Research in Eco-Social-Hydro) Water Relations Lab is an in-the-flesh and virtual space for research in rivers, coasts, and oceans. We take a feminist approach to organizing the lab’s collective work, and welcome short and long-term visitors who share our interests.

Cleo Woelfle-Erskine, our PI, studies rivers—their Indigenous governance, multispecies relations, politics, and surface and subsurface flows. His ongoing collaborations with Native nations and grassroots organizations center Indigenous and land-based knowledges about salmon and water in the context of river restoration science and management.

Our lab is collaborative and self-reflective. Our lab is a great place to practice and improve at any stage of an idea or project. We take time to develop skills and increase familiarity with other academic conversations including methodologies and other critical analyses. Our topics are broad, from community education to ecological restoration. We solicit feedback from one another to then report back on during the following meeting.


Cleo Woelfle-Erskine

I am a queer, trans, and undisciplined scholar of rivers and their multispecies communities. Growing out of several decades of work in community-based river and water justice work, I work across fields of ecology, feminist science and technology studies (STS), geography, and queer and trans theory. Read more.

Current Lab Members

Jenny Liou, MMA student

Jenny Liou is a Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center Fellow and a master’s student in the University of Washington’s School of Marine and Environmental Affairs. She works at the intersection of ecology, critical physical geography, and history/philosophy/literature of science. Her current projects include working with the Quartz Valley Indian Community to plan for salmon restoration/conservation strategies in the context of climate change, and theorizing the dialectics of immigrant and Indigenous ecologies.

Charlotte Dohrn, MMA student

Charlotte is an interdisciplinary researcher studying at the UW’s School of Marine and Environmental Affairs. She is interested in bridging science and policy to support implementation of projects that build resilience in coastal ecological and social systems. As a fellow with the Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center, she is currently collaborating with the Puget Sound Restoration Fund to understand habitat suitability for restoring native oysters in the Salish Sea.

James Lee, MMA student

(he/him) I am a Washington Sea Grant Science Communications Fellow and a master’s student in UW’s School of Marine and Environmental Affairs. I’m passionate about nearshore restoration work for the value it brings to ecosystems and the connections it fosters between people and their shorelines. I work with FRESH Lab colleagues on a floating wetlands installation in the Lower Duwamish Waterway to see if it will provide critical ecosystem functions. I am also part of a team investigating changes in gene expression when eelgrass is infected with wasting disease.

Sam KLEIN, MMA student

I am a first year master’s student in the UW’s School of Marine Environmental Affairs. I am interested in studying human interactions with coastal ecosystems and the restoration of these dynamic habitats. I am currently working on a project monitoring the effectiveness of artificial floating wetlands as a restoration technique in the industrialized Duwamish River.

Past Lab Members

Debbie Rose, MMA 2020


My research looks at the potential siting of beaver dams or beaver dam analogs as a restoration strategy in the Scott River watershed in California. I also look at the implications of such projects on water storage and summer low flows under multiple climate change scenarios and evaluate the capabilities of restoration projects to offset climate impacts for humans and salmon in the region.  I hope to apply what I learn about salmon restoration and climate resiliency in California to local projects in the greater Puget Sound area.

Ashley Bagley, MMA 2019

Ashley Bagley graduated from the University of Washington in 2019 with a Master’s of Marine Affairs and a Graduate Certificate in Climate Science. In graduate school, Ashley examined how engineered logjams can be used as a mitigation tool to create suitable freshwater salmon habitat in the face of a changing climate. Ashley is now a Washington Sea Grant Hershman Fellow with Long Live the Kings, a local non-profit focused on salmon and steelhead recovery throughout the Salish Sea.

Emily Casaretto, MMA 2019

Emily centers her work around how people, particularly children, form meaningful relationships to the ocean and how such insights can be applied to marine science education. For her SMEA master’s thesis, she explored the gendered depictions of marine animals in historic children’s literature. Emily currently lives and works in Santa Cruz, CA.

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