Cob Staines


With their roots in the floodplains of the Sacramento River Valley, Cob is a human being with a passion for listening to the stories of landscapes and communities as told by water. Cob is regularly fascinated by cloud formation and river eddies, and led courses in canyoneeringing and kayak rolling to ground his undergraduate physics studies in human experiences. Cob’s research in ecohydrology has taken them up to glaciers and mountain ridges where water is at the whim of wind, sun, and avalanches, into dense montane forests where branches return precipitation back to the atmosphere, and through peatlands which act as carbon-rich sponges, protecting downstream communities from flooding, drought and fire. For three years Cob worked to learn to read the seasonal stories of vegetation and wind recorded in forest snowpacks in the Rocky Mountains and their influence on seasonal runoff, as the focus of his M.Sc. thesis with the University of Saskatchewan. When not listening to water, Cob enjoys listening to people. Cob’s lifelong work includes respecting the diversity of human relationships with water, increasing the flow of social justice that comes with access to clean water, and fostering and celebrating the transformative experiences that water shares with us in its many forms.