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Crawford Hydrology Lab Personnel

Chris Groves, Ph.D., P.G., Director

Chris Groves is University Distinguished Professor of Hydrogeology at Western Kentucky University where he directs the Crawford Hydrology Lab. He received a PhD in Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia, and has since developed an active international research program in hydrogeology, geochemistry and water resources, with karst fieldwork in 25 countries.  He has been particularly active in the extensive karst region of rural southwest China, having now made 36 trips. In January 2017 Groves received the China International Science and Technology Cooperation Award, the country’s highest honor for foreign scientists, from China’s President Xi Jinping.

Groves has served as co-leader for several karst-related United Nations scientific programs, including IGCP/SIDA598 “Environmental Change and Sustainability of Karst Systems” from 2011-2016. He also serves on the Governing Board of the International Research Center on Karst under the auspices of UNESCO. He is an Associate Editor of Hydrogeology Journal, and has published in the field’s leading journals, including Groundwater, Water Resources Research, Journal of Hydrology, and Geomorphology.

For many years, Groves has studied and explored of the caves and surface landscapes of Mammoth Cave National Park. This has included service as an expedition leader, Member of the Board of Directors, and President of the Cave Research Foundation.


Lee Anne Bledsoe, M.S., 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, dam leaks, landfill expansions, determining groundwater flow routes from factories and quarries, and determining spring recharge areas.

Before joining the Crawford 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 recieved her B.A. in Environmental Science from Tusculum College and completed a Master of Science in Geoscience at Western Kentucky University in Fall 2015. Her thesis work was a collaborative effort with the United States Army Corp of Engineers to investigate groundwater flow in the vicinity of Patoka Dam in Indiana to support dam safety risk assessment.


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.