Reclamation Names Engineer of the Year

Geomorphology expert worked on several Rio Grande river restoration projects

Media Contact: Peter Soeth, 303-445-3615
Mary Carlson, 505-462-3576

For Release: February 21, 2013

WASHINGTON – Jonathan Aubuchon, a hydraulic engineer in the Albuquerque (N.M.) Area Office, is the Bureau of Reclamation's Engineer of the Year for 2013.

"Reclamation engineers ensure water is delivered and hydropower is generated to support the many demands in the western United States," Commissioner Michael L. Connor said. "Jonathan's work on restoration projects on the Rio Grande, especially working with tribal governments, has led to successful river maintenance projects and a better understanding of the river that are helping meet the many demands of New Mexico and Texas."

Aubuchon led the team that produced the Endangered Species Biological Assessment for river maintenance on the Middle Rio Grande. He was the project engineering lead and designed numerous stream bank protection projects along the Rio Grande, many within tribal lands.

The Rio Grande is a valuable river for New Mexico and the entire southwest, providing agricultural and municipal water for farmers, communities and tribes from its headwaters in Colorado to Texas and Mexico.

He has published numerous articles and papers in recent years and is a subject matter expert in the field of geomorphology, a scientific discipline focusing on the origin, evolution and distribution of landforms across the physical landscape. Geomorphology is a central principle in understanding the field of physical geography. Examples of his work include "Scour Analysis Upstream of the San Acacia Diversion Dam," and "Channel Changes on the Middle Rio Grande." Aubuchon is coordinating contract research work with Colorado State University, which is investigating various geomorphic and hydraulic assessments of the Rio Grande. He also is coordinating with the University of Mississippi Acoustics Department to evaluate and refine a prototype acoustic probe it has developed to collect data on Rio Grande sediment concentration.

Aubuchon will represent Reclamation at the Federal Engineer of the Year Awards luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington today.

He is the Upper Colorado Regional Engineer of the Year and a registered Professional Engineer in Arizona. He has a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree in engineering from the University of Michigan.

Regional representatives for engineer of the year are:

Pacific Northwest Region: Jennifer M. Johnson
Mid-Pacific Region: Elizabeth G. Partridge
Lower Colorado Region: Nathaniel Gee
Great Plains Region: John F. Freetly
Technical Service Center: Donald L. Read

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.