Technical Service Center
Water and Environmental Resources Division, 86-68200
Division Chief: Sharon K. Taylor, DVM, PhD (SKTaylor@usbr.gov)
The Water and Environmental Resources Division provides integrated state-of-the-art service in all facets of environmental planning, impact assessment, management, enhancement, economic analysis, and water treatment and desalination.
Del Smith, Manager (DMSmith@usbr.gov)
The Water Resources Planning and Operations Support Group provides technical services to decision makers on water resources planning, reservoir and river system operations, water supply issues, surface water and ground water uses, water quality issues, watershed hydrology, water and land resources development, and suitability assessments.
The professional staff includes hydraulic engineers, hydrologists, agricultural engineers, environmental engineers, geologists, physical scientists, and engineering technicians.
Chris Holdren, Manager (GHoldren@usbr.gov)
Our staff cooperates with local, State, and other Federal agencies; with some foreign governments; and with our field and regional offices to help provide a better understanding of ecosystems and their functions on Reclamation projects for:
- Environmental Impact Assessment Studies
- Analytical Chemistry & Environmental Research
- Aquatic Site Pest Management
- Reservoir Monitoring & Research
- Riparian & Wetland Studies
- Water Quality Monitoring & Improvement
This group conducts studies on how rivers and reservoirs respond to various actions through changes in river flow, sediment supply, or channel modification. These studies are prepared for a variety of purposes including operation and maintenance of facilities and reservoirs, fish and wildlife habitat restoration, and water conveyance. The group also prepares dam-break inundation studies and maps, which are used for emergency planning, hazard classification, and for guiding the selection of risk reduction alternatives at unsafe dams.
Karen Weghorst , Manager (KWeghorst@usbr.gov)
The group consists of hydraulic engineers and meteorologists. Representative activities in dam safety are listed below:
- PROBABLE MAXIMUM PRECIPITATION (PMP). Meteorologists, using the latest hydrometeorological reports of the National Weather Service, determine probable maximum precipitation amounts for appropriate storm durations, for both general and local storms, at any location in the United States.
- DESIGN FLOOD HYDROGRAPHS. Hydraulic engineers, using the PMP amounts and the hydrologic characteristics of the basins (including snowmelt if applicable), compute probable maximum floods (PMF) for basins ranging in size from less than 1 square mile up to thousands of square miles. These floods are used to determine the hydrologic adequacy of a dam and to design structural modifications and/or early warning systems if necessary. Smaller design floods can also be computed.
- FLOOD FREQUENCY STUDIES. Using available streamflow records and the latest acceptable analytical techniques, engineers derive flood frequency curves at specific points on a stream. Regionalized analyses can also be done.
86-68260 Emergency Management and GIS Group
This group provides professional services in two distinct but related areas:
The Group's Emergency Managers are experienced with several EM-related activities:
- EMERGENCY ACTION PLANS. Staff members have created or revised EAPs for more than 100 dams and related facilities operated either by Reclamation or by other Federal, State, local, or tribal agencies. They can review an existing plan or help to create a brand new EAP from scratch.
- EMERGENCY EXERCISES. The Emergency Managers have coordinated many functional, tabletop, and full-scale exercises for high-risk facilities.
- EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS (EWS) EVALUATION. Staff analyze design storms and physical characteristics of dams and downstream areas to determine the feasibility of an early warning system to provide adequate warning time to the population-at-risk from flooding in the event of hydrologic failure of a dam.
- EARLY WARNING SYSTEM DESIGN. If an early warning system will provide adequate warning time to threatened populations, staff can design a system of hardware, software, and communications equipment to detect potential flood events and warn appropriate emergency management personnel. Staff also install and help maintain EWS equipment.
The team has more than 30 years of experience, providing expertise in the following areas:
- Image processing capabilities
- Satellite mapping
- GIS, Geographic Information Systems,
- GPS, Global Positioning Systems
- Airborne videography
- Photography, LIDAR, and surveying contracts
- Data base development
- Thermal analysis
- Other geospatial technologies
86-68270 Economics, Planning, and Technical Communications Group
Randy Christopherson, Manager (RChristopherson@usbr.gov)
This group consists of two teams of professionals:
We provide a wide range of expertise in water resource-related planning, economic and financial analyses, recreation, cultural resources, multidisciplinary team management, public involvement, conflict resolution, social analysis, facilitation, and conference planning. We also perform studies and provide support in project planning and evaluation and for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance activities. A few of the projects being conducted include support of Truckee River Operating Agreement activities; public involvement, social analysis, recreation evaluation, economics and financial analyses for the planning report/EIS for the Yakima River Basin Water Storage project; economic cost, lost benefit, and repayment evaluations for Safety of Dams studies; and hydropower valuation for Colorado River studies.
We are a group of professional writers, editors, editorial assistants, web designers, and illustrators. Our technical communications expertise is built on a wide variety of experience in water issues, environmental protection, engineering, planning, and public involvement. In addition to our writing, editing, and illustration skills, we are thoroughly familiar with Reclamation's visual identity requirements, Reclamation's web design standards, GPO Style, accessibility requirements for electronic documents, and other governmental standards for communications products.
Greg Reed, Acting Manager, GReed@usbr.gov
The Fisheries and Wildlife Resources Group combines the expertise of professional
fisheries scientists, wildlife biologists, environmental regulatory specialists,
and environmental chemists to conduct a wide variety of multidisciplinary
environmental field and laboratory studies concerning aquatic and terrestrial
habitats, wildlife, water quality, and environmental impacts.