Reclamation moves five ideas forward in prize competition to help improve sediment removal in reservoirs

Media Contact: Peter Soeth, 303-445-3615,

For Release: December 10, 2020

The Guardians of the Reservoir Prize Competition with a river running through the desert.
The Guardians of the Reservoir Prize Competition with a river running through the desert.
WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Reclamation has selected five projects to each receive $75,000 through phase one of the Guardians of the Reservoir Challenge. The contest seeks new ways to effectively and continually manage sediment in reservoirs. The five winning projects move to phase two, where solvers continue developing their solutions and perform a laboratory-scale demonstration of their ideas.

"Current sediment removal technologies are extremely expensive and often cost-prohibitive," said Reclamation Chief Engineer David Raff. "The selected solutions provide the potential for meeting the goals of this competition to manage reservoir sediments while improving habitat and operational conditions."

The winning submissions are:

Wing Marine Team composed of Doug Thompson, John Crowson, Mel Friedman, Peter Crossland, Bryan Longhurst, James Coats, and Joel Friedman, Texas, A Cure for Ailing Reservoirs.

Nicholas LaBry and Kenneth LaBry of Prometheus Innovations, LLC., and Bartolomeo Mongiardino of Hydro Maintenance Service, Louisiana, The 3 D DREDGERâ„¢: Complete Sediment Management.

Dr. Peter Murdoch and Dr. John Newport, Pennsylvania, Air Bubble Suction Pipe with Water Recirculation.

Baha Abulnaga, Washington, High Volume Deep Dredging for Low Water De-silting.

Dr. Michael Detering, Laura Backes, and Joana Kueppers, Germany, Sediment Continuity and Restoration.

Sedimentation occurs when faster-moving rivers transport sediment into slower moving water in reservoirs where it falls out and begins to fill the reservoir. Sedimentation reduces the amount of storage available in a reservoir and can bury outlets, impacting reservoir owners' ability to store and deliver water or reduce the risk of floods. Sedimentation can also affect water quality, recreation, and habitat.

Reclamation is conducting this prize competition in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NASA Tournament Lab, and HeroX. To learn more about this competition, please visit

Reclamation conducts prize competitions to spur innovation by engaging a non-traditional, problem-solver community. Through prize competitions, Reclamation complements traditional design research to target the most persistent science and technology challenges. It has awarded more than $3,000,000 in prizes through 24 competitions in the past six years. Please visit Reclamation's Water Prize Competition Center to learn more.

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The Bureau of Reclamation is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior and is the nation's largest wholesale water supplier and second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Our facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation opportunities, and environmental benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR; Facebook @bureau.of.reclamation; LinkedIn @Bureau of Reclamation; Instagram @bureau_of_reclamation; and YouTube @reclamation.