Dr. Peter Goodwin Chosen as New Lead Scientist of the Delta Science Program

Dr. Peter Goodwin, an internationally-recognized expert in ecohydraulics (linkages between physical processes, management actions, and ecological responses), ecosystem restoration, and enhancement of river, wetland and estuarine systems has been appointed the new Lead Scientist for the Delta Science Program by the Delta Stewardship Council.

“I look forward to helping build the scientific community and to search for the common truths on the many critical issues that face the Delta,” Goodwin said. “The development of the Delta Plan is clearly a project of critical importance to California that is helping set standards of how science can inform the making of policy.”

His appointment was the result of a nationwide search and is effective March 1. Goodwin replaces Dr. Cliff Dahm, who served as Lead Scientist for the past three-and-a-half years. Dahm, a professor at the University of New Mexico and an internationally recognized expert in aquatic ecology, climatology and restoration biology, ended his Lead Scientist term August 19, 2011, but agreed to continue as a part-time Lead Scientist through the recruitment period.

“I am extremely pleased that Peter Goodwin is taking over the lead scientist role for the Delta Science Program,” Dahm said. “He has the expertise, stature, and personality to do an outstanding job.”

Goodwin is the DeVlieg Presidential Professor in Ecohydraulics and professor of civil engineering at the University of Idaho. He also is the founding and current director of the Center for Ecohydraulics Research. He is recognized internationally for his research with important contributions in the field of modeling flows, sediment transport, and river channel evolution.

Additional research interests include modeling physical processes in natural and disturbed aquatic systems, quantifying benefits of restoration activities, and integrating models of physical processes and biological responses. His expertise is directly applicable to issues that Delta managers and the Delta Stewardship Council are grappling with today.

Goodwin is a former CALFED Independent Science Board member and also serves as the scientific advisor for several government agencies addressing river and wetland management issues, including chairing the Louisiana Coastal Area Science Board.

He has participated in the river restoration, flood control and sediment management projects in several different countries and estuarine and tidal wetland restoration projects on the East and West Coasts of the U.S.

Goodwin is also the director of Idaho’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), a federal-state partnership intended to build research infrastructure and encourage collaboration in states historically having received a low amount of federal research funding.

He earned his undergraduate degree in civil engineering in 1978 from the University of Southampton, England. In 1982 he earned his master’s degree in Hydraulic and Coastal Engineering from UC Berkeley, where he also obtained his Ph.D. in Hydraulic Engineering in 1986.

Look for an in-depth Q & A with Goodwin in the next issue of Science News.