ASCE has honored Drew C. Baird, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, M.ASCE, with the 2023 Arid Lands Hydraulic Engineering Award for distinguished contributions to river restoration, sediment transport analysis, river and bank stabilization, and reservoir sedimentation in the ephemeral streams in the western U.S. arid and semi-arid environment.
Baird has devoted his entire career, 39 years, to the hydraulic engineering profession, starting as a field engineer at U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Albuquerque office. He has dedicated his early career to managing the Rio Grande River, a braided river impacted by multiple reservoirs in the main stream. He has worked on riverbank stabilization, river sediment analysis, and scour at hydraulic structures, in which he gained firsthand engineering experiences. These valuable sediment-engineering practices later transmitted as several design manuals for river management in the arid region, including Bank Stabilization Design Guidelines and Guidelines for Evaluating Pipeline Channel Crossing Hazards to Ensure Effective Pipeline Burial.
He has led several interagency initiatives for better managing ephemeral river and sediment in the western United States. These efforts have resulted in more effective river engineering designs while conserving ecosystem and endangered species. Through his career, Baird has led or participated in over 120 projects in designs, studies, and research. He won USBR’s Engineer of the Year award in 2001. Additionally, he has authored/co-authored over 90 publications, and served as chair of the EWRI River Restoration Committee, Sedimentation Committee, and Reservoir Sedimentation Committee.
The Arid Land Hydraulic Engineering Award is given in recognition of original contributions in hydraulics; hydrology including climatology, planning, irrigation, and drainage; hydroelectric power development; or navigation specially applicable to arid or semi-arid climates, or contributions to the understanding and development of new technology in river basins.