The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Nation’s First Curriculum for Fish-passage Engineering

The University of Massachusetts Amherst and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) have announced an upcoming graduate engineering degree option in ecohydrology – the first in the nation. This master’s degree in civil engineering will prepare students for a career in the specialized field of fish-passage engineering. The collaboration between the USFWS and the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department begins with a $50,000 research grant to support a graduate student and other research activities. The Principal Investigators on the research contract are Dr. David Ahlfeld and Dr. Richard Palmer.

Through a cooperative agreement signed on June 15, USFWS will provide financial support to the CEE department and will also provide instructors to teach graduate-level courses in fish-passage engineering. Students enrolled in the program will pursue coursework in engineering, resource conservation, and biology, plus hydraulics and hydrology.

Michael Malone, vice chancellor for research and engagement at UMass Amherst, said, “The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is very excited to initiate this cross-disciplinary program with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The ecohydrology program will provide graduate students with the engineering and science skills necessary to make our streams and rivers more sustainable in the future and provide for improved aquatic habitat.”

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service here in the Northeast and throughout the country is seeking to restore the sustainability and resilience of our rivers,” said USFWS Northeast Regional Director Marvin Moriarty. “We have a great need for engineers with this specialized training. A program like this, which marries the academic training of diverse professionals and their research to on-the-ground projects that we are implementing to address the needs of aquatic species, will help move forward aquatic conservation across the entire nation.” (June 2010)