Bureau of Reclamation Engineer Wins 2017 Federal Engineer of the Year
Civil engineer Jennifer Bountry, P.E., has been named the 2017 Federal Engineer of the Year by NSPE and the Professional Engineers in Government.
“It is an incredible honor,” Bountry told the crowd during the February award ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. “I’m quite shocked and humbled among all of these amazing engineers.”
As a civil engineer assigned to the Elwha River Restoration Project near Port Angeles, Washington, Bountry oversaw the sediment management team. The project included the concurrent removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams, the largest ever removed, and the management of 27 million cubic yards of reservoir sediment.
Through the use of newly developed erosion forecast models and simulations, Bountry led a team of engineers and geomorphologists in monitoring the erosion and downstream transport of the sediment as the dams were removed in multiple, controlled increments. The project restored access for salmon and steelhead to 70 miles of habitat, returning the fish to the ecosystem within Olympic National Park and helping to revitalize the cultural traditions of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.
Through the course of the project, the tribe even rediscovered its sacred creation site, the place where the Creator bathed the people and blessed them. The site had been covered by the waters of one of the two reservoirs created after construction of the dams in 1910 and 1927, according to the National Park Service.
“The tribe was one of the partners in the project, and they were one of the advocates that helped make this project happen over many, many decades,” Bountry says, adding that it not only restored the tribe’s cultural traditions but its history and heritage. “This was a really important project and they were continuously a great partner and collaborator for us on this.”
Bountry, an NSPE member, has high praise for everyone involved with the Elwha River Restoration Project, and for her, receiving the Federal Engineer of the Year Award is an honor she shares with everyone involved and the project itself.
“It’s just fantastic to receive this recognition for the Elwha dam removal project; it really is such an amazing tribute to doing restoration and helping our rivers,” Bountry said following the award ceremony. “This project was definitely such a learning experience, and the people that I was able to interact with were all so dedicated.”