Dam Removal, Sediment Management and River Restoration Achievements Lead to 2017 Federal Engineer of the Year Award

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Stacey A. Ober
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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Jennifer Bountry, P.E., a civil engineer, specializing in hydraulics, with the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, in Denver, Colo., has been named the National Society of Professional Engineers’ 2017 Federal Engineer of the Year. Bountry received the honor during the 38th Annual FEYA Banquet at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on February 17, 2017.

“This award has come as quite a shock,” said Bountry, shortly after she was named the winner. “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.”

In overseeing the sediment management team for the Elwha River Restoration Project near Port Angeles, Washington, Bountry was challenged with the concurrent removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon Dams, the largest dams ever removed. Using newly developed erosion forecast models and simulations, she led her team of engineers and geomorphologists in monitoring the sediment erosion and downstream transport of 27 million cubic yards of reservoir sediment as the dams were removed in multiple, controlled increments. The project restored access for salmon and steelhead to over 70 miles of pristine habitat. The return of these fish has brought back a vital source of nutrients to an ecosystem within Olympic National Park, and is helping to restore sacred sites and revitalize cultural traditions of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and honor treaty obligations.

Bountry holds two bachelor’s degrees: one in business administration and one in civil engineering, both from Colorado State University. She also holds a master’s degree in civil engineering and water resources, also from Colorado State University. She is a member of numerous organizations including NSPE, the U.S. Society of Dams, the USGS Powell Science Center Dam Removal Working Group, and the Federal Interagency Subcommittee on Sedimentation. When at home in her Lakewood community, Bountry volunteers her time as the project coordinator and leader for the Bear Creek K-8 elementary school and community garden project, including leading the multi-year construction of the new outdoor garden classroom.

A panel of judges established by NSPE’s Professional Engineers in Government selects the FEYA winner. Hailing from various federal agencies, departments, and military branches, the nominated engineers are evaluated based on factors such as engineering achievements, education, professional and technical society activities, awards and honors, and civic and humanitarian activities. For more information about the program or how to submit nominations for 2018, contact Erin Garcia-Reyes at ereyes@nspe.org or 703-684-2884.

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The National Society of Professional Engineers is a member-centric, nimble, future-focused, and responsive organization, serving as the recognized voice and advocate of licensed Professional Engineers. Through education, licensure advocacy, leadership training, multidisciplinary networking, and outreach, NSPE enhances the image of its members and their ability to ethically and professionally practice engineering. Founded in 1934, NSPE serves more than 31,000 members and the public through 52 state and territorial societies and over 400 chapters. For more information, please visit www.nspe.org.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Digital photos of Bountry, the ceremony, and additional award winners are now available.