Ecological Engineering Program

A new emerging field of study integrating engineering technology with biology and ecology

The Ecological Engineering group at DRI is focused on understanding and mitigating the impacts of human activities on the natural environment. We conduct fundamental and applied research with the goal of applying engineering principles to understand and reduce adverse effects of human activities on rivers, lakes, wetlands, springs and estuaries.

Main Research Areas

  • Restoration of aquatic systems – Lakes, Reservoirs, Wetlands, Rivers (both ecological and engineering)
  • Invasive species ecology and management
  • Climate change impacts on water resources and water pollution



Featured Research

DRI faculty recently completed a study on water use for energy production. This report estimates and compares the amount of water used for thermoelectric power generation and photovoltaic (PV) solar electricity generation in Nevada. 

Download the Executive Summary



Quagga musselsQuagga mussels - photo courtesy of

Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the US and one of the most important water resources in the West. In January of 2007, Quagga mussels (Dreissena bugensis) were discovered in Lake Mead, for the first time west of the 100th meridian. This invasive species, and the related Zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) have disrupted ecosystems in a number of waterways elsewhere in the US and have cost billions of dollars in control efforts. Given the seriousness of the recent Quagga mussel invasion for the ecology and economy of the broader region, and for the overall management of water resources, the primary goal of DRI's research is to study the ecology and biology of Quagga mussels and their impact on aquatic biodiversity and water quality in Lake Mead.

News  Highlights

Las Vegas My News 3 investigates Nevada's Quagga Mussel program with DRI's Dr. Kumud Acharya. 

Too Much Mussel -  Invasive species could threaten valley's water supply


WaterResourcesBureau s

Water Resources Bureau, Zhangjiangan, Jiangsu Province, China - Dr. Acharya gave a talk at the Water Resources Bureau, Zhangjiangang, Jiangsu Province, China on "Urban Stormwater Mangagement & Ecological Restoration" on March 14, 2013.



State Key Lab of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Hohai University, China – DRI Delegation (led by President Wells) visits Hohai University, China to discuss future research collaboration. Dr. Acharya lecturing to Hohai University faculty and students on joint DRI - Hohai research collaboration (November 19 – 21, 2011).


MUTtalk2MUTtalk1WATCH Center at Mahanakorn University of Technology (MUT) in Bangkok, Thailand – Dr. Acharya gave a talk at MUT Center of Excellence in Water and Climate Research for Climate Change on Impacts on Water Resources and Flood Risk on October 17, 2011.


Center for Global Change and Water Cycle of Hohai University - Dr. Acharya gave a talk at the Center for Global Change and Water Cycle of Hohai University on November 10, 2009. Full story, visit


Sino-US symposium - Dr. Acharya along with other DRI professors gave lectures at the Sino-US symposium on sustainable use and management of water resources. Full story, visit


UFDP WorkshopFDP Arid Regions Stream Restoration Workshop(June 30-July 1 2009) - UFDP Arid Regions Stream Restoration Workshop was organized by a team from DRI (Kumud Acharya, Don Sada and Mark Stone)and USACE ERDC(Lisa Hubbard and Meg Jonas). The workshop dealt with several issues and challenges in stream restorations of the region, and discussed possible research directions for future. The topic included channel design, sediment transport, bank stability and vegetation, floodplain/riparian corridor, and flow management. Prominent researchers and practitioners from DRI, USBR, USDA, USACE, SNWA, University of New Mexico and John Hopkins University took part in the workshop.

This website uses cookies
We use cookies to personalise content, provide social media features and  analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided to them or that they’ve collected from your use of their services. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website. DRI Privacy Policy >>