Water resources expert and former EWRI president dies at 57

Jeffrey B. Bradley, a hydraulic engineer whose career began with work following the eruption of Mount St. Helens, has died. A past president of ASCE’s Environmental and Water Resources Institute and founding president of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers, Bradley was 57.


Bradley, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE, followed in his father’s footsteps into a long and illustrious career in hydraulic engineering. Coupling his professional experience with the Corps and an abiding interest in hydrology, hydraulics, geomorphology, and sediment transport, he earned a Ph.D. in civil engineering at Colorado State University. Bradley went on to become a nationally recognized technical expert in the field, and established WEST Consultants in 1988. Because of him, WEST today has offices in eight locations and is recognized as a premier water resources engineering firm.

Throughout his 42-year career he was active in the water resources profession and involved with numerous professional organizations at national, regional, and local levels. He was also extremely encouraging and supportive of his peers and new generations of engineers. He was the founding president of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers, a founding member and past president of the ASCE Environmental and Water Resources Institute, and chair of the ASCE Water Resources Engineering Division.

As a boy he liked to follow the major dam construction projects in which his father was involved, among them The Dalles Dam on the Columbia River and Pelton Dam on the Deschutes River in Oregon, the Hartwell Dam on the Savannah River in Georgia, and many others.

In his first full-time job, as a hydraulic engineer for the Portland (Ore.) District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, he was cast in the unanticipated role of key responder to the damages and risks resulting from the eruption of Mount St. Helens in May 1980, for which he received a commendation for exemplary performance.

“I remember Jeff pulling together a Columbia River history session for the EWRI Congress and an ASCE Convention in Portland several years ago,” said Jerry Rogers, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, Dist.M.ASCE, of ASCE’s History & Heritage Committee. “He’d also researched and presented papers on the Mount St. Helens Volcano Eruption and Pyroclastic Flows, the most disastrous volcanic eruption in U.S. history.”

Bradley was the editor of several books and the author of more than 75 professional papers and reports in the fields of water resources, hydraulics, hydrology, and sedimentation engineering, one of which was a sedimentation manual for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He also wrote an appendix for the updated ASCE Sedimentation Manual, No. 110.


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