Dr. Robert K. Simons, Ph.D., P.E.


Ph.D. (Civil Engineering, Hydraulics) Colorado State University, 1986
M.S. (Civil Engineering, Hydraulics) Colorado State University, 1977
B.S. (Civil Engineering) Colorado State University, 1973


Registered Professional Engineer in Colorado


Dr. R.K. Simons' principal fields of interest and expertise are hydraulics, river mechanics, riverine habitat modeling, riparian vegetation modeling, wetlands analysis, analysis related to various aspects of fisheries, erosion and sedimentation, sediment transport, hydraulic structures, mathematical modeling, and hydrology. He serves as project manager and engineer on many of the Simons & Associates' projects by conducting engineering analysis as well as managing other engineers and staff members.

Dr. Simons has extensive experience on hundreds of projects covering various aspects of civil engineering including evaluation of channelization and levee designs, reservoir optimization for flood mitigation, prediction of river response to various management alternatives, bank stabilization, reservoir sedimentation, storm water management, and flood warning. Dr. Simons developed design methodologies for channel bank protection using gabions based on hydraulic principles, risk analysis, and probability of motion. He has developed and applied a number of computer models predicting sediment transport, erosion, sedimentation, riparian vegetation dynamics, and flow/habitat relationships. He has conducted channel restoration, channel maintenance, and habitat improvement analyses. Dr. Simons has supervised such activity as installed in the field.

In addition to engineering analysis and computer modeling, Dr. Simons has experience in hydrologic data collection including stream gaging, suspended sediment sampling, bed material sampling, bed-load transport, surveying, and various types of meteorological data collection. He has collected data in many areas of the United States, including Alaska, and in a number of international locations.


Dr. Simons has served as an expert witness on a number of occasions. He has applied engineering principals to analyze legal issues in such cases as a dam break, a boundary dispute due to shifting river channels, flood mitigation based on reservoir operation, effects of gravel mining on channel stability, effects of changing water rights on channel maintenance and morphology, effects of proposed water projects on water availability to the projects as well as water availability to provide instream flows, and the effect of instream flows in providing riverine habitat for various species.


Some specific examples of Dr. Simons' project involvement include:

Hydrologic analysis of a complex water resources system dealing with channel morphology, environmental impacts, and habitat on the North Platte, South Platte, and Platte Rivers related to hydropower relicensing. This work involved extensive hydrologic modeling of a large basin, hydraulic modeling, data collection, sediment transport and geomorphic analysis as well as analysis and modeling of habitat for various species. Analysis of wetlands impacts and the influence of changes in groundwater levels on wetlands were conducted. Models were developed to analyze riparian woodland expansion (vegetative encroachment) and channel narrowing, and habitat/flow relationships for whooping cranes and sandhill cranes. Analysis was also conducted on the relationship between flow and ice with respect to bald eagle foraging. Additionally, data was collected and analyzed for flow/habitat relationships for interior least terns and piping plovers, and analysis of substrate for fisheries was also conducted. Through this and other projects, Dr. Simons has used and is familiar with the Instream Flow Incremental Methodology (IFIM) and has developed other models that relate flow to habitat.

Extension of the work of riparian vegetation dynamics/channel width modeling developed on the Platte River to the Snake River in Idaho to predict changes in riparian vegetation resulting from potential future modification of streamflow.

Analysis of channel stability and dynamics of 67 mountain channel reaches for the Denver Water Department as part of the Systemwide/Site Specific Environmental Impact Statement. This work was designed to analyze the impacts of proposed future water supply projects on channel morphology. Specifically, the work included analysis of hydraulics, sediment supply, sediment transport capacity, aggradation/degradation, lateral migration, bank stability, and vegetative encroachment. It addressed issues raised by the Forest Service and their concerns to provide favorable conditions of water flow in the National Forests. In addition, the analysis also included prediction of spawning gravel changes on many streams and analysis of flushing flows for spawning gravels for squawfish on the Colorado River.

Analysis of channel dynamics issues in the dispute over Federal Reserved Water Rights in the National Forests in the State of Colorado.

Analysis of hydrology, sediment transport, channel maintenance and flushing flow analyses related to hydropower effects on the Skokomish River. Analysis also included elevation of channel dynamics changes on groundwater and adjacent wetland areas.

Analysis of issues related to resuspension of sediment due to towboat traffic on the Mississippi River for the Mississippi River Lock and Dam 26 replacement EIS.

Analysis of potential channel changes and fisheries habitat changes resulting from a municipal water supply project which would divert water from the Delaware River via the Point Pleasant Diversion to a small stream in Pennsylvania.

A gravel enhancement project on the White Salmon River in Washington to determine the feasibility of placing gravel to enhance spawning habitat from a physical process perspective.

Modeling of reclaimed coal mine areas in Wyoming to predict potential erosion over a future period of 1,000 years.

Analysis of flooding and sediment transport related issues in conjunction with hydropower relicensing on the Skokomish River, Washington. Evaluate possible approaches in an attempt to reduce sediment deposition and flooding.

Hydrologic modeling of four future proposed projects on the Platte River to determine the availability of water as well as interproject water effects. The analysis utilized minimum instream flow criteria for wildlife habitat purposes as a constraint on diversions and reservoir operation.

Analysis of gravel mining on channel morphology as it affected a bridge and several major pipeline crossings.

Computer modeling of a series of drop structures for a channel stabilization design on Sand Creek and Cherry Creek in Denver.

The analysis and design of sedimentation reservoirs to eliminate excess sediment inflow from side drainages to a large irrigation canal system (the design included recreational features such as tennis and basketball courts and softball and soccer fields.

Channel stabilization analysis and design recommendations for a development in California.

Analysis of channel restoration for streams flowing into Mono Lake, California to enhance riparian vegetation and habitat for fisheries.

Development of water conveyance plans to handle excess water related to mine dewatering and associated temperature and water quality analyses to comply with state and federal regulations through Boulder Valley, Nevada.


Dr. Simons' experience also includes international work on several projects in South America, the Caribbean, Indonesia, and Asia. These projects included:

Irian Jaya, Indonesia: Hydrologic and other data collection as part of a long-term environmental monitoring program and modeling of sediment transport and riverine channel morphology. Hydraulic and sediment transport modeling of alternative tailings management alternatives and associated quantification of wetlands area development and impact as a management alternative.

Venezuela: Several months during 1972 were spent working on the VIMHEX II project (Venezuelan International Meteorologic and Hydrologic Experiment) collecting and analyzing rainfall, runoff, and channel geomorphology data.

Argentina: Analysis of major bank failures along the Rio Parana de las Palmas. Bank failures due to flood conditions were threatening the large Exxon refinery near Campana. Prediction of future erosion was made and bank protection methods were proposed.

Peru, Columbia and Ecuador: Analysis of several hydropower projects. These analyses dealt mainly with sediment transport, reservoir sedimentation, and damage to various hydropower generating components due to sediment. For example, Amaluza Reservoir in Ecuador which produces large quantities of energy from its high head (1,800 feet) turbines, reservoir sedimentation was modeled and mitigation measures were analyzed to help select a feasible method of reducing sediment damage to the turbines.

Bangladesh: Analysis of a major powerline across the Jamuna/Brahmaputra River associated with construction arbitration.

Nepal: Analysis of sediment sluicing and ejection from the headworks of a major diversion dam on the Arun River in Nepal to make design and operation recommendations.

Dominican Republic: Analysis of sedimentation issues for an existing diversion project. Recommendations were made to reduce the potential for sedimentation of the diversion and canals.

Costa Rica: Analysis of sediment transport and flooding of a river through a large banana plantation as affected by a major earthquake.

Dr. Simons has published over 30 papers in his field and a listing is available upon request.

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