Wes Lauer Detailed

Wes Lauer

Overview and Professional Qualifications

Dr. Wes Lauer is a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Seattle University. He also holds an affiliate position with the Department of Oceanography at University of Washington, and, from time to time, he works in a professional capacity with Herrera Environmental Consultants.

Dr. Lauer’s research focuses on geomorphic change in river systems over decadal and longer time scales. The work relies on remote sensing, computer simulations, and focused field measurements. Over the course of his career, Dr. Lauer has developed several computer applications intended to support this analysis. These include GIS-based tools for measuring channel migration and computer models for simulating geomorphic change in rivers (a specialization known as morphodynamic modeling). Dr. Lauer is also interested in the use of low-cost electronic sensors to support community-based hydrologic, geomorphic and ecological measurements.

A recent research emphasis for Dr. Lauer in the Pacific Northwest has been on the Elwha River, Washington, where he has used morphodynamic modelling to simulate the response of that system to the historic construction and recent removal of two large dams. Other work has focused on the Minnesota River Basin, Minnesota, and on the Fly River, Papua New Guinea. Dr. Lauer has supervised numerous civil engineering and environmental science students at Seattle University on a wide range of undergraduate capstone projects.

Applications of Dr. Lauer’s research include evaluation of the sensitivity of river systems to changes in land use, climate, and water resources management (especially dams). The work also has applications in floodplain management and in the restoration/rehabilitation of degraded aquatic systems.

Research Interests

  • Morphodynamic/sediment transport modeling
  • Remote-sensing based detection of change along rivers
  • Impacts of dams and reservoir operations on rivers
  • Hydrologic and hydraulic simulation modeling
  • Sediment budgeting
  • Floodplain management
  • River and stream restoration
  • Climate impacts on hydrologic and geomorphic systems

Education and Credentials

  • D., civil and environmental engineering, University of Minnesota, 2006
  • Eng., civil and environmental engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 1998
  • S., civil engineering, Walla Walla University, 1996

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • Founding board member of Glacier Peak Institute, a youth-focused outdoor education non-profit based in Darrington, WA
  • Past chair, Student Council of the American Society of Civil Engineers Environmental Water Resources Institute

Contact information
Dr. Wes Lauer
Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Seattle University
901 12th Avenue

Seattle, WA 98103

Tel: 206–296‑5523
Email: lauerj@seattleu.edu

Additional Information
For additional information on Dr. Lauer and his research please visit: