College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Ag engineering alum named 2015 ASABE Fellow

elliot__william_j_colorWILLIAM J. ELLIOT, P.E., research engineer, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Moscow, Idaho, is being honored for his outstanding leadership in edu- cation and erosion prediction science, and for his contributions to soil and water conservation engineering. Elliot received a BS in agricultural engineering in 1971 and a PhD in 1988 from Iowa State University.

Elliot is recognized as a world leader in forest hydrologic and soil erosion processes and prediction. For more than 22 years, Elliot has been leading research teams within his research station, along with university and other federal collabora- tors, to discover new knowledge and develop theoretical and applied models of the processes that dominate forest erosion. His breakthrough online interfaces to the Water Erosion Prediction Project have made the complex WEPP technology available to thousands of users worldwide to improve watershed management and, subsequently, the quality of the valuable water that societies now depend on from forested watersheds. Other agencies are copying this technology to meet their soil erosion prediction and conservation management needs. His current research is focusing on improving winter processes, evapotranspiration, and water yield prediction technology, as these processes and the subsequent timing and water yield are all highly impacted by changing climates.

Elliot has been invited to share his knowledge with forest managers in North and South America, Europe, and Australia, and provides two to three reviews in this area every year for ASABE, in addition to reviews on the sub- ject for various technical journals.

Prior to his current position, Elliot spent a number of years as an educator. While on the faculty as an assistant professor at The Ohio State University, he was advisor to the student branch, and he had a similar position with the student engineering club at Writtle Agricultural College in England. He has assisted 45 graduate students in the completion of their M.S. theses and Ph.D. dissertations.

A 44-year member of ASABE, Elliot has contributed leadership to the Soil and Water Erosion Research and Forest Engineering Technical com- mittees. He has authored or co-authored more than 107 peer-reviewed or refereed publications. Elliot co-authored the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh editions of the Soil and Water Conservation Engineering textbook published by ASABE, with the sixth edition earning an ASABE Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Service. For the past 25 years, hundreds of agricultural engineering undergraduates throughout the world have learned about
the fundamentals of soil and water conservation from this textbook. Elliot received an ASABE Certificate of Appreciation also for planning the 2001 Soil Erosion for the 21st Century International Conference and the 2002 TMDL Conference. His other awards include a USDA WEPP Core Team Certificate of Appreciation and two USDA Forest Service Chief’s Awards for Excellence in Technology Transfer.

For the original ASABE story, click here.