Dennis Flanagan Named Fellow of the ASABE

Dennis C. Flanagan, research agricultural engineer, USDA Agricultural Research Service, National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory, West Lafayette, Indiana, is being recognized for his outstanding leadership in developing and implementing new erosion prediction technology, and for his ASABE leadership in soil and water conservation. The Fellow of the Society is the highest honor bestowed by the American Society for Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

During the past 26 years, Flanagan has conducted comprehensive research on erosion mechanics, erosion control, and erosion prediction.  His research and modeling efforts have focused on better understanding, prediction, and control of soil erosion processes in order to protect and preserve water, soil, and air quality.  He was the first research scientist to demonstrate in a field rainfall simulator experiment the great importance of storm rainfall intensity patterns on infiltration, runoff and soil loss, and how spatial variability of soil properties can greatly distort infiltration and runoff predictions with commonly applied infiltration equations.  He has also performed innovative studies into the use of anionic polyacrylamide (PAM) as an erosion-control technique for steep slopes, typical of disturbed embankments and construction sites.

Flanagan is recognized worldwide for his expertise in soil erosion modeling, and in particular the development of the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model.  He led the development of the hillslope version of the model, as well as a variety of user interface programs, including GIS-based versions of WEPP for use on small watersheds.  He was assigned the task of leading user agencies and other ARS units in merging WEPP with wind erosion prediction technology (WEPS) to provide a complete erosion prediction system. 

Flanagan has worked extensively nationally and internationally to extend the use of erosion prediction technology through workshops at universities and professional society meetings, and as an exchange scientist. He is often invited to speak and participate at international meetings and symposia and has served as a mentor and advisor for graduate students and visiting foreign researchers.  Flanagan is also an adjunct professor in the agricultural and biological engineering department at Purdue University, and he has contributed to the literature of the profession with over 160 authored or coauthored publications, including 53 peer-reviewed journal articles. 

In his 31 years of ASABE membership, Flanagan has provided leadership to the E-07 Issues Management and Social Action committee and various Soil and Water division committees.  He was chair of the 2001 international symposium on Soil Erosion Research for the 21st Century, and he is currently involved in organizing the International Symposium on Erosion and Landscape Evolution, being held in September 2011 in Anchorage, Alaska. 

In addition to having received numerous USDA Certificates of Merit and Superior Performance awards, Flanagan has been honored by ASABE with a Certificate of Appreciation for his efforts as 2001 Symposium chair as well as with a Superior Paper award.    His other professional memberships include the American Geophysical Union and Soil and Water Conservation Society.  He is a member of five honorary societies.