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Kansas Center for Agricultural Resources and the Environment (KCARE)

Water and Irrigation Researchers

Jonathan Aguilar

Dr. Jonathan Aguilar is an extension water resource engineer for K-State, based at the Garden City area office. A native of the Philippines, Dr. Aguilar is an expert on water research issues, and his special focus is how these issues pertain to irrigated agriculture in central and western Kansas. His work for KCARE includes projects on new irrigation technologies such as Mobile Drip Irrigation (MDI), soil and plant water status sensors, and a new multi-year crop water allocation tool. He is also a part of on-farm research and demonstrations of new technologies to improve irrigation efficiency and reduce water consumption and researches the impact of poor water quality plant growth, development, and yield in central and western Kansas.

Dr. Aguilar received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural engineering from the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB). While there, his studies focused on land and water resources as it pertain to irrigated agriculture and environmental stewardship. After graduating, he continued to work at the university as a researcher as well as taking on several water resource-related projects with the UPLB Foundation, the Philippine Department of Agriculture, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Dr. Aguilar came to K-State to pursue his doctoral degree in biological and agricultural engineering and graduated in 2009. He joined the faculty in 2012.

Learn more about Dr. Aguilar and his research projects.

Dale Bremer

Dr. Dale Bremer specializes in the study of turfgrass science, environmental physics, stress, and micrometeorology. He is currently Professor of Turfgrass Science in the Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources at K-State. He also serves as the graduate program director.

Dr. Bremer’s research includes water conservation and trace-gas fluxes between turfgrass and the atmosphere. Some of his projects include testing new varieties or cultivars that promise good performance while using less water, investigating minimal irrigation requirements for turfgrasses, or testing new methods of irrigation management. Dr. Bremer also applies micrometeorology to his study of turfgrass, which endures considerable stress under Kansas’ continental climate.

Dr. Bremer received his Bachelor of Science degree in agronomy from the University of Nebraska. He attended K-State for his graduate work, receiving both his master’s and doctorate degrees in agronomy. He has been with the K-State faculty since 2001.

Learn more about Dr. Bremer’s research interests and current projects.

Ramesh Dhungel

Dr. Ramesh Dhungel is a post-doctoral fellow in K-State’s Department of Agronomy. His interests include a focus on biomass and evapotranspiration; he is working to develop a tool to measure ET in addition to remote sensing.

Dr. Dhungel holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Idaho.

Contact Dr. Dhungel about his research.

Behzad Ghanbarian

Dr. Behzad Ghanbarian is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Geology in K-State’s Department of Geology. A faculty member since 2017, Dr. Ghanbarian’s research interests include many topics in geology, hydrogeology, environmental sciences, and engineering. His work includes investigations into site remediation, the back-infusion process, and how contaminants diffuse back from low-permeability zones to high-permeability zones.

Dr. Ghanbarian received his Bachelor of Science degree in water engineering from Isfahan University of Technology and his master’s degree in irrigation and drainage from the University of Tehran. His Ph.D., in environmental sciences, is from Wright State University.

Read more about Dr. Ghanbarian’s research.

Bill Golden

Dr. Bill Golden is a research assistant professor in K-State’s Department of Agricultural Economics. A specialist in natural resource economics, Dr. Golden is interested in farm management issues related to irrigation and the production of agricultural commodities. He has extensive experience in both academic research as well as private industry.

Dr. Golden graduated summa cum laude from Texas A&M University with his bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering. He went on to receive both his Master of Agribusiness in Agricultural Economics as well as his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from K-State.

Learn more about Dr. Golden’s projects.

Stacy Hutchinson

Dr. Stacy Hutchinson is a professor in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department at K-State. Her research focuses on the use of vegetated systems for the mitigation of non-point source pollution, the development of sustainable storm water and land management techniques, and the remediation of contaminated soil and water. Her work will help develop new treatment technologies for improved water quality and quantity as well as sustainable water management practices that mitigate swings in water availability. With KCARE, Dr. Hutchinson is investigating the use of disinfection of biological agents in the field using a mobile advanced oxidation process as part of the Water Research for the Fort Riley Net Zero Initiative.

Dr. Hutchinson received her bachelor’s degree from Montana State University and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army thereafter. She served as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for four years before joining K-State for her graduate work in civil engineering. She received both her master’s and doctoral degrees in civil engineering from K-State and has been a faculty member since 2000.

Learn more about Dr. Hutchison and her work.

Freddie Lamm

Dr. Freddie Lamm is a professor and research irrigation engineer based at K-State’s Northwest Research Extension Center in Colby. He specializes in water management for grain and oilseed crops and the design and management for irrigated systems. His work has a special emphasis on subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) and in-canopy sprinklers, which reduces water use and maintains crop yield and quantity.

Dr. Lamm attended the University of Missouri, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural engineering. He received his doctoral degree in engineering from K-State.

Learn more about Dr. Lamm’s work with SDI and other irrigation technologies.

Cathie Lavis 

Dr. Cathie Lavis is an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in Landscape Management in K-State’s Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources. She specializes in irrigation and ornamental horticulture, with a special interest in the care of trees and landscape plants. As a result of Dr. Lavis’ leadership, K-State was the first university to develop an irrigation system design course that leads to certification with the Irrigation Association.

Dr. Lavis joined K-State as a graduate student; she holds a master’s degree in ornamental horticulture and a doctoral degree in Agronomy. She has been a faculty member in the department since 2006.

Learn more about Dr. Lavis and her research interests.

Trisha Moore

Dr. Trisha Moore is an assistant professor in K-State’s Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. Her research focuses on understanding and improving water quality, especially the processes by which natural-based engineered systems contribute to the production of ecosystem services (the benefits people obtain from those ecosystems). Dr. Moore’s studies examine the function of these systems at a variety of scales, from site-scale mechanisms to the watershed scale, and her research group explores questions regarding potential tradeoffs and synergies in the spatial and temporal delivery of ecosystem services under various watershed management approaches. Although the context for her research has been in urban or urbanizing watersheds, Dr. Moore’s research team also works in rural watersheds – like the Smoky Hill River watershed in Saline County – to study streambank erosion and discover new methods for streambank restoration. In addition to this work, Dr. Moore applied her research experience to the recent development of an integrated water quality program between the City of Wichita and upstream agricultural producers in the Little Arkansas River Watershed.

Dr. Moore graduated from K-State with B.S. and master’s degrees in biological and agricultural engineering. She attended North Carolina State University for her Ph.D. in biological and agricultural engineering, but returned to K-State in 2013 to join the faculty here.

Learn more about Dr. Moore and her work.

Andres Patrignani

Dr. Andres Patrignani is an assistant professor of soil water management in K-State’s Department of Agronomy. Originally from Argentina, Dr. Patrignani’s main research focus is on the development and advancement of sensor-based soil moisture monitoring systems, the investigation of water management strategies for improved water use in irrigated and water-limited cropping systems, and exploring the interaction between global climate change and soil-water relationships.

Dr. Patrignani received his Bachelor of Science degree in agronomic engineering from the Universidad Nacional de Rosario in Argentina. He holds master’s and doctoral degrees from Oklahoma State University, in plant and soil sciences and soil science, respectively. Dr. Patrignani joined the Department of Agronomy in 2016.

Learn more about Dr. Patrignani and his research interests.

Vahid Rahmani

Dr. Vahid Rahmani is an assistant professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. His research interests include climate change and variability impacts on water resources management, extreme weather event analysis, and water supply and policy. Dr. Rahmani’s group works to understand and improve water quality and availability by investigating large reservoirs and small impoundments sedimentation and how wetland development upstream from federal reservoirs can improve water quality.

Dr. Rahmani attended Amirkabir University of Technology in Iran, where he received his bachelor of science degree in civil and environmental engineering. He received his master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from Shiraz University in Iran. He came to K-State for his doctoral studies in biological and agricultural engineering, with a focus on water resources engineering. He has been a faculty member since 2016.

Learn more about Dr. Rahmani's projects.

Danny Rogers

Dr. Danny Rogers is a professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering as well as the BAE State Extension Leader. He specializes in water resource management, concentrating on agricultural production: specifically, irrigation. Dr. Rogers works on precision irrigation technologies, soil and plant water status sensors, irrigation scheduling tools, subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) and center pivot irrigation management, among other projects. In partnership with land managers, agencies and private industry, he helps lead on-farm research and demonstrations of these new technologies to improve irrigation efficiency and reduce water consumption.

Dr. Rogers received his B.S. in agricultural engineering and his master’s degree in civil engineering from K-State. After graduating in 1977, he began his career with K-State as a faculty member at the K-State Northwest Area Extension Office in Colby, Kansas for about eight years before enrolling at Oklahoma State University for his Ph.D. in agricultural engineering. He has been an on-campus BAE faculty since 1988.

Read about Dr. Rogers and his work.

Matthew Sanderson

Dr. Matthew Sanderson is an associate professor of sociology in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work at K-State. He is a social scientist with interests in population, environment, and development. His recent research investigates how social relations inhibit or allow natural resource conservation.  His projects examine how social structures influence groundwater management at multiple scales (from community to global); how social networks shape participation in group decision-making within common pool resource settings; how social factors affect adoption of irrigation technologies; and how culture influences perceptions of the science, knowledge, and information used to make decisions about agricultural adaptations.

Dr. Sanderson graduated from K-State with a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Economics and a master’s degree in sociology. He earned his doctorate in sociology from the University of Utah in 2008. 

Learn more about Dr. Sanderson’s research.

Lee R. Skabelund

Lee Skabelund is an Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Regional and Community Planning in K-State’s College of Architecture, Planning and Design. His research interests include how planning and design can protect ecosystems or ecological functions, and how degraded areas can be improved (with a focus on urban areas). Mr. Skabelund led the planning work on the Kansas State University Stormwater Management Project. He also monitors the Memorial Stadium green roofs for soil moisture and plant health.

Mr. Skabelund is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. He joined the K-State faculty in 2005.

Read more about Lee Skabelund’s research interests.

David Steward

Dr. David Steward holds the endowed title of Thomas and Connie Paulson Civil Engineering Outstanding Faculty Member in K-State’s Department of Civil Engineering. Dr. Steward leads a research program addressing the grand challenge of water resources for society through the development of advanced methods of mathematical analysis for engineering problems using the Analytic Element Method.  He also leads interdisciplinary teams to study water resources; he collaborates with colleagues across the colleges of agriculture, architecture, arts and sciences, education, engineering, and veterinary medicine.   

Dr. Steward is licensed both as a Professional Engineer and Professional Geoscientist, and he is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at the University of Minnesota. He then worked for six years as a system programmer at Unisys, in the areas of B1 security testing and design of executive software for IP/memory hardware fault control for mainframe computers. Dr. Steward returned to the University of Minnesota to pursue studies of groundwater flow and engineering mathematics, where he received a Master of Science in both Civil Engineering and Mathematics, and a doctorate degree in civil engineering.

Learn more about Dr. Steward and his research.

Donghai Wang

Dr. Donghai Wang is a professor in K-State’s Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. His research includes investigations into bioconversion of renewable materials into biofuels and chemicals; biomaterials including protein adhesives, resins, and biodegradable composites, and near-infrared technology for analysis of physical and chemical properties of biomaterials. He is interested in how irrigation affects the physical and chemical composition of crops as well as yield and yield quality.

Dr. Wang holds a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Engineering from Northeast Agricultural University in China, a master’s degree in Biological and Agricultural Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a Ph.D. in Biological and Agricultural Engineering from Texas A&M University. He has been a member of the K-State faculty since 2001.

Read more about Dr. Wang’s research.