As Director of the Watershed Sciences and Engineering (WSE) Program, Ben develops new interdisciplinary teaching, research, and outreach opportunities for faculty, staff, and students through the Center for Sustainability and the Environment. He has a diverse teaching interests in geomorphology and hydrogeology and research strengths in fluvial processes, aquatic habitat restoration, and erosion and sediment transport. He also collaborates with faculty in Biology, Geology, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computer Sciences, and Environmental Studies on a number of long-term interdisciplinary research projects.

An expert in watershed hydrology and stream restoration, Ben recently collaborated with engineers in Bucknell's Facilities Department and scientists with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to design and implement floodplain reconnectivity and aquatic habitat structures in the headwaters of Miller Run, a stream that flows through Bucknell's campus. He's always looking for ways to connect faculty and students to teaching and research opportunities in Susquehanna and the Chesapeake Bay watersheds.

Ben has also worked as a river guide and has years of experience working on large rivers, including the Kennebec and Pennobscot in New England, the Nooksack and Skaggit Rivers in the Pacific Northwest, and the Colorado and San Juan rivers in the Southwestern United States. He began working at Bucknell in 1996 as a faculty member in the Geology Department and continues to collaborate with faculty and students on a number of projects in the Susquehanna watershed and the Chesapeake Bay region. His work has also taken him to watersheds in Iceland, South Africa, Costa Rica, Canada, Tennessee, and Hawaii.


  • Ph.D., Colorado State University (1995), Fluvial Geomorphology
  • M.S., Southern Illinois University (1987), Hydrogeology
  • B.S., Pennsylvania State University (1983), Geosciences

Research Interests

  • Geomorphic analysis of river systems
  • Landscape evolution and change
  • River behavior and adjustment
  • Wetlands hydrology and restoration science
  • Resiliency and vitality of aquatic ecosystems
  • Sediment erosion, movement, and storage in river systems

Courses Taught

  • Bucknell on the Susquehanna
  • Hydrogeology
  • Advanced Hydrogeology
  • Catchment Hydrology and Watershed Modeling
  • Groundwater Flow and Contaminant Transport Modeling
  • Fluvial Processes and Landforms
  • Stream Restoration
  • Geomorphology
  • Biogeodiversity
  • Environmental Geology
  • Environmental Geophysics
  • Environmental Applications of GIS

Recent Publications

Kochel, R.C., Hayes, B.R., Muhlbauer, J.*, Hancock, Z.*, and Rockwell, D.*, (2016), Geomorphic response to catastrophic flooding in north- central Pennsylvania from Tropical Storm Lee (Sep-tember 2011): Intersection of fluvial disequilibrium and the legacy of logging: Geosphere, v. 12, no. 1, p. 1-41, doi:10.1130/GES01180.1

Prescott, E.*, Rome, C.*, Heinzmann, C.*, Hawkins, M.*, Marchiori, A., and Hayes, B.R. (2016), Hydrosense: An Open Platform for Hydroclimatic Monitoring Proceedings of the 2016 IEEE International Conference on Smart Computing (SMARTCOMP), 18-20 May 2016, p. 1-6, doi:10.1109/SMARTCOMP.2016.7501695

Newlin, J.T., and Hayes, B.R. (2015), "Hydraulic modeling of glacial dam-break floods on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, Pennsylvania," Earth and Space Sciences, 2, 229-243, DOI: 10.1002/2015EA000096.

Wilson, M. J.*, McTammany, M., Bilger, M.D., Reese, S.P., and Hayes, B.R. (2015), "Combining data from multiple agencies to assess benthic macroinvertebrate communities in a large gravel-bed river," Freshwater Science, 34 (2), 593-605.

*student authors

Recent Conference Presentations With Students and Faculty

McTammany, M.E., Faulkner, K.R.*, Reese, S.P., and Hayes, B.R. (2017), " Seasonal and Interannual Variability in Daily Net Ecosystem Production and CO2 Flux of the Susquehanna River," Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), February 26 -March 3, 2017, Honolulu, HI.

Hayes, B.R., Kochel, R.C., and Newlin, J.T. (2016), "Legacy of Mid-Pleistocene Jokulhlaups on the Fluvial Geomorphology and Ecology of the West Branch Susquehanna River and its Tributaries," Paper #303-5, Special Session on Paleofloods and Related Fluvial Processes during the Late Quaternary: Reconstructions and Causes, Geological Society of America National Meeting, September 22-28, 2015, Denver, CO.

Reese, S.P., Hayes, B.R., and Newlin, J.T. (2015), "Reach- and catchment-scale determinants of the distribution of freshwater mussels in a tributary of the West Branch Susquehanna River," 4th Biennial Symposium of the International Society for River Science (ISRS), August 23-28, 2015, Lacrosse, WI.

Kabis, S., Gutelius, M., Kochel, R.C., and Hayes, B.R. (2014), "Undergraduate Course Flume Experiments to develop physical models useful for interpreting field studies of fluvial processes and channel evolution in response to climate and land use change in the Susquehanna watershed," Paper #38-4, Geological Society of America National Meeting,, October 2014, Vancouver, BC.

Cottrell, T., Newlin, J.T., Hayes, B.R., Reese, S.P. (2014), "River Bed Characterization on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River With Side Scan Sonar and Photogrammetry Methods," American Water Resources Association Annual Meeting, , November 2014, Tysons Corner, VA.

Cox, E., Newlin, J.T., Hayes, B.R., Reese, S.P. (2014), "Water Temperature Variability in the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and Its Tributaries," American Water Resources Association Annual Meeting, , November 2014, Tysons Corner, VA.

Hayes, B.R., Newlin, J.T., Kochel, R.C., Jacob, R.W., Gutelius, M., Sirianni, M., and Reese, S.P. (2013), "Geomorphic investigation of the lower West Branch of the Susquehanna River, north-central Pennsylvania," Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Paper #246-12, October 2013, Denver, CO.

Hayes, B. R., Newlin, J.T., McTammany, M.E., Langdon, K., and Reese, S.P. (2012), "Monitoring of Water Quality and Flow Hydraulics on the Susquehanna River in Central Pennsylvania," American Society of Civil Engineers Hydraulic Measurement and Experimental Methods Conference, Snowbird, UT, August 12-15.


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