Understanding and Managing Plant and Animal Intrusions in Embankment Dams and Levees - Part II: Instructor

Leslie F. Harder, Jr., PhD, PE, and GE
HDR Engineering, Inc.
Principal Professional Associate

Dr. Harder received his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in civil engineering from U. C. Davis, and obtained his doctoral degree in geotechnical engineering from U. C. Berkeley in 1988.  His doctoral dissertation was on the use of penetration testing for the prediction of liquefaction potential of coarse-grained soils.  He has over 43 years of experience in the design and construction of earth structures.  For most of this time, he worked for the California Department of Water Resources (DWR).  While with DWR, he served as the division chief for both the Division of Engineering and the Division of Flood Management, and later served as the deputy director for public safety.  In this latter assignment, Dr. Harder collaborated in the writing of the Proposition 1E bond measure and in landmark flood legislation passed by the state legislature and signed into law in 2007.  Dr. Harder has also served on numerous post-flood and post-earthquake reconnaissance investigations and was heavily involved with the emergency response to California’s 1997-1998 floods. While with DWR’s Division of Engineering, he was also involved with several of the emergency canal repairs on the California Aqueduct and the four emergency construction contracts associated with repairing the breached Middle River Levee and the associated flooding of Jones Tract in 2004.  He has also served on several joint state-federal committees on levee seepage design criteria, including the Sacramento District’s 2003 Levee Seepage Task Force.  In 2005, Dr. Harder was part of a National Science Foundation team sent to New Orleans to examine the performance of levees following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  More recently, he served on reconnaissance teams investigating the performance of dams and levees during the 2011 Tohoku Offshore Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan and the 2014 South Napa Earthquake in California.  In 2008, Dr. Harder was appointed to the National Committee on Levee Safety by the assistant secretary of the Army.  He served as a research leader for the California Levee Vegetation Research program sponsored by local, state, and federal agencies, and also served as an independent expert peer reviewer for the 2015 U. S. Corps of Engineers report “Documentation of Vegetation Observations Associated with Levees and Floodwalls in the USACE Levee Safety Program.”  Over the last four years, Dr. Harder has been providing engineering services to DWR for Oroville Dam and its spillways following the 2017 Oroville Spillway Incident.  He has worked for HDR since 2008.

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