Brett Sanders


B.S., University of California,Berkeley, Civil Engineering, 1993
M.S.E., University of Michigan, Civil Engineering, 1994
Ph.D., University of Michigan, Civil Engineering, 1997


The Henry Samueli School of Engineering
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-2175

ZOT Code: 
Office: ET 844D
Office (Chair): EG 4150
(949) 824-4327 Office
(949) 824-2117

Dr Sanders' work is in the area of environmental hydrodynamics, and his specialty is numerical modeling of free surface flow and transport in rivers and the coastal zone(estuaries, harbors, and bays). Models of these systems are important for many reasons, such as resolving mechanistic issues, helping to interpret field observations,and making predictions about how the system will respond to changes in either the external forcing or the system configuration.

Dr. Sanders' research group has worked closely with other engineers and scientists to better understand the causes of coastal water quality problems in Southern California and identify cost effective means for improvement. His group has been actively developing mass conserving, monotonicity preserving, and stationarity preserving schemes for modeling circulation and scalar transport in shallow tidal marshes with large inter-tidal zones.

These models, based on the finite volume method, have been used to better characterize the mixing of ocean water and watershed pollutants within marshes, lagoons, and harbors. Model predictions have been used to both test hypotheses about the causes of pollution problems and to suggest alternative hypothesis for subsequent field testing.

Dr Sanders' group has also been engaged in flood control research. Dr. Sanders' group is evaluating the tradeoffs between the active and passive use of the flood plain for flood control. Should regions of the flood plain be open to the river so water can fill and empty with changes in river stage? Or, should the exchange between the main river channel and the flood plain be optimally controlled? The advantage of the latter is that the storage capacity of the flood plain can be focused on the peak stages of the flood.

Research on a site in Northern California has shown that the same flood stage reduction can be obtained by active control using half as much flood plain area as in the case of passive control.