Peter Benchetler, PE
Water Resources Engineer
A back-country-snowboard-professional-turned-water-resources‑engineer, Peter joined Inter-Fluve in 2018 where his primary role is “all things modeling,” Peter says. The bread and butter of his days is one- and two-dimensional hydraulic modeling for stream restoration designs that are mostly located in the Pacific Northwest. He also works on floodplain inundation mapping, GIS analysis, and large wood and side channel design. In more complex projects, Peter is using habitat suitability modeling, which involves integrating typical hydraulic modeling output with published fish habitat suitability curves, ie velocity, to tie hydraulic modeling outputs to ideal fish habitat. The data is helping us identify where our designs will improve fish habitat—and where our designs need improvement.
Peter values learning the intricacies of his craft, especially how to design log jams, from fellow Fluvers Mike McAllister and Mike Brunfelt (known around the office as ‘the Mikes) who have been working together at Inter-Fluve for over 25 years. The advice Peter gleans often comes out in Yoda-esque sound-bites of wisdom: “let the river speak to you,” “work with the landscape,” “what’s the story of the river we’re trying to tell.” A steelhead fisherman through and through, Peter is enthusiastic to design all projects, but especially those that are focused on steelhead habitat. Of note is the recent Eagle Creek Confluence project in Oregon’s Clackamas River Basin that was designed to optimize pool/riffle habitat and add large wood habitat complexity to maximize juvenile steelhead and Chinook productivity.