Peter Goodwin named president of University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

July 5, 2017

The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents has appointed Peter Goodwin, Ph.D., as president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). He will join UMCES on September 18, 2017.

“The Board of Regents is delighted that Dr. Goodwin has accepted the appointment as the next president of UMCES,” said USM Board Chair James T. Brady. "The board was impressed with the range of his research and expertise, and the highly positive personal dynamic he brings to leading an institute that stretches across Maryland from the Eastern Shore to the Appalachians.”

Goodwin is the founding director of the Center for Ecohydraulics Research at the University of Idaho, an interdisciplinary group working on the simulation of ecological response to management actions or changes in physical processes of rivers, lakes, estuaries, and wetlands. His research interests are in modeling physical processes in natural and disturbed aquatic systems, and quantifying benefits of restoration activities. These activities include the River Basin Assessment Framework (RBAF) to evaluate the sustainability of river systems under different management scenarios.

Goodwin has participated in river restoration, coastal wetland sustainability, flood control, and sediment management projects throughout California and the Columbia River Basin. He has served on the Science Board for Coastal Louisiana. International studies include collaborations in many countries, such as the Patagonian Ecosystems Research Center (CIEP) in Chile. He currently serves as president of IAHR, or the International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering (, one of the oldest international research institutions focusing on water and the environment. IAHR world headquarters are located in Madrid, Spain, and Beijing, China.

He also holds the position of DeVlieg Presidential Professor of Civil Engineering. Goodwin has undertaken numerous modeling studies of estuarine, coastal, and tidal wetland systems, including Mugu Lagoon, San Elijo Lagoon, Venice Lagoon, San Dieguito Lagoon, the Russian River Estuary, Napa Salt Ponds, and Delaware Bay.

“Peter Goodwin brings to UMCES an array of expertise that fits ideally into its mission for the future,” USM Chancellor Robert L. Caret said. “As a leading research center that seeks to understand and manage the world’s environmental resources, UMCES will be well-served by Peter’s vision and leadership.”

Goodwin served a federal appointment as the lead scientist for the Delta Science Program in California (2012-15). This program supports research, communication (including an online peer-reviewed journal), and facilitates synthesis activities across agencies, academia, and organizations that support the legally mandated co-equal goals of water supply reliability, and ecosystem recovery. He led a multi-institutional initiative to craft the Delta Science Plan, ‘One Delta, One Science,’ that addresses the development of scientific infrastructure, prioritization of science questions, research funding, peer review, and science synthesis activities to inform water policy in California.

Goodwin will succeed Donald F. Boesch, who has led UMCES as president since 1990 and announced in September 2016 that he will step down in late 2017. Boesch is one of the nation’s most recognized and experienced experts in the application of science to policies for the protection, sustainable use, and restoration of coastal ecosystems and for adaptation to global climate change. He will remain on the faculty for at least one year to complete several publications and research projects.

“I am delighted to be joining the outstanding group of researchers and staff at UMCES,” Goodwin said. “I value the opportunity to honor the strong legacy of UMCES and its collaborations across the state to support Maryland, as well as growing UMCES scientific collaborations throughout the United States and globally.”

Goodwin earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1986. He holds a M.S. in hydraulic and coastal engineering from the same institution. He earned his B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Southampton.

Among his many awards and honors are the Research Excellence Award from the University of Idaho (2008) and a Fulbright Award (2003-2004).

The appointment of Goodwin follows nearly a half-year of work by the search and screening committee appointed by Chancellor Caret in December 2016. Robert D. Rauch, a member of the USM Board of Regents and a principal with the civil engineering and construction management firm RAUCH inc., of Easton, Md., chaired the search committee. The committee included representatives from UMCES faculty, staff, students, and alumni, and from the greater community. The committee recommended finalists for consideration by Chancellor Caret and the Board of Regents. The board made the final appointment.

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science is a leading research and educational institution working to understand and manage the world’s resources. Comprised of the Appalachian Laboratory in the mountains of western Maryland, the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory at the mouth of the Patuxent River, the Horn Point Laboratory on the Eastern Shore, the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology in Baltimore, UMCES scientists provide sound advice to help state and national leaders manage the environment, and prepare future scientists to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. UMCES also administers the Maryland Sea Grant in College Park, Md.