Robert M. Hirsch

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Robert M. Hirsch is research hydrologist and a former Associate Director for Water of the U.S. Geological Survey. As Associate Director, he was responsible for the water science programs of the USGS. These include water-related research, the collection of data on rivers and ground water, assessments of water quantity and quality. He served as the leader of USGS water science from 1994 until May 12, 2008 when Dr. Hirsch transitioned to the USGS National Research Program to rededicate himself to advancing the science on critical issues of climate change and long-term trends in water resources.

He began his USGS career in 1976 as a hydrologist and has conducted research on water quality statistical methods (trends and fluxes), water supply reliability, and flood frequency analysis. He has served as: Acting Director of the USGS during an interim period between Directors (August 1993 to March 1994); Assistant Chief Hydrologist for Research and External Coordination (1989–1993); and Staff Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, U.S. Department of the Interior (1987–1988).

He graduated from Highland Park High School, Highland Park, Illinois, in 1967. He earned a bachelor of arts in Geology at Earlham College in 1971, an MS in Geology at the University of Washington in 1974, and a Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University from the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering in 1976. He is co-author of the textbook “Statistical Methods in Water Resources.” (available on-line at http://pubs.usgs.gov/twri/twri4a3/) Dr. Hirsch is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • 1994 - Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Senior Executive
  • 1994 - Distinguished Service Award, U.S. Department of the Interior
  • 1995 - Outstanding Alumni Award, Earlham College
  • 1995 - Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • 1996 - Water Management Achievement Award, Interstate Council on Water Policy
  • 2003 - Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Senior Executive
  • 2006 - William C. Ackermann Medal for Excellence in Water Management from the American Water Resources Association (AWRA)

Selected publications[edit]

  • Hirsch, Robert M. “Method for evaluating management options for and urbanizing watershed” Johns Hopkins University (1976)
  • Hirsch, Robert M. “Risk analyses for a water-supply system--Occoquan Reservoir, Fairfax and Prince William Counties, Virginia” U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report No.78-452 (1978)
  • Hirsch, Robert M. “Estimating probabilities of reservoir storage for the upper Delaware River basin” U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report No.81-478 (1981)
  • Hirsch, Robert M., Slack, J.R., Smith, R.A. “Techniques of trend analysis for monthly water-quality data” U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report No.81-488 (1981)
  • Hirsch, Robert M “Statistical methods and sampling design for estimating step trends in surface-water quality” Water Resources Bulletin, vol.24, no.3, pp. 493–503, Jun 1988
  • Hirsch, Robert M; Alexander, Richard B; Smith, Richard A “Selection of methods for the detection and estimation of trends in water quality” Water Resources Research, vol. 27, no. 5, pp. 803–813, May 1991
  • Hirsch, Robert M. “Preface; Water quality of large U.S. rivers; results from the U.S. Geological Survey's National Stream Quality Accounting Network” Hydrological Processes, vol.15, no.7, pp. 1085–1087, May 2001
  • Helsel, Dennis R. and Hirsch, R.M. “Statistical methods in water resources” Elsevier Publishing (1992 ) 522 p. revised in 2002.
  • Hirsch, Robert M and Costa, John E “U. S. stream flow measurement and data dissemination improve” Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, vol.85, no.20, pp. 197, 203, 18 May 2004
  • Hirsch, Robert M “Science issues crucial to water availability” Abstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America, vol. 37, no. 7, pp. 94, Oct 2005