Campus: CSU Chico -- November 10, 2004

Construction Management Faculty Awarded $1.3 Million Caltrans Research Project

Denny Gier, professional engineer and a professor in the Department of Construction Management, College of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology, was recently awarded a $1.3 million, three-year research project from Caltrans to study the effects of noise from highway construction and operation on sensitive birds.

Gier will serve as co-principal investigator on the project along with David Dubbink, Ph.D. from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Other principal team members collaborating on the project include Anne Bowles, Ph. D., of Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, Robert Kull of Parsons Engineering, Frances Villablanca, Ph. D., of Cal Poly and Lisa Schweitzer, Ph.D., of Virginia Tech.

The project will study the effect of noise generated by highway construction and operation on certain species of sensitive birds. The results of the study will help Caltrans develop noise mitigation strategies, sample contract provisions, and policy regarding noise generation during highway construction and subsequent operation.

Gier will create a "Virtual Highway Construction Site" and a "Virtual Highway" via computer and sound generation software that can be transported to the field to simulate highway noise near bird nesting areas that are not currently near highways. This highway noise simulation and 3D noise modeling work will be the first of its kind in the nation. Other scientists and biologists on the team will study the impact of this noise on the birds and their nesting habits.

Gier, new to Chico's Construction Management Department this fall, coming most recently from Cal Poly's Construction Management Department, brings this Caltrans Research Project to CSU, Chico. Gier said, "This research project is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate that Chico is all about applied research. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be working on this project at CSU, Chico. The department and the college have been very encouraging and supportive of my research efforts."

Ken Derucher, dean of the College of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology, said, "We are happy to welcome Denny and this Caltrans project to Chico's College of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology. This particular research project fits nicely with the wide variety of environmental research projects already being done at CSU, Chico. Our creative, hard-working faculty, staff and students will play a major part in developing innovative solutions to the many environmental challenges facing California. We look forward to the success of this research project and its contributions to the college as a "world class" center for applied research in the years to come."

Other recent grants to the College of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology's Environmental Program include a collaborative grant between the newly formed Butte County Resource Conservation District, the Big Chico Creek Watershed Alliance and the Little Chico Creek Watershed Conservancy; an award from the Sierra Nevada Alliance to the ECT Environmental Program and the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve, in collaboration with the Big Chico Creek Watershed Alliance; and a grant from the Resource Legacy Fund for the completion of the Big Chico Creek Watershed management strategy.

For more information, phone Gier at 530-898-4008 or e-mail him.

Contact: Kathleen McPartland, 530-898-4260
Denny Gier, Construction Management, 530-898-4008,

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