Aggie Ingeniero, March 2008

11/29/2012: Engineering professor Salim Bawazir (photo by Darren Phillips)Civil Engineering Professor recognized as conservationist

A. Salim Bawazir, assistant professor of civil engineering, has been recognized as the ‘Outstanding Conservationist for 2007’ from the Sierra Soil and Water Conservation District of New Mexico. The award was presented at a meeting in Elephant Butte on December 11, 2007. Eugene Atkins from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and Merry Jo Fahl of SSWCD presented the award.

The Sierra SWCD chose Bawazir because of his work on evapotranspiration monitoring of saltcedar and other plant communities, which documented water savings from the control of saltcedar. Bawazir is also researching native plant restoration techniques that assist SWCDs with their restoration efforts after saltcedar control. The awards are given out annually by the state association of SWCDs.

Bawazir has been instrumental in the completion of a joint investigation with Sierra SWCD, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Jornada Resource Conservation and Development for measuring evapotranspiration depletion of treated and non-treated saltcedar.  This study was the first of its kind, using state-of-the-art water measurements to actually show potential water savings associated with saltcedar control and management.  In addition, the study measured a reduction in soil salinity levels post-treatment, indicating improved site potentials for restoration and rehabilitation.

These studies have provided a forum for students in the New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation program at New Mexico State University, a project directed by Ricardo Jacquez, interim department head of Civil Engineering, and funded by the National Science Foundation.

Bawazir provides leadership and evaluation of the various projects. His mentoring activities include design of each project, monitoring data collection, evaluation of results and publication of results. AMP students get valuable field experience and learn about the academic work involved in basic research projects.

“His tireless and selfless efforts have not only assisted in scientific advances for water conservation but have in no doubt shaped the lives of countless students who will be our future leaders for conservation,” Atkins said.

Bawazir is currently involved with Sierra SWCD, Bureau of Reclamation, Jornada RC&D and St. Cloud Mine in investigating the use of zeolite for arid land restoration. This project has shown promising results at establishing riparian vegetation without the need for irrigation and has the potential to provide economic benefits within Sierra County and beyond.

And Don’t Miss These Stories