- Extension Specialist
- Research areas: Watershed management, nonpoint source pollution assessment and control, household drinking water quality
Ph.D., Agricultural Engineering, University of Tennessee, 1995
M.S., Agricultural Engineering, Texas A&M, 1990
B.S., Agricultural Engineering, Texas A&M, 1986
Aug 2014 – present - Extension Specialist and Professor, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg
July 2007 – July 2014 - Extension Specialist and Associate Professor, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg
May 2004 – present - Director, Center for Watershed Studies, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg
Aug. 2001 – June 2007 - Extension Specialist and Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg
Feb. 1996 – July 2001 - Extension Water Management Engineer and Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, University of Nebraska, Clay Center
Jan. 1993 – Jan. 1996 - Project Chief and Hydrologist, United States Geological Survey, Tennessee District, Knoxville
Selected Major Awards
- 2014 - Virginia Tech Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Extension
- 2014 - ASABE Outstanding Manuscript Reviewer Soil and Water Division
- 2012 - Gamma Sigma Delta (Agriculture Honor Society) Faculty Extension Award
- 2009, 2008, 2002 - Blue Ribbon Award for Educational Aids, American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
- 2009 - Virginia Tech’s Alumni Team Award for Outreach Excellence – Center for Watershed Studies
- 2004 - Natural Resource and Environmental Management Flagship Award for the BSE TMDL Development and Education Program – Virginia Cooperative Extension
- 2001 - Dinsdale Family Faculty Award – University of Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, for Outstanding Teaching, Research, and Outreach
- 2001 - Holling Family Award – University of Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, in recognition of providing an exemplary educational environment for Nebraskans in south central Nebraska
The goal of my research program is to minimize adverse water-quality impacts of agriculture and other land-disturbing activities. Much of my research program stems from the practical experience gained and challenges faced while developing watershed management plans. The objectives of my research program are 1) to advance hydrologic and water-quality modeling and 2) to assess practices used to control nonpoint source (NPS) pollution. My team focuses primarily on issues related to total maximum daily load (TMDL) development and implementation, and strive to develop and disseminate knowledge, tools, and expertise for sustainable water resources management and protection. The BSE department is a nationally recognized leader in advancing the science and methods used to develop TMDLs. In 2004, I led the effort to create the Center for Watershed Studies at Virginia Tech to expand Virginia Tech’s TMDL-related activities and to address Virginia’s needs regarding watershed management and water quality issues (www.cws.bse.vt.edu). The Center’s mission is to conduct interdisciplinary research, teaching, and outreach programs to improve the integrity of the Nation’s waters and watersheds by advancing the science, tools, and expertise available for developing, evaluating, and implementing effective watershed planning.
- “Bacteria and Benthic TMDL Studies for Twenty-eight Impaired Stream Segments in Virginia” – this project, funded by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, involves performing total maximum daily load (TMDL) studies to address surface water quality impairments and working with stakeholders to develop impleme
The goal of my extension program is to empower clientele to make informed water resource and watershed management decisions. The objectives of my extension program are 1) to educate Virginia citizens and policy makers about how to better manage and protect water resources at the watershed scale, and 2) to protect the health of rural Virginians by improving the quality of individual water supply systems. My integrated research and extension/outreach programs promote economic and environmentally-sound solutions for watershed management and water resources problems in Virginia.
- Virginia Household Water Quality Program (VAHWQP) and the Virginia Master Well Owner Network (VAMWON) – these extension programs (www.wellwater.bse.vt.edu) provide low cost water quality testing for and education about household water supply systems to Virginian families reliant on private drinking water supplies (i.e. wells, springs, and cisterns).
- "What's in Your Water? Linking Rural Health and Household Drinking Water Safety" – an integrated research and extension effort with Dr. Leigh-Anne Krometis (BSE) and Dr. Pete Zeigler (CALS), this project builds on the VAHWQP/ VAMWON extension efforts, delivering education about private water supply system management to rural families, and facilitating financial and technical assistance to families with water quality problems to improve water supply systems and prevent waterborne disease.
Selected Recent Publications
(* undergraduate student, ** graduate student, *** post-doc)
- VanDerwerker, T., L. Zhang, E. Ling, B. Benham, and M. Schreiber. (submitted Jan 2017). Evaluating sources of arsenic in groundwater in Virginia (USA) using a logistic regression model. Hydrogeology Journal.
- Benham, B., E. Ling, P. Ziegler, and L. Krometis. 2016. What’s in your water?: development and evaluation of the Virginia household water quality program and Virginia master well owner network. J. of Human Sci. and Extension. 4(1): 123-138.
- Coffey*, R., B. Benham, M.L. Wolfe, S. Dorai-Raj, N. Bhreathnach, V. O’Flaherty, M. Cormican, E. Cummins. 2016. Sensitivity of streamflow and microbial water quality to future climate and land use change in the West of Ireland. Regional Environ. Change. 16(7):2111-2128.
- Pieper, K., L. Krometis, D. Gallagher, B. Benham, M. Edwards. 2016. Simultaneous influence of geology and system design on drinking water quality in private systems. J. of Environ. Health. 29(2) 64-73.
- Coffey*, R., B. Benham, K. Kline, M.L. Wolfe, E. Cummins. 2015. Potential Microbial Load Reductions Required to Meet Existing Freshwater Recreational Water Quality Standards for a Selection of Mid-century Environmental Change Scenarios. Environmental Processes. 2(4): 609-629.
- Pieper, K.J., L.H. Krometis, D.L. Gallagher, B.L. Benham and M. Edwards. 2015. Profiling private water systems to identify patterns of waterborne lead exposure. Environ. Sci. and Tech. 49(21):12697-12704.
- Seong*, C., Y. Her, and B. Benham. 2015. Automatic calibration tool for Hydrologic Simulation Program - FORTRAN using Shuffled Complex Evolution algorithm. Water. 7(2): 503-527.
- Coffey*, R., B. Benham, K. Kline, M. Wolfe, and E. Cummins. 2015. Modelling the impacts of climate change and future land use variation on microbial transport. J. of Water and Climate Change. 6(3):449-471.
- Pieper, K., L. Krometis, D. Gallagher, B. Benham, M. Edwards. 2015. Incidence of waterborne lead in private drinking water systems in Virginia. Journal of Water and Health 13(3): 897-908.
- Smith, T., L.A. Krometis, C. Hagedorn, A. Lawrence, B. Benham, E. Ling, P. Ziegler, S. Marmagas. 2014. Associations between fecal indicator bacteria prevalence and demographic data in private water supplies in Virginia. Journal of Water and Health. 12(4): 824-34.
- Bock, E. N. Smith, M. Rogers, B. Coleman, M. Reiter, B. Benham, and Z. Easton. 2014. Enhanced Nitrate and Phosphate Removal with Biochar Addition in a Laboratory Scale Denitrifying Bioreactor. Journal of Environ. Qual. 44(2): 605-613.
- Harmel, R.D., P.K. Smith, K.W. Migliaccio, I. Chaubey, K.R. Douglas-Mankin, B. Benham, S. Shukla, Rafael Muñoz-Carpena, B.J. Robson. 2014. Evaluating, interpreting, and communicating performance of hydrologic/water quality models considering intended use: a review and recommendations. Environ. Modelling & Software. 57: 40-51.
- Kim, S.M., K. Brannan, R. Zeckoski, and B. Benham. 2014. Development of total maximum daily loads for bacteria impaired watershed using the comprehensive hydrology and water quality simulation model. J. Environ. Sci. and Health, Part A. 49, 1077–1089.
- Seong***, C., H., B. L. Benham, K. M. Hall*, and K. Kline. 2013. Comparison of alternative methods to simulate bacteria concentrations with HSPF under low-flow conditions. Applied Eng. Agric. 29(6): 917-931.
- Forrester**, M.S., B. L. Benham, K. S. Kline, and K. J. McGuire. 2013. Assessing the performance of HSPF when using the high water table subroutine to simulate hydrology in a low-gradient watershed. J. Water Res. and Hydraul. Eng. 2(2): 30-42.
- Coffey, R., B. Benham, L. Krometis, M. Wolfe and E. Cummins. 2013. Assessing the effects of climate change on waterborne microorganisms: implications for EU and USA water policy. J. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment. DOI:10.1080/10807039.2013.802583.
- Allevi, R. P., L. K. Krometis, C. Hagedorn, B. Benham, A. Lawrence, E. Ling, P. Ziegler. 2013. Quantitative analysis of microbial contamination in private drinking water supply systems. J. of Water and Health 11(2): 244-255.
- Yagow, G., B. Benham. K. Kline, R. Zeckoski, C. Wallace. 2012. A method for disaggregating existing model pollutant loads for subwatersheds. Watershed Science Bulletin 3(1): 49-61.
- Benham, B.L., G. Yagow, I. Chaubey, K. R. Douglas‐Mankin. 2011. Modeling, monitoring, and assessment. Trans. ASABE. 54(6): 2167-2170.
- Benham B., L. Krometis, K. Kline, T. Dillaha, G. Yagow. 2011. Applications of Microbial Source Tracking in the TMDL Process, In: Microbial Source Tracking: Methods, Applications, and Case Studies (Springer-US).
- Young**, K. D., D. F. Kibler, B.L. Benham, and G.V Loganathan. 2009. Application of the Analytical Hierarchical Process for Improved Selection of Storm-Water BMPs. Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management 135(4): 264-275.
- Benham, B., R. Zeckoski, and G. Yagow. 2008. Lessons Learned from TMDL Implementation Case Studies. Water Practice 2(1) 13pp.
- Borisova T., A. Collins, G. D'Souza, M. Benson, M.L. Wolfe, and B. Benham. 2008. A benefit - cost analysis of total maximum daily load implementation. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 44(4):1009-1023.
- Hall**, K.M., R.W. Zeckoski, K.M. Brannan, and B.L. Benham. 2008. FTABLE Generation Method Effects on In-stream Fecal Bacteria Concentrations Simulated with HSPF. J. Amer. Water Res. Assoc. 44(2):489-495.
- Mishra**, A., B.L. Benham, and S. Mostaghimi. 2008. Bacterial transport from agricultural lands fertilized with animal manure. Water Air Soil Pollut. 189:127–134.
- Jesiek, J.B., B.L. Benham, D.J. Bosch, and K. Stephenson. 2007. Approaches to TMDL Planning and Implementation and policy tools for implementation to achieve water quality standards. CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources. 2007. 2, No. 084. DOI: 10.1079/PAVSNNR20072084.
- Kim***, S.M., B.L. Benham, K.M. Brannan, R.W. Zeckoski, and G. Yagow. 2007. Water Quality calibration criteria for bacteria TMDL development. Applied Eng. Agric. 23(2): 171-176.
- Kim***, S. M., B. L. Benham, K. M. Brannan, R. W. Zeckoski, and J. Doherty. 2007. Comparison of hydrologic calibration of HSPF using automatic and manual methods. Water Resour. Res. 43. DOI:10.1029/2006WR004883.
Other publications can be found here.
Selected Recent Funding
- VA Dept. of Environmental Quality: Woods Creek Benthic and Bacteria Impairment TMDL Development. Benham, K. Kline, G. Yagow. $63,250. 6/16-5/17.
- VA Dept. of Environmental Quality: Little Calfpasture River Implementation Plan Development Statement of Work. Benham, K. Kline, G. Yagow. $62,565. 6/16-5/17.
- VA Dept. of Environmental Quality: DEQ TMDL Modeling Training Scope, Format, and Approach. B. Benham, K. Kline, G. Yagow, W. Tse. $27,000. 3/16-8/16.
- VA Dept. of Environmental Quality: Cunningham Creek, Stony Run, and Hardware River: Middle Fork Cunningham Creek Bacteria TMDL Study, Stony Run Stressor Analysis, and Hardware River Bacteria TMDL Revision. B. Benham, K. Kline, C.E. Mitchem, G. Yagow. $74,960. 10/15-6/16.
- VA Dept. of Environmental Quality: Background and Modeling Support for development of the Crooked Run and Willow Brook TMDL Implementation Plan. B. Benham, K. Kline, C.E. Mitchem $14,685. 11/15-5/16.
- VA Dept. of Environmental Quality: TMDL Implementation Plan Guidance Manual Revision. B. Benham. $66,300. 4/15-12/15.
- VA Dept. of Environmental Quality: Background and Modeling Support for Development of the Hardware River TMDL Implementation Plan. B. Benham, K. Kline. $15,300. 2/15-10/15.
- VA Dept. of Environmental Quality: Walker Creek Bacteria TMDL Study. B. Benham, K. Kline, C.E. Mitchem $41,525. 2/15-11/15.
- VA Dept. of Environmental Quality: New River PCB TMDL Development. B. Benham, K. Kline, G. Yagow $298,000. 7/14-7/16.
- USEPA: University Collaboration to Support Expert Review of Best Management Practices for Chesapeake Bay Water Quality Improvements: B. Benham. $2,400,000. 4/14-12/19.
- VA Dept. of Environmental Quality: Eleven TMDL Studies for Eight Impaired Stream Segments in Virginia’s Shenandoah River Watershed. B. Benham, K. Kline, G. Yagow. $127,012. 10/13-9/14.
- VA Dept. of Environmental Quality: A Collaboration between BSE and the VADEQ Office of Surface and Ground Water Supply Planning. B. Benham C. Hession D. Scott, $26,821. 10/13-6/14.
- VA Dept. of Environmental Quality: Modeling System Support Services for VADEQ Office of Surface and Ground Water Supply Planning. B. Benham. $14,950. 9/13-6/14.
- VA Dept. of Environmental Quality: Background and Modeling Support for Development of the Crab Creek and Tye River TMDL Implementation Plan. B. Benham. $27,763. 7/13-9/14.
- VA Dept. of Environmental Quality: Maury and Cedar Creek TMDLs. B. Benham K. Kline G. Yagow. $119,658. 10/12-9/13.
- USDA-NRCS: Managed Grazing for Improved Soil Health and Environmental Protection. B. Tracy, O. Abaye, M. McCann, C. Hession, B. Benham. $75,000. 9/12-8/15.
- Rivanna River Basin Commission: Modeling Service for Moores Creel TMDL Implementation Plan Update. B. Benham, K. Kline, G. Yagow. $9,954. 4/12-6/12.
- VA Dept. of Environmental Quality: New River TMDL Background: Data Analysis and Preliminary Modeling Support. B. Benham. $58,300. 1/12-12/13.
- VA Dept. of Environmental Quality: TMDL Studies for Twenty-two Impaired Stream Groups in Virginia’s Little Otter, Buffalo Creek, and James River Watershed. B. Benham, K. Kline G. Yagow. $234,596. 3/12-8/13.
- USDA-RHSE: What’s in Your Water? Linking Rural Health and Household Drinking Water Safety. L. Krometis, P. Ziegler, B. Benham. B $127,000. 8/11-12/14.
- VA Dept. of Environmental Quality: Bacteria and Benthic TMDL Studies for Twenty-eight Impaired Stream Segments. B. Benham, G. Yagow. $373,200. 10/10-6/12.
- VA Dept. of Environmental Quality: TMDL Implementation Plan Development for the Pigg River and Old Womans Creek. B. Benham. $52,000. 1/08-3/09.
- USDA-CSREES. Protecting Private Water Supplies in Virginia. B. Benham, $200,000. 8/07-9/12.
- VA Department of Conservation and Recreation: Modeling Workshop for TMDL Implementation Plan Development. B. Benham. $17,500. 10/06-12/06.
- VA Dept. of Environmental Quality: Bacteria and benthic TMDL studies for fifteen selected impaired segments in Virginia. B. Benham, R. Zeckoski, K. Brannan, G. Yagow. $255,800. 9/06-4/08.
- VA Department of Conservation and Recreation: Development of the publication “Streamside Livestock Fencing: A Tool for Improving Water Quality and Increasing Farm Income.” B. Benham. $14,200. 1/06-11/06.
- VA Department of Conservation and Recreation: TMDL implementation plan development for Big Otter River watershed. B. Benham, C. Heatwole, M.L. Wolfe. $60,040. 3/05-4/06.
- VA Dept. of Environmental Quality: TMDL implementation plan development for Abrams and upper and lower Opequon Creeks. B. Benham, G. Yagow, M.L. Wolfe. $63,064. 2/05-1/06.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: TMDL and Watershed Planning Training and Technical Support Center. B. Benham T. Dillaha C. Heatwole M. Wolfe. $500,000. 11/04-10/10.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: TMDL Implementation – Characteristics of Successful Projects. B. Benham, G. Yagow, K. Brannan, T. Dillaha. $70,000. 5/04-10/05.
- VA Dept. of Environmental Quality: TMDL modeling workshop: modeling concepts, scope and assessment. B. Benham, G. Yagow, T. Dillaha. $22,410. 12/03-4/04.
- VA Dept. of Environmental Quality: Bacteria and benthic TMDL plans for fourteen selected watersheds in Virginia. B. Benham, S. Mostaghimi, T. Dillaha, C. Heatwole. $233,500. 10/03-3/06.
- VA Department of Conservation and Recreation: An assessment of the quality of cost-share Agricultural BMPS implemented in the James River basin in Virginia. B. Benham, S. Mostaghimi, K. Brannan, E. Smith. $69,066. 12/01-12/03.