Dale Buser, PE, PH, CST, SEWRPC – Principal Specialist
With almost 38 years of diverse water resource engineering/science experience, Dale attempts to synthesize a wide cross section of relevant and sometimes disparate factors when analyzing issues and suggesting solutions. These factors include water and sediment quality, hydrology, hydrogeology, aquatic ecology, fisheries, geomorphology, infrastructure engineering, financing and stakeholder outreach. He has a particular passion for holistic studies that reach across political boundaries and habitat types, and that lend solid and efficient solutions to widely focused and commonly widespread problems. Examples of such projects include aquatic organism passage, surface-water/groundwater interaction, water quality initiatives, natural resource inventories and strategic management plans, coalition building and grant application formulation/writing. Dale has worked for a multitude of private concerns and public agencies throughout North America and portions of South America, with projects settings ranging from intensively modified urban environments to near wilderness settings in Canada.
Dale recently joined the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission and currently holds the position of principal specialist in the Natural Resources Planning and Management Division which specializes in management planning associated with wetlands, natural areas, lakes and streams. At the Commission, his work focuses on lake and stream water quality, fish and other aquatic organism assessment, and watershed protection/restoration planning throughout the Southeastern Wisconsin Region. Prior to this, Dale spent 30 years in private engineering/environmental consulting, including founding and leading for over 23 years a 100-person consulting firm. With experience in both the public and private arenas, Dale is well aware of the problems commonly associated with project formulation, design, on-the-ground construction, stakeholder perceptions, permitting, financing and building/maintaining momentum for positive change.
Many of Dale’s projects have focused on aquatic organism passage. He has written successful grant applications that funded hundreds of miles of restored ecological connectivity. Individual elements contained within these and other plans include actively designing and constructing scores of road/stream crossings, about a dozen dam modification or removal projects, several nature-like fishways and mitigation projects that resolved human-induced barriers. Along with these construction-based projects, Dale has completed scores of scientific investigations that enable project sequencing, engineering design and permitting. These include stream morphology surveys, science-based aquatic invasive species barrier quantification, multi-factor prioritization analyses and complicated permitting. A particularly novel and holistic project was completed in central Oregon. This project resolved a community’s wastewater disposal issues, provided critically needed cold-water refuge for endangered species, helped stabilize a highly disrupted stretch of river, added recreational facilities and saved money in the process when contrasted to traditional approaches.