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Peter A. Nelson, PhD.


Assistant Professor Civil and Environmental Engineering

Contact Info

Phone: (970) 491-5247   Office: Engineering B212

Email:   Lab:


Areas of Interest

 Erosion Mechanism and Hydrologic response following a wildifreMorphodynamics of bedrock-alluvial channelsMorphodynamics of tidal channelsMound springs on Earth and Mars


Dr. Peter Nelson joined the faculty in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department as an assistant professor in the fall of 2012. Originally from Spokane, Washington, Peter received his B.S.E. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Princeton University in 2003. After spending a year at Princeton as a research assistant, in 2004 he began graduate studies in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science at the University of California at Berkeley. Upon receiving his Ph.D. in 2010, Dr. Nelson moved to Genoa, Italy, for an 18-month postdoctoral research fellowship sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Nelson uses computational modeling, analytical theory, physical experiments, and field observations to address fundamental questions about geomorphology, sediment transport, hydrology, hydraulics, and morphodynamics. His research has addressed sediment sorting in gravel bed rivers, the morphodynamics of bedrock rivers, the formation of bars in tidal channels, river restoration through gravel augmentation, and the hydrology of urbanizing watersheds. Upon arrival at CSU, he has begun research aimed at better understanding the effects of wildfire on watershed-scale hydrologic response and erosion rates. He also expects to take advantage of the hydraulic research facilities at the Engineering Research Center to make further advances in understanding the mechanics of sediment transport and river evolution.