Your name: Kyle McKay
Your job title: Research Civil Engineer
Tell us a bit about your job: I am a research civil engineer for the Environmental Laboratory of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center. Although our labs are in Mississippi, I am stationed in New York City to collaborate with the USACE New York District, local universities, and other regional partners. Prior to moving in 2016, I was co-located with the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources for nine years. My background is in both water resource engineering and ecology, and most of my research focuses on balancing societal needs for water with ecosystem integrity. Specifically, I build numerical models to estimate the social and environmental consequences of different water management actions to inform agency decisions. I’ve been lucky to work with USACE practitioners on ecosystem restoration projects in coastal Louisiana, Nevada, Atlanta, New York City, the Hudson Valley, Louisville, and other sites. Some of my specific technical interests relate to ecological modeling, coupling hydraulic and ecological analyses, integrated water resource management, environmental flows, and watershed connectivity. I think of myself as a river scientist, but I dabble in coastal projects from time-to-time. My work is extremely collaborative and typically involves a dozen or so projects each of which have teams of 5-20 scientists and engineers. My days usually involve quite a few coordination meetings, plenty of time with what my granny would call the “three Rs” (Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic), and (if I’m lucky) teaching.
What are your goals within your field? I try to develop science, methods, and tools to balance economic, environmental, and societal objectives for managing water resources.
What are your specific goals for your N-EWN projects? N-EWN provides an amazing opportunity to combine the skills from researchers and practitioners across the water science community, and I am excited to learn from the incredible partners across disciplines, organizations, and perspectives. My technical goals focus on more explicitly folding environmental and social outcomes into water resource decision making.
Tell us a bit about you: I grew up in Mississippi, but I have bounced around since then living in Colorado, New Mexico, Illinois, and Georgia. I currently live in Brooklyn. My wife, 1.5-year-old daughter, and I spend our weekends visiting friends in Prospect Park (currently from a distance), taking advantage of the hustle-and bustle of the city, playing lots of board games, and reading.
Share a fun fact: Ecological engineering is a family undertaking for me. My wife is an ecologist (UGA Odum School alum) and editor at a scientific journal, and my mom is a water resource engineer who has also collaborated with many of the NEWN partners.