WoodStraw at Snake Fire

Forest Concepts wins Rain Bird Engineering Concepts of the Year Award

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers has named James H. Dooley, P.E., ASABE Fellow, recipient of the 2008 ASABE Rain Bird Engineering Concept of the Year Award. The award, endowed by Rain Bird International, honors an engineer or engineering team for a unique contribution to developing or advancing a new engineering concept. The award was presented July 2, at the 2008 ASABE Annual International Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island.

Dooley, co-founder and chief technology officer of Forest Concepts LLC, Auburn, Washington, was honored for WoodStraw™ wood-strand erosion-control material.

Dooley was challenged by state and federal agencies to create a wood-based replacement for agricultural straw to control erosion associated with municipal watersheds, restoration of lands burned in wildfires, and road construction and removal. He organized a program of research to understand surface erosion in a way that enabled design of new erosion-control materials. From the research data, a millimeter-scaled surface water hydrology model was constructed that led to the general specifications for WoodStraw™, a material that significantly out-performs agricultural straw. In addition to controlling erosion, the material boasts a long functional life, resistance to winds, and interlocking strands to cling to steep slopes, and it is naturally weed free. Forest Concepts specializes in product and business development to utilize small-diameter timber and woody biomass. Products designed and manufactured by Forest Concepts are intended to protect water quality, enhance fish and wildlife habitats, provide rustic landscapes and enable architects to soften the built world.

Prior to launching Forest Concepts, in 1995, Dooley held a number of engineering, technical management and business development positions with major corporations, including Weyerhaeuser and Amfac, during a 20-year career with multinational firms in the agriculture, horticulture, and forest industries. A 36-year member of ASABE, Dooley is currently serving as president of the Society for 2007-2008. He has published more than 60 conference papers, journal manuscripts, and book chapters and is a frequent panelist and speaker on technological issues related to biomass feedstocks, natural resources, and biological systems. Dooley’s other professional memberships and activities include the Soil and Water Conservation Society, Association of  Conservation Engineers, Council on Forest Engineering, International Erosion Control Association, Forest Products Society, and Institute of Biological Engineering (IBE) where he served as president. Recently, Dooley was awarded IBE’s highest honor, the Brahm and Sudah Verma Lifetime Visionary award. He was elected an ASABE Fellow in 1996.

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers is an international educational and scientific organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to biological, agricultural, and food systems. Founded in 1907 and headquartered in St Joseph, Michigan, ASABE comprises nearly 10,000 members representing more than 100 countries. Further information on  ASABE can be obtained by contacting the Society at (269) 429-0300 (phone) or (269) 429-3852 (fax); hq@asabe.org. Details can also be found at http://www.asabe.org.