Eugene Z. Stakhiv

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Eugene Z. Stakhiv
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Born (1944-12-21) December 21, 1944 (age 79)
Innsbruck, Austria
OccupationWater resources planner
Known forKnown for applying academic advances to practical water management and policy making
Spouse(s)Alexandra Sodol-Zilynsky

Eugene Z. Stakhiv [b. 21 Dec, 1944, Innsbruck, Austria], is a water resources planner known for applying academic advances to practical water management and policy making, most notably for applying the theories of Arthur Maass and the Harvard Water Program in U.S. water resources planning. Stakhiv led the Corps first climate change studies from 1979 to 1982 and in 1989, Stakhiv was selected to represent DoD on the First UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC], where he served as Co-Chair of the Hydrology and Water Resources Working Group for the IPCC First Assessment Report. Stakhiv was also co-chair for the IPCC supplementary report, 1992 , as well as lead author of IPCC Second Assessment Report [SAR; 1995] and Third Assessment Report [TAR; 1997] . As a co-chair and lead author of several IPCC working groups and reports, he shares in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the IPCC.[1][2]

In March 2003, Stakhiv volunteered to serve as Senior Advisor & Interim Minister of the Ministry of Water Resources (Iraq) from April 15 to September 20, 2003 where he helped reconstruct the damaged infrastructure of Iraq , restore the salt marshes and save the Baghdad Zoo. He managed and reorganized the Ministry, hand it over to the Iraqi-appointed Minister in September 2003, and his lead role was noted in several books and articles. The following year, he was appointed to serve as interim Science Attaché to Ambassador Louise Oliver [2004], who was the US Ambassador to UNESCO, Paris.[3][4] Stakhiv worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1968 until his retirement in 2012. While with the Corps, he made contributions in many areas, most notably climate change, collaborative planning, risk management, environmental evaluation, and decision support. In 2013, the Corps honored him with its Meritorious Civilian Service Medal for his creation of UNESCO ICIWaRM, a water resources technical center at the Corps that supported United Nations engineering and science work, his leadership of two U.S-Canadian bi-national studies using state-of-the-art planning methods, and his role in rebuilding post-war Iraq.[5][6]

Stakhiv began his work with the Corps as an oceanographer in New York City, working on beach erosion and hurricane studies, and then shifted to river basin planning and urban water supply studies for the North Atlantic Region Water Resources Study [1972], followed by the Northeast U.S. Water Supply Study in 1976, where he led the Metropolitan Washington Area Water Supply Study. After completion of those studies, Stakhiv took a research position at the US Army Institute for Water Resources [IWR], where his first task was to support President Carter’s Water Policy Task Force in 1979. During his 32-year tenure at IWR, Stakhiv was involved with and later managed a series of research-oriented programs on water conservation and dam safety risk analysis.[7][8]

As Chief of the IWR Policy and Special Studies Division [1990-2005], he was a key proponent of an innovative approach to water resources planning termed ‘Shared Vision Planning’ which was successfully employed in a series of national and international studies, particularly those on the Great Lakes. At IWR, he managed six Congressionally mandated national studies: the National Drought Management Study [1992-95]; the National Wetlands Mitigation Banking Study [1993-97]; the Federal Infrastructure Strategy [1993-1996], the Socioeconomic Impacts of Climate Change Research Program [1992-1996]; the National Dredge Material Management Study [1994-1996; and the National Shoreline Protection Study [1995-1996], along with over 50 other major policy studies and research reports.

During that period, he was seconded to the World Bank to assess Ukraine’s water infrastructure needs soon after its independence [1992-93]; Bangladesh’s flood action program [1993-96], and the Aral Sea basin restoration program [1997-2000].[9]

A Final Report was delivered to the IJC in 2005. That study established a mathematical relationship between wetland plant diversity and the long term water level regime and discovered a way to recover much of the natural diversity while still protecting the uses the project was designed to address. A new regulation plan for Lake Ontario based on one developed in the study was adopted by both governments [US and Canada] in December 2016.

While at UNESCO, Stakhiv worked to organize the first UNESCO Center in the US, the International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management [ICIWaRM], located within the Corps’ Institute for Water Resources, which was approved in 2007. Stakhiv became its first Technical Director, until his retirement in 2012. In 2005, Stakhiv was appointed co-Chair of the UNESCO Steering Committee on IWRM Guidelines which were produced in 2009. In 2006, the International Joint Commission again requested that Stakhiv become US co-Director of a new 5-year study of the International Upper Great Lakes [IUGLS], devoted to devising regulation plans that could also adapt to climate uncertainties. The study was concluded in 2012, when a new regulation plan was submitted to the IJC. Both the US and Canada adopted the recommended plan in 2014.

After the conclusion of the IUGLS study, Stakhiv retired and was appointed as research engineer and lecturer at the Johns Hopkins University [JHU] Dept. of Geography and Environmental Engineering [2012-2016], and is currently at the JHU Environmental Sciences and Policy Dept. In 2018 he was named a Maass-White Fellow at the US Army Institute for Water Resources.

Stakhiv's parents fled Ukraine upon the Soviet Army advance, and he spent his early life in refugee camps, until his family emigrated to the U.S. in Sept 1949. He married Alexandra Sodol-Zilynsky in Aug 1966. They have one daughter, Natalia, born October, 1969. In 2015, Stakhiv was honored with an honorary doctorate by the Lviv Polytechnic National University. He is the co-author of several books on water resources, climate change and risk analysis.


  1. Bremer, Paul (2006-11-03). "These Are Not Ideologues". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2020-09-11.
  2. Anthony, Lawrence; Spence, Graham (2007-03-06). Babylon's Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo. Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-4299-8143-9.
  3. "JUL/AUG 2013". The National Interest. Retrieved 2020-09-11.
  4. "My Year in Iraq", Wikipedia, 2020-07-10, retrieved 2020-09-11
  5. "Dr. Eugene Stakhiv Receives Meritorious Civilian Service Medal". Institute for Water Resources. Retrieved 2020-09-11.
  6. Large-Scale Regional Water Resources Planning: The North Atlantic Regional Study. 1990-05-31. ISBN 978-0-7923-0711-2.
  7. Board, International Lake Ontario-St Lawrence River Study. "International Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence River". Retrieved 2020-09-11.
  8. "Lake Superior Regulation Plan 2012". International Joint Commission. 2018-08-28. Retrieved 2020-09-11.
  9. "Ukrainian-American Nobel Prize winner honored in Lviv | KyivPost - Ukraine's Global Voice". KyivPost. 2019-05-31. Retrieved 2020-09-11.

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