ASCE recently announced Thomas J. Trout, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, as the recipient of the 2016 Royce J. Tipton Award for research contributions that have enhanced understanding of irrigation-induced erosion, the effect of irrigation and soil management practices on the fate of soil fumigants, and the impact of deficit irrigation on crop productivity.
Trout worked early in his career in Pakistan for a USAID-funded project that assessed water losses in irrigation delivery systems. That work provided the basis for an assistance program for improving irrigation systems in that country.
Trout joined the Agricultural Research Service in 1982 and worked in the Snake River basin where he dealt with the design of cablegation systems, flow measurement, and infiltration variability in furrow irrigation systems. He researched various aspects of irrigation-induced erosion, including seminal work on the development of surface seals. His research produced recommendations for managing the soil to mitigate surface seal formation and enhance infiltration.
Trout transferred in the mid‐1990s to the Central Valley of California. His arrival there as a research leader coincided with the phase out of methyl bromide, a soil fumigant widely used in many production systems. Thus, he was tasked with addressing this major environmental concern. He led a team research on the application of soil fumigants through drip irrigation systems and the management of soils and irrigation to reduce the emissions of those fumigants. He also participated in various studies aimed at characterizing evapotranspiration and developing the corresponding crop coefficients for horticultural crops of that region.
Since 2006, Trout has worked in Colorado, where there is substantial conflict over scarce water resources. The emphasis of his work has shifted toward defining crop response to deficit irrigation. This work is of great significance because of the potential for improving the beneficial use of scarce water resources for agricultural production in that region.
The Royce J. Tipton Award recognizes contributions to the advancement of irrigation and drainage engineering in teaching, research, planning, design, construction or management.