Arthur Parola

Professor, Dir, SPD-Stream Institute, Civil & Environmental Engineering


Dr. Art Parola, P.E., is the director of the Stream Institute and a pro¬fessor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Louisville. He received his PhD in civil engineering, water resources, from The Pennsylvania State University in 1990. Dr. Parola is a recognized expert in stream and wetland restoration methods, stream morphology, and sediment dynamics. He has conducted fieldwork in at least 28 US states and Australia and New Zealand, and for more than 20 years, he has collaborated with federal, state, and local agencies and community organizations, provided engineering consulting services, taught, and carried out applied research.

Teaching Interests

Dr. Parola has taught within the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Louisville since 1989. He has offered both undergraduate and graduate courses that focus on hydraulics of rivers, sediment transport, morphology of rivers, stream restoration, and computer modeling of surface water and groundwater. Courses taught over that time period have addressed
the following concepts:

  • • Stream and wetland restoration design, construction, and monitoring
  • Hydrodynamic modeling of flow (1- and 2-D models)
  • Numerical modeling of flow at bridges and culverts
  • Fluvial geomorphic assessment, including estimation of erosion rates and sediment loads
  • Interaction of ecological functions with channel hydraulics and stream morphology
  • Culvert design for fish passage
  • Groundwater and surface water interaction and their effects on flow regime and habitat
  • Bank erosion and protection
  • Effects of watershed urbanization and stream channelization on sediment loads, stream morphology, and riparian and aquatic habitat
  • Effects of gravel mining on stream morphology, water quality, and aquatic habitat
  • Transport, accumulation, and drag of buoyant woody debris in rivers
  • Bridge scour and countermeasures

Dr. Parola also has extensive experience in teaching short courses and workshops to professionals. In 1996 and again in 2000, he received the Kentucky Society of Profession Engineers Outstanding Professional Engineering Achievement in Education

Research Interests

As the director of the UofL Stream Institute, Dr. Parola has led the restoration of more than 23,622 m of stream channels and the creation or restoration of hundreds of acres of associated wetlands. Characteristics of the restoration sites have varied widely: contributing drainage areas of less than 1 km2
to approximately 306 km2; channel substrates of clay, silt, sand, gravel, and cobble in floodplains composed of materials ranging from clay to loess to laminated layers of silt over gravel; high-gradient headwater valleys to extremely low-gradient coastal plain bottomlands; and highly urbanized to primarily agricultural to heavily forested watersheds. Dr. Parola and the team of graduate and undergraduate students, staff, and faculty who make up the institute have pioneered numerous new methods for assess¬ment, design, construction, and monitoring of stream and wetland restoration projects.

Their design methods, developed in collaboration with construction contractors, integrate concepts and techniques from engineering, geomorphology, and ecology. This multi¬disciplinary approach has been essential to the restoration of self-sustaining streamand-wetland complexes. One of the fundamental components of this design approach has been the use of two-dimensional numerical modeling to design the valley topography and the planform characteristics of channels. A second fundamental component of this approach has been to restore both ground¬water and surface water processes in the floodplain and channel. By raising the water table, the Stream Institute has been able to restore hydrologic con¬ditions that support extensive riparian wetlands. In some sites, this has required modifying groundwater flow with the construction of underground dams, a technique developed in collaboration with Tom Biebighauser of the US Forest Service. Through similar collaboration with other biologists, the Stream Institute has been able to incorporate hydrologic and morphological design components that support habitat requirements of resident aquatic organisms, including threatened and endangered species.

Another significant component of several Stream Institute restorations has been consideration of neighboring built environments or farmlands. Riparian landowners have frequently suffered property damage and loss as a result of historic and recent channel manipulation and land use practices. In consultation
with landowners and other watershed stakeholders, Dr. Parola has developed designs that have...