Kevin A Oberg

Hydrologist and expert in the application of hydroacoustic methods in hydrology while dabbling in the application of surface velocity measurement methods for measuring flow.


Kevin is a hydrologist with the Central Midwest Water Science Center (CMWSC).  He is currently providing assistance to the CMWSC in the activities that include Lake Michigan Diversion Accounting, hydroacoustics training, and staff mentoring.  Prior to his work with the CMWSC, Kevin served in the Hydrologic Networks Branch and Office of Surface Water (OSW), serving as the National Coordinator for Hydroacoustics.  In this position, he led OSW’s efforts in the application of acoustics to hydraulic and hydrologic measurements.  This involved methods development, technical training, technical support, and quality assurance of hydroacoustic methods within the USGS.  Kevin is a skilled instructor of classes on the application of ADCPs for the measurement and analysis of streamflow, velocity, and bathymetry data for the USGS and other international hydrometric agencies.  Kevin is the author of numerous technical papers on the application of hydroacoustics, and is the co-recipient of the IAGLR Chandler-Misener Award for Most Notable Paper in the Journal of Great Lakes Research for 2012.  Kevin is a member and past-chair of the ASCE Technical Committee for Hydraulic Measurements and Experimental Methods and is a member of the Coordinating Committee for Great Lakes Hydrologic and Hydraulic Data, and Water Survey Canada’s Hydroacoustic Technical Working Group.

Kevin began his USGS career with the USGS as GS-2 Hydrologic Aid while completing his education at the University of Illinois.  Upon completion of his degree, he was involved in rainfall-runoff modeling, network analysis and design, peak flow frequency analysis, and the validation of hydrodynamic models while employed by the Illinois Water Science Center.  In 1991, he was appointed Chief, Hydrologic Data Collection and Analysis section; with responsibility for all routine USGS surface water, sediment, and water quality data collection activities in the ILWSC.  Beginning about this time, he became a leader in the application of ADCPs for streamflow measurement in rivers throughout the Midwest. From 1995-2000 he also led a team of programmers who developed the first comprehensive system for serving surface-water data on the World-Wide Web. Kevin transferred to the OSW in 1999, becoming the National Coordinator for hydroacoustics in the Office of Surface Water. 

Kevin collaborates with colleagues in the USGS, various international hydrological services, and academia on research topics that include: sampling strategies for ADCP discharge measurements, techniques for mapping velocity fields using ADCPs, methods for estimating suspended sediment transport using acoustics, the measurement and analysis of density currents using ADCPs, and testing and evaluation of acoustic instruments for streamflow measurements.  At present (2016), he is actively working with colleagues at Water Survey Canada, the National University of Cordoba, National Littoral University of Santa Fe, and the University of Illinois Ven Te Chow Hydrosystems Laboratory.  Kevin also has worked with international hydrologic services, including: Water Survey Canada, New Zealand Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), Norwegian Power and Energy Directorate (NVE), Swedish Meteorologic and Hydrologic Institute (SMHI), and the Environment Agency of England and Wales (EA).

During his career Kevin has used ADCPs to measure very large and very small flows.  During the 1993 Mississippi River flood he measured the peak discharge of 1.08 million cubic feet per second at St. Louis, Missouri on August 2, 1993. Kevin has measured flow in the Amazon River, and the Paraná River, and organized a measurement campaign on the Congo River and processed/published the results of that campaign.