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Committee on River Ice Processes and the Environment

Dr. Faye Hicks

Faye Hicks

Faye obtained her B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from the University of New Brunswick in 1981. Upon graduating, Faye worked as a River Engineer at Alberta Environment for five years, and during that time she got her first exposure to river ice engineering in responding to freeze-up ice jam problems at the zoo in Calgary and helping out at Peace River during breakup monitoring.

While working at Alberta Environment, Faye completed an MSc in Water Resources Engineering at the University of Alberta, then went on to do a PhD shortly after. She joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alberta as an Assistant Professor in 1989. At the encouragement of her colleague, Dr. Larry Gerard, Faye decided to make river ice engineering the focus of her future research efforts. Since then, Faye’s research has focused on advancing knowledge in river ice processes and hydraulics, through experimental, numerical and field studies. She has mentored 50 graduate students so far; many have gone on to become the new generation of Canada’s ice researchers and practitioners.

Together, Faye, her research colleagues, and their superb graduate students have made many significant contributions to river ice knowledge. In the lab they have conducted innovative and unprecedented studies into the dynamics of ice jam formation, ice block stability, suspended frazil measurement, and in determining frazil ice characteristics. In the field they have designed and deployed a variety of innovation monitoring systems in conducting unprecedented studies of ice jam formation and release events, freeze-up processes, and the effects streamflow regulation on river ice and fish habitat. They also helped to pioneer the application of radar remote sensing for river ice jam flood forecasting. Computationally, they have successfully developed and applied soft-computing techniques for long lead time ice jam flood forecasting and they have developed a suite of public domain hydraulic and ice process models which have been successfully applied at sites across Canada for ice jam flood forecasting and environmental impact assessments.

Together with her colleagues and graduate students, Faye has published more than 130 articles in refereed journals and conference proceedings, and she has presented dozens of invited talks in Canada and abroad, including presentations on ice jam flood forecasting to colleagues at the US National Weather Service and in Russia. In addition, Faye’s introductory lectures on river ice are used by hydrotechnical engineering professors in most of the civil engineering programs in Canada, as well as by government and private agencies in Canada, the USA, and in Europe.

In 2009, Faye was honoured as the Hynes Lecturer at the Canadian Rivers Institute and was named a University of Alberta Killam Professor. In 2008, Faye was awarded the Camille A. Dagenais Award from the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering in recognition of outstanding contributions to hydrotechnical engineering in Canada, and she was a co-recipient of a Premier’s Silver Award of Excellence from the Province of Alberta for her contributions to the modernization of their river ice monitoring network. Faye is also the only person to have won the CRIPE Gerard Medal four times (1999, 2005, 2011 and 2013).

Faye has also served on many national and international professional committees and working groups. For example, she chaired of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering’s Hydrotechnical Division Executive from 1996 to 1998, and was elected a Fellow of the CSCE in 2003. She served on the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Technical Committee on Cold Regions Engineering from 2001 to 2005, and was the Canadian freshwater ice representative on the International Association for Hydraulic Research Ice Committee from 2003 to 2008. Faye has served on the CRIPE since 1998 and was Chair from 2007 to 2010.

You can read more about Faye's river ice research at or visit her website at

Workshop proceedings