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Peter R. Robichaud

Pete Robichaud

Research Engineer

1221 South Main Street
Moscow, ID 83843
Contact Peter R. Robichaud

Current Research

  • Development of the suite of FSWEPP (Forest Service Water Erosion Prediction Project) tool to aid in forest management and post wildfire decision-making FS WEPP Interfaces (
  • Modeling and mitigation techniques of erosion control from timber-harvested and wiildfie burned areas
  • Rill and interrill erodibility and ground cover parameters for erosion modeling
  • Model components for predicting erosion from spatially-varied, complex hillslopes
  • Water repellent soil conditions
  • Effects of prescribed fire and wildfire on erosion
  • Monitoring methods and erosion mitigation techniques
  • Watershed processes research that includes modeling and mitigation techniques of erosion after timber-harvested, prescribed fires and wildfires
  • Process-based analysis of hydrology, erosion, and mitigation effects to reduce flooding and erosion. Integration of these complex processes at various spatial and temporial scales
  • Developing instruments, measurement and monitoring methods for determine erosion rates
  • Science You can Use Bulletin - From Watersheds to the Web: Online Tools for Modeling Forest Soil Erosion
  • Research includes plot-scale infiltration, rill and interrill erodibility studies, small-catchment paired watershed studies and large-scale remote sensing projects
  • International application of our knowledge in postfire hydrology effects and monitoring techniques
  • Leads various research teams including the development of the popular web-based probabilistic Erosion Risk Management Tool (ERMiT) for postfire assessments
  • Recently he has been investigating the effects of postfire salvage logging on hilllslope erosion, and the use of remote sensing imagery for postfire burn severity classification, water repellent soil identification and erosion control treatment effectiveness

Research Interests

To investigate and develop new knowledge on infiltration, overland flow, erosion and erosion mitigation techniques in disturbed forest and rangeland conditions and develop predictive models and decision support tools for use by land managers and playing in the dirt.

Past Research

  • Developed relationships on the proper moisture content needed for prescribed fires to prevent increased or accelerated erosion and devised an electronic tool to measure that moisture content for instantaneous readings in the field
  • Measured post-fire erosion rates and developed predictive models for post-fire erosion rates and effectiveness of selected mitigation treatment
  • Summarized the current knowledge of fire effects on hydrology and erosion in numerous publications and books for use by land managers

Why This Research is Important

Erosion is a natural process; however, past management activities have caused degradation of water quality in numerous watersheds throughout various landscapes. Therefore, we develop tools and information to help managers make better decisions based on today's and future climates for improved management of our natural resources as well as impacts on life and property. Our tools and results are used by post-fire assessment teams, land management agencies, private interests, water utilities, tribal and state governments. Considerable outreach has extended our knowledge usage to Europe, Australasia and South America.


  • University of Massachusetts, B.S., Civil Engineering, 1984
  • University of Idaho, M.S., Agricultural Engineering, 1989
  • University of Idaho, Ph.D., Agricultural Engineering, 1996
  • Awards

    Jim Sedell Reseach Achievement Award, 2021
    Pete is recognized for his ongoing research to improve postfire risk assessments of soil burn severity and erosion potential, treatments for erosion reduction, erosion measurement techniques and watershed prediction technology.

    Featured Publications


    Ahmed, Alishan; Hohner, Amanda K.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Akin, Idil Deniz, 2022. Geoenvironmental impacts of post-wildfire hillslope stabilization with xanthan gum and polyacrylamide
    Lew, Roger; Dobre, Mariana; Srivastava, Anurag; Brooks, Erin S.; Elliot, William J.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Flanagan, Dennis C., 2022. WEPPcloud: An online watershed-scale hydrologic modeling tool
    Girona-Garcia, Antonio; Vieira, Diana C. S.; Silva, Joana; Fernandez, Cristina; Robichaud, Peter R.; Keizer, J. Jacob., 2021. Effectiveness of post-fire soil erosion mitigation treatments: A systematic review and meta-analysis
    Lewis, Sarah A.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Hudak, Andrew T.; Strand, Eva K.; Eitel, Jan U. H.; Brown, Robert E., 2021. Evaluating the persistence of post-wildfire ash: A multi-platform spatiotemporal analysis
    Gustine, Rebecca N.; Hanan, Erin J.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Elliot, William J., 2021. From burned slopes to streams: How wildfire affects nitrogen cycling and retention in forests and fire-prone watersheds
    Rengers, F. K.; McGuire, Luke A.; Kean, Jason W.; Staley, Dennis M.; Dobre, Mariana; Robichaud, Peter R.; Swetnam, Tyson, 2021. Movement of sediment through a burned landscape: Sediment volume observations and model comparisons in the San Gabriel Mountains, California, USA
    Porter, Ryan; Joyal, Taylor; Beers, Rebecca; Loverich, Joseph; LaPlante, Aubrey; Spruell, John; Youberg, Ann; Schenk, Edward; Robichaud, Peter R.; Springer, Abraham E., 2021. Seismic monitoring of post-wildfire debris flows following the 2019 Museum Fire, Arizona
    Akin, Idil Deniz; Garnica, Sophia S.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Brown, Robert E., 2021. Surficial stabilization of wildfire-burnt hillslopes using xanthan gum and polyacrylamide
    Vega, Samantha P.; Williams, C. Jason; Brooks, Erin S.; Pierson, Frederick B.; Strand, Eva K.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Brown, Robert E.; Seyfried, Mark S.; Lohse, Kathleen A.; Glossner, Kayla; Pierce, Jennifer L.; Roehner, Clay, 2020. Interaction of wind and cold‐season hydrologic processes on erosion from complex topography following wildfire in sagebrush steppe
    Gourley, Jonathan J.; Vergara, Humberto; Arthur, Ami; Clark, Robert A.; Staley, Dennis; Fulton, John; Hempel, Laura; Goodrich, David C.; Rowden, Katherine; Robichaud, Peter R., 2020. Predicting the floods that follow the flames
    Adams, Mary Beth; Archer, Vince A.; Bailey, Scott; McGuire, Kevin; Miniat, Chelcy F.; Neary, Daniel G.; O'Geen, Toby; Robichaud, Peter R.; Strobel, Michael, 2020. Soils and water
    Adams, Mary Beth; Archer, Vince A.; Bailey, Scott; McGuire, Kevin; Miniat, Chelcy F.; Neary, Daniel G.; O’Geen, Toby; Robichaud, Peter R.; Strobel, Michael, 2020. Soils and water [Chapter 3]
    Klauberg, Carine; Hudak, Andrew T.; Silva, Carlos Alberto; Lewis, Sarah A.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Jain, Terrie B., 2019. Characterizing fire effects on conifers at tree level from airborne laser scanning and high-resolution, multispectral satellite data
    Salis, Michele; Del Giudice, Liliana; Robichaud, Peter R.; Ager, Alan; Canu, Annalisa; Duce, Pierpaolo; Pellizzaro, Grazia; Ventura, Andrea; Alcasena-Urdiroz, Fermin; Spano, Donatella; Arca, Bachisio, 2019. Coupling wildfire spread and erosion models to quantify post-fire erosion before and after fuel treatments
    Robichaud, Peter R.; Storrar, Keenan A.; Wagenbrenner, Joseph W., 2019. Effectiveness of straw bale check dams at reducing post-fire sediment yields from steep ephemeral channels
    Bontrager, Jonathan D.; Morgan, Penelope; Hudak, Andrew T.; Robichaud, Peter R., 2019. Long-term vegetation response following post-fire straw mulching
    Pierson, Derek; Robichaud, Peter R.; Rhoades, Charles C.; Brown, Robert E., 2019. Soil carbon and nitrogen eroded after severe wildfire and erosion mitigation treatments
    Larson-Nash, Sierra S.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Pierson, Fredrick B.; Moffet, Corey A.; Williams, C. Jason; Spaeth, Kenneth E.; Brown, Robert E.; Lewis, Sarah A., 2018. Recovery of small-scale infiltration and erosion after wildfires
    Miller, Sue; Rhoades, Charles C.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Ryan-Burkett, Sandra E.; Kovecses, Jen; Chambers, Carl; Rathburn, Sara; Heath, Jared; Kampf, Stephanie; Wilson, Codie; Brogan, Dan; Piehl, Brad; Miller, Mary Ellen; Giordanengo, John; Berryman, Erin; Rocca, Monique, 2017. Science You Can Use (SYCU) - Learn from the burn: The High Park Fire 5 years later
    Williams, C. Jason; Pierson, Frederick B.; Spaeth, Kenneth E.; Brown, Joel R.; Al-Hamdan, Osama Z.; Weltz, Mark A.; Nearing, Mark A.; Herrick, Jeffrey E.; Boll, Jan; Robichaud, Peter R.; Goodrich, David C.; Heilman, Phillip; Guertin, D. Phillip; Hernandez, Mariano; Wei, Haiyan; Hardegree, Stuart P.; Strand, Eva K.; Bates, Jonathan D.; Metz, Loretta J.; Nichols, Mary H., 2016. Incorporating hydrologic data and ecohydrologic relationships into ecological site descriptions
    Robichaud, Peter R.; Wagenbrenner, Joseph W.; Pierson, Fredrick B.; Spaeth, Kenneth E.; Ashmun, Louise E.; Moffet, Corey A., 2016. Infiltration and interrill erosion rates after a wildfire in western Montana, USA
    Miller, M. E.; Elliot, William J.; Billmire, M.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Endsley, K. A., 2016. Rapid-response tools and datasets for post-fire remediation: Linking remote sensing and process-based hydrological models
    Williams, C. Jason; Pierson, Frederick B.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Al-Hamdan, Osama Z.; Boll, Jan; Strand, Eva K., 2016. Structural and functional connectivity as a driver of hillslope erosion following disturbance
    Shakesby, Richard A.; Moody, John A.; Martin, Deborah A.; Robichaud, Peter R., 2016. Synthesising empirical results to improve predictions of post-wildfire runoff and erosion response
    Liu, Mingliang; Barber, Michael E.; Cherkauer, Keith A.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Adam, Jennifer C., 2016. The effects of climate change and extreme wildfire events on runoff erosion over a mountain watershed
    Pierson, Frederick B.; Williams, C. Jason; Robichaud, Peter R., 2015. Assessing impacts of fire and post-fire on runoff and erosion from rangelands mitigation
    Wagenbrenner, Joseph W.; MacDonald, Lee H.; Coats, Robert N.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Brown, Robert E., 2015. Effects of post-fire salvage logging and a skid trail treatment on ground cover, soils, and sediment production in the interior western United States
    Morgan, Penelope; Moy, Marshell; Droske, Christine A.; Lewis, Sarah A.; Lentile, Leigh B.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Hudak, Andrew T.; Williams, Christopher J., 2015. Vegetation response to burn severity, native grass seeding, and salvage logging
    Page-Dumroese, Deborah S.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Brown, Robert E.; Tirocke, Joanne M., 2015. Water repellency of two forest soils after biochar addition
    Miller, Sue; Elliot, William J.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Foltz, Randy; Flanagan, Dennis; Brooks, Erin, 2014. Science You Can Use (SYCU) - From watersheds to the web: Online tools for modeling forest soil erosion
    Hines, Sarah; Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Champ, Patricia A.; Joyce, Linda A.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Ryan-Burkett, Sandra E., 2014. Science You Can Use (SYCU) - Our relationship with a dynamic landscape: Understanding the 2013 Northern Colorado Flood
    Morgan, Penelope; Moy, Marshell; Droske, Christine A.; Lentile, Leigh B.; Lewis, Sarah A.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Hudak, Andrew T., 2014. Vegetation response after post-fire mulching and native grass seeding
    Moody, John A.; Shakesby, Richard A.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Cannon, Susan H.; Martin, Deborah A., 2013. Current research issues related to post-wildfire runoff and erosion processes
    Robichaud, Peter R.; Lewis, Sarah A.; Wagenbrenner, Joseph W.; Ashmun, Louise E.; Brown, Robert E., 2013. Post-fire mulching for runoff and erosion mitigation; Part I: Effectiveness at reducing hillslope erosion rates
    Robichaud, Peter R.; Wagenbrenner, Joseph W.; Lewis, Sarah A.; Ashmun, Louise E.; Brown, Robert E.; Wohlgemuth, Peter M., 2013. Post-fire mulching for runoff and erosion mitigation; Part II: Effectiveness in reducing runoff and sediment yields from small catchments
    Lewis, Sarah A.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Hudak, Andrew T.; Austin, Brian; Liebermann, Robert J., 2012. Utility of remotely sensed imagery for assessing the impact of salvage logging after forest fires
    Elliot, William J.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Foltz, R. B., 2011. Erosion processes and prediction in NW U.S. forests
    Miller, Mary Ellen; MacDonald, Lee H.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Elliot, William J., 2011. Predicting post-fire hillslope erosion in forest lands of the western United States
    Robichaud, Peter R.; Elliot, William J.; Wagenbrenner, J. W., 2011. Probabilistic soil erosion modeling using the Erosion Risk Management Tool (ERMIT) after wildfires
    Peppin, Donna L.; Fule, Peter Z.; Sieg, Carolyn H.; Beyers, Jan L.; Hunter, Molly E.; Robichaud, Peter R., 2011. Recent trends in post-wildfire seeding in western US forests: costs and seed mixes
    Hudak, Andrew T.; Rickert, Ian; Morgan, Penelope; Strand, Eva; Lewis, Sarah A.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Hoffman, Chad; Holden, Zachary A., 2011. Review of fuel treatment effectiveness in forests and rangelands and a case study from the 2007 megafires in central, Idaho, USA
    Wagenbrenner, Joseph W.; Robichaud, Peter R., 2011. Rill erosion rates in burned forests
    Wagenbrenner, N. S.; Germino, M. J.; Lamb, B. K.; Foltz, R. B.; Robichaud, Peter R., 2011. Wind erosion of soils burned by wildfire
    Robichaud, Peter R.; MacDonald, Lee H.; Foltz, Randy B., 2010. Fuel management and erosion
    Robichaud, Peter R.; Wagenbrenner, J. W.; Brown, Robert E., 2010. Rill erosion in natural and disturbed forests: 1. Measurements
    Wagenbrenner, J. W.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Elliot, William J., 2010. Rill erosion in natural and disturbed forests: 2. Modeling approaches
    Robichaud, Peter R.; Elliot, William J.; Pierson, F. B.; Hall, D. E.; Moffet, C. A., 2009. A probabilistic approach to modeling postfire erosion after the 2009 Australian bushfires
    Dun, Shuhui; Wu, Joan Q.; Elliot, William J.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Flanagan, Dennis C.; Frankenberger, James R.; Brown, Robert E.; Xu, Arthur C., 2009. Adapting the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model for forest applications
    Robichaud, Peter R.; Lewis, Sarah A.; Brown, Robert E.; Ashmun, Louise E., 2009. Emergency post-fire rehabilitation treatment effects on burned area ecology and long-term restoration
    Elliot, William J.; Foltz, R. B.; Robichaud, Peter R., 2009. Recent findings related to measuring and modeling forest road erosion
    Lentile, Leigh B.; Smith, Alistair M. S.; Hudak, Andrew T.; Morgan, Penelope; Bobbitt, Michael J.; Lewis, Sarah A.; Robichaud, Peter R., 2009. Remote sensing for prediction of 1-year post-fire ecosystem condition
    Robichaud, Peter R.; Wagenbrenner, Joseph W.; Brown, Robert E.; Spigel, Kevin M., 2009. Three years of hillslope sediment yields following the Valley Complex fires, western Montana
    Riechers, George H.; Beyers, Jan L.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Jennings, Karen; Kreutz, Erin; Moll, Jeff, 2008. Effects of three mulch treatments on initial postfire erosion in north-central Arizona
    Robichaud, Peter R., 2008. Erosion Risk Management Tool (ERMiT)
    Robichaud, Peter R.; Wagenbrenner, J. W.; Brown, Robert E.; Wohlgemuth, P. M.; Beyers, J. L., 2008. Evaluating the effectiveness of contour-felled log erosion barriers as a post-fire runoff and erosion mitigation treatment in the western United States
    Pierson, Frederick B.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Moffet, Corey A.; Spaeth, Kenneth E.; Hardegree, Stuart P.; Clark, Patrick E.; Williams, C. Jason, 2008. Fire effects on rangeland hydrology and erosion in a steep sagebrush-dominated landscape
    Robichaud, Peter R.; Pierson, Frederick B.; Brown, Robert E.; Wagenbrenner, Joseph W., 2008. Measuring effectiveness of three postfire hillslope erosion barrier treatments, western Montana, USA
    Pierson, F. B.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Moffet, C. A.; Spaeth, K. E.; Williams, C. J.; Hardegree, S. P.; Clark, P. E., 2008. Soil water repellency and infiltration in coarse-textured soils of burned and unburned sagebrush ecosystems
    Lewis, Sarah A.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Frazier, Bruce E.; Wu, Joan Q.; Laes, Denise Y. M., 2008. Using hyperspectral imagery to predict post-wildfire soil water repellency
    Elliot, William J.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Miller, Ina Sue S., 2007. Erosion rates from forests and rangelands following fuel management
    Lentile, Leigh; Morgan, Penny; Hardy, Colin C.; Hudak, Andrew T.; Means, Robert; Ottmar, Roger; Robichaud, Peter R.; Sutherland, Elaine K.; Way, Frederick; Lewis, Sarah A., 2007. Lessons learned from Rapid Response Research on wildland fires
    Robichaud, Peter R.; Lewis, Sarah A.; Laes, Denise Y. M.; Hudak, Andrew T.; Kokaly, Raymond F.; Zamudio, Joseph A., 2007. Postfire soil burn severity mapping with hyperspectral image unmixing
    Hudak, Andrew T.; Morgan, Penelope; Bobbitt, Michael J.; Smith, Allstair M. S.; Lewis, Sarah A.; Lentile, Leigh B.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Clark, Jess T.; McKinley, Randy A., 2007. The relationship of multispectral satellite imagery to immediate fire effects
    Lentile, L.; Morgan, P.; Hardy, Colin C.; Hudak, Andrew T.; Means, R.; Ottmar, R.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Sutherland, Elaine K.; Szymoniak, J.; Way, F.; Fites-Kaufman, J.; Lewis, S.; Mathews, E.; Shovik, H.; Ryan, K., 2007. Value and challenges of conducting rapid response research on wildland fires
    Robichaud, Peter R.; Lillybridge, T.R.; Wagenbrenner, Joseph W., 2006. Effects of postfire seeding and fertilizing on hillslope erosion in north-central Washington, USA
    Hudak, Andrew T.; Lewis, Sarah A.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Morgan, P.; Bobbitt, M.; Lentile, L.; Smith, A.; Holden, Z.; Clark, J.; McKinley, R., 2006. Sensitivity of Landsat image-derived burn severity indices to immediate post-fire effects
    Hudak, Andrew T.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Evans, Jeffery B.; Clark, Jess; Lannom, Keith; Morgan, Penelope; Stone, Carter, 2004. Field validation of Burned Area Reflectance Classification (BARC) products for post fire assessment
    Hudak, Andrew T.; Morgan, Penelope; Stone, Carter; Robichaud, Peter R.; Jain, Terrie B.; Clark, Jess, 2004. The relationship of field burn severity measures to satellite-derived Burned Area Reflectance Classification (BARC) maps
    The costs of fighting wildfires have dramatically increased in the past decade, as have the size and severity of wildfires. Rocky Mountain Research Station scientists and collaborators at the University of Idaho undertook a literature review and case study analysis to answer the question: Can fuel treatments mitigate wildfire effects?
    Water from the Big Thompson River washes through a wide landscape in Johnstown, CO (photo by Jenny Sparks, Loveland Reporter-Herald).
    In September 2013, the Colorado Front Range underwent catastrophic flooding during a week-long rain event when 8 to 18 inches of rain fell over the mountain front and neighboring plains. The flood caused considerable damage to property and infrastructure over 1150 square miles, including substantial portions of the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest. 
    High Soil Temperature Data Archive - From Prescribed Fires and Wildfires across the Western US.
    A workshop was hosted by the Coalition for the Poudre River Watershed for those interested in wildfires and post-fire ecology and impacts, discussing transmission of key research findings from work done in the High Park Fire on key topics, implications for post fire restoration management decision making and identification of barriers to rehab/restoration action & knowledge gaps. Researchers from Rocky Mountain Research Station, CSU, and other regional institutions presented results from their work since the High Park Fire.
    Wildland fires in the arid west create a cause for concern for many inhabitants and an area of interest for researchers. Wildfires dramatically change watersheds, yielding floods and debris flows that endanger water supplies, human lives, and valuable fish habitats.
    The Air, Water and Aquatic Environments Science Program has developed a suite of internet interfaces, the Forest Service Water Erosion Prediction Project (FS WEPP), designed to allow users to quickly evaluate erosion and sediment delivery potential from forest roads.