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Brian  Dietterick

Dr. Brian Dietterick

Phone: (805) 756-6155
Office: 11-255


Areas of Focus

- Director Swanton Pacific Ranch

- Watershed Management

- Watershed management and rehabilitation, channel restoration and forest hydrology

About Dr. Brian Dietterick

Dr. Dietterick spent his first 10 years with Cal Poly as a professor of hydrology, watershed management and GIS.  He conducted long-term watershed and water quality studies in the Morro Bay watershed and in the Scotts Creek watershed at Swanton Pacific Ranch.  Much of his work has included hillslope and channel studies using field-measured and remotely-sensed data, including LiDAR.  He led pre- and post-harvest studies that evolved into pre- and post-fire studies after the 2009 Lockheed Fire.  This work evaluated land management- induced change, and subsequently, fire-induced change in water quality, channels, and hydrologic and erosional processes.

As Director of Swanton Pacific Ranch he coordinates education and research programs developing and fostering coursework and professional seminars as well as student and faculty research opportunities.  He also works with the Swanton Pacific staff to supervise the internship and apprentice programs.  He oversees forestry, livestock, and crop operations that actively provide products that employ sustainable and responsible land management practices.  He also maintains active roles in water quality, aquatic macroinvertebrate, and channel and habitat restoration projects mentoring over 18 graduate students throughout his 13 years as Director.  Under his leadership and working with Swanton's management and professional staff have permitted the planned Swanton Pacific Education Center and Field Camp.  The team is actively raising the funded necessary to build and maintain the facility that will increase educational and research opportunities for students, faculty, and professionals.  See 

Dr. Dietterick attended Bloomsburg University where his father worked and in 1980 earned his bachelor's degree in Earth Science. In 1982, he completed his masters program in watershed management and hydrology at the University of Arizona. He earned his doctorate in forest hydrology at Penn State University in 1994. He holds a Professional Hydrology certification since 2000.  He has served on numerous technical advisory committees and contributes regularly to the hydrologic and forestry professions.  He has published over 30 articles for peer-reviewed journals and proceedings, industry publications, and technical reports. 

Dr. Dietterick and his wife, Pam spend half of each year at Swanton Pacific Ranch and the other half at their home in rural Templeton. 

Selected Publications

Bishop, B., Dietterick, B. and R. White, 2014. Classification of Plot-Level Fire-Caused Tree Mortality in Redwood Forest using Digital Orthophotography and LiDAR. Remote Sensing, 6(3), 1954-1972.

Surfleet, C. G., Dietterick, B., and A. Skaugset, 2014. Change detection of storm runoff and sediment yield using hydrologic models following wildfire in a coastal redwood forest, California. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 44(6), 572-581.

Dietterick, B., R. White and R. Hilburn, 2012. Comparing LiDAR-generated to ground-surveyed channel features in a forested mountain stream Proceedings: 2011 Redwood Science Symposium, Santa Cruz, CA.

Johnson, K., N. Finnegan, and B. Dietterick, 2012. Geomorphic mapping of a redwood-forested watershed, including recent post-fire mass wasting. Proceedings: 2011 Redwood Science Symposium, Santa Cruz, CA.

Loganbill, D. and B. Dietterick, 2012.Evaluation of changes in sediment production the first year post-fire in Little Creek watershed. Proceedings: 2011 Redwood Science Symposium, Santa Cruz, CA.

Niebrugge, L., L. Moody, and B. Dietterick, 2012. Assessment of post-fire rill erosion using soil physical properties to determine factors controlling surface runoff. Proceedings: 2011 Redwood Science Symposium, Santa Cruz, CA.

Perkins D. and B. Dietterick, 2012. Evaluating geomorphic change in a small coastal tributary with repeated channel surveys. Proceedings: 2011 Redwood Science Symposium, Santa Cruz, CA.

Skaugset, A., A. Simmons, C. Surfleet and B. Dietterick, 2012. The effect of selection logging in a redwood forest on watershed hydrology and sediment yield in a coastal California watershed. Proceedings: 2011 Redwood Science Symposium, Santa Cruz, CA.

Surfleet, C., A. Skaugset and B. Dietterick, 2012. An approach to study the effect of harvest and wildfire on watershed hydrology and sediment yield in a coast redwood forest. Proceedings: 2011 Redwood Science Symposium, Santa Cruz, CA.

White, R. and B. Dietterick, 2012. Use of LiDAR and multispectral imagery to determine conifer mortality and burn severity following the Lockheed Fire. Proceedings: 2011 Redwood Science Symposium, Santa Cruz, CA.

White, R., Dietterick B., Mastin T., and R. Strohman, 2010. Forest Roads Mapped Using LiDAR in Steep Forested Terrain. Remote Sensing, 2(4), 1120-1141.

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