Bret M. Webb, Ph.D., P.E., D.CE
University of South Alabama
150 Jaguar Drive, SH3142
Mobile, AL 36688 USA
Phone: (251) 460-6174
Fax: (251) 461-1400

Research Positions

None available at this time

Current Research Assistants

SE Students
Garland Pennison


MSCE Students
Patrick Hautau
Marshall Hayden
Kate Haynes
Justin Lowlavar
Vijaya Satya Lohitha Mukkamala
Jackie Wittmann


Undergraduate Students
Derek Kelly
Rh'Monte Wilson

Former Students

MSCE Students
Bryan Groza (2016)
Kari Servold (2015)
Chris Marr (2013)
Richard Allen (2013)
Miyuki Matthews (2012)


Post Docs
Jon Risinger
Jungwoo Lee

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Pres-cover-pageThe latest study out of our ACES center (Applied Coastal Engineering & Science) is now available. The study, entitled “Lake Forest Mapping: Analysis of Shoaling and Pool Volumes,” was recently completed for the Lake Forest Property Owner’s Association and the City of Daphne with contracting support provided by the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program. The goals of the study were to determine how much sediment has accumulated in the Lake Forest lake (reservoir) since the time of dam construction in 1973/1974, where the largest accumulations of sediment have occurred, and what the remaining normal pool volume is within the lake.

We collected over 12,000 new elevation measurements within and around the lake to map the sediment elevations and also analyzed eight (8) shallow sediment push cores from the lake bed. The results of the study show that over 300,000 cubic yards of medium to coarse grained sediments have accumulated, or shoaled, within the present-day lake shoreline since 1973/1974. Approximately 80% of the lake has shoaled by some measurable amount since the time of dam construction, with some areas accumulating over ten (10) feet of sediment! As a result, the pool volume of the lake has decreased by about 60% due to the accumulation of sediments. The remaining volume could perhaps accommodate another 90 years of sediment input at the current reported rate of 7800 tons per year (as per Cook & Moss, 2008[1]), but the margin for error is quite large.

I presented these study results at a recent Mobile Bay National Estuary Program’s Project Implementation Committee Meeting. A copy of that presentation [2] can be downloaded {here}.  A copy of the final study report [3] can be downloaded {here}.  Please include proper attribution and/or citation [2,3] when reusing these data, results, graphics, and/or figures.

[1] Cook, M., and Moss, N. 2008. Analysis of Water Quality, Sediment Loading Rates, Biological Resources, and Impacts of Land-Use Change on the D’Olive and Tiawasee Creek Watersheds, Baldwin County, Alabama, 2008. Geological Survey of Alabama, Open File Report 08-11: 92 pp.

[2] Webb, B.M. 2016. Lake Forest Mapping: Analysis of Shoaling and Pool Volumes. Mobile Bay National Estuary Program Project Implementation Committee Meeting. August 18, 2016. Presentation.

[3] Webb, B.M. 2016. Lake Forest Mapping: Analysis of Shoaling and Pool Volumes. University of South Alabama, Center for Applied Coastal Engineering and Science, Technical Report No. 16-002F. 41 pp.




I just returned from a quick visit to Washington, D.C. for the annual Transportation Research Board meeting. I provided a presentation on wave-induced local pier scour and submitted a paper for publication in the Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board. A decision on final publication is pending and should be made soon. The paper abstract can be downloaded  {here}. A citation is listed below. The full paper is available in the compendium of papers distributed at the TRB meeting. Click on the TRB logo for a direct link to the meeting web site. Contact me directly if you are interested in seeing a copy of the presentation.


  • Webb, B. M., Matthews, M. T. 2014. Wave-induced scour at cylindrical piles: estimating equilibrium scour depth in a transition zone. Meeting of the Transportation Research Board. Washington, D.C., Jan 14-16.





One of my graduate students, Chris Marr, recently completed his thesis research on the spatial variability of residence, exposure, and flushing times of Mobile Bay, Alabama. A copy of Chris’ final thesis can be found {here}.


I was given the opportunity to present Chris’ research results at today’s 2013 Alabama Water Resources Conference in Orange Beach, Alabama. Click on the image at right for a PDF of the presentation. For those of you that didn’t make it to see the presentation, I narrated a version and have embedded the video below.




*Note: we have modified the results slightly based on recent input from colleagues. The changes generally only affect results in Bon Secour Bay. The narration and presentation show the update results.


Drs. Scott Douglass and Bret Webb recently submitted a proposal to the Alabama Department of Transportation’s (ALDOT) Research Advisory Committee (RAC) aimed at monitoring the impacts of Little Lagoon Pass on the beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama. Dr. Webb made a presentation to the RAC on July 2, 2012 (click on image at right for a QuickTime slideshow). Shortly after the presentation, the RAC approved the project for funding.


ALDOT is proposing a new bridge over Little Lagoon Pass for AL-182, along with widening of the inlet channel and lengthening of the jetties. The proposal describes a two-year monitoring plan using the {Jag Ski} and traditional land-based RTK GPS survey equipment to document changes in beach sand volumes on the east and west sides of the pass, as well as the volumes of the ebb and flood tidal shoals, as a result of the proposed modifications. In addition to the beach profile data, hydrodynamic modeling of the pass will be performed using the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ new Coastal Modeling System, and comprehensive water quality maps of the lagoon surface water will be developed from data collected using the Portable SeaKeeper system.


There is a very interesting history behind this pass, much of it documented in a number of court rulings during the 1990s. The existing AL-182 bridge was constructed in 1969, but the pass was not stabilized until the early 1980s. A group of homeowners along West Beach Boulevard (west/downdrift of the pass) sued what was then called the Alabama Highway Department in 1991 over an illegal “taking” of private lands and improper condemnation of private property. The State filed a motion to dismiss, which was denied, and a motion for change of venue, which was similarly denied. Another suit was filed in 1993 and heard by the Alabama Supreme Court. Most of the legal battles ended around this time with an out of court settlement and a consent decree issued by the Court. The terms and requirements of the settlements have dictated the maintenance and operation of the pass since that time. Even though the natural beach system has changed greatly due to a tremendous influx of sand during the Gulf Shores beach nourishment project in the early 2000s, the terms of the consent decree have not. Here are some links to just a few of the news articles that ran in print media during the 1990s… makes for interesting reading.


Stay tuned for more details on this project using the tag “Little Lagoon” on this web site.



The Second Annual South Alabama Conference on Teaching and Learning (CoTL) was held May 14-15 on the campus of The University of South Alabama. This two-day conference provided a great opportunity to discuss, in greater detail, how we teach college students.


Dr. Andy Whelton (my good friend and colleague) and I provided a presentation in Session IV: Leadership & Mentoring about our experience co-teaching the inaugural Field Analysis and Sampling Techniques in Civil Engineering (FAST CE) in Fall 2011. Click on the image at right for a PDF copy of the presentation slides (less my witty commentary), and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions or comments about our course, the outcomes, or our lessons learned.