Memoriam – Jerome (Jerry) Vernon DeGraff

The AEG Sacramento Chapter was devastated to learn of the passing of esteemed friend, colleague, and AEG Fresno Chapter Chair – Jerry DeGraff. Below, please read the description of all of Jerry’s great contributions to the profession from the AEG Insider April 9th issue. From this you can see how greatly he contributed and how deeply he will be missed. We are grateful for the many contributions to the profession and AEG. On behalf of the AEG Sacramento Chapter we offer sincerest condolences to his family, friends, students, colleagues, and the AEG Fresno Chapter.

Our colleague, dear friend, and fellow engineering geologist, Jerome (Jerry) V. DeGraff, Adjunct Professor of Geology, Fresno State University, California, passed away the night of March 26, after fighting pancreatic cancer for nearly three years. Before joining Fresno State University as an Adjunct Professor, Jerry had a long and distinguished career (1977-2014) with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Forest Service. His work with the Forest Service focused on landslide hazards as related to forest fires, risk assessment, mitigation, and landslide-related policy issues.

Jerry’s contributions to our profession are too numerous to mention. He published some 100 technical articles in peer reviewed journals, proceedings volumes, and book chapters. He co-authored several books, most notably “Principles of Engineering Geology” in 1988 and, in 2002, “Catastrophic Landslides: Effects, Occurrences and Mechanisms,” co-edited several proceedings volumes, including the proceedings of the 3rd North American Landslide Symposium, and served as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Encyclopedia of Engineering Geology. Jerry provided extensive consulting service on landslides in the United States as well as Jamaica, Dominica, St. Lucia, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere in Latin America.

Jerry was a very active member of Geological Society of America (GSA), Environmental & Engineering Geology Division (EEGD) of GSA, Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG), and International Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment (IAEG). He graciously and effectively performed extensive committee work for all of these professional societies. He was the past EEGD chair, a Jahns Lecturer, Burwell awardee (EEGD), Claire P. Holdredge Awardee (AEG), Frye committee member, GSA Councilor, Distinguished Practice awardee (EEGD), Meritorious Service awardee (EEGD), Environmental & Engineering Geoscience journal (EEG) Best Publication awardee, and Chair of the EEG Advisory Board.

Jerry’s long and distinguished record of accomplishments, commitment to detail and scientific practice, mentorship and high professional and ethical standards touched the global community directly and indirectly. His work influenced individuals around the world – his collaboration helped numerous colleagues and the results of his landslide-focused accomplishments will benefit society for years to come. Jerry will be especially remembered for his endless enthusiasm, unbridled kindness, open generosity, humanity, devoted friendship, which he shared with a caring and positive attitude, patience, laughter, smiles, and good humor — these special traits will stay with us forever.

Jerry is survived by his loving wife and devoted companion, Sandy, as well as two sons, Mark and Nick, and grandson Liam.

USACE: Technical Expert Geologist Position

Hello there my fellow awesome Geologists!

Please consider applying to this Technical Expert Geologist Position!

Official Announcement:

The Dam Safety Production Center (DSPC) is a group of technical experts within the US Army Corps of Engineers located in the Sacramento District in downtown Sacramento. We are a Division Level group and directly serve 4 districts: Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Albuquerque (though, any position at the Corps also provides the opportunity to work on any Corps project, US and worldwide).

This position is specifically looking for a technical expert level Engineering Geologist/Geological Engineer who has a high level of experience across all aspect of Geology from site investigation planning and execution to data analysis and design and finally to construction and engineering during construction, with a additional expertise in slope stabilization analysis, design, and construction.

If you have any questions regarding this position or the Army Corps in general, just send an Email! I have worked on a lot of interesting project with the Corps that have taken me all over the US and to Columbia!

Cancellation of FG and PG Spring Exams

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 that California public health officials have determined mass gatherings should be postponed statewide to protect public health and slow the spread of COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus. As a result, the Board regrets to announce that it will be cancelling the Spring 2020 administration of the ASBOG Fundamentals of Geology (FG) and Practice of Geology (PG) examinations scheduled to be held on March 20, 2020.

The Board has been consistently monitoring the situation and determined that for the health and well-being of the examination candidates, Board staff, examination proctors, and California State University, Long Beach personnel, these examinations should be cancelled. We understand the importance of these examinations and apologize for the inconvenience this has caused.

All fees for eligible examination candidates for the FG and PG examinations will be automatically forwarded to the next scheduled administration of the examinations on October 2, 2020 in Sacramento, CA. If you are unable to attend the October 2, 2020 examination, please contact the Board’s Licensing Manager, Candace Cummins, at (916) 263-2254 for further assistance.

For information regarding COVID-19, please visit the webpage for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

AEG February Meeting: Jahn’s Lecturer

Please join us on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 at Aviator’s Restaurant! We will be hosting this year’s Jahn’s Lecturer Scott Lindvall from Lettis Consultants, Intl, who will be giving a presentation titled Characterizing Fault Displacement Hazards: Significant Progress and Significant Uncertainties.

Register HERE


This talk will focus on the different methods and underlying data used to develop probabilistic and deterministic fault displacement estimates and well as our understanding of fault behavior (slip rate, magnitude, and recurrence) and the uncertainties associated with fault behavior and observations of historic fault slip. The presentation will also raise critical questions regarding both methodologies and design criteria used for infrastructure projects in light of these uncertainties.

Speaker Bio

Scott received his BS in Geology from Stanford University in 1984 and his MS in Geology from San Diego State University in 1988. Dick Jahns was Scott’s undergraduate advisor at Stanford, which makes this award especially meaningful to him. He has spent the majority of his career working for consulting firms specializing in seismic hazards and engineering geology. He currently manages the Lettis Consultants International southern California office, and prior, worked many years at both William Lettis & Associates, and Lindvall, Richter & Associates.

His interest in geology came at a young age growing up in the Transverse Ranges of southern California. His geologist father, Eric Lindvall, helped instill an appreciation of the outdoors (and therefore geology) and was later instrumental in shaping Scott’s career. His interest in earthquakes was triggered at nine years old in the early morning hours of February 7, 1971 with the M6.6 San Fernando earthquake. Experiencing strong ground shaking from the main shock and several large aftershocks in the epicentral region, while dust was slowly rising from rock falls in the surrounding canyons, left a lasting impression.

Scott has performed detailed mapping of surface ruptures of earthquakes in southern California and Turkey, including the 1986 M6.6 Superstition Hills, 1992 M7.3 Landers, 1999 M7.4 zmit (Kocaeli), 1999 M7.1 Düzce, and the 1999 M7.1 Hector Mine earthquake ruptures. Scott’s experience in neotectonics, paleoseismology, and geomorphology has enabled him to pursue research projects designed to better quantify the timing of past events, slip rate, surface displacement, and style of deformation on active strike-slip and reverse faults throughout southern California. He has been awarded over a dozen research grants funded by the U.S. Geological Survey National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) and the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC). These studies include paleoseismic investigations of the Sierra Madre, Hollywood, Simi, Red Mountain, and San Andreas faults in Los Angeles and the Transverse Ranges, the Rose Canyon fault in San Diego, and the numerous faults in the Eastern California Shear Zone that ruptured in the 1992 Landers and 1999 Hector Mine earthquakes.

Scott has directed geologic evaluations and seismic source characterizations in a variety of tectonic environments ranging from active plate boundaries to stable cratons. He served on the Technical Integration Team for a multi-year study sponsored by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, US Department of Energy, and the Electric Power Research Institute to develop the Central and Eastern United States Seismic Source Characterization for Nuclear Facilities, which has served as the regional seismic source model for hazard evaluations of nuclear facilities since its publication in 2012. Scott has also served on the advisory committee of the Earthquake-Induced Landslides Working Group for the California Geological Survey’s (CGS) Seismic Hazards Mapping Program and, more recently, the CGS Special Publication 42 Advisory Panel to update the regulatory guidance on assessing fault rupture hazards in California.

Register HERE!

AEG Sacramento Student Night Meeting Announcement!

The AEG Sacramento Chapter is hosting its annual Student Night meeting on Tuesday, April 21st.The meeting is a great opportunity for geology students to meet/interact with professional geologists in the environmental & engineering geology fields.

Meeting Information:

5:30 – 7:00 pm Social Hour & Student Posters
7:00 – 8:00 pm Dinner & Announcements
8:00 – 8:15 pm Scholarship Awards
8:15 – 8:30 pm Raffle

Students (both undergraduate and graduate) are encouraged to display posters highlighting your thesis research and/or classroom research for discussion/input in an informal setting. For students who are graduating soon, it is a great way to network with prospective employers. If you are planning on displaying a poster, please notify Matt Buche at

As part of the Student Night meeting, the Sacramento Chapter will announce the winners of two H. Ray Taber Founders Scholarship awards to promote the study of geology, environmental & engineering geology, and related earth science disciplines.

Scholarship Information:

  • One $1,000 scholarship to junior or senior year undergraduate students
  • One $1,500 scholarship to graduate students pursuing a master’s degree with an environmental or engineering geology emphasis

Applicants must be currently enrolled in one of the following four-year universities: CSU Chico, CSU Sacramento, UC Davis, Univ. of Pacific, CSU Fresno, CSU Stanislaus, UC Merced

The application deadline is 5:00 pm on Friday, April 10th. See the application materials for full eligibility requirements and instructions below.

BPELSG Updates to Fees

The California Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists is proposing to amend Title 16, California Code of Regulations sections 407, 410, and 3005 and to adopt Title 16, California Code of Regulations section 3010 relating to fees and duplicate certificates.  Links to the additional 15-day Notice and its attachments, the Initial Statement of Reasons and its attachments, and the Proposed Regulatory Text are available on the page linked below.

AEG January Meeting! Lower American and Sacramento Rivers Geomorphology

Sacramento AEG present: Lower American and Sacramento Rivers Geomorphology Applications for Bank Erosion and Levee Stability and Ecosystem Restoration, presented by Mitchell Swanson, Northwest Hydraulic Consultants on Tuesday, January 21, 5:30PM at Aviators in Sacramento! We will also host our annual Raffle Prize event and are conducting a used/donated field gear drive for Sacramento State students.



The City of Sacramento and billions of dollars in property value is protected by 26 miles of levee along the south bank Lower American River and the east bank of the Sacramento River. An ongoing effort to strengthen levees and protect them against erosion is being conducted by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (SAFCA). A recently completed auxiliary spillway on Folsom Dam and updated operations based upon weather forecasting now provides over 200 year level of flood protection. With the new operation manual, an ultimate level of 325-year flood protection will be provided by raising objective flood releases from 115,000 cfs to 160,000 cfs. In 2016, Congress provided funds to upgrade levees against bank erosion or direct erosion failure with the 160,000 cfs release.

The American and Sacramento Rivers have been the subject of detailed geologic mapping and subsurface investigations conducted after 2007 in order to assess levee foundation conditions and underseepage erosion potential. These geotechnical studies, along with detailed lidar surveys and new hydraulic modeling also helped with the analysis of bank erosion potential. They also contribute to past literature and data on the geologic history and evolution of the rivers and their geomorphic behavior over time. Analysis of historical data and accounts provide details of the significant alterations due to post 1850s Euro American land use history greatly affected channel form and processes. The historical period includes: severe sedimentation and channel aggradation due to hydraulic mining from the 1860s to 1950s, construction of levees and fill that afforded floodplain development and urbanization, and gravel mining and dredging. Over time many miles of bank armoring has been installed to protect levees and now many acres of densely urbanized floodplain. These developments have removed significant floodplain areas (up to over 1 mile wide) from flood conveyance and severely concentrated levee channel floodways (as narrow as 900 feet) hydraulic and erosional force.  A series of 5 Erosion Assessments were produced by NHC to identify locations where new bank protection will be needed in order to withstand future floods events and the 160,000 cfs LAR flood release. Through engagement of stakeholders including resource agency biologists, engineers, planners and geomorphologists, plans are being prepared to install needed protection before 2025. The ecological effects of new rip rap bank protection will be offset by incorporating shoreline native vegetation plantings and placement of instream woody materials. Past successes along both rivers demonstrate the viability of habitat creation.


Mitchell Swanson is a fluvial geomorphologist with over 35 years of experience in river, stream and wetland restoration and resource management in many locations in California and Nevada. Mitchell graduated with a Bachelors (1981) and Masters (1983) degrees in Earth Sciences from UC Santa Cruz. Since 1983, he has been in the consulting industry and involved in a wide range of flood control planning, resource management, environmental impact studies and restoration projects in Lake Tahoe, Central Valley and Coastal Watersheds. These include pioneering work to incorporate geomorphology and ecosystem processes into flood control facilities and O&M and gravel mining projects and completion of numerous stream restoration projects in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Presently, Mitchell is working for Northwest Hydraulic Consultants in Sacramento providing support for levee erosion protection and ecosystem restoration in the Lower American and Sacramento Rivers, meadow restoration along the Upper Truckee River in South Lake Tahoe and fish passage / dam removal projects in Southern California.


  • Social Hour – 5:30-6:30 p.m.
  • Announcements & Dinner: 6:30-7:30pm
  • Presentation: 7:30-8:30pm

Usual great food, including three meat entrées, salad, rice, potatoes, vegetable and iced tea. A no-host beer and wine bar will be available.


Members: $30.00

Non-Members: $35.00

Students: $10.00

Cancellations must be made by Noon on Monday, December 9th. If you register after Noon on Monday, December 9th, or walk-in, a $3.00 surcharge will be added to the meeting cost.


BPELSG Updated Website, Laws, and Regulations

The Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists has just released on its website updated 2020 versions of the Professional Engineers Act, the Professional Land Surveyors’ Act, the Board Rules, the Geologist & Geophysicist Act, and the Regulations Relating to the Practices of Geology and Geophysics.  Please click here to find all the links to the updated laws and regulations, including annotated versions which show the changes that were made in 2019, for your profession.

Just Published! Cities of the World: Geology of San Francisco

Authors: Kenneth A. Johnson and Greg W Bartow

The San Francisco Geology of the Cities of the World illustrates how the siting, history and development of San Francisco is tied into its geology. This book is directed at an audience mainly of geologists, engineers, environmental scientists and planners. A significant difference between this volume and other works addressing the Geology of San Francisco is that this work concentrates on engineering geologic and geotechnical aspects that impacted and continue to affect the development of the city. A major benefit is that the book identifies authors who live or work in the San Francisco region and includes references to other works that can be used to help support the development of an idea of a site setting. The author’s names provide a starting point of contact for persons working or wanting to work in the city for the first time. The book’s cost is set to make it a must for persons working or living in San Francisco as well as anyone interested in the city. Among several topics included are the role the geography of San Francisco played in servicing the Gold Rush in California; development of fill and its impact on the city after the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes. The development of San Francisco Public Utility Commission water transmission and distribution systems; an overview of a number of tunnels in the city; sea level rise assessment and mitigation, the development of tall buildings on complex sites; a picture of local plate tectonics and seismic setting and hazard elements.

You may order copies by calling (650) 591-3505.

If you are a member of AEG you can get a 20% DISCOUNT for the next 90 days! Simply let the ordering staff know that your discount code is: “AEG”

Full Price is $79.95 (does not include shipping)

AEG Member Price: $63.96 (does not include shipping)