NCD Engineering, also known as Natural Channel Design, Inc, is a civil / environmental engineering consulting firm with an interdisciplinary team of civil engineers and natural resource specialists. We provide services in conservation engineering, restoration ecology, natural resource planning and river engineering and weed management. NCD specializes in research, assessment, design and planning of natural resources. NCD has been operating for over 19 years and has designed, managed, obtained permits, and supervised construction of numerous riparian and aquatic restoration projects throughout the southwest. NCD has extensive experience in watershed assessment, geomorphology, hydrology, hydraulics, wetland and riparian ecology, wildlife biology, vegetation, bioengineering, drainage, erosion control, irrigation, wetland delineation, stream bank stabilization, GIS and spatial modeling. NCD has applied that expertise to community planning, design and permitting of projects for federal, state and county agencies, tribal entities, municipalities, and private owners. The goal of our research, education and design services is to improve the health, resilience and ecosystem function of our aquatic and riparian resources.
Our work utilizes a combination of stream assessments and geomorphic evaluations supplemented by analytic assessments. We also consider how society and the natural processes of rivers can coincide. Stream channel assessment requires three distinct steps: characterization of existing conditions, identification of the potential, or reference condition, for the system, and finally comparing the existing condition against the potential of the system to identify stream needs and design criteria. Once these parameters are established, an analytical assessment of critical velocities, shear stresses, and other physical processes are incorporated to complete the design to meet project objectives.
Stream channels are created and maintained by the processes of their watersheds. In simplistic terms, their primary functions are to convey flood flows, transport sediment, and dissipate energy. The inherent stability of any natural channel is dependent on an appropriate dimension, pattern, and profile of the bankfull channel and associated floodplain and terraces. Closely matching the central tendencies of the natural channel in both form and process results in a design that works with the existing stream processes rather than against it reducing instability and maintenance cost. We have successfully extended these principles to a range of projects including habitat enhancement, bank stabilization, transportation infrastructure, drainage design, cultural resource protection, fish passage, and watershed planning efforts in both urban and rural environments. We have pioneered ways to safely and effectively integrate river community needs.
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The NCD Engineering team has the experience and expertise to provide professional Civil Engineering and Natural Planning Resources services throughout the Southwest region of the United States. Following are brief team resumes and bios:
Ilan Moses Feder
Restoration Specialist, Biologist
Mark is a biologist and engineering technician for Natural Channel Design, Inc. Mark serves as a field biologist and project manager for riparian and geomorphic studies and restoration projects in rivers of the arid southwest. He has experience in all phases of project restoration design including site assessments, topographic survey, project design and construction management. Mark holds an Arizona Agriculture Commercial Applicators Certification for herbicide application.
Prior to working for NCD, Mark worked for 7 years as a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Forest Service in Flagstaff. He then worked for 2 years as a field technician at the College of Engineering at Northern Arizona University where he surveyed different stream types and co-authored a study on Regional Relationships for Bankfull Stage in Natural Channels of Arizona and New Mexico. In 2000, Mark went to work for Natural Channel Design, Inc.
Mark has conducted research, geomorphologic assessments and has helped design numerous stream stabilization and restoration projects in Arizona, New Mexico, Southern Utah and Nevada. He prepares biological assessments, conducts preliminary jurisdictional delineations and Army Corp 404 permits.
Allen is an ecologist with geomorphic training and a long history of working with engineers to achieve ecological goals with engineering plans. His academic training, research and work experience allow him to integrate ecological and geomorphic principles into engineering designs that are able to restore or enhance physical and ecological functions of channels, floodplains and riparian areas. His understanding of the requirements for engineering design and construction of flood control, erosion control, and water conveyance combined with his knowledge of species requirements and functions of southwestern ecological systems provide a practical means of crossing these disciplines to achieve multiple goals from projects. He has expertise in sampling and statistical techniques for monitoring biological and physical aspects of riparian/aquatic/wetland habitats, as well as an understanding of life history requirements and threats to southwestern native species. His major interest is the interaction of habitat changes and nonnative species on native aquatic insects and fish. He has extensive experience with habitat enhancement projects and has designed and provided construction observation services for numerous restoration projects. He has authored and coauthored several refereed manuscripts on effects of nonnative species and links between habitat quality and ecology of aquatic communities.
Since beginning with NCD, Inc. in 2006, he has had a role in nearly every project the company has performed. Project roles have ranged from geomorphic analysis of aquatic habitat and fish passage to project management on multi-year, multi-million dollar habitat creation projects. He also conducts annual training programs focused on utilizing stream geomorphology of southwestern streams to assess, design and monitor restoration and erosion control projects.
Civil Engineer P.E., CFM
Michael is a licensed civil engineer in six states in the southwestern US (AZ, CO, NM, NV, TX, & UT), with over 26 years of civil engineering experience. He has been with NCD since 2013 and served initially as Project Engineer and is now in the role of Senior Licensed Civil Engineer. Prior to joining NCD, Michael served 2 years as the Assistant County Engineer for Coconino County, Arizona, and served as Project Engineer and Lead Designer with Turner Engineering, Inc. from 2000-2011.
Through his experience, he has completed the design of numerous projects including residential and commercial development. During his career, he has designed large public infrastructure projects including local and arterial roads, water mains, sewer mains, storm drains and regional stormwater detention facilities. He is a Certified Floodplain Manager with experience in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regulatory floodplains and preparing submittals for compliance with the Clean Water Act (PJDs and 404 permits). During his career, Michael has acquired over 21 years of experience in hydrologic and hydraulic modeling of watersheds in the arid southwest and planning for stormwater mitigation for developed and undeveloped sites.
Michael grew up in the American Southwest and is now based in northern Arizona with his professional and recreational interests focused in the region.
Civil Engineering Technician E.I.T., Biologist
Cathy has been with NCD since 2011 and has designed the revegetation plans for numerous NCD restoration projects. She has experience researching appropriate native plants for restoration projects in southwestern ecosystems. Cathy prepares engineering designs and drawings. She has conducted geomorphic assessments on channels across Arizona and assisted with watershed assessments for watersheds damaged by wildfire. Cathy has experience preparing submittals for compliance with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act including PJDs, wetland delineations, and biological assessments (for projects that may affect listed species).
Prior to joining NCD, Cathy worked for the US EPA in Chicago for 10 years as an environmental engineer working in municipal wastewater permitting under the Clean Water Act and spent 3 years as a biological (plants) technician with the US Forest Service (Rocky Mountain Research Station) in Flagstaff. She has authored several refereed manuscripts on her ecological restoration research.
Civil Engineer P.E., CFM
Jake has been with NCD since 2016. Jake is a licensed civil engineer in four states in the southwestern US (AZ, NM, CO and UT), with over 7 years of civil engineering experience. Prior to joining NCD, Jake worked as a field technician for the Ecological Restoration Institute for 3 years collecting landscape data in diverse and remote settings. Jake also spent time as an intern project engineer in Cameron, AZ for Vastco, Inc., gaining experience in heavy civil construction on a highway expansion project. Jake’s role at Natural Channel Design includes hydrualic and hydrologic modeling, design, drawing construction plans with materials estimates and costs, and geomorphic assessment. He specializes in geomorphic restoration techniques in both urban and rural stream settings.
Civil Engineering Technician E.I.T.
Chris has been at NCD since 2019 and works as an Engineer-in-Training. Chris prepares drawings, conducts field surveys, and assists in report compilation. Prior to earning his EIT and joining the NCD team, Chris worked as an automobile technician and an outdoors adventure guide. Chris has been in Flagstaff since 1995 and enjoys the many outdoors recreational opportunities of the region.
Alex began working with Natural Channel Design in 2021. As a hydrogeologist, Alex combines his extensive knowledge of western US geological provinces with geochemical and hydrological analysis techniques to evaluate a variety of water resources problems. Alex has a B.S. and M.S. in Geology from Northern Arizona University. Through his time as a graduate researcher and environmental consultant, he has gained experience and expertise in environmental statistics and computing, groundwater isotopes, groundwater geochemistry analyses and modeling, structural geology, well construction and development, regional groundwater studies, evapotranspiration (ET) modeling, infiltration studies, soil sampling (ISM) at contaminated sites, soil vapor extraction (SVE), core logging (soil and geotechnical), and local/state/federal environmental compliance and monitoring.
Civil Engineering Technician, E.I.T.
GIS Specialist, Certified Drone Pilot
Sam joined Natural Channel Design in December 2022, after graduating with his M.S. in Forestry from Northern Arizona University. He specializes in geospatial applications, including GIS and drone surveys. His remote sensing projects study landscape scale change, in combination with traditional fieldwork. Prior to NCD, Sam worked with USFS as a wildland firefighter on the Coconino NF, and as an intern with the Washington Office. He also holds a B.S. in Forestry and B.A. in Modern Languages (Spanish) from NAU, living in Flagstaff since 2013.
Sue works part-time as an administrative assistant at NCD. Born and raised in Maine, Sue traveled west in her college years and fell in love with the canyons, colors, and wide open spaces of the southwest. She graduated from Northern Arizona University with a B.F.A in Ceramics. Sue has worked as a river guide, a professional baker, a mom, and an artist but has always kept her day job in bookkeeping and business management. She’s lived in Flagstaff since 1984 where she raises a family and operates a small business with her husband. In her free time she enjoys hiking, biking, skiing, birding, and boating throughout the Southwest.
Tom Moody was first and foremost a conservationist. As a boatman working in both the Grand Canyon and internationally or as a salmon fisherman in Alaska, he had a constant appreciation of rivers. As an engineering student, he realized that there had to be a better way to work with stream channels than to keep adding hardened riprap to fix erosion. His wife, Stephanie Yard was an engineer, dealing with drainage and stream channels at the Natural Resources Conservation Service. She also saw a need for a different way of thinking about stream channel conservation. Tom began with research on utilizing stream geomorphic principles in the arid southwest while he was at Northern Arizona University. This research continued and matured after the pair formed NCD Engineering and they began utilizing these concepts along with standard engineering practice to repair and enhance channels across the southwest. Due to their foresight and passion, NCD has been at the forefront of research education and design of stream restoration practice in the southwest.