Officially, Peter is a civil engineer in Balance’s Truckee office, but ask him what he does for a living over a pint and he’ll tell you how he fixes rivers with cutting-edge engineering materials (dead trees, boulders, and the occasional beaver dam analog), corrects FEMA maps when they lie, and keeps a watchful eye on nearby streams…just to make sure the water keeps going downhill. He would have been ill-suited to work on these types of projects, but fortunately Peter made sure to counter his engineering education with training in geomorphology, hydrology, stream ecology, and leaky wader repair. This interdisciplinary background has given him a diverse knowledgebase to work on a variety of stream, wetland, and meadow restoration projects. It has also meant a healthy mix of office- and field-based work. Apart from restoration work, Peter leads technical studies and large data collection efforts. Complex hydraulic models and GIS analyses are among his favorite types of challenges. His colleagues also look to him for assistance sediment transport modeling, fish passage studies, and various sorts of stormwater analyses. When he’s not behind his desk or in the field, you can probably find Peter rock climbing high above Truckee with his wife, Michelle, or perfecting his pizza recipe with his “assistants”, Rita the bloodhound and Pluto the cat.

  • California P.E. C83062
  • Nevada P.E. 22983
  • M.S. Civil Engineering, Colorado State University, 2012 (Hydraulic Engineering, Stream Restoration, and River Mechanics Program)
  • B.S. Civil Engineering, The Ohio State University, 2006
  • Middle Martis Wetlands Restoration, Truckee River Watershed Council, Placer County, California
  • Squaw Creek/Squaw Meadow Restoration, Squaw Valley Ski Corporation/Friends of Squaw Creek, Placer County, California
  • Dry Creek Fish Passage, Trout Unlimited, Elko County, Nevada

"Beyond Zone A: Hydraulic Models to Evaluate Multiple Restoration Objectives." Peter Kulchawik and David Shaw

Two things: the people and the challenging nature of the work we do. I’ve never worked somewhere with such easy-going, positive staff which makes coming to work enjoyable. Our project work keeps me on my toes because I’m constantly pushed to apply my knowledge in new ways.

Independence Lake, just north of Truckee. Makes you realize what Donner and Tahoe looked like prior to development.

Seeing a finished project in the ground. The aesthetic improvement and community enthusiasm are rewarding, but seeing a quantifiable improvement in the post-project field data undeniably shows that we’ve made a difference.

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