Our Mission

Broadly speaking, we define Sustainable as meeting the needs of today without compromising the capacity of future generations to meet their needs; we define Streams simply as bodies of flowing water on the earth’s surface.

Sustainable + Streams = A specialized consulting firm with the mission to provide leading science, service, and solutions in the field of rivers/watersheds using an advanced interdisciplinary academic foundation and guided by sustainable principles with the belief that truly long-term solutions to river-system problems must be rooted in a natural, process-based framework.


key staff


Principal Scientist: Robert J. Hawley, Ph.D., P.E.

Dr. Robert Hawley has been interested in rivers since childhood, spending much of his time canoeing and fishing the lazy rivers of western Ohio with his dad. He went on to devote the balance of his academic and professional career to their exploration and understanding. It has taken him to the University of Dayton (B.S. Civil Engineering, 2002), Michigan Technological University (M.S. Civil Engineering, 2003), and the distinguished Colorado State University (Ph.D. Civil Engineering, 2009). Professional projects have ranged from the Appalachians to the Lower Mississippi, while funded research has focused on Southern California and Northern Kentucky systems, and personal research has taken him as far as Alaska, Japan, and New Zealand. Witnessing the great depth and breadth of natural systems (and anthropogenic influences) has reinforced his boyhood conviction that their beauty is in their complexity, their function far-reaching in both space and time.


Design Engineer: Katherine R. MacMannis, P.E.

Katherine MacMannis has always enjoyed spending time in the great outdoors and appreciating the gift of nature. As a child she was captivated by waterfalls and riffling streams and continues to spend much of her vacation time on lakes, rivers, and the Gulf shore. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Dayton (B.S. Civil Engineering, Business Administration Minor, 2008). Her professional career has covered a variety of stormwater and watershed planning projects, and includes extensive experience in research and design of stormwater best management practices (BMPs). Her expertise begins at the source of watershed problems in designing BMPs for water quality enhancement and channel protection. Her personal interest and research of natural systems has ranged from the streams and lakes of Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee to the coastal, mangrove marshes along the Gulf shore from Texas to Florida.


Design Engineer: Kurt A. Cooper, P.E., LEED AP

Kurt Cooper developed his interest in creeks and rivers early on, while swimming, fishing, and canoeing the creeks of South Central Kentucky. After gaining a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Western Kentucky University (2005) and spending more than 5 years working in industrial and commercial site development design, he decided to specialize in the part of his work that he was most passionate about: hydraulics and stream restoration. This led him to Colorado State University (M.S. Civil Engineering, 2012) where he developed an advanced, physically-based understanding of the principles of open channel hydraulics and sediment transport. He has incorporated CSU's multidisciplinary emphasis on stream function, the natural flow regime, and habitat complexity, along with his construction feasibility expertise, into a more holistic approach to stormwater management and stream restoration design.


Design Engineer: Nora L. Korth, P.E.

Nora Korth has always loved the outdoors, from fishing with the family to canoeing and hiking. Her interest in the environment led her to Michigan Technological University in Michigan's Upper Peninsula where she received a B.S. in Environmental Engineering with a minor in Ecology (2009). From stream sampling to wetland delineations, she expanded her love of nature with a strong academic foundation and field training. Her studies took her to both Australia and the Bahamas, where she gained experience across a gradient of diverse ecosystems. Her professional experience has focused on protecting and enhancing stream ecosystems through holistic stormwater management that includes both water quality and quantity solutions.



Shelby Acosta has always been interested in the forces that shape our earth. Her interest in surface processes led her to study Geography at the University of Texas at Austin, from which she received a B.A. with High Honors (2016). Her studies allowed her to explore her interests and develop skills in GIS and data analysis while gaining field experience in Botswana and Puerto Rico. She developed an interest in responsible watershed management during an internship with the Shoal Creek Conservancy in Austin, Texas. Her passion for promoting watershed health led her to work for the City of Austin Watershed Protection Department, and, ultimately to join the team at Sustainable Streams.


Design scientist: peter m. tower

Peter Tower grew up playing in tide pools along the rugged coast of Northern California and his favorite activity was exploring the rivers and waterfalls of Big Sur. He has spent the last 11 years founding and growing a technology-based imaging company. His current and past experience with design, photography, and construction bring a new element to the team that allows Sustainable Streams to offer innovative technologies used for construction observation and post-construction monitoring. With these new tools and skills, Sustainable Streams can enhance and optimize feedback to the construction crews working on site, while providing clarity and understanding to the clients making decisions. Furthermore, he has assisted with the implementation of wood structures on small ephemeral tributaries, providing a cost-effective and long-lasting solution to stream restoration and watershed design.


Sustainable Streams is a licensed Engineering Company in Georgia (007229), Kentucky (3111), Ohio (03758), Tennessee (7518) and Texas (20464), and Dr. Hawley is a registered P.E. in each state (GA 042860, KY 27335, OH 74974, TN 116915, and TX 133046). The company is registered with the Federal Small Business Administration (DUNS# 034684418).


Charitable Contributions

American Rivers · Brightside · Cumberland River Compact · Groundwork Cincinnati · Louisville Sustainability Council · Mill Creek Watershed Council of Communities · Nature Conservancy of Kentucky · Nature Conservancy of Tennessee · National Wildlife Federation · Thomas More College Environmental Academy · University Press of Kentucky · Water for People · WaterStep · WAVE Foundation

Professional Societies

American Geophysical Union · American Society of Civil Engineers · Engineers Without Borders · Kentucky Society of Professional Engineers · Kentucky Stormwater Association · Kentucky-Tennessee Water Environment Association · Ohio Stormwater Association · Society for Freshwater Science · Water Environment Federation