The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences College of Sciences

Jude Benavides

Dr. Benavides smiling at the camera in full academic regalia

Associate Professor
School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences

(956) 882-5938

Curriculum Vitae


2005 Ph.D. Environmental Science & Engineering, Rice University
2001 M.S. Environmental Science & Engineering, Rice University
1992 B.S. Civil Engineering, University of Notre Dame

Areas of Interest

Research specialization in flood alert systems, floodplain mapping, water quality monitoring, and water resources analysis in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.     

Research Overview

My research interests include hydrologic and water quality monitoring and modeling with a focus on water resources management issues in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.  My most recent work has focused on watershed protection planning in both the Arroyo Colorado and Lower Laguna Madre / Brownsville Ship Channel (LLM/BSC) watersheds.  I have served as the chairperson of the Arroyo Colorado Watershed Partnership (ACWP) steering committee for 10 years and have been a proud member of a team of dedicated researchers and stakeholders expanding this effort to the Brownsville area watershed.  As a member of the State of Texas Basin and Bay Expert Science Team (BBEST) for the Lower Rio Grande River and Lower Laguna Madre, I’ve also researched environmental flows into the Lower Laguna Madre as well as the Rio Grande River estuary.  I’m also very involved with Brownsville area “resacas” or distributaries of the Rio Grande – working with local partners like the Brownsville Public Utilities Board (BPUB) and the City of Brownsville in the Resaca Restoration Program.  My currently funded projects focus on :  watershed characterization efforts in the LLM/BSC watershed (TCEQ/EPA); bacteria source tracking and evaluation in the Arroyo Colorado (Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board); Resaca Rangers B-WET program (NOAA), and several other smaller projects.  I am also currently working with the National Flood Interoperability Experiment (NFIE) and the National Water Center (NWC) to ground-truth and enhance the National Hydrography Dataset and the National Water Model in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. 

Recent Publications

  • Benavides, J.A. and Annemarie N. Whitko, 2014. “Resaca Restoration in Brownsville, Texas: Restoring Isolated Distributaries of the Rio Grande for Multiple Benefits including Recreation.”  Texas Trails / Active Transportation Conference – 2014, Fort Worth, Texas.
  • Benavides, J.A. and Elizabeth Heise, 2014.  “Environmental Science Programs at UTRGV: Looking Ahead.”  2014 LRGV Stormwater Conference, South Padre Island, Texas.
  • Benavides, J.A. 2014 “Hydrologic Design Considerations in Low Impact Development Best Management Practices – Professional Lecture Series by the LRGV Texas Pollution Discharge Elimination System Stormwater Task Force.”  LRGV TPDES Stormwater Task Force Conference and Professional Development Seminars, Weslaco, Texas.
  • Benavides, J.A. 2013 “Watershed Partnership Efforts in the Arroyo Colorado of South Texas.”  Invited Lecturer – Rice University, Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Houston, Texas.
  • Deyoe, H.R., R.J. Edwards, D. Buzan, W. Pulich Jr., J. Benavides, and C. Marin. 2012. Environmental Flows Recommendations Report. Environmental Flows Advisory Group, Rio Grande Estuary, and Lower Laguna Madre Basin and Bay Stakeholders Committee and Texas Committee on Environmental Quality, 237.
  • Benavides, J.A. and Heather M. Winter, “Severe Storm Impacts and Flood Management”  Chapter 12 (pp. 689-719) of Hydrology and Floodplain Analysis, 5th Ed., (P.B. Bedient, W.C. Huber, and B. Vieux).  Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NH, 2012. 
  • Benavides, J. A., “Comparative Assessment of Hurricane Threat, Historical Patterns, and Established Flood Protection Mechanisms for the Brownsville, Texas Area.”  White paper prepared for the Brownsville Economic Development Council (BEDC).  September, 2011.
  • Hicks, D., H. Deyoe, T. Whelan, J. Benavides, M. Shands, and E. Heise. 2010. Bahia Grande Restoration Monitoring: Final Report. Report prepared for USEPA Gulf of Mexico Program.
  • Wilson, Jeff, J. Benavides, et al., “Demographic Disparities Associated with the Proposed U.S.-Mexico Border Fence in Cameron County, Texas.”  Southwestern Geographer, Volume 14: 2010.
  • Fang, Zheng,, P. Bedient, J. Benavides,  “Enhanced Radar-Based Flood Alert System and Floodplain Map Library”  Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 13(10), 926-938, 2008.
  • Report by the Arroyo Colorado Watershed Partnership – Headed by Laura de la Garza (Watershed Coordinator) and Jude A. Benavides, Ph.D. (Steering Committee Chairperson), “A Watershed Protection Plan for the Arroyo Colorado – Phase I”  , 2007.


ENVR 1401 - Introduction to Environmental Science
ENVR 4301 - Environmental Regulations
ENVR 4303 - Environmental Science Research Project
GEOL 3402 - Hydrologic Systems
GEOL 3408 - Introduction to GIS
GEOL 4401 - Advanced GIS
GEOL 5401 - Geographic Information Systems

UTRGV Faculty Profile