Department Chair and Professor

The Department of Civil Engineering

Research Interests

Professor Rennie is a river engineer, carrying out research in river morphodynamics and environmental hydraulics.  Both require understanding of the spatiotemporal distribution of turbulent flow and fluid stresses.  Channel morphodynamics deals with the change in a river channel due to the transport of channel boundary sediments.  Erosion and deposition processes change the river channel shape, with consequent changes in the turbulent flow field.  These processes influence mixing of contaminants and nutrients in the river flow as well as available aquatic habitat.  This research is carried out utilizing high resolution field measurements with acoustic instruments, laboratory physical models, and three-dimensional numerical modelling.  His research can be applied to a wide range of river issues, including river channel stability, flood control, hydroelectric development, fisheries, channel design and river corridor restoration, bridge crossings, navigation, source water protection, and beach closures.   

Three-dimensional flow in Black Canyon of Fraser River (Venditti, Rennie, Bomhof, et al., Nature, 2014) {Letter to Nature: ; Commentary }


Vortex cores associated with Missouri River wing dike scour holes identified in 3D flow field ADCP survey (Jamieson et al. 2011). Cover image, Water Resources Research, July 2011.

Research Topics 

  • Use of aDcp-RTKGPS instrumentation for spatial flow and bedload surveys;
  • Hydraulics, geometry, and morphodynamics of semi-alluvial rivers (e.g., clay-bed, bedrock controlled);
  • River ice dynamics and sediment transport under ice;
  • 3D flow and scour around structures in constrictions;
  • Within-event braided river morphodynamics;
  • Habitat modelling;
  • Assessment of turbulent flow distribution, sediment transport, and habitat in channel bends protected by stream barbs (submerged groynes);
  • Assessment of hydrokinetic potential;
  • Uncertainty of aDcp measurements;
  • Development of 3D ultrasonic velocity profiler techniques for near-bed sediment transport;
  • Unsteady turbulence and sediment transport (turbidity currents and rivers)
  • Mixing and transport of wastewater effluent;
  • Optimization of watershed models


Industrial Partners  

  • Manitoba Hydro Ltd.
  • Hatch Ltd.
  • Alberta Environment
  • City of Ottawa
  • National Capital Commission



  • Canadian Hydraulics Centre, National Research Council (Wayne Jenkinson)
  • École Polytechnique Fédéral de Lausanne (Koen Blanckaert)
  • Environment Canada, Water Survey (Elizabeth Jamieson, Francois Rainville)
  • National Institute Water and Atmospheric Research, New Zealand (Murray Hicks)
  • Queen Mary University of London / Aberystwyth University (James Brasington)
  • Simon Fraser University (Jeremy Venditti)
  • United States Geological Survey (Jeff Conway)
  • University of Auckland (Stephen Coleman)
  • University of Alberta (David Zhu)
  • University of British Columbia (Michael Church, Greg Lawrence, Robert Millar)
  • University of Manitoba (Shawn Clark)
  • University of Ottawa (William Arnott, Robert Delatolla, Majid Mohammadian, Ioan Nistor, Ousmane Seidou, Ronald Townsend)
  • University of Saskatchewan (Kerry Mazurek)
  • University of Iowa (George Constantinescu, Marian Muste)
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