The SITES software package originated in Kentucky in the mid 1960's.   It was developed to aide engineers proportion earthen embankments.   At that time, this software was known as "DAMS", and was written by Charlie Murphy for an IBM 1420 computer.   Dick Wenberg remembers a training session in Kentucky.   Bob Pasley recalls   "I think that we (in Indianapolis) were the first to put it on a larger IBM (370 I think, or perhaps it's predecessor).   Anyway, it took up a lot of space.   We used it extensively in Watershed planning and in River Basin studies.   Charlie came up in August of 1964, just prior to moving to DC (or maybe it was just prior to going to Grad School) to implement it on the computer at Allison Division of General Motors."

In the early 70's, it was generalized to fit national conditions, and responsibility for it was transferred to the Central Technical Unit (CTU) located in Hyattsville, MD.   Harvey Richardson transferred to the CTU in 1974, and remembers that "As SCS criteria changed in the late 70's, we started to develop DAMS2 under the direction of Bob Pasley.   We used Ernie Putnam in NY (formerly CTU) to do the major programming.   I did the directing, checking, testing and minor programming."

In the early 80's, it was recognized that the very simplistic algorithum (Oe/B) used to design earthen emergency or auxiliary spillways was going to need to be replaced with a math model that better represented the physical processes of erosion.   John Moore explains how this came about.   Data from actual spillway flows was gathered and model studies were done at the ARS research laboratory in Stillwater Oklahoma.   A joint SCS/ARS Design and Analysis of Earth Spillways (DAES) team was formed to utilize the information acquired in these efforts.

A portion of the DAES team can be seen here: (from left to right)
Darrel Temple
   (ARS -OK)
Dave Ralston
   (Eng -retired)
Bill Erion
   (Eng -retired)
Alan Colwick
   (Eng -Texas)
John Henry
   (Des Eng -retired)
Lou Kirkaldie
   (Geol. -retired)
John Brevard
   (Eng -retired)
C. Wilson (?)

At the same time the new emergency spillway design procedures were being incorporated into the software, a user friendly interface was added.   With this major upgrade, a new name was inevitable.   This software is now known as SITES.   Part of the team that advanced this software to the new level is pictured here on Sept. 12, 1997 at the ARS Lab in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

(In the front row from left to right)
Morris Lobrecht    (Eng -Iowa)
Don Hazelwood    (Info Tech -retired)
Norman Miller    (Hyd Eng -retired)
Helen Fox-Moody    (Hyd Eng -NHQ)
Edwin Radatz    (Hyd Eng -Kansas)
(back row - left to right)
Eldon Randolph    (Design Eng -OK)
Larry Goertz    (Hyd Eng -Texas)
Owen Lee    (Prog Analyst -retired)
Harvey Richardson    (Eng -retired)
Darrel Temple    (ARS -Oklahoma).

It can be seen from the above pictures that many of the staff that worked on the SITES software are now retired.   Many of the people have continued to work on SITES as volunteers after they retired.
  1. Harvey Richardson retired in 1989, and continued maintaining this program like he did when he was employeed.   He was a major contributer when the new emergency spillway procedures and user friendly interface were added.   His impact was major!
  2. John Brevard retired in April 1994, and provided design engineering expertise and information about the work of the DAES Team for model development and for training.
  3. Norman Miller retired in April 1994, and has helped develop and present training materials.   He has also provided technical expertise as a retired Hydraulic Engineer.
  4. Don Hazelwood retired in April 1994, and has contributed Information Technology expertise toward the model development and training activities.
  5. John Patton retired in April 1994, and has done much Alpha and Beta testing.   He has also given advice on user friendliness from his experience as a State Design Engineer.
This work is especially important now that Congress wants to rehabilitate many of the over 10,000 structures built under watershed programs.

As with all software, SITES continues to be maintained and refined.   The current SITES team met in Stillwater, OK, during May 2003.   Morris Lobrecht says "a new version is ready to be released -- Version 2000.5.   By January, we will be ready with Version 2004.   Helen Fox-Moody should have the revised manual out in the next month or so."

Last updated - June 30, 2003 by Owen P. Lee