A/PROF Ian Rutherfurd

A/PROF Ian Rutherfurd


  • Aspects of river channel change (including Quaternary and historical) (stream rehabilitation (returning physical and ecological function to streams))
  • Fluvial geomorphology (river, water)
  • River management



  • Ian Rutherfurd is a geographer and fluvial geomorphologist. He has worked for 25 years in the water sector as an academic, consultant and in policy. At present he is an Associate Professor in the School of Geography at the University of Melbourne. Ian’s research interests relate to processes of erosion and sedimentation in river channels. Specific areas of research are human impacts on river channels, interactions between vegetation and rivers, and the dynamics of fine and coarse sediment pulses in rivers. His work has turned increasingly to the physical and social dimensions of restoration of disturbed fluvial systems. He has published over 80 journal articles, 50 consulting reports, and has been involved in over $6 million in research grants. He has been assisted in his research by over 60 co-authors and 30 PhD students. At present he is a Chief Investigator in four major Australian Research Council research grants including the ‘Rivers-of-gold’ project investigating impacts of historical gold mining on rivers, threats to water supplies from debris-flows, the role of vegetation in trapping sediment and nutrients in SE Queensland, and the consequences of China’s South-North Water Transfer project. He has also acted as advisor to numerous state and federal government expert panels and committees related to river and catchment management, most recently being Chair of Melbourne Water’s Healthy Waterway Strategy Science Committee. He also spent five years working as a senior manager in the water sector in the Victorian State Government between 2008 and 2011. Ian is invited to speak regularly at many conferences, but also to local Landcare Groups, Community groups, and river managers. His international work includes projects in South East Asia, China, the USA, Canada and South Africa. He has also completed numerous consulting projects related to river erosion and sedimentation all over Australia and Asia. Ian is the Immediate Past President of the Institue    


Selected publications


Investigator on


Education and training

  • PhD, Monash University 1993
  • BA(Hons), University of Melbourne 1985

Awards and honors

  • ITT Fulbright Fellowship, 1998



Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • I have supervised over 30 PhD students to completion. At any one time I have about 5 to 6 PhD students involved in research into fluvial geomorphology, including river channel change, and river management.