Michael Dukes to be honored at ASABE International Meeting

By Emily E. Eubanks, eee@ufl.edu
Contact: Michael Dukes, 352-392-1864, ext. 205, mddukes@ufl.edu

Michael DukesGAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Michael Dukes, director of the UF/IFAS Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology and a University of Florida agricultural and biological engineering professor, will be honored with two awards from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) at their 2019 International Meeting this July in Boston.

Dukes will be presented with the 2019 Evelyn E. Rosentreter Standards award for distinction in the development of irrigation standards increasing efficient use of water.

Since 2006, Dukes has been a member of and chaired for several years the ASABE Turf and Landscape Irrigation committee, charged with standards related to landscape irrigation systems. Until the last five to six years there were no standards in ASABE or elsewhere that applied to landscape irrigation, and Dr. Dukes has been involved and in most cases lead in the development and implemention of standards across landscape irrigation to encourage efficient use of water. His contributions on standards are based closely to the research his team publishes. He has been active on several official standards efforts and other related efforts to develop standards in the irrigation industry. In addition, he has been involved as a developer for the EPA WaterSense program in several standards-related efforts including the EPA WaterSense Weather-based Irrigation Controller specification and the EPA WaterSense Spray Sprinkler Body specification.

He will also receive the Heermann Sprinkler Irrigation award for his impactful and relevant research and Extension efforts in water conservation of irrigated systems.

Dr. Dukes conducts research on irrigation systems focusing on maximizing irrigation efficiency. Most of this work has been associated with “smart” irrigation controllers, i.e. soil moisture sensor and evapotranspiration based irrigation controllers. His team has shown that these devices can reduce irrigation as much as 60% in real-world settings while maintaining good landscape quality. His team’s publications are often cited by U.S. EPA, Water Research Foundation, Alliance for Water Efficiency and others as the go-to source of unbiased scientific information to use when regarding smart irrigation controllers.

In the spirit of the land grant mission, Dr. Dukes’ team has also extended this research to end users, decision makers, and professionals in the landscape and irrigation industry. From 2006-2010 extension education efforts reached more than 5,000 individuals directly, a secondary audience of 1 million and a mass audience of two million.

Dukes’ research and extension program played a role in the signing of a bill in June 2009 requiring irrigation systems to include a shut-off system that will activate during periods of sufficient moisture. This legislation paved the way for the use of soil moisture sensor control systems to modify irrigation system operation based on real time soil moisture measurements. This legislation also allowed a variance from day of the week irrigation restrictions when soil moisture irrigation based smart controllers are used to control the irrigation system.

As a result of Dukes’ research and extension program, several Florida counties representing the most populated areas have a permitting policy providing incentives for use of smart irrigation control technologies with irrigation systems. All new homes in The Villages, an 80,000-acre planned retirement community (the largest in the world), have a soil moisture sensor or evapotranspiration-base controller included in the irrigation system.

The awards will be presented to Dr. Dukes at the 2019 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) Annual International Meeting, begin held in Boston, Massachusetts July 7-10.