Extension names Harris
acting director of Texas
Water Resources Institute
Dr. B.L. Harris has been named acting director of the Texas Water Resources Institute, which provides leadership to priority water resources research and educational programs for Texas AgriLife Research and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, as well as throughout Texas.
The appointment, effective Feb. 1, was announced by AgriLife Research Interim Director Dr. William A. Dugas and AgriLife Extension Director Dr. Ed Smith.
Harris replaces former director Dr. C. Allan Jones, who took a faculty position at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Dallas.
Harris joined the institute in 2001 as associate director and project director for the Rio Grande Basin Initiative. This joint federal project with New Mexico State University is implementing strategies for meeting water demand in the Rio Grande Basin by expanding the efficient use of available water and creating new water supplies.
Under Harris's leadership, the initiative has won numerous awards recognizing its outstanding research and education activities. In 2008, the project won the Texas Environmental Excellence Award in the agriculture category. This award, the state's highest environmental honor, is presented annually by the governor's office and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
The Rio Grande project received a top U.S. Department of Agriculture award in 2007 and was honored with Texas A&M Vice Chancellor's Awards in Excellence in two categories in previous years.
Harris is a professor in Texas A&M University's soil and crop sciences department, having been a faculty member since 1974.
Prior to joining the water institute, Harris was associate director for agriculture and natural resources for AgriLife Extension and associate director for AgriLife Research.
He earned his bachelor's degree in agronomy and his master's degree in soil sciences from Texas Tech University and his doctorate in soil mineralogy from Oregon State University.
Harris's awards include the Epsilon Sigma Phi Retiree Service award in 2007 and the Texas Tech University Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2003.